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. One would come.
One would come to kill him.
He had watched them coursing the field like a hunter's
pack. From a ledge where the tumbled stone lay gro-
tesque in the shadows of the sheers above, he had seen
them lose his scent. They had spread wide, casting about
almost as wolves might, seeking movement, great blunt
noses dipping to sweep the ground and rising to test the
air, thick, sleek tails swishing graceful arcs as they
wound and curved through the diminishing brush of the
mountain slope. Long and lithe, immensely powerful
and as graceful as dark zephyrs on the wind, they moved
upward in silent unison, missing nothing as they came.
Sunlight on the black fur rippling over mighty muscles
was a tapestry of iridescence.
How many were there? He hadn't been able to tell.
They were never all in sight at once. He'd judged that
there were thirty down there, seeking him. But it didn't
matter. Of the hunting cats he had seen, one would be
Hunger had knotted his stomach as he turned upward
again, seeking a place to go to ground. Or a weapon. His
hands craved the touch of a weapon - any kind of
weapon. He had then found a palm-sized rock with a cut-
ting edge and balanced it in his hand. It was no proper
weapon, only a sharp stone