The Hunt

Love is primal, fiercely protective. She understands that. Why doesn’t he?

Listening with a keen ear, she stands on rocky ledge, exhausted but alert. Will he find them? Her little ones are quiet now. Appetites sated, they sleep so sweetly. Their limbs tangled together, lying so close to each other. A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills, illuminating the only path he can take to reach them now. Bramble burs prickle her scalp, tangled in her hair. Days on the run, she is more than disheveled. His bullet only grazed her, but the wound is beginning to fester. He will still want her. Will he continue the hunt? He covets her little ones. Their young fox pelts will bring a good sum. She hopes this new den will escape his site and he will turn to other prey.


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today I am hosting PROSERY MONDAY.

The prompt is to include either the line “a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills” OR the line “moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops” in a piece of prose (not poetry) that is 144 words or less.  The two lines are from Carl Sandburg’s poem JAZZ FANTASIA – you’ll find his full poem here

PROSERY: inclusion of a particular line (word for word) from a poem, in a piece of prose – can be flash fiction, memoir, or nonfiction. A form unique to dVerse where we usually write poetry! The PROSE must be 144 words or less.  

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40 thoughts on “The Hunt

  1. msjadeli July 20, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    We humans have been feeling so sorry for ourselves with Covid-19, but when I read this our woes are nothing compared to theirs. I hope she gets over the infection and the hunter does not find her and her sweet babies.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kim881 July 20, 2020 / 3:24 pm

    We’re on a similar wavelength again, Lill! We’ve both written about hunting, but from different perspectives. I feel for the vixen in your story, and love the way you’ve described her as caring, trying to look after her cubs, with bramble burs prickling her scalp, fur tangled and disheveled – not dissimilar to a human mother. I want them to stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian July 20, 2020 / 3:29 pm

      Ah Kim….we are so often sympatico! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this. Your post reminded me of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear. I read it so long ago…I think there were two more after it. This first one was the best. If you’ve not read it, give it a look! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol J Forrester July 20, 2020 / 3:50 pm

    Wonderfully written Lillian. Great use of the duality of sight at the end as well, both the sight of the hunter and the gun sight of a rifle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 20, 2020 / 4:51 pm

      Thank you, Carol. Glad you enjoyed!


  4. Glenn A. Buttkus July 20, 2020 / 4:08 pm

    An excellent use of the prompt phrase, Lil. As in all good prose, you leave us pining for the back story, projecting between the lies. I read the first few lines as the protagonist being a human mother;. nice twist and message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 20, 2020 / 4:52 pm

      Ah yes…..tried to make it seem as a human until the end. Glad you enjoyed the twist.


  5. Gillena Cox July 20, 2020 / 4:17 pm

    Luv this mystery, adore the shift to reveal the fox. The bullet wound kind of surprised me a bit until the shift

    Happy Monday

    much love…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 20, 2020 / 4:53 pm

      Glad you enjoyed. I tried to not reveal that the “person” hiding was a fox until the end.


  6. rothpoetry July 20, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    Love the suspense in your story. I liked that you waited till the end to tells us it was a fox. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beverly Crawford July 20, 2020 / 5:11 pm

    We’re all left full of hope she’s escaped and kept her kits safe. You made the journey come alive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 11:37 am

      So glad you enjoyed, Beverly! Thank you.


  8. Lucy July 20, 2020 / 7:57 pm

    Very well written and heartbreaking. You transitioned the twist nicely that it has the reader read it back again to look for context clues preceding it. Great work here. I enjoyed reading this prose piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 11:39 am

      Thank you, Lucy. It was an interesting one to write because, as you did, I went backwards to edit to avoid giving away too many clues until the end. Actually though….so glad it was a fox being chased like this, instead of a human. And I’ll tell you the ending, even though it goes beyond 144 words. They end up safe and the hunter does take a different trail! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. calmkate July 20, 2020 / 11:42 pm

    graphic insight into the quandary of the hunted
    … this should be posted in all the hunting magazines

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 11:41 am

      Oooooh…..well I didn’t mean it exactly that way. I myself would have a VERY hard time hunting. But I have a nephew in our family who is a hunter….a safe hunter and one who only hunts to feed his family. I also had a high school student years and years ago who hunted to put food on the table as his family was near the throes of poverty. So that kind of hunting, I do not mind. But….I don’t think people hunt foxes as food? I may be wrong…but I think they are only hunted for their pelts? As in fur stoles. That I do not like and so agree that we can do without. So that’s why I used a mother fox in the story. 🙂 BUT I do appreciate what you’ve said….it tells me I made my point and that was to have people FEEL with the mother fox. 🙂 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • calmkate July 21, 2020 / 5:25 pm

        Yes you painted her fear so well it might make those who hunt for pelts/sport rethink … those that hunt for food is very different.


  10. alifelesslived July 21, 2020 / 8:18 am

    the cruelty of humans knows no limits – poor little babies I hope they are hidden well away from him

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 11:43 am

      I’ll tell you the ending (which is beyond the 144 words). The hunter gives up and goes home. Love wins and the foxes live and prosper! 🙂


  11. Mary (tqhousecat) July 21, 2020 / 9:45 am

    Oh, I love your exploration of the mind of the hunted. Truly, a mother’s love and survival are instinct in all species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 11:47 am

      Exactly! Amen to that! 🙂 I think of the walks we’ve been taking in these Covid days. We don’t own a car so are limited to a walking perimeter around our Boston high rise condo. As far as our feet and stamina can take us. We especially have enjoyed walking along the Charles River this spring….watching mama geese sitting on their nests….then hatching goslings….then little little fluffy goslings stumbling trying to walk…then swimming behind mama and papa….and now they are what I’d call gawky teenagers with long long legs and fur changing colors. So interesting to watch the progression. When mamas were on their nests, the papas would be very close by…..and if we came near, stand up tall and hiss. Now, even having a brood of gawky goslings, the mama and the papa will stand tall and stare at you if you come too close, and hiss. So yes…it is definitely an innate instinct to them as well as foxes and humans! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.


  12. Dale July 21, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    This was fantastic, Lillian. A mother’s love for her young is the same all species over, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. poetrybydebi July 21, 2020 / 3:41 pm

    Loved this Lillian. When I was a kid we went on a class trip to the movies to see “Lobo” if I remember the title correctly. It was about a mama wolf and your poem brought it back to me. I don’t understand hunting for pleasure as in fox hunts or even for their fur. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 21, 2020 / 7:15 pm

      I can understand hunting to put food on the table. But hunting for pelts for furs? Nope.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Frank J. Tassone July 22, 2020 / 9:34 am

    Wow! The beginning gave me th impression that an abused spouse/domestic partner was fleeing her abuser with her kids. The progression of your story, and the twist at the end, both suprised and made sense to me. Well done!


  15. Irma July 25, 2020 / 9:16 pm

    Hello Lillian – as a mom, this really touched my heart! The protective nature of a mother is the same no matter the species. Loved how you used the prompt in this bit of prose!


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