Dominique already regretted rushing in. The swamp or marsh or bog or whatever the hell it was offered no respite. It sucked. They got stuck, and had much up to their chest from wading through a section they thought was solid ground. But everything about the place was something else entirely.
Their crossbow searched for a target as it pushed through the reeds. Dominique’s finger lay alongside the trigger guard, ever cautious of how tricking the footing was when they couldn’t actually see what was below the surface. One slip and they’d be beneath the water or face down in the mud. If that happened then they could just as easily shoot themself. Then where’d they be.
For all their training, all the chases and hunts Dominique had been on they couldn’t for the life of them remember any that took them to a locale like this. City streets and dank warehouses were one thing. Mountain ridges and desert wadis another. But this place, this combination of land so soaked in water that the entire place was called a mire just plain sucked.
The mud was everywhere. And there was no way to move silently. Either Dominique was pushing through the grass or past branches, or ripping their boots out of the muck. Everything they did made a noise. Yet their quarry somehow avoided them.
The animals, and there were a lot of them, immediately gave away Dominique’s position. The squaking, croaking, clacking, honking, hollering, fluttering and flying were so incessant that Dominique considered launching a few bolts to at least catch dinner if nothing else. Duck would be nice, if it weren’t infested.
A thought came to Dominique, why were the animals only now reacting. Most scattered as they approached. Shouldn’t they have done so when their quarry went past. There was nothing in the dossier to say this particular target had any training that would put them at an advantage over Dominique. And yet here they were, Dominique up to their nipples in the mire and the target nowhere to be seen or sighted.
The target must have doubled back or simply stopped moving. Dominique could have walked or waded right past them and never know given how much noise they were putting out. It would have been easy Dominique thought. They had just splashed along like it was a chase down some alley, not slipped into the water like a croc on the hunt.
That left a single question in Dominique’s mind - were they now being hunted.
Today’s art is courtesy of Alex Figini from Edmonton, Canada.