Wet heather brushed his chin and drenched his pants, while his lungs filled with the heady scent of earth and musty, damp tweed. He felt more like a predator than ever before, his heart pumping with the mounting adrenaline of the chase.
“It’s your shot, lad.”
Andy wriggled closer. Next moment, the smooth wooden stock of the rifle was in his hands. He lifted his head and felt sweat collecting in the space between his eyebrows and the peak of his cap.
He put his eye to the scope. The stag, sleek and majestic, was in beautiful condition—but he could see the reason Hector had singled it out. A limp was clear as it took a few paces forward to reach a juicy clump of heather.
His breath eased in as the cross-hairs came halfway up its chest and just behind its shoulder. He watched it for a moment, enveloped in deep quiet as time itself seemed to wait for the shot. He clicked the safety off, and found the trigger with his index finger.
The stag raised its head, ears pricked, nose high, its senses on full alert . . .
© C. R. Hedgcock
Note: Hunting can be a controversial subject. In Scotland, deer populations have no natural predators and need human regulation in order to maintain healthy herds and habitat.