Book Brian's Hunt

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They talked to Brian separately from Susan and asked him details he was glad she didnt hear and when it was done they stood by the cabin. You have relatives to stay with? the Mountie asked Susan. She nodded. An aunt and uncle in Winnipeg . Well fly you there, he said.more...

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She had to be somewhere south on the lake, trying to work north, trying to get back. He started jogging back, the dog keeping close to his side. Evening was coming and part of him knew that he should bury Anne and David but he knew it would have to wait. They had to find Susan. Find out what happened to the children. Before the bear.                                      They found her just before dark. He and the dog had been walking the shoreline, scanning the edge of the water and peering out toward the center of the lake as they kept a wary eye on the edge of the woods. She was four miles down the lake, on the east shore, dragging the canoe along the shallows on the lake edge so she could jump in and push out if she saw the bear. He saw Susan long before she saw him because he was watching the dog and saw when she lifted her nose, catching the scent of something, someone, familiar and loved.more...

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He pushed the canoe into the shallows, turned it until it was sideways to the bank and turned to get the dog but she jumped in ahead of the cargo and sat down and waited for Brian to get in. Clearly, Brian thought, the dog had been in canoes beforeas she would have done if she had been a Cree camp dog. He pushed off and had not gone twenty yards when the dogs full stomach, the warm sun and the rocking motion of the boat combined and the dog lay down on the floor of the canoe and went to sleep. Brian stroked evenly, using a long reach and a straight pull back to move the canoe in a steady flow forward. There were thousands of lakes inthe north country, and almost all of them were connected by streams or small rivers. The general flow was north, or northwest, although there was a lot of meandering through low hills.more...

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Clearly wanted help. But where had she come from? There was no collar on her, Brian had checked that right away, and it was a her, not a him, Brian had also seen that, but she wasnt just a loose, wild dog. She must have come from a trappers camp somewhere, maybe a Cree camp, perhaps near, perhaps far. She must belong to somebody. But Brian had seen or heard absolutely no sign at all of any people anywhere within miles, and if there had been a camp or people he would know. Animals in the bush react to people, feel differently if there is anyone about, and he had not felt that difference. Nor had he seen tracks, smudges in the grass, had not smelled smoke. Nobody was close. And yet, here was the dog.more...

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There were also many cases of predators, scavenger birds like eagles, and wolves and foxes and coyotes being found dead from eating bad fish that had died and drifted up onshore. So he would eat the whole fish, and he smiled remembering the first time: First Fish, and how small it had been and how wonderful it had tasted. He still felt the same way about it. He still felt wonder at the food, and he looked for a clearing on the bank to make a fire. Good meal. Full meal. Thank you. 3 He had changed. He thought at first that he had changed again, that there were steps in how he had done so, but he realized that he was changing constantly as the world around him shifted, as he learned more.more...

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At last the canoe was positioned right and the northern was still there, in a slightly better place because the lily pad was partially covering the fishs eyes. The bow was strung and, still crouched forward, Brian gently slid a wooden arrow out of his quiver and laid it across the bow, nocked it onto the string, put his left hand on the handle and raised the bow even with the gunwale of the canoe, then a little higher, so the arrow would just clear the side of the canoe. Then, holding the bow almost sideways, he pushed it while pulling the arrow back, tucked the feathers under his chin, aimed at the bottom edge of the fish to allow for refraction. Hed learned that the hard way, by missing the fish when hed first started hunting after the plane crash. He released the arrow. The arrow was slowed only a tiny amount as it traveled through the water and hit the northern with full force just above the right eye. Whether by luck or design it was an almost perfct shot and the shaft slammed through the brain, cutting the spinal cord, stopping halfway through the northern.more...

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He slid sideways to the left, close to shore, but while the chop diminished and he was no longer shipping water the wind was still as strong and the trip across the lake that hed thought would take little more than an hour was suddenly a six-hour ull, and that only with hard work. Still, his stomach was full of good meat and water and he was strong. He kept up the pace, accepting the three-quarters of a mile an hour as it came to him, and after four hours was only a mile and a half from the island when a new strangeness hit him. The wind had been blowing straight from the island to him, all his way across the lake, and yet he smelled nothing. If they were camped there, on the island, they should be burning fires for cooking and heating. But he could smell nothing. Not the slightest whiff of woodsmoke.more...

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I just wish, Brian thought, I could smell their smoke. 9 At first he thought they were just gone, perhaps back to a town for some reason, although he knew they hated cities as much as he did. But no dogs barked to greet him, and there was no noise at the island, no sound, not even birds singing.more...

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He had in mind to go see that country. Just head north. South was cities, people, and he was fast coming to think that people, and what people did with their lives, with their world, were not good, were in most cases ugly and wrong. That was south. Ugly and wrong. And north was country to see, natural country that man had not yet ruined.more...

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Maybe, probably, the dog had come from the north. That was it. He didnt know from where, how far, or even if that was the true direction. The dog might have come from the east and turned south when it heard or smelled Brian. Or from the west. And no deer either. Oh, he saw sign. He found one pile of dung that was still warm to the touch but the brush was too thick to see a deer, let alone get close enough for a shot. He came on a snowshoe rabbit and decided to take it. He changed to a field-point arrowhed been walking with a broadhead ready in the bowbut the arrow caught a twig on the way and deflected slightly so the rabbit was hit low, in the gut, and had time to scream before he got a second arrow in and killed it.more...

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