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The Hunter

A story about a bounty hunter in a magical realm.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published about a year ago Updated about a year ago 9 min read
The Hunter
Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. I watched them dance away into the sun set, as I lay in the grass watching as the day light hours crept away. The forest around me grew dark until there was no light left. I watched as stars began to twinkle into existence.

Then the northern lights appeared over head, lighting up the sky but not the forest below. They ebbed and danced like the clouds had before them. Shifting through beautiful hues of green and purple.

With a sound that resembled something between a grunt and a sigh, I rolled off of my back and forced myself to stand in the tall grass. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes I stretched and allowed a loud yawn to escape my lips.

Gazing around the meadow, I started walking towards the tree line of the nearby forest. I watched as the forest of Alchemy came to life in the fading sunlight.

Small twinkling lights began to float through the air, up through the tall grass and trees. They resembled hundreds of multicoloured firefly lights. But I recognized them as what they really were, fairy lights.

I wished I could pause and watch the dance of the fairies as they went about their nightly routine. But I’m here on business. So I carried on walking through the forest, careful not to disrupt the fairies or any other creature.

Suddenly my whimsical walk was interrupted by the thundering of hooves. I gave pause as the sound came closer, a herd of centaurs ran across my path and encircled me. All stopping as the leader entered the centre, approaching me with a furrowed brow.

“Why are you here, human?” He commanded, looking down his crooked nose at me.

“I won’t be here long, I-“

“Humans are not welcome in the forest of Alchemy. This is our forest.” Another centaur called from the crowd, with a stomp of his front hoof.

“I was unaware, I will make my way out once I find my friend.” I explained. Meanwhile feeling for my multipurpose tool, in my pocket, without alerting the centaurs.

The last thing I wanted to do in this moment was let them know I was expecting a fight. I knew full well that I wasn’t welcome here but I had a job to do and this would be but a small price to pay.

The leader shifted, looking from one of his own and then back to me. His brow furrowed in deep thought, as he looked at me in analysis.

“You have until sunrise to leave or we will take matters into our own hands.” The leader spoke in a deep monotonic voice, his eyes racking over my person with a look of disgust.

“Understood.” I reply with a hard swallow, giving the lead centaur a nod. Looking him deep in his dark, foreboding eyes.

He nodded in return and then began running. The herd ran in a circle or two around me and then ran off in the direction they were headed originally.

“See you at sunrise.” I called through the thunderous sound of hooves hitting the forest floor.

But no one reacted or seemed to hear me, which I was secretly grateful for.

I carried on my way. Walking through the forest with nothing but the fairy lights to interrupt the darkness.

A small purple light approached my face.

I paused and couldn’t fight the smile that crept across my lips. My eyes focused on the tiny being floating inches from my face, “Hello my sweet Tiana.” I muttered, feeling happy to see her glowing face.

“Hello Theron, what brings you to the forest of Alchemy?” She twittered in a minuscule voice, smiling back at me.

“I’m here for a Leprechaun by the name of Daley Murray for King Henry.” I explained, “Apparently he was last seen in the meadow on the other side of the forest.”

Satisfied with the answer, she fluttered to my shoulder and settled herself there.

Leaving me free to continue on my way.

“And here I was, hoping you were here to see me.” She teased with a faux sad voice.

“King Henry is willing to pay well for the delivery of Daley. I’ll have time to spend with you afterwards, love.” I explained, giving her a sideways glance of longing.

“Okay, I guess I can forgive you.” She teased more. “I’ll just have to help you find him so I can see you sooner.” She added, wiggling gleefully on my shoulder in excitement.

Before I knew it, I heard a small pop and she had transformed into her human sized form. Walking along side myself, not interrupting my pace.

With a small chuckle, “I’d rather you didn’t, my love.” I began with regret. “I can’t risk you getting hurt and I hate to admit how distracting you are. Especially in your human form.” I explained further, giving her a more obvious once over as the meadow at the edge of the forest came into view.

“In that case, I will help you locate him and then be no more of a distraction.” She teased more with a playful wink. Entwining her fingers in mine as we stood at the edge of the clearing.

“As you wish my love.” I agreed, smiling as I surveyed the meadow. Hoping for some sign of my prey.

“What does King Henry want Daley for?” Tiana inquired, also surveying the meadow.

“He didn’t say, only that the pay out was more than he usually offers.” I explained, as my eyes landed on a twinkle in the distance.

I began walking towards it, pulling Tiana along with me.

Upon a small mound of dirt in the middle of the meadow were a couple gold coins, glistening in the moonlight. They shone brighter than the stars in the sky which is how I knew they were made of leprechaun gold.

I dug into my pocket, looking for my bag of Tracking Dust. Then letting go of Tiana’s hand, I reached down and picked up a couple of the coins.

“How do you know those are his?” She asked with a skeptical tone.

“I don’t.” I admitted, absentmindedly. Pulling the bag from my pocket and opening it.

“Let me check before you waste your Tracking Dust.” Tiana requested, holding a palm out in anticipation of me handing a coin over.

With a sigh I dropped a couple into her open palm.

Rubbing both hands together with the coins between, she drew a deep focused breath. Then with her sigh a few sparks flew forth from her palms. Forming a sparkling portrait of who I could only assume was Daley Murray.

“Is this your man?” She asked, looking to me in curiosity.

“Sure.” I replied with a shrug.

“What?” She snapped with impatience, furrowing her brow at me in annoyance.

“I’ve never seen him, I just know his name.” I admitted with another shrug, holding my hand out for the coins.

Tiana huffed, flaring her nostrils as she attempted to control her temper. Blinking in a focused look as her eyes fell to the ground and she blindly held out the coins to be placed in my hand.

I continued with what I had planned earlier. Taking a pinch of the Tracking Dust and sprinkling it over the coins.

Immediately a puff of smoke erupted and a sparkling orange trail began to wind its way across the meadow.

With no hesitation, I grabbed Tiana’s hand and began to follow it. As it wound its way across the meadow, through the rest of the forest and ended at the edge of the Forest of Alchemy. The opposite end to where I had entered.

Suddenly another puff of smoke erupted and a yellow sparkling hand appeared. It waved and then formed a rather rude hand gesture, before puffing out of existence. Soon a few words became visible as they wrote themselves in mid air ‘Back off Hunter’. They read as they slowly began to dissolve like exploded fireworks. Their puffs of smoke floating away into the night air.

“That’s it.” Tiana stated with a stomp of her foot and an agitated voice.

She scooped up some dirt and ground it between her palms. Then with a snap of her fingers a small red haired man was summoned before us.

The man immediately began a slue of swears and insults. Speaking with an Irish accent so thick, he was near impossible to understand.

“That’s enough.” She snarled, giving her fingers another snap and the Leprechaun fell mute.

Without another thought, I sprang to action. Binding the Leprechaun with my specialty enchanted hand cuffs. Designed to prevent his escape unless I release him, with an enchanted key.

“Are you Daley Murray or not?” Tiana inquired, fixing an interrogative stare upon him.

The Leprechaun paused, fixing his unwilling gaze upon her. Then with a mechanical nod of acknowledgement, he indicated that was his name. Accompanied by a glare as though unwilling to admit it but having no other choice.

“My work, here, is done.” Tiana stated, stepping up on tip toe as she placed a kiss on my cheek. “I will see you later.” She spoke in a soft, sultry voice and with a small popping sound, she turned back to her miniature form.

I watched for a moment as her tiny purple light floated away into the dark forest.

I smiled to myself as I grabbed hold of the Leprechaun and began trekking back through the forest. Aiming for the exact opposite end of the forest, towards King Henry’s castle.

But as I pulled Daley along, I felt my heart sink. The realization that the dark forest was being bathed in the first light of morning, had just occurred to me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the sun beginning to crest over the horizon.

With that realization, my blood began to run cold as the ground beneath my feet began to reverberate.

As expected, the herd of centaurs began to encircle us before coming to a halt. Then just as before, the leader walked into the centre with myself and Daley.

“I told you what would happen, if I found you here after day break, human.” He bellowed in a threatening tone, his eyes black with that same foreboding gaze.

“If I can have-“

“You have had enough allowances, human.” Another centaur called from the surrounding herd, he stamped his hoof in rage. Huffing in anticipation as his grey eyes bore into me.

Daley immediately began stomping his feet. Then began mouthing something that appeared to be the denial of our acquaintance.

“What’s wrong with him?” The leader asked, moving his focus to Daley. With a furrowed brow in confusion. His eyes focused on Daley’s face and wandering all around his person, in analysis.

Using this time as a distraction, I felt in my pocket for a tube of what I believed to be Teleportation Potion. Wrapping my fingers around the tube, I took a deep breath. Waiting for the centaurs to make the first move.

“He’s on mute.” I explained, waiting for a reaction as I prepared myself to use the potion.

There was a lulled moment as I locked eyes with the centaur’s leader. Without another thought, I threw the potion to the ground. The sound of glass shattering echoed through the forest, Daley and I were engulfed in a cloud of grey smoke. I focused my mind on where I wanted to appear.

Then with a whooshing sound and a pull from somewhere near my navel, the forest was gone. I opened my eyes to be standing outside the castle of Nina. King Henry’s dwelling.

I gave a sigh of relief at the sight and began to pull Daley forwards as I walked towards my desired destination.

Short StoryLoveFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for stopping by!! 💚💙💜🩵

If you are interested in longer works by me, I have two books published on Amazon.

Jogger's Trail and Fox in The Hole.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  5. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (17)

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  • JBazabout a month ago

    What a great choice for the challenge, your characters have depth and I like the little sprigs of humor you added

  • My favorite character in this story would be Tiana! I also like the playful romance between Theron and her. So sweet! Also, the pull near the navel during the teleportation reminded me of travelling using a Portkey in Harry Potter. I loved your story so much!

  • Roy Stevens12 months ago

    Lovely, bucolic and wistful but this also has a good sense of dread that keeps the reader invested. As an old fuddy-duddy I'm not sure the sentence fragments work for me, they kind of slow up the otherwise really smooth flow you've created, but, again, that's just me. I'd definitely read chapter two if it happened!

  • DHINESH CRabout a year ago

    The story you wrote is incredibly imaginative and engaging. From the beautiful imagery of the purple clouds dancing with the blushing sky to the interactions with centaurs and fairies, your writing truly transports the reader into the magical world of Alchemy. The dialogue between Theron and Tiana is both playful and romantic, adding a wonderful layer of depth to the story. The ending leaves the reader with a sense of mystery and anticipation, making them eager to continue reading and find out what happens next. Overall, your story is a delightful blend of fantasy and adventure, and your skillful use of descriptive language and character development make it a joy to read. Well done!

  • Gobi Munusamyabout a year ago

    Wonderful Story 👌👌👌

  • Naomi Goldabout a year ago

    I wanted to read this when you published it, but I’m just now finding time. I love that you used the northern lights for this prompt, because that’s the dose of realism. I look at nature and can’t believe how magical and beautiful our reality is. But the rest? OMG, you are so creative! I don’t know how you come up with this stuff. I’m a sucker for enchanted forests, and your language is always so beautiful. It’s like a work of literary fiction, but also a fairytale for grownups.

  • Claudia Neavesabout a year ago

    Very fun to read. I think you did a great job of explaining the context of the story without a lot of unnecessary world-building. I also like that, although there was some finality to the chapter, it didn't answer all our questions, which fits the theme of being a "first chapter" as suggested by the challenge prompt.

  • The story has a vivid and imaginative setting, filled with magical creatures and fantastical elements. The imagery used is captivating and allows the reader to visualize the scenes in their mind. The story also has a good flow and pacing, making it an easy and engaging read. The characters, especially the protagonist and Tiana, are well-developed and have their own distinct personalities. The dialogue between them is natural and adds to the story's charm. However, there are a few moments where the story seems rushed or lacking in detail, such as when the protagonist decides to use the Tracking Dust without knowing if the coins belong to Daley. Additionally, the story could benefit from a stronger plot or more defined conflict to create a clearer direction for the narrative. Overall, the story is an enjoyable read with a unique and imaginative setting and characters. With some minor adjustments to the pacing and plot, it could be even stronger. But that is only my opinion - I liked it :)

  • Suzsi Mandevilleabout a year ago

    This would work well as an introduction to a novel ...?

  • Harmony Kentabout a year ago

    A fun magical mystery which left me wanting to know how it would all turn out. Well done, Donna 💕🙂

  • Manikanda Ramanabout a year ago


  • Great Story ❤️❤️💯💬✨

  • Quincy.Vabout a year ago

    This is an imaginative and engaging story filled with magical creatures and adventure. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    This is a beautifully written story. The characters are so likeable and warm. A lot of love was put into the heart of the plot. I had to comment twice.

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  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    A great story plot. I love the twists and turns, the characters are very interesting and unique. Putting Daley on mute. So funny. Wonder what the king wants. A few snips below.

  • Sham gowthamabout a year ago

    I love the story .. and your thoughts ..exellent .. please reply to your love

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