The scent is approaching quickly, and you realize you don’t have the time to dawdle around for super long - you snap to attention, then turn to Akam.
‘Akam, I know this is a lot to ask of you, but…’
“Master,” the djinn says, a knowing look in his eyes. “Speak what you want, not as a wish, but as a favor.”
‘I think we should at least move away from this spot,’ you say, and you make sure you look to Ali while you say this. ‘I’d rather not stick around to be safe. And I also feel we should maybe take the vase with us. No offense to your, um, ‘friend’ there, but I don’t know… the way you both made it sound before when it comes to people finding djinn, it’s probably better if it isn’t some random person, right?’
The two djinn share a brief look.
“Fair enough, I say,” Shira replies. “Doesn’t bother me regardless of what we do with the vase.”
Akam nods, then gestures. “You two move to a place where you feel safe. Shira and I will take care of Alajeem’s vase. And don’t fear, we’ll be undetected by any mortal eyes that may be upon us shortly. Do be cautious, though.”
His hands start to glow, and the vase lifts itself off the ground. The two genies float off, and you turn your attention to Ali. Ali motions you on, so you follow her to a shady spot not too far off from where you dug the vase up - there’s a row of trees, and thick enough bushes that you can hide there, yet you’re still able to look ahead toward the source of the scent that’s still coming closer.
‘Who would be coming this way at a time like this?’ you wonder.
‘Beats me,’ Ali replies. ‘This area isn’t really one I know super well, but to my knowledge, I’d expect hikers? Joggers, maybe. Not sure who else would want to come down here at this time of day, since this IS the wilderness and all.’
You frown, but you don’t get a chance to comprehend it for very long.
The scent is closing in, and you hear footsteps soon after - and then, a man steps out from the trees across from where the two of you are hiding.
The man appears to be in his thirties, maybe. Not super fit, but in decent enough shape for sure, like he maybe walks a lot or is just blessed with really swift metabolism. He has short, messy brown hair, and a scruffy beard that covers most of his lower facial area entirely. He’s dressed in dirty jeans and a wife beater shirt, a vest that’s unzipped on top of this. He’s got a backpack on, too, but what alerts you the most is what he’s holding: a hunting rifle!
‘You gotta be kidding me,’ you think. ‘Is this dude a hunter?’
‘Fuck,’ Ali says. ‘Not at all what I was expecting to see.’
‘Yeah, you’re telling me!’ you reply. ‘Is this even considered hunting territory?’
‘I don’t know,’ Ali replies. ‘Try and relax, would you?’ She sneaks a look your way. ‘Getting nervous isn’t going to do you any favors. Let’s just wait and see what he does.’
You sigh internally, but don’t argue with her point.
The hunter zeroes in directly on the spot where you and Ali were moments ago, and he takes particular interest in the hole you both left from digging up the genie’s vase. He scowls and starts to inspect the area, muttering some words under his breath while he begins to sift around in the dirt. He’s not super far from you both (since you can see him perfectly clear and know what he’s doing), yet he IS too far to properly hear what he’s rambling on about.
‘I wonder what he’s saying,’ you think to yourself. ‘Looks like maybe he knew there was something in the ground there? Could he have been the one that put the vase there?’
You try to focus, if only to listen better.
“…damn coyotes musta dug up somethin’…” was all you could pick up from listening in to him mumble to himself.
It’s clear from how he is actually getting his hands into the dirt that the man, hunter or otherwise, is looking for anything he can find. You wish you could get a little closer to hear better, but you don’t dare take the risk - a man with a gun isn’t something you want to deal with, even when you are in the body of a wolf right now.
‘What do you think we should do?’ you ask Ali. ‘Maybe we should make a run for it while he’s busy digging in the dirt? What do you think, Ali?’
Ali takes a moment to respond. ‘I don’t think so. We’re too big as wolves, and since there’s nothing else but silence around us…’ Her eyes flick to you. ‘I can’t say exactly what WOULD happen, but I’ve got a hunch if we try to move around too much, he might hear us and come charging over with his gun.’
‘Yeah, good point,’ you think.
You look about, and the way you two are angled - combined with the distance and your surroundings - doesn’t offer much in terms of safe ways for the two of you to get out of there. You’re not far from the lake you dived into earlier, however, the grass you’re crouched in is thick enough that too much motion would make noise. And you feel like you could hear a pin drop as it was.
‘Ten to one, this guy would hear,’ you think to yourself. ‘No way would we be lucky enough to avoid grabbing his attention unless he was further away…’
The hunter continues to shuffle about in the the dirt, even setting his rifle down at last as he does - he’s adamant on really getting into the ground, as if he KNOWS something is there, or knows something used to be there. His features are one of annoyance and determination, but you get the feeling that, if he’s looking for the vase, he isn’t going to find it - and if he starts to get upset, then, that only adds more tension to the whole ordeal.
‘We can’t just wait for him to stop and hope he leaves,’ you muse. ‘That might happen in movies, but, this isn’t a movie or a video game. I don’t like to assume things about people, I just get the feeling this guy…’
‘I know,’ Ali says. She sighs internally. ‘He stinks like he’s been drinking. Bet he’s some kind of, y’know, country backwood type since he’s dressed the part. Probably would shoot at us without even bothering to see if we were a danger to him. Let’s just wait a moment longer.’ She presses her body lower to the ground, and you do the same. ‘We can always call our genies to help us if we need them.’
You don’t say anything, but you know she has a point.
At last, the man, disgruntled, swears audibly and stands up. His face is red, and he looks around, muttering more under his breath. He grabs his rifle, then seems to notice the footprints left behind by you and Ali on the ground.
‘Oh, shit,’ Ali thinks.
Your mind starts to race. Now what do you do?
Written by Hollowpages on 14 December 2020
(Un)Welcome Intrusion II