Vikram Shankar squinted down the long metal barrel. Framed squarely in the sight, not two hundred feet away, the big cat sat on its haunches, its lower jaw drooping, exposed ribs rippling under a creamy mat of chocolate-striped fur.
A sweet shot.
Vikram’s right finger closed over the trigger. He inhaled slowly, deliberately. Too seasoned a hunter to let the thrill overcome judgment, he took his time, savoring the anticipation.
The nasal whounk-ing of a snow goose flying overhead pricked the cat’s ears, and the heavy-set head swung toward the sound. With pounding heart, Vikram exhaled.
The sight bead wavered. He glanced down, and realized his left arm had begun to tremble.
Shit. Not now.
He willed his arm still, but it jerked -- wide -- then jerked again. The barrel danced in front of him.
Something -- whether the movement or some slight sound Vikram made -- drew the cat’s attention. It rolled into a crouch, facing Vikram’s blind. Sunlight bouncing off the snow caught its blue eyes and they glistened like tanzanite as it peered into the camouflage.
He held his breath. The cat's eyes narrowed: it seemed almost to smile as its gaze met with Vikram's. He couldn't take the shot, and his prey knew it.
Still crouching, the cat took a dump on Vikram's roses, hissed toward the blind, then turned and hopped back over the fence when it heard old Mrs. Lancry calling its name.
Opening: anon.....Continuation: anon.