Nu Canaan / Chapter 1: A Mighty Hunter Read Count : 26

Category : Books-Fiction

Sub Category : Science Fiction
The light of the moon glowed upon the hills of Golan. A lone shepard kept watch over the flock, finding company with the constellations and their mystery. There was solace in the peace of the night, silence only breaking with the stir of the grass and the seldom baaing of sheep. Hadad rested in the grove, his hands cradling his head, kept only awake from the smoke pillowing through his throat and out of his nose, the burn of the cigarette eased by the swallow of ale. There was frost growing upon the tips of the field, but he was warm enough by a small fire and clothed in a wool coat. He thought of God and fate as he was confronted by the majesty of the heavens.
”Tell me father, when you created the heavens did you know man would gaze upon it with longing? Did you know the silence of the night would damn me, forever desiring my fleeting soul?  If I reach into the river of the stars, will I once again be whole,” Hadad halted his prayer to the sound of falling rocks.
The sound came from the outcrop. He sat up right, and reached for his double barrel. His eyes scanned above its crag, to see a great beast stand upon its peak, its eyes reflecting the moon. Hadad stood with his staff, from its hook a kerosene lamp. He walked forward with no fear, for he had steel and flame to face the night. Approaching the slope, he extinguished the flame of his lamp and rested his staff upon a rock. The face of the peak had a steep path of rubble. He ascended with his gun raise. His climb was guided by the moon hanging above horns of stone.
Hadad halted, mere feet from the top, to the sound of heavy breathing and the power of a hoof preparing for charge. He peaked, barrel first, meeting eyes with a mighty Ram, its horns and black eyes level at his chest. Hadad backed up, lowering his shotgun and putting his hand out.
“Easy friend, I would not open fire on you even if my life was at risk. You are much to regal to die at the hands of a mere man.” he laughed, easing slowly to the ground.
The ram, huffed and turned his head away, gazing one last time upon Hadad before it walked into the darkness of the outcrop. Filled with wonder, he began to follow behind the Ram, it was not often he saw something so grande on watch.
The sheep began to rustle, their baa’s echoing through the hills. Hadad turned around, and looked across the fields. His flock was awake in the heart of the night, there was an uneasiness in the air. He looked behind for the Ram, but it was gone. His hair stood up as the quiet was broken by the cackle of Hyenas.
“Fuck.” slipped out from his tongue, as he began to descend the hill as quickly as possible without a fatale slip.
Under the moon, he could see the pack sprinting through tall grass surrounding the flock. There was four to maybe seven of the wild dogs, he could tell from the calls, and rustling of the grass. His small group of sheep would be slaughtered in a matter of minutes. Hadad, halfway down the slow, attempted to slide the rest of the way down, hitting a large stone, and tumbling to the bottom. Bruised and short of breath, he slung his double barrel behind his back, and retrieved his staff, igniting the lamp. The sheep cried, he shivered running toward the sound of their slaughter.
Hadad finished off his ale for courage as he approached the onslaught. He found the end of  the tall grass, his heart stopped to the sight of a Hyena wriggling a lamb by its neck. Using its paw to press it to the dirt and it’s teeth to rip out the throat, it straightened up swallowing flesh, meeting eyes with the young shepard. The Hyena laughed, blood dripping down it’s jaw, Hadad lunged with his staff. His soul left, as the beast stood steady awaiting in hunger. It plunged at him when he approached, but with quick feet work he twisted into a fighting stance, the swing of his staff breaking upon the creatures skull. Before it had time to recover he was upon it, his shears gouging it’s throat. All was silent, but the pounding of adrenaline coursing through his body. He gazed down, for a moment, but a snap of twig brought his mind back to the fight. The rest would be upon him in a matter of seconds. Hadad stood, and awaited the arriving pack. The silence meant the flock was dead, and he would be next. 
He pressed his back to a rock jutting out of the dirt, the tall grass encircled him. His small fire lit the grove. Hadad took the lamp from his staff in one hand, and with the other slinging the iron from from his back. They began to surround him. Hadad threw his lamp into the grass, setting flame to the field. Their their screams echoed through the hills. He dove for his bag, near the campfire stuffing slugs into his jacket pockets and fastening a bayonet to his barrel. Turning to see a hyena pounce, he gored it with his blade, and dodged the fall of its weight, stabbing it twice more as it attempted to get up. Another charged out from burning brush, embers falling off it’s back. Hadad fire his first, grazing it’s hind leg. With a slight limp it was slowed, but still ran undeterred, he fired his second, bringing the beast to the ground.
 Beginning to reload, his leg was pulled out from under him, teeth ripping through his skin. His head burst with pain as it dropped to the ground. Hadad was being pulled, the hyena thrashing his body, popping his shin. It let him go, giggling. He hoisted his body around, his swollen leg raging from the movement. Blood and slobber dropped upon his face, the monster grinning above him, before it devoured its prey. Before it’s teeth could snap, he stabbed his shears into the side of its neck. They hyena fell beside him. He stared upon the heavens, knowing he would soon join the stars.
Hadad pulled back his good leg, and used his opposite arm to sit up, he gazed to see three more approaching, the largest was chard from the flame it’s raging eyes meeting his own. The other two waited, as their master hulked toward his meal. It was the closest thing to a demon he had ever laid eyes on. He laughed, at least he would meet his death to nothing less than a devil. His village often warned him of the dangers of going too far south, for the beasts of Shaqq al’Diba, the cleft of the zevoa, venture deep north unto the hills, for uncontended prey. Hadad was reasonably north, the shepherd boy never imagined he would ever come upon them. 

What a cruel fate.

Before his vision could fade, he saw a tiny  circle of light reflect the moon from the outcrop. A blast echoed through the grove, the king of al’Diba’s brains blew through his skull, his great body plummeting to the dirt. Hadad’s ears rang, he wanted to sleep. The hyena’s were picked off within seconds. On his back, facing the stars, the sky never looked so beautiful. He took one last look before oblivion. 
He awoke to the pain running up his leg as it popped back into place, he was being bandaged by a hooded figure. They were on the peak of the outcrop, the stranger was making great pace, finishing with the wounded leg, and immediately injecting his kneecap with a syringe. 
“Fuck!” Hadad roared, “Could you not have waited until I was at least awake?”
“We gotta go,” the stranger replied, “you live here, you know how to get to Rujm el-Hiri, yes?”  
“Are you fucking crazy? My leg is torn to shit, and you want me to take you?” Hadad spits, and reaches into his bag laid beside him.
“Well, yes.” the figure grins, dropping his hood.
“Hell no,” Hadad says, before taking a swig from a flask.
“You’re leg will be without pain in a few moments, it will only last a few hours, but I have an additional for the journey back to your village. We have to go now or we won’t make it in time, I need you to take me, you killed precious time. I saved your life.” The stranger says, reaching out his hand.”
“You’re fucking crazy… it’s the middle of the night. I literally just lost my livelihood, I’ll probably lose my leg, and you want me to take you to Wheel of fucking Giants at this god forsaken hour.” Hadad shakes his head, and lights a cigarette.
“You owe me your life.  I will triple your previous flock. Glory awaits at Rujm. Fate has brought us together. Come with me, and I will make you tower above men.” The stranger reaches his hand closer.
Hadad takes his hand, and the young man hoists him to his feet, his leg now numb.
“Who are you?” Hadad says, staring into the figures ready eyes.
“A mighty hunter,” The stranger replies.
“Okay, a mighty hunter, what the fuck is your name?” Hadad shakes his head.
“I am Ashur.” he says with a grin.
“Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” a lamb cries, running out from behind Ashur toward its caretaker.
Hadad takes the lamb into his arms, as Ashur steps to the side a look behind him. A hyena laid dead on the stone, it’s skull shattered by the great Ram lying beside it, bleeding out under the light of the moon.

“I wonder if he died a savior-” Ashur says, looking upon the Lamb. 
“or if he merely couldnt resist the fight.” he finishes, grabs his carbine resting on the horn of the peak. 
“Get your shit, it’s time to move.” Ashur says, putting a bullet between the Rams eyes.

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