The Hunted

I went on a holiday once. 

Past the mountains of Machu Pichu, past the desert valleys and the great river. Right near the Amazon basin, where there lives a dark and deep forest. Yes, that’s right. It is said to be alive with the strangest things. Sights and sounds they say that are as difficult to describe as comprehend. They told me she dwelt there. She freely roamed the hills and valleys, masquerading as a celestial beauty by day, as the tale went, while preying on unsuspecting souls by night. 

Hello, my name is Damien Wells and I am a witch hunter. And she is Raa, the demon conjurer, the last of the witches from the cursed cult of the Indians. 

And this is my story of my quest for her, that lasted seven days from the Jungle of the Inexplicable.

Day One: The Journey Begins

I set out alone, as I often do, with my paraphernalia of demon capturing devices in my rucksack and on a prayer.

The first day was spent on charting out the regions, said to be palpating with her presence. I whistled as I walked through the thickset of trees. The leaves, thorns and twigs from small branches brushing against my face. My exposed skin was hunting ground for the many creepy crawlies and became bumpy in many a place from the bites of mosquitoes. Like I said, the jungle was indeed alive. Infested by beasts and creatures of all kinds, seen as well as unseen.

When the evening moon climbed higher in the sky and while there was still some light, I pitched my tent, my makeshift work-station and calling it a day, rested. 

The first day and night passed, uneventful.

Day Two: The Sacrifice

Something significant happened on the second day.

On waking up the next morning, I stepped out of my tent and stood gaping at the carcass of a wild boar near my entrance. The path leading up to my tent and circling all around it, was sprinkled in fresh blood.  Obviously from the boar, I gathered. Hopefully, from the wild boar, I half-hoped.                                                                         

This didn’t look good. In ancient practices from the cultic culture, this could mean one of two things. Either a warning or a herald of imminent danger. Or a welcome of sorts from the spirit world. Which one was this? I wondered.

The rest of the day was spent in digging up a grave for the sacrificed beast and passed in a blur. 

Day Three: The Dream

I woke with a start. It was well past midnight on my wrist watch. I must have dreamed; my heart was racing and beads of perspiration trickled down my forehead. Even my sleeping bag was drenched in sweat. I gulped down a mouthful of water and prayed fervently till morning light. 

The next morning, I sat and remembered the deplorable dream from the previous night. The dead boar had risen in my dream and had been chasing me, blind with fury. Its eyes were gouged out and its empty sockets stared ominously at me.

Day Four: The Ringing in the ears

Now there is a strange sound that heralds her coming, the village elders had forewarned. It sounds like tinnitus, an incessant ringing in the ears. So insistent and persistent is the noise, it is said to drive a man crazy. It is believed to be Raa laughing.

I heard it at first faintly, as though from a distance. As I sat, fishing for my evening meal in the nearby river on the fourth afternoon. Then it grew undeniably louder and shriller. I threw away my fishing equipment and clapped my ears forcibly shut. It lasted for a good ten minutes or so. Then it died away as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had come.

I sensed her presence in the wild rustle of the wind that night. 

Day Five: Night Awakenings

I woke with a start. Again. I checked my watch. Just past midnight; like the other night. Had something or someone awakened me? How does one get up so suddenly yet inexplicably some nights? I stared at the tent roof in the dark and waited, listening to the sound of my own heavy breathing. The forest seemed silent, which was strange. As if it awaited something or someone to show up in anticipation. In all my experiences of the paranormal and all my other-worldly encounters, had I not felt this uncomfortable. I reached for my little pocket bible in the pitch blackness about me and prayed. 

Day Six: The Encounter

I saw her with her back turned to me. She stood by the river where I had last heard the eerie ringing, just a few days ago. She was buck naked and had ancient cryptic writings and symbols tattooed on parts of her body. I stood transfixed on the spot, not knowing what to do. Then she turned to look at me. I gasped and gaped as my jaw dropped open. The saying was right: She was an ethereal beauty. She stared back at me and smiled benignly. My blood froze and my heart pounded in my chest maniacally. Have you ever experienced beauty that terrified you?

Before I realized it, she pounced upon me like a rabid beast and began devouring me.

Never had I anticipated this sexual encounter with her. Not in my wildest dreams. 

Our bodies throbbed with mutual passion under the starlit, moonless night.

Day Seven: The Quest ends

My quest for Raa ended abruptly. 

As on the seventh day from the time my journey began, I found him stripped naked on the mossy forest ground. Lying in the pool of his own blood. His body was turned face down and a cryptic sacrificial symbol was carved into the skin on his back in blood. It looked ghastly, to say the least. As though it was clawed into him by force. I could not help myself. I turned him over and then let out my loudest shriek. The eyes were gouged out from their bloody sockets and his face lay frozen in a sinister grin. But the weirdest, most inexplicable revelation was this:

The dead man in the forest was me.

You see, I went on a holiday once. From which I never got around to returning back.

You see, sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted. 

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