As I stepped from my car, Chunk following on my heels, the scream of a red hawk broke the silence around my cabin. We watched as the hawk launched itself airborne, its powerful legs thrusting it to a great height, his cry a warning of danger close.
Predators recognize predators.
The warning cry faded as the hawk’s wings propelled it into the black-clouded firmament. Me and Chunk walked down to my rose bed. Last year’s plants have borne forth full-bodied roses. I picked the dead blooms from each tender plant.
Another cry filled the silent air. The hawk was back, still warning the inhabitants of the trees that a predator was on the prowl. I knew it for a warning because predators don’t warn when striking.
On the hunt, silence is your friend. Each miniscule movement draws the hunter closer to the prey. I plucked the dead blooms off and tossed them to the ground. Years have passed since I hunted prey. Unlike the predator watching me from its perch at the top of the oak, my days of hunting are over.
I don’t trap, hunt or fish. I’ve done enough to last a lifetime. My time in the military sated my bloodlust.
There was time when I was overcome with a murderous spirit. A time I sought vengeance for people who could not visit it upon those who killed them. Now, I’m not so sure the victims would’ve wanted us to do the things we’ve done.
I bear the scars of my pride and arrogance.
No one forced me to fight. I chose to be a vessel of violence, an avenging angel who vowed to make the guilty pay, regardless of the cost to the innocent people that was caught in the crossfire.
Looking back, I see why we did not warn the innocent. It’d scare off the predators we hunted. Instead, we decided the results we would achieve, diminished the cost of our actions.
We were wrong.