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the boar

the boar 
Imagine if you will that you must wake daily to hunt the same old boar. A curse, if you may; you must strike it once every day. You don’t know which strike will kill it. In fact, you’re not sure if it will ever die. But you’re cursed to keep chasing it, you can’t stand the idea of ignoring such a wild animal on the run. You don’t know what will happen if you don’t strike it each day, what catastrophe will unfold that is your doing- or so you believe. You don’t know, and it terrifies you to chance it.

You wake up at the crack of dawn, wanting a nice peaceful day to yourself. You’ve had the same wish for several months now, but it has yet to come true. You hurry and finish breakfast, sitting next to a beautiful view of the sun rising over a flowing meadow, but your mind is on other things, not the scene before you.
You head down armed with bow and arrows, your chest is heavy and your thoughts are shards of apprehension. On the streets, the owner of the local tea house, a lovely old lady, your friend, waves and invites you in for a free cup and a chat. You wish you could steady yourself for long enough to do so- what is better than light innocent conversation on a clear day- but how could you? The boar dances circles in your mind. You regretfully decline her friendly invitation and head down the road to the forest, past happily chatting folks relaxing outside; you feel miles and miles away from any of them.
The forest looms ahead but you feel only heaviness and fear, not excitement, not relief; you arm your bow and arrow and head into the shadows. For hours you trace tracks old and new- snapped branches and trodden soil, until you’re soaked in sweat and covered in dirt but you cannot stop.
Finally after the sun has ran its fair distance in the sky already, you crouch next to a clearing and see the blasted creature; all dark matted fur and blazing eyes. You shudder, but you aim and watch it carefully, unmoving. Any sign that you have hunted it before- any scar, wound, or marking- cannot be seen. But you pay no mind to the obvious futility; the boar is now all you can see, and the arrow you’re about to let loose is all you can focus on doing.
You pull and fire, it lodges in the shoulder, but like yesterday and the countless days before, you are unable to land a second shot. It turns, beady, bottomless eyes meeting yours, freezing you to the core with dread that shoots through your veins like ice. You cannot move as it leaps past you, flanking your skin raw on one side as it vanishes.
You know it is useless to continue your search; it cannot be found again today, and even if it can, you know it is pointless; no matter how many arrows you put in its body today, it will still be the same tomorrow.
You feel little relief, only a brief rush, as you head back into town, hours now gone. You have stopped it again today- stopped what, you don’t know- but in doing so you know you have only condemned yourself to repeat the act indefinitely into the future.
But how can you stop? What will happen if you do? Surely one more shot, one more day, will be its last. You don’t know. So you only continue your futile chase, day after day after day, to no end, and ultimately for nothing at all.