ou are walking at night, when you hear something. You turn around to see... a thing, staring at you. And not just one; there are several of them, all giant and pale, with hair growing in strange places, and eyes in impossible colours. They stare at you with a bizarre expression on their misshapen faces. Almost like... hunger.
So you turn around and run. As fast and far as your legs can carry you. And strangely enough, the beasts don't seem to follow you. After a dozen minutes of fierce pursuit, you feel safe, and stop to catch some breath.
But something bugs you. Some strange feeling of uncertainty. You feel as if you are being watched. So you turn around once again. And you see them once again. All of them. And this time, they are standing even closer.
How is this possible? Creatures as large as them shouldn't be able to move so silently? Your fear increases as, in the light of the rising sun, you see several more of them climb down from the nearby trees: they are capable of that too?
And so you flee again.
This goes on for hours; constantly running for your dear life, with the beasts apparently never following you, but always being a bit closer every time you look behind. You try to fight them, but they don't try to fight back, always staying just far enough for you to be unable to reach them. The distance between you never really increases. It is almost as if they are toying with you.
There seems to be no way to stop them. You go into the river, assuming that their strange bodies will stop them from following you. To your surprise, they can swim even better than you can. So you climb out and continue to run, and run, and run. Night falls, but it doesn't seem to even slow them down: miniature suns follow them wherever they go, not as potent as the real thing, but enough to illuminate the darkness.
Even after the sun rises again, and the heat becomes unbearable with no more trees to shield you, they seem not to mind. They simply peel off their hairy skin, revealing lighter, slightly less hairy skin underneath, and throw their hairy skin over their backs. Your mind barely registers this while you are running for your life, but it leaves you horrified: what kind of monsters are these things, to be able to flay themselves at will, without even a slightest bit of pain?
And so you flee again.
But the time and fatigue finally take their toll. Before long, you collapse, struggling for breath, unable to continue onwards. Your muscles ache, scream for relief, and you have no choice but to obey them. At this point, you hear footsteps walking up behind you; soft, silent footsteps. Your heart starts to beat erratically, but your legs are too weary to move. You try to call for help, but there is no one around to hear you but your pursuers, who don't seem to understand you anyway. One of them reaches down to you, and you see a giant white claw nearing your neck. It slashes your throat, and before you exsanguinate, you can hear the beasts making strange, raspy noises, and see them baring their teeth at each other.
Then your world fades to black.
Next day, no one finds a corpse. The creatures have taken all away. And all that remains to be seen of you ever again is your skin, draped over one of those beasts, and your bones, that they will use to fashion tools to murder more of your kind.
This is called persistence hunting, and it's basically how early tribes of man caught food.
Written by Helel ben Shahaar