Shrouded in grime and hunkered behind a fallen tree trunk, he waited for his elusive foe to emerge from the depths of the dense forest. It was going on three hours of surveillance in the darkness, and the creepy pests and critter eye shine was beginning to spook him.
Each time he heard rustling, his pulse quickened. Still, nothing promising emerged.
He swatted another mosquito sucking on his bare neck, hoping it only sounded deafening to his ears. He didn’t want to give himself away, but maintaining his position was getting difficult. His legs were cramping. His fingers felt numb.
At least he had a full moon to provide filtered light through the trees. His night vision binoculars did the rest. He scanned the area and caught movement in the brush. It moved closer. He held his breath as it poked its way into his line of sight. A porcupine.
“Damn!,” he exclaimed aloud.
He was so sure it was the one. He had been searching for the Hodag for 10 years. In silhouette, through the binoculars, the porcupine had the same low-slung body with spikes on its arched back. He should have known tonight wasn’t his night. The Hodag wasn’t ready to reveal itself. Maybe he was just chasing an end-of-the-rainbow hoax.
He was too frustrated. Too exhausted. He packed up his gear and headed out of the forest.
The hike took fifteen minutes. Inside his truck, he flipped the heat on high and sighed in relief of the dry warmth.
As he drove away, disappointed again, a furry creature stepped into the center of the dirt road. Its bloody fangs glistened in the moonlight, a porcupine dangled from its jaws. Its horned head and back gave it the look of a prehistoric beast. It watched until the truck’s taillights faded into the dusty tree line, then skulked off to finish its dinner.
This has been another Trifecta writing challenge. This week we were tasked with using the third definition of the word:
3 [from the impossibility of reaching the rainbow, at whose foot a pot of gold is said to be buried] : an illusory goal or hope
I hope you enjoyed my fictional tale of the Hodag beast from the deep woods and the man who hunts it. The Hodag is said to be a terrifying, horned, four-legged varmint that stalks the woods, caves and hillsides near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. A stegosaurian-like creature, its only weakness, its kryptonite, is citrus fruits. You can read about the Hodag and other hair-raising monsters in a book called Fearsome Critters written by Henry H. Tyron in 1939. The stories are quite entertaining.