Voting for SSC69: Getting Away With Murder ended in a three-way tie. In the SSC FAQ it states that: So, in an unprecedented move, I have done just this. Congratulations to menehillion - a piece that's originality struck a chord with me. -------------------------------------------------- menehillion - The Hunt It was the first days of summer. The days were longer, warmer and both inside and out there was an overwhelming scent of a mix between newly cut grass and heavily burned barbeque meat. Both young and old spent their days outside exploring the world around their house, or simply enjoying a glass of wine and a good book. The sun shone upon the just and the unjust alike. It was on such a day he saw her. He instantly knew that she had to die, and that he was the one that had to do it. A task he was more then content with. He stood outside the neighbours garden looking in. The family living there were loudly enjoying the summers first barbeque. He closed his eyes and for a brief moment inhaled all the exotic and exciting scents that were spreading from the little house down the street. He saw her slowly making her way onto the new cut grass, and saw how inexperienced and young she really was. She paused for a moment before she started to walk towards the crowd at the outside dining table. A hint of panic shot through him as he realized that he could miss his window of opportunity. He crouched to make himself smaller and took the first wary steps through the gate. An oak tree on the right side of the entrance provided perfect shade and cover. As she wandered closer to the family, he knew that it was now or never. She and he, right or wrong, it didn't matter- there was no co-existence. Just as he was to jump out and snatch her in front of all of them, she changed direction and was now headed for the back side of the house. He took a couple of steps back out of the garden and back on the pavement. The plan had changed. He was familiar with the neighbourhood as he had lived here all his life. She was in his domain now, and in his domain he was the one who got to decide what happened next. Walking became running, running became sprinting and not much later he found himself at the back gate. He took the first steps on the brick tiles leading up to the kitchen door, and then quietly onto the grass. A few worn out bikes and half full trash cans were standing there, but they were no challenge for him to bypass silently. He didn't see her right away but a combination of senses and instinct told him she was close. She was not his first, he was good at this. She would come soon enough. His eyes turned cold and evil, a satisfying feeling of fulfilling a purpose exploded within him as she rounded the corner. * * * She never got to become any older. The weight of his body slammed her to the ground. As the pain sat in, she realized that she would never again play with her sisters, chase her brothers or feel the safety and comfort of her parents. She felt the blade pierce her from behind into her lungs. Her throat filled with blood and she gasped, swallowed and desperately fought for air. She couldn't hold on much longer. As she was to embrace the end, the pressure eased up a little. She lifted her head and she saw he had taken a step back and was studying her proudly. She barely dared to look at him as she mustered all her strength into her legs. The sudden sound of a barking dog provided a split second of distraction. She shot up from the ground trying to reach the safety of the house. It took mere moments before she felt the next blow and he was on top of her again. She was on her back now and numb from all the pain. Her skin was pierced in several places, she felt the ice cold sharp death sinking deeper and deeper. As the lights faded from her eyes the last thing she heard was a high pitched yell. * * * "DADDY!", the sudden scream of his daughter barely caught Arthurs attention while he was grilling another pack of sausages. "What is it this time?", he mumbled as he took another sip of his warm beer and glanced at his wife. "I've spent all day setting up this barbeque, can you please go and see what she wants?" His wife answered from behind the newspaper "Well, I already went last time, when she found that bird. Besides..", now leaning forward to reveal a smile "those sausage can burn themselves just as well without you." Arthur surrendered and strolled towards the back of the house. When Arthur came back the sausages looked like burned sticks that resembled the coal beneath them. "You could have taken them off the grill." Arthur moaned. "Well," his wife said as she lazily turned the page "you are the one that keeps telling me how that is 'a mans job'. I thought I'd leave it to you" she shrugged. She stared down at what once were sausages and had to swallow a laugh. After all, this was serious business for any man of the house. "Anyway, what did she call you for?" "Nah, she just saw some cat killing a mouse" he said. "Now, this steak I'm gonna make is going to set the example for all other steaks. You know, I might even show you how it's done." Their eyes met and they both laughed.