Part 7

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For reasons that were yet well beyond her understanding, spirits of the forest appeared to have abandoned her ever since she'd found the old house in the woods behind her.

Running-Deer slowed to a stop as she reconsidered her options once again.

Subtle touch of growing unease had given clear warning that something was very wrong, although her quarry's current path seemed to tell her otherwise.

Before she pressed on she tried to shake the bad feeling and everything that went along with it; something Crazy-Bear had often spoken of as tracking sickness, while Poe chose to refer to it as more of a tunnel like vision than anything else.

From what he'd tried to explain on several occasions, if someone were to focus on the small details for far too long, the woods around them would often close in to obscure most everything else along the way; but why such vision of a forest through the trees was to be considered as bad as he'd made it out to be, she was not entirely sure.

Yet another of the white man's sayings that Poe often used that made absolutely no sense to her.

She crouched low and closed her eyes which allowed her to fully focus on just her body, her heart, her weapons and what she could hear around her.

Soon enough, she heard the gentle whispers of the spirits as the forest around her spoke through them and she moved on once again before she completely lost track of her prey.

With any luck, such distraction that had seemingly plagued her from the start would now be gone.

Various track marks and other sign of her quarry's passing showed that he'd moved fast, pushed by either fear or illness from his wounds. It would not be long before he collapsed from certain exhaustion and she could bring him back to town for his crimes.

Or what remained of his body should he choose to resist in any way.

As she climbed to the top of a ridge she began to smell it; the faint yet unmistakable odor of freshly pulled entrails and spilled bowel that only grew stronger as she approached, which meant that her prey may not as far ahead as she'd feared.

Had he fallen? Or worse, crazed and weak from his wounds, had he charged on blindly only to become impaled upon a branch or something else that he may have fallen against in passing?

Such justice from the spirits would not be swift and would bring terrible pain along with it as he suffered their wrath.

Filled with sudden unease once again, she crept forward in search of what might yet remain of her prey.

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