by Ceryndip

The Apple crunched noisily as the hunter bit into it's red, juicy depths. He took his time, careful not to disturb the delicate undergrowth of the forest floor around him. there truly was no hurry this day.

Beneath the warm sun at the forest's edge he sighed contentedly. They had needed this little vacation. Too much work with too little down time made for short tempers and quick words.

The Clouds, white and puffy, drifted lazily across the blue sky. It might rain later on if conditions continued as they had the last several days.

Down the hill the winding path descended into the trees. The lake shown in the distance, it's surface sparkling and clear.

Enchanted by the view, he paused at the edge of a cliff overlooking a lush green valley.

Fragrant smells from many colored, wild blossoms drifted on the breeze.

A Gust of wind blew gently in his face reminding him he had a game to play and a quarry to hunt.

Honed senses detected his prey nearby. He ducked down into the foliage before he could be seen.

Inhaling deeply he let the fresh spring air fill his lungs and mentally prepared to get back to the task at hand.

Jogging around the rim of the valley, he re-entered the woods behind his mouse.

Kaleidoscopic patterns formed as the spring sun filtered through the dense leaves. The ambient temperature dropped noticeably in the shade.

The Labyrinth of trees did not hide his quarry's location for long. the prey was moving, trying to distract the pursuer, but not fast enough, not nearly fast enough.

Mischief in the hunter's eyes belied the serious concentration on his face.

Nimbly, he skirted the bushes as he approached. A small clearing would become the battleground. The tall grass wafting gently in the breeze hid more than just small game.

Over the ancient fallen tree trunk he climbed silently. A flash of yellow cloth told him his prey was nearly within an arm's reach.

Pausing a moment to catch his breath, the hunter prepared to spring.

A quail bolted taking to the air. Without warning, the prey turned and tackled the hunter, sending both sprawling to the ground.

A Rabbit ran from the bushes frightened by the wrestling humans.

Screams of mock outrage came from the hunter at being caught. He rolled and made a move toward his prey's ribs.

Tickling and laughter continued in earnest for some time. The disturbance to nature's calm seeing to it they would find no small game or fish in the area for their evening meal, still the ruckus continued.

Until the friends lay gasping and exhausted in the tall grass.

"Very good, I didn't think you heard me behind you, friend," the hunter complemented.

"Wait until tomorrow. I've got more surprises planned for you, buddy."

"You think so? You're on." The laughter died quickly as thunder rolled over the rim of the valley.

With Zestful energy one man leaped to his feet and turned to lend a hand to his friend.

Arms affectionately placed around shoulders, they headed back toward camp.


Note: I intentionally left the identities of the characters ambiguous. I discovered when it was partially written that you can picture any of several sets of characters in this story. So I elected to leave the story open to interpretation. -Ceryndip

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