David Dun Bestselling Thriller Author
The Novels Common Questions Facts Behind Fiction Coming Events Write Us Sign Up
International Thriller Writers Bestselling Thriller Writer David Dun
Next Page

To watch bees swarm, stand in the smoke.
– Tilok proverb  

–   C H A P T E R    I  –

A pair of spotted owls roosted in an old dead fir tree in a dense thicket of the forest. On this night, the owls hunted wood rats quietly. Sam, familiar with their ways, listened to their occasional calls and wingbeats above him until suddenly they began hooting with more vigor and coming down to the lower branches. Next they moved away, flitting from tree to tree and calling to each other. There was a certain recognizable pattern to these antics. The spotted owls had been fed live mice by so many biologists that they had developed an affinity for people. Their response to a creeping person was typically to come closer and and make a dinnertime call, looking for a mouse on a stick. It sounded very much as if Sam had human visitors. If so, they were moving away from him, and that was not what Sam expected.

Sam clicked his radio and Paul clicked back. The wind moved through the trees, rustling stiff yellowed leaves. Clouds blew past, alternately veiling and unveiling a gibbous moon. On the forest floor it remained black. Grandfather had taught Sam to look from the corner of his eyes for improved night vision, as well as to “see” with his other senses. Despite Sam’s efforts, only the owls had announced the visitors.

Grandfather had taught him as well as he could. On Sam’s first night in the forest with Grandfather some twenty years ago, he had grown impatient after a minute or two. Now, after two decades of sporadic practice, Sam could remain still and alert for many hours.

To show Sam how to make himself a part of the forest, Grandfather had told him a story. A friend had kept a blind horse. It lacked even eyeballs, hide covering the eye sockets. When a man approached its paddock with an apple, the old horse could easily find the hand that held the fruit. In fact, the horse acted much like a horse with vision. The average person, looking from a distance, would never know the horse couldn’t see. Grandfather told Sam never to allow anyone to suggest he couldn’t see, even on the darkest night. To this day Sam resisted the temptation to fall back on the obvious and wear his night vision goggles without interruption. Instead, he used them at regular intervals, and the rest of the time he spent straining to discern.

Sam lay in a grove of Douglas fir near an ancient incense cedar, most of his body tucked inside a hollow pine log and covered in a down sleeping bag that kept the late-October cold and damp at bay. He breathed in the mold smell of the forest and the odor of old fire, and this night the musk of a distant skunk.

Next Page

Links SiteMap rj-studio Graphic Design in New York