The Hunter snippet.
The Hunter. Teaser/snippet/something or other. Keep in mind, it’s not edited- like at all! I’m feeling charitable. I was going over Cortez Abernathy’s book’s drafts. One that I already axed was over 20,000 words & I’ll try to incorporate some of it somehow. This was the prologue of the newest version, but I’ve already changed my mind on how I am going to write this book. Now Cortez will give a glimpse of the past thru passages of his newest book, The Hunter, a Cortez Abernathy memoir. The following will be in the book, but slightly changed. Have a read!
“Wait up!” I shout at Ez’s retreating back.
This summer, Ezra is obsessed with hide and seek. We take turns seeking each other. Once caught, we go back to the center of the lawn, and begin again. He makes us do this from dusk ‘til dawn. I just want to hang around the pool with Divina and Aaron, reading books and listening to music. But Ezra stares me down and says, no, do as I say.
In the past month, we’ve expanded our game to almost a hundred square acres. Now we use compasses, and we’re working up to the seven-hundred acres surrounding ShadowHaven. Ezra expects it by the time school starts. I learned forever ago, just give Ez what he wants.
We play The Hunter, as Ez likes to call it, and he won’t tell me why. He just mumbles, it’s what you do, isn’t it? You hunt your prey, don’t you? I try to tell him that I meant: why do we play it, not why is it called The Hunter? But he always ignores me.
I can tell he’s holding something back. He knows something I don’t. I asked my mom about it because Ezra is getting obsessed… she didn’t say anything, and she didn’t need to. Her petrified expression said it all. Now I wish I hadn’t said anything, because Mom and Diane keep looking at us like we’re going to turn into freaks or some shit. The little brat, Aaron, tattles on us every time we do something that they think is nature versus nurture– whatever the hell that means.
An old dude keeps coming around and trying to chat us up. After several times, I figured out that he was a headcase quack. He’s stopped talking to me. But four times a week, Ez and the Doc lock themselves in our bedroom for two hours at a clip. Ezra threw a temper tantrum, so now he only comes after dark. Doctor Weiss was cutting into The Hunter time.
It’s days like today that I get jealous. Ez is only a month older than me, but he’s huge. Ezra is all long arms and legs, which eat up the distance of our hunt. It takes me twice as long to do our route. He hated it when I called him lollypop, but it’s not true anymore. All this hunting has beefed him up. I try not to notice, but it’s impossible with him constantly strutting around naked. It’s like he wants me to see that he’s manlier than me. Divina has seen all of him, too. Ezra just laughs and looks you in the eyes- pervert.
He’s a good four inches taller than me. After twelve years of being identical in all ways, I’m pissed. I still look like a kid and Ez is running around with hair on his body. I try not to compare us, but it’s difficult not to when everyone else does. We get a lot of sidelong looks and people calling us twins. I don’t know why, but it annoys Ezra so much that he gets confrontational. I’ve never told him that it hurts my feelings when he goes on the attack. Our lives have always been parallel: no fathers, raised as brothers by our single mothers, we even look alike. Why would he be ashamed to be my brother? I guess he just doesn’t like my skin color. He teases me about being half Hispanic all the time. I’m too tan for his white, rich world.
“Don’t be a twit,” Ez taunts, running backwards on his muscular legs- show off. “You’ll never catch me.” Ez whips around and lopes off into the woods, sinister laugh fading in his wake.
“You’ll regret making me chase you,” I shout. “Someday, you’ll be the one eating my dust!” Ez’s answer is his creepy laugh. After a heartbeat of hurt because he left me behind, I go after him.
Pumping my arms as legs as fast as I can go, digging the treads of my sneakers into the ground, I try to gain on him. I slow to yank off my t-shirt and swab my face dry. It’s so humid you can practically see the moisture in the air. It’s ninety-three degrees today with the sun directly overhead. The canopy of the woods isn’t offering any relief. It’s just moist, hot, and buggy.
I’d rather be in the pool, casting looks at Divina’s bikini top. Ez would throw a fit, though. Last week he beat me for looking at her titties. I told him she wasn’t my cousin, so I can look all I want. I ended up with a black eye and Ezra had Dr. Weiss for extra sessions.
One advantage of being shorter, the limbs aren’t whipping me in the face. Ez keeps cursing every time he gets lashed. I snicker as he calls a spruce a cocksucker.
“You can’t hide if you keep bitching at inanimate objects,” I sing. “Defeats the purpose of hide and seek.”
“So does chasing me, dumbass,” he shouts at me from somewhere deep in the woods. “The whole point is learning to track… which you suck at.”
“If you’d shut up, I’d look for you. You might as well throw up a flare, since your chatty ass won’t zip it.” Truthfully, every time I’ve found him was because he was bitching at himself or a tree, sometimes a leaf or a bug. He’s silent in the woods. His feet barely touch the ground. He stalks like a perfect predator. I never even hear him breathe. It’s these random outbursts that betray his position- without fail. I know he’s not… right in the head. He’s just Ez.