When I Thought I Was the Predator

Underneath “Stories,” friends and others suggest short writing prompts that I am challenged to create and portray. Idea credit to Ethan.

The deafening, screeching sounds as the silver blade glides against a moist stone leaves a thin, fragile edge. My index finger slightly touches the sharpened side of my knife, and I can tell the harsh blade will allow a smooth puncture as I hunt. I take my knife and slide it into my utility belt, and I tighten the laces of my boot and begin walking out my shed. To the right of the double wooden doors, my Diamond Carbon Cure bow my father gave me hangs next to my variety of arrows. I grab a couple of the Beman ICS Hunter Patriots and attach them to the right of my pack. Walking out of my shed, I lock the double wooden doors and find my wife standing, waiting for me.

She’s in a white dress that drapes just until mid-thigh with her brown boots I got her for her birthday last year. Her light brown hair shines in the sunlight, and her white pearls smile at me.

She looks over her shoulder and calls out, “Boys! Say goodbye to your father!”

From the house, Michael runs towards me with open arms as Peter casually walks towards me. Michael, as his short legs stagger through the grass, eventually reaches me and his short arms wrap around my leg. I pick him up and begin spinning him around in my arms as he giggles and his soft, brown hair flops on the top of his head. Peter, reaching his growth spurt, stands next to me as we make direct eye contact and nod at each other with slight grins on our faces in respect. I wrap my arms around my growing son then I look towards my wife. Finally, I grab her by the waist and pull her in against my body, and she brings her hand up to the left side of my face. Her green eyes are gazing into mine, and I lean in for my desiring lips to touch hers. I pull her into a hug, embracing the woman I love so dearly and kiss her on the cheek.

“Goodbye, I’ll see you in a few hours,” I tell her. I wave to my boys, and I swing my bow around my back and begin walking south towards the woods.

The leaves lightly crunch as my boots slowly take each step. Every now and then, I take sips of water from my canteen as I walk in between the trees with the beaming sun burning against my skin. I keep walking south towards the creek I’m familiar with which surrounds an area homing several types of animals nearby. Living around the mountains, the sounds of nature have become significantly distinct to my ear, and the chimes of birds singing and the wind rustling against the fragile leaves consumes me into deep focus.

Within the distance, my eyes narrow in light cream-colored antlers peaking through the green leaves of the trees. Hearing silent rustles of the leaves by its movement, I slyly move towards the deer, in an attempt to view the creature more distinctly.

Pulling my bow in front of me, I secure the grip between my left hand and bow on the nocking point of the string. I look back to the deer, standing on its four legs in clear shot, and I precisely line my aim just above the front legs, targeting the heart. I inhale deeply, and release my breath while my fingers let go of the drawn string. In perfect sight, my bow soars through the wind towards the deer.

In the midst of watching my bow, at the same time, a thunderous fire from the other side of the trees sound through the echoing land. Feeling a piercing, unbearable spike on the right of my stomach, I look down and I see the vibrant color leaking through my shirt. My hand reaches up and cups the agonizing pain, placing pressure on the wound to prevent myself from bleeding out, but I can feel the warm, chemical redness staining my palm and fingers.

As my knees fall weak, I find myself laying on top of the tall green grass, and as my vision begins to blur, I see light brown boots thumping towards me.

———

In the distance, I can hear a faint beeping by my left side, and a cold, thin sheet laying across my body. I feel a minuscule puncture on my lower right, and as my body begins to become conscious again, my eyes foggily open. Focusing my vision, I realize I’m lying on a hospital bed with clear tubes linking to my body.

I throw the sheet off and toss my legs to the right side of my bed. Trying to sit my body up, my body winces from the excruciating wound, and as I land my weight upon my feet by standing, my strength fails me and I collapse to the cold, hospital floor.

As I reach for my bed in an attempt to get myself up, a nurse in her blue uniform runs towards me and aids me back into the bed. As she helps me lie down, I gaze at her blonde, shaggy, shoulder-length cut. Her front bangs are tucked in behind her left ear, revealing the little diamond duds that compliment her viridescent eyes. Her warm hands grasping my lower back as I lean back onto my pillow brings comfort. Yet I wince in pain as she moves my legs to lay flat with the rest of my body. After being in place, she throws the cold white sheet, and her matte, vibrant red lips smile at me, distracting me from being able to catch her name tag before she walks out the door of my room.

The faint beeping from my monitor continues to obnoxiously annoy my ears. I assume the pain medicine I’ve been given is starting to wear off, leaving me in question as to how long I’ve been lying on this hospital bed, nonetheless how I ended up here. I roll over to increase the amount of narcotics, but the sharp wound continues to slice through my entire body.

Reminiscing to my last memory, I only recall a pastel shade of brown boots jogging towards me as I vulnerably lie amongst the leaves and dirt by my feet. I don’t remember hearing voices, and as far as I know, there was one pair of feet running towards me before I blacked out.

A man in a white lab coat draped over his peeking collared shirt and tie walks through the door with his clipboard in hand. Growing up, I learned that doctors were people who thought they were at the top of the social pyramid, like they’re the saviors of the world.

“Good evening, Mr. Watkins.” He nods in acknowledgement. “I am Dr. Marx.”

I grimace at him.

“I see that you’re in a bit of pain, so I will have a nurse come in and assist you with that. I heard you tried getting out of bed a few minutes ago, am I mistaken?” His eyebrows raise at me in interrogation. He clearly knows the answer to that question himself. I roll my eyes, and attempt to shift my body, signing that I don’t care, but every nerve shocks in pain.

“Sir, I will ask you to not try to move much, including getting out of bed because you need to rest. A man accidentally shot you as you were hunting with your bow. I suppose he was taking the easy way, which doesn’t sound much of a manly way to do it,” he snides as if I’m supposed to be amused by the fact a halfwit used a gun on a deer and evidently missed.

I glare at him repulsively, and look away to the opposite direction of the room. Dr. Marx stands there for a few seconds and taps his pen against his clipboard, and finally says, “Okay, sir. If you need anything, just press the button on the remote. I will send in a nurse for the pain.” He turns around and walks out the door.

It didn’t take long for the red lipstick, blonde nurse to come in and adjust the machine next to my bed. Her dainty fingers fidget with the tools and tubes with such security and confidence. She walks out the door and back in after a few seconds with a square and rectangular envelope. Handing me both, she looks at me with her green eyes, “This is for you. It came from the man who brought you here to help you out. He said he had to leave and get back to his family.”

As soon as she walks out the door, I open the square envelope and take out a folded piece of paper.

Dear Watkins,

I sincerely apologize for my ignorant, foolish mistake leaving you in the hospital.

My family decided to take a vacation and we recently ended up moving into the mountains for a new lifestyle. However, as I was out in search of food for my wife and kids, with my lack of knowledge to hunting, I caused a tribulation to your health.

In fear, I ran towards you and aided you in search of a hospital.

I am sorry for not being there with you right now, but I needed to return to my family without worrying them.

I explained to the doctors and nurses the situation, and I confirmed that I will be paying for the costs. In the second envelope, I have included $60,000 in hopes it covers the damages.

Again, I profoundly apologize for the misfortune I have caused you.

God be with ye.

I notice the paper was not signed. Laying the folded paper onto my lap, my fragile fingers open the rectangular envelope, shuffling through hundred dollar bills thick enough to account for sixty grand.

Appalled, I eyeball the wads of cash casually handed to me as an apology to his mistakes. If he can immediately pay for my injuries, it’ll be fine with me. With the sixty grand, it probably covers more than enough for my bills and it can potentially cover the food I would not be able to hunt for. With satisfaction, I tuck away the envelopes into my pockets, aching at every movement I make.

I lay on my bed, and my vision begins to cloud over, forming the hospital lights into streaks rather than clear bulbs shining through. Yawning, my eyelids feel heavy and start to weigh down shut. In only a few seconds, I fall asleep, letting the narcotics take the pain away and put me into a restful sleep.

———

Waking up, I see the thin, white sheet that was laying across my body was replaced by a cleaner one – one that doesn’t reek with mixed blood and topical treatments absorbed by my bandages.

My stomach begins to grumble, hungry for food, so I prop myself up. Reaching over to side of my bed for the button to call the nurse, I notice small scars on my left arm at the inside of my elbow. A few minuscule dotted scars, but one in the center the appears a bit larger than the others, as if a needle has poked me in that area more than once.

Right as I’m about to push the nurse call button, the blonde nurse walks in. Instead of her blue scrubs, she’s wearing a white uniform of purity and innocence. Her red, matte lips gleam at me as they begin to speak, “Good evening. I was wondering when you’d wake up.”

I stare at her while feeling my stomach growl at me. “I’m hungry. Would you please bring me food?” I ask.

She smiles and nods, not taking away eye contact from me. Walking out of my room, I see her hips move from side to side in her tight uniform. In those few seconds, all my attention drew into her, extirpating any emotion of pain.

I fix myself so I’m sitting straight up, and the wound on my side does not feel like it exists anymore.

Blondie walks in with a tray in both her hands and sets it up on the mobile table by my bed. I stare at the piece of ham underneath a pool of gravy siding next to a scoop of mashed potatoes and peas. It’s not Thanksgiving, but I’m not complaining. Whatever will silence the hungry monster inside me is okay.

While I vacuum the food off my plate, Blondie flips through my chart and makes eye contact with me once again. “It looks like you’re well rested, which is excellent. I was instructed to keep sending you some sedatives to keep you in bed and rest. The doctor didn’t want you trying to get up again.” Her matte lips grin at me. She shuts my file, looks at me once again, and turns to the door.

After I finish eating, the need to get off my lazy ass surges through me. Even though the doctor practically forbids me from crawling out of bed, I need to stretch or do something. The pain isn’t bothersome, so as I walk out my door and stroll through the hallway of the chilly hospital, it feels like seeing daylight for the first time. The stars glimmer through the windows and reflects off the white walls, bringing a new sense of life into the building.

All the other doctors and nurses seem too busy to pay attention to the fact a patient is walking through the halls, but I’m only searching for a bathroom or maybe even the cute Blondie I’d be so glad to spend an evening with in this dull place.

Striding through the halls and realizing my hopes with the Blondie, I remember my wife and kids at home – however far that is from here – and an immense emotion of guilt brings my fingertips warm. My pace down the hallways begins to slow down as my eagerness to find her halts me. Of course, it’d look socially obscure if I stopped suddenly and just turned back around, so i continue to walk down towards the main front desk, and ask if I can borrow the phone to contact my family. The woman at the desk was hesitant at first, but breaking through to her, she eventually allowed me.

I pick up the phone and start dialing. Within the first ring, the other end was picked up.

“Hello?” I hear my beloved wife’s voice.

“Daniella, it’s me. I’m-” She cuts me off with her high-pitched, daunting tone.

“Honey! Where have you been? I’ve been so worried, it’s been four days since you’ve left! What happened? Where are you?” Daniella’s beautiful voice, even though it’s disturbed and nervous, brings me back home, wanting to get back to my family and immerse my face into her soft her, holding her body close to mine. My fingers grapple around the telephone, yearning her touch.

“Daniella, I’m at the hospital. I don’t know what hospital, but I was shot by some bloody idiot when I was out hunting a deer. Apparently he brought me over after the incident and he’s paying for the bills.” I sigh out, grasping the phone in my tight hands.

“I can come pick you up tomorrow morning. What hospital are you at?”

Frantically glancing around, I seek for signs or logos then I look over the desk to the lady filing out papers. “Parkridge Hospital.”

“Okay, sweetie, I’ll be over there tomorrow morning. I need to see you.”

“All right, darling, I love you.”

“I love you too. By the way, what do you mean by ‘he’s paying for the bills’?”

“The lunatic who shot me left me a note and envelope with sixty grand in it.”

I hear her gasp, and her curiosity got the best of her. “How the hell did that happen? Did you get his name? Where is he from? So he’s the same man who shot you? What time should I get you tomorrow?”

“No, Daniella, I don’t know who the hell he is, and-” the woman at the desk aggressively yanks the phone away from my ears and our of my hands and slams it back down on the receiver.

“What the hell was that for?” I angrily yell.

She stands and leans back with her chin high, not caring, and points behind me. I turn around, and it’s the doctor with Blondie next to him.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Watkins, but you were specifically told to stay in bed.” He looks over at Blondie, and she nods her head in obedience. Her short hair moves with her in every motion taken. Dr. What’s-his-name continues, “She’ll assist you back to your room,” he looks over to her, “and after that, you level his oxycontin to guarantee he’s comfortable and not in pain, then you can go home and get off your shift.” He grins at her. She replies, “Yes, sir,” like the compliant girl she is – she’ll do anything that doctor tells her to.

She walks by my side down the hallways where all the nurses and doctors have mostly cleared out. The ticking clocks alarm two in the morning, and the vacant foyers consume of nothingness except for the echoing monitor beeps and the faint buzz illuminating from the vending machine down the hall. It seems as though night shifts are coherent to the workers, but it didn’t matter much since all the patients were asleep by now. Anything urgent happening would probably be covered by those still working.

To my right, Blondie seems to mind her own business, strolling by my side, cautiously making sure I don’t fall over to a seizure of pain. I notice her short hairs aren’t tucked behind her ear, falling loosely across her face. It’s obvious she’s been working hard throughout her shift: running monitors, aiding helpless ills, injecting whatever smartass chemical these people put into our bodies, and doing practically anything that’ll satisfy any of her patient’s needs. A good girl willing to do anything. God, help me. Unaware of her capability, nonetheless what she’s mindlessly doing to me, I’m staring at her, dismissing the fact I’m a hurt cripple still recovering. However, she glances back towards me and gleams her desiring, taunting lips at me. Her olive-colored eyes pierce through mine with such competence, and her hands slide down to my lower back, sending benevolent signals to every lustful chemical in my body.

We both reach my room, and she guides me into the uncomfortable, bulky hospital bed. The wound still remains, making me wince. She turns up the levels of the narcotics, and holds out my left arm. Picking up an injector from the tray, she tells me they’re doctors orders to help me recover a little faster. “Antibiotics,” she says. Injecting the needle into the inside middle of my arm, she stares into the procedure with such focus.

Putting away the materials back onto the tray and cleaning the area, she double-checks the settings for the machines attached to my body.

With Blondie’s eyes smiling at me, her scarlet lips verbalize, “Everything looks good,” she looks up at the clock, “my shift is over, finally. Good day, Mr. Watkins.” After spending much time observing her, watching her prance around with such mystique, all I wanted was to be with her, and as she was about to clock out of my room, I couldn’t let the perfect opportunity pass by. Her body turns to the door, and takes a step before I grab her waist from behind. Staring at her, my fingers started to inch from her waist to under her white uniform. Softly her skin lingers among my fingertips, and she leans forward for her gentle blonde hair to fall onto my cheeks, and her warm lips to finally reach mine. I lift the bottom of her uniform up her body as she climbs on top of me.

———

Instead of a new, fresh sheet I woke up to, I found the same one laying across me with several wrinkles from last night.

With Blondie, she made me feel more alive than I have in the last few years. Her short, shaggy hair moved with everything else that went along with her, and the way her red lips drew me in, my temptation and desire made me pink-faced. I can’t stay here. I can’t be around this woman, especially when I have a wife – a wife. Shit.

The clock on the wall in front of me points at 11:13am, and I notice the tray besides me holds a plate of cold eggs and a glass of orange juice. I  scarf down the setting breakfast and scramble out of my room.

Down the hall and to the right is the front desk, and as I turn the corner, I spot a beautiful woman with light brown wavy hair tied into a ponytail, also wearing jeans and a light pink top. I can recognize that ass anywhere.

“Daniella!” I yell out.

Already knowing the sound of my voice, she turns around immediately and runs towards me. Throwing her arms around my recovering body, her warmth and the smell of the oak trees in her hair engulfs me into paradise.

However, over her shoulder, I see Blondie with her arms crossed, leaning against the counter by the telephone with a red smirk shining on her face. Her hair has obviously been fixed up.

Flushed, my face feels heated and guilt overwhelms through my fingers as they’re still grasping my wife. Blondie walks away in the taunting way she does.

“Sweetie,” Daniella pulls away, her hands clinging onto my warm cheeks, “I asked the desk ladies about the envelopes you were given, and they took me up to the security cameras,” leaning in closer to me, lowering her voice, “‘Course I bribed ’em, but I had a look at the cameras and apparently no one left an envelope?” She states with a confusing tone. “And apparently none of the workers recall anyone leaving an envelope, and leaving cash for another person’s hospital bill never happens, so they would’ve remembered something about that.”

Dismissing her concern, “I’m just glad the bills are paid for. Can you check me out? I need to get out of this damn place.”

Daniella sighs with disappointment, “I’m sorry, hun, but they said you have to stay here until at least tomorrow. After that, you’ll have to rest at home as well. According to the doctor, you’re not completely recovered yet.” With a little snide, she continues, “Especially since you’ve been up, roaming around. You need to rest so you can come home,” she reassures me.

I nod at her, and she wraps her arms around my waist, “I need to get back home to the boys. I need to make them lunch. I’ll be back later tonight.” She kisses my lips, and walks towards the elevators.

———

Daniella stops by late at night, filling me in about the last few days and how she, Michael, and Peter have been managing to kill off rabbits and chickens for dinner. Then she tells me an amusing story where Michael was trying to herd the sheep with Peter, climbing on top of one to guide. Then the sheep he was on started to sprint, leaving Michael clinging onto its wool, screaming for help. My little Michael, with such innocence in him, saddens me to know he’ll one day grow up learning about what the manipulative world already has set up for him.

She leaves, and it wasn’t long until Blondie slipped in through my door before her shift ends.

She lightly frolics towards my bed and leaps on top of me, smacking her lips onto mine with such security and dominance. I pull away, and she cuts in before I can verbalize anything, “I already clocked out of my shift.” She pulls in once more. I repulse her off.

“Get out!” I viciously scream.

“Oh, c’mon! I see the way you eyeball me whenever I’m around. How your pulse increases and how your pupils dilate.” Her hips wriggle on top of mine.

“Stop! I have a wife!”

She scoffs, “That doesn’t matter, halfwit. You’re in this room, and you are mine.” She leans in.

I grasp the inside of her wrist, twisting her arm back, and bringing it behind her. “I’m going to say this one more time, and if you don’t stop, I’m pushing the service button.”

Ridiculing my threat, “Sweetie, that button doesn’t work. Why else would I be the only nurse to come assist you before you even ever pressed it?”

I yank her arm. She reacts in agony, but then she relaxes and snides at me, “You’re getting aggressive. I like that.”

“Stop it. Why does the button not work?” I tug her arm again. “Explain.”

“Because I wanted you.” So direct, so pugnacious.

“Get the fuck out of here.” My words grind through my sharp teeth ready to devour every last bit of her.

She leans back, snickering, “You wanted me last night. You wanted me so bad, you were too distracted by me that you were too blind to see that you’re here because of me.”

“What are you saying? I was hunting for m-“

Cutting me off, she mocks me with laughter, “You’re truly an idiot, aren’t you?” My face falls into confusion. “God damnit. I’m the one who shot you as you were pathetically shooting for that deer. I’m the one who brought you here. I’m the one who paid for you bills so your wife wouldn’t be running her impertinent little ass over here.”

I blankly stare at her, my nails digging deep into her wrist, leaving four indentations by penetrating into her fragile layers. She’s not phased.

She looks at me with such astute, still straddling over my body, “Remember the little injections I gave you?” She giggles. “They were high levels of testosterone with extra spices to kick start your desire. A little personal juice for you to me. I just happened to be the only appealing woman around.”

“You’re fucked up. I’m getting you fired,” I threaten.

“You’re not the first victim I’ve done this to, y’know.” Her fingers with with her other arm begin to fidget below my waist, but then I aggressively jerk the other arm back, matched with the other.

“I saw you, and I hunted you down. I prey on what I want, and I get what I want.”

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