Being a hunter seems to be a much-coveted role both in the animal and human world. It denotes that the hunter has more power compared to the hunted. However, can we always assume the same thing? What if the hunter is the unwitting prey of what he thinks is a seemingly easy meal? Last night, on my way home, I imagined a scenario where the role reversal — the hunter becomes the hunted — proved to reveal something horrific and fatal.
One night, somewhere inside the metro, a man was watching an old woman as she ambled towards the ATM of a local bank. She walked slowly because her gout has kicked in. Even if she was wearing her worn yet comfortable espadrilles, she still felt pain shoot up her spine every time she managed to brush her big toe on the tip of her shoe. Pushing the bank door open also proved to be an ordeal for her since she had lumbago. The only good thing that came from her backache was her job as a beader for a fashion designer, which allowed her to have a bank account, save money, and withdraw it any time.
After what seemed like an eternity for the man, which, in reality, just lasted for 10 minutes, the old woman managed to push the door open and went out of the bank, alleviating the mood of the man. He smiled slowly, but with cunning glinting from his teeth. Unlike the old woman, the lowlife crook walked fast and stealthily. With his clenched right fist holding a switchblade, he managed to close in on the frail woman.
“Stop! This is a hold-up. Don’t scream and give me all the money that you’ve withdrawn,” the man whispered into the old lady’s ear.
The old lady turned around, and squatted on the pavement and looked at the man from foot to head. She managed to plead, saying, “Please, I don’t have money. Don’t kill me.”
The man pulled the old lady up, and spat, “What do you take me for, grandma? I saw you get money from the ATM, and I wasn’t born yesterday! Give me all your money!”
The woman just nodded and put her hand inside her pocket, but instead of taking out her small purse, she rushed towards the mugger. The man didn’t know what happened, but he realized that his switchblade was already deep into the woman’s solar plexus. He couldn’t understand why the old woman made it easy for him. He was just shocked, and the only thing that he could do was pull the small knife along with a splash of blood.
In addition to the suicidal reaction of the old woman, something else, something unnatural, happened. Instead of blood splattering on the pavement, the blood defied gravity and flowed towards the hand of the mugger. At first, it flowed slowly that the mugger was able to shake the blood off from his clenched fist. However, all the blood that he has shaken off just went back to his hand like they were magnetized by his skin. The blood grew thicker, turning into a deeper, deathlier shape of red, as more of it gushed out of the old woman’s wound. Then, like a pulsating gelatinous amoeba, it started covering up the entire body of the mugger. Eventually, the woman’s body melted and all that was left on the dark sidewalk is a thick, cyst-like, throbbing mass of congealed blood.
The blood-blob slowly settled and grew still, looking shiny as if it was covered with plastic wrap. After a few minutes, the outer membrane started tearing apart. It split open with a sound much like fresh celery stalks being broken in half. The membrane fell away, revealing the old lady — fully clothed, composed, and rejuvenated by her new appearance: more dark hair and less wrinkles. She nimbly hopped out of the moist and rank mess, which was slowly sublimating into red smoke, tilted her head aside, making her neck bones crackle, rubbed her toe without flinching from pain, and ambled into the night.
This story makes me wonder now: can anyone really be sure that they are the hunters? Or should everybody always be wary that all things can be relative — even the hunter can be the hunted?