Aphelion Issue 239, Volume 23
May 2019
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Night Hunt

by Maria DePaul

Howling winds
Blended with yelps
In the distance
As a father and son
Searched for a wolf
Which had been
Devouring sheep
On their family ranch.

No matter how stealth
The two attempted
To make themselves,
Each step revealed
Their progress as
The wolves pricked
Up their ears, noses,
And eventually eyes.

"God damn it,
Stop making so much
Noise," the old man
Whispered to his son,
But the pack had
Already drawn close
Enough to hear
Th old man's voice.

A low hiss blended
With the rustle of leaves,
Causing the party to
Freeze in place.
Then they crouched,
Razor sharp canines
Dripping with saliva,
Ready to spring.

Screams pealed through
The forest as the pack's
Alpha male launched
Toward the boy's chest.
Explosions echoed
Through the winter night,
When the old man shot
The attacker, but too late …

Drips sped to gushing
As human blood
Mixed with that
Of the wolf, turning
The fresh snow red
In the moonlight,
Scattering panicking betas
In all directions.
“Oh God, no,”
The hunter choked,
Crying beside his son’s
Crimson soaked body.
The moment was eclipsed
As the pack emerged to
Surround the old man,
The night's hunt complete.

2018 Maria DePaul

Maria DePaul is a writer based in Washington, DC, whose work has been featured in Akashic Books' Terrible Twosdays, Aphelion, The Future Fire, 50 Haikus, Haiku Journal, Illumen, Inwood Indiana's "Unwanted Visitors," Nature Writing, Plum Tree Tavern, Poetry Quarterly, Scifiakuest, Speculative 66, Three Line Poetry, The Review Review, Violet Windows, Wax Poetry and Art, and "Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology." Look for her work in the upcoming anthology "45 Poems: Reflection and Response."

Find more by Maria DePaul in the Author Index.

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