Fear pushes the hunter. The shadows of the night stir his heart. He is scared by the noise of the wind moving among the trees. He imagines the moon breathing and the cold air driving his fangs right into his neck. “Death is near,” he says, smelling the ground, the fallen leaves, the moss… He detects a sweet aroma coming from a stone. It is a female scent. The predator imagines her soft and tender. She walked there very recently. “She would protect me from the fangs of the wind”, the hunter thinks as he moves his paws looking for the scent. The beast raises its snout and breathes deeply. He wants to discover which path the creature he imagines loving and good has taken. Where did she go?
The hunter goes round and round, sniffing in all directions; in those moments he has already got over fear, he is focused on the prey. Inside the beast there has been a hope for happiness. Finally, next to the roots of a tree, he finds a forgotten handkerchief. There is, in this soft piece of cloth, the smell of her. It is the perfect compass. The predator knows now where to go. He runs forward with his snout very close to the ground. He leaves his treads on the litter with his strong paws, running increasingly faster. Her body odor is now more intense and temptress. The beast identifies in that fragrance a touch of mystery as well. Then he imagines enchanted wells, castles full of ghosts, all of which seduces him more and more. The hunter has already forgotten the old fear.
The dawn surprises the predator by a river. The sun rises above the waters. He thinks the flow is like a moving mirror. The smell is stronger. She is here, somewhere near, but the hunter does not see her. A new panic attack strikes him. “It was all a hoax of my imagination,” the beast thinks, and again he is tormented by the idea that an invisible enemy will attack him. The hunter runs along the river bank. He flees from every bird. After several miles the predator stumbles on a stone, falls down the rocky slopes of a ravine, and finally, his body stops by the water. Then he raises his head, and there she is. A young gazelle walks on the pebbles. She has a wet glance. Every move she makes is like the birth of a flower. She sees the hunter and shakes with fright, so helpless… Her tenderness is as deep as her breathing. The predator again forgets his fear. Everything is erased form his mind by such a heavenly vision.
He tells her not to fear, that he will not attack her. He is, he asserts, a hunter different from other unruly beasts. He loves beauty, he says, and does not destroy it. On the contrary, he, the predator, will protect her. The gazelle gazes at the hunter with suspicion. She cannot help staring at him. And that is her doom. The predator is lovely; he has the elegance of killing machines. The murderer’s eyes subjugate her. All those sunsets of stalking are kept in his eyes, all those nights of preys shattered under the moonlight. Having killed so many deer, so many helpless sheep, turned his gaze into an intense and seductive one. She falls in love with those fierce and beautiful eyes. She accepts him.
Days go by. He follows her everywhere, but does not attack her. The killer is enthralled. He watches the gazelle drink from the ponds. The predator delights in seeing her running through the meadows. His gaze follows her as she climbs up the mountain paths. She now trusts the hunter. He carries out his promise to protect the gazelle. He destroyed a pack of wolves. A tiger fled in panic. He is powerful. His fury makes him shine. His rage is as heroic as that of Achilles. She stares at the hunter all the time.
She loves him, although she does not tell him so. “Females are so unfair with the hunters,” she thinks. “They just need a little love to be good”. How wrong she is! The gazelle does not know the predator’s true nature. For a beast, love and blood are the same. For a murderer, love and fear are the same. He is already nervous and restless again. He is afraid of losing her. She sometimes gets into very narrow paths where the hunter cannot see her. Will she leave forever, the predator asks himself. Won’t she ever come back from those tiny caves? That is why the killer follows her more and more closely.
One night, the predator keeps his fangs close to her jugular vein while she slept. Mesmerized he stares at the beating vein. That throbbing vein is a metaphor of life itself. He almost loses his mind. The predator has to go to a canyon to howl at the moon. When dawn breaks, he is still at the cliff edge, in fear. The killer thinks she will escape. And what will he do without her? She is his shield against fears. Without her he will be attacked—those unseen enemies that he senses in the air. How could he win her heart? How could he possess the gazelle in a total way? The killer doesn’t want her to have a chance to escape. He wants her to melt with his own blood. He is burning with desire to have her inside his flesh.
The predator keeps following her closely at all times. One afternoon she holds her nose up to the petal of a flower. Her breathing is soft as she absorbs the smell of the rose. Her snorting seems divine to him. This is—this is the moment. It is this instant that he wants so badly inside his flesh, his blood. The beast wants to perpetuate this angelic moment. It is what he wanted, what turned him mad. And the killer throws himself into the gazelle’s throat. He kills her with one stroke of his fangs. His beloved one’s agony cries are a wonderful song for him. With each piece of flesh cut from her he feels the joy of children opening presents.
Drunk with blood, the killer falls asleep on a carpet of bone splinters. It is dark when he opens his eyes. She is not there. He does not feel her inside his blood or his flesh. He has turned her into nothing, a nothing that leaves him at the mercy of those invisible enemies who have always stalked him. The air chases him. The moon has grown fangs again and stuck them in his neck. She is now in the world of the dead. It is the only place in which she can be found. The predator jumps into the canyon to commit suicide.
His body bounces against the rocks. The edges of the stones wound his face, his belly, his arms, and his whole body. By the time he reaches the bottom of the cliff he is drenched in blood. But he is not dead. He is too strong to die. The killer has lost his consciousness, his blood still gushing from his body. The predator stays there, on the verge of dying, for two days. The carrion birds have surrounded him waiting for the moment of his death to devour him. But the beast does not die. On the third day he regains consciousness, stands up, and starts walking, not knowing exactly where to go.
He spends weeks in great sadness. He remembers the gazelle and cries. In these days the hunger has forced him to hunt some weasels, rats and other small animals. But he has no desire to live. As he walks, he enters the dense woods. He breaths serenely the scent of the leaves, the moss, and the climbing plants. Then he feels a little less sad. His wounds have already healed. Now his body is as vigorous as ever. He smiles mischievously. He climbs the cliff, reaches the trees, and enters the forest. Now he feels hungrier. He kills a boar and devours it completely, then speeds up through the undergrowth.
During the day the predator has happy moments, but at night, when he has found a cave where to sleep, the fear lurks again. He believes he has seen ghosts in the dark and huge-clawed monsters trying to tear his eyes out. He trembles with terror. When he finally falls asleep, he has horrible nightmares in which he sees the torn throat of the gazelle.
The noise of the birds awakes him in the morning. He gets up sweaty, and continues his way among the old, tall trees. He kills some wild pigs and eats them, but he still feels alone. One day, when he is wandering, unable to find the true meaning of his life, he detects a sweet scent coming from a stone. It is a female scent. The predator imagines her soft and tender. She walked there very recently. “She would protect me from the fangs of the wind,” the hunter thinks as he moves his paws looking for the trail.
The beast raises its snout and breathes deeply. He wants to discover which path the creature he imagines loving and good has taken. In a few hours the hunter is already close to her. He imagines the heavenly moment in which he will reach out to her and gaze at her beauty. And again he has lost the fear of unseen enemies. He smiles mischievously. He is happy once more—but for now, just for now. The predator knows, but chooses not to think. He speeds up. The magic moment is approaching.