Beneath the moil of muddied pelts
a bloody hock beats and strikes out;
tremors stammer the spattered hoof
which stills and falls. A feral man
strides through the pack, plucking the dogs
away from their kill by kicks and growls
to slide his flint through sinews, release
blood from the neck - a newsprung brook
bustles downhill. He barks a command
at the bickering hounds, their hackles bristled,
a fight for the right to feast on offal -
they cannot compete: concede the prize.
He tugs and straps the stag with twine,
drags the carcass from its couch of brambles
to pull it uphill, the pinioned hooves
sketching a line through the litter and sod.
It was a great stag, its grey muzzle
scarred with the thrusts of thrashing antlers
through many ruts. A muddied tongue
slugs over leaves; the last of its spoor
beads the tousled baton of its tail.
A snick of a twig stops all activity ...
In moments men are moving, running.
They loop in lines through larch and aspen
to track the source of the sound in the mist.
Dogs snout through ferns, snuffle and forage
for a scent of intruder: terror; escape!
When a puppy trips and pitches at her feet
she screams - a snarl; a sprint; a leap!
Danger! Danger! Dogs on the loose!And the girl is caught in the grasp of a man,
Teeth on the throat! Tearing and ripping!
pinched in his biceps, a blade at her neck.