Hunting for More
By Anyély Goméz-Dickerson
Señorita Suspiro set out on her customary morning ride after a cup of café con leche and a
few forbidden drags of her favorite Cuban cigar. For ten years, since she was twelve and was gifted a
beautiful ash-white Andalusian also twelve years of age, Suspiro set out every day in the pre-dawn
darkness before anyone in Villa Santa Sombra was awake. Under the cover of the indigo shadows,
she took off on her secret ride without having to answer any questions or suffer any delays that
would make her miss the sunrise.
The terrain wet from the night’s rainfall, splashed up as her horse galloped gracefully through
the villa’s gardens. Tall firs lined both sides of a wide pebbled road, marking their path and leading
them away from her family’s estate. It was a straight shot toward the seaside cliffs from there. The
young woman always rode for enjoyment, for the beauty, the tranquility of it, but that morning
something else drove Suspiro forward. La lluvia and its heavy raindrops siempre with a cleansing
quality, as if it could wash way all that needed washing, she thought.
Suspiro continued riding, unaware of the other darkness the cold island winds had carried in
over the course of the night.
Just past the dense foliage, the edge of the cliff beckoned.
The Cuatro Cuervos Cliff were the perfect vantage point for catching the sunrise.
Suspiro’s ride was interrupted by a silhouette standing in a clearing in the woods. Intrigued
by the rare occurrence, she dismounted and tied the reins of her Andalusian around the trunk of a
nearby pine. She crouched and tiptoed hoping to remain unnoticed. The wet grass soaking her riding
boots. The squishy noise startled some birds pecking for sustenance on the forest floor, which in turn
startled her. Suspiro’s heart beat faster. First with excitement, then anticipation, and finally with a
trace of fear.
As she got closer, she was able to piece together the fuzzy figure through the darkness.
There, standing just a few feet away, she could make out the silhouette was a hunter. The huntress’s
shadow was abnormally tall with usual hunting gear. A bit disappointed her surveillance didn’t
garner anything more interesting than another lost hunter unaware of her trespassing onto the villa’s
expansive grounds, Suspiro turned to leave. She didn’t want to miss her sunrise.
But after mounting her horse, something felt wrong, and she couldn’t ignore the unsettling
queasiness in her stomach. She decided to stalk a little longer. Observing. Spying.
Ready for her hunt, the tall woman turned and pointed her gun at something. Suspiro
followed the length of the rifle. Its trajectory pointed to the edge of the cliff where silhouetted by the
rising sun, stood a powerful creature. Majestic. Staring into the horizon. The curve of its horns
seemed to pierce the clouds. She watched them both attentively, the huntress and the beast.
Suspiro was still hiding behind the abundance of shrubs undetected when the woman aimed
and shot the steel-like monument, knocking it off its pedestal on the cliff. As if in slow motion, the
creature’s limp body fell over the edge. Down it went. Crashing down against the rocks at the end of
the abyss where the once mysterious forest dweller would soon be nothing more than scraps for
scavengers and the murder of crows that often circled the cliffs.
Without a single effort to collect her prize, the huntress turned away from the cliff ready to
move on. In search of another kingdom to destroy, Suspiro thought, still hidden behind the shrubs.
Her Andalusian tied off several yards away as to not give her position away.
Filled with a rage she could not explain, Suspiro felt her teeth clench and her hands tighten.
She wanted to punch the woman in the face. Ask her why she would do such a thing. It was a rage
that took Suspiro by surprise. Afterall, she’d grown up in the middle of a country estate as part of a
hunting family despite not taking to hunting herself.
Suspiro needed to leave before she did something stupid, so she started tiptoeing back to her
horse grazing quietly several trees away. But she heard the tall woman let out a loud cry. A cry that morphed into a spine-rattling scream. When Suspiro turn back to see what caused the woman to howl
in that way, she saw her walk off in the direction of the abyss where the creature once stood.
The huntress faced the sun as it inched its way into the world. The woman took a few
sluggish steps to the cliff’s edge and looked down to what must have been a bloody scene below.
Then, this tall, lanky woman, began moving with the grace of a dancer. She turned the riffle on
herself and with a steady hand, pulled the trigger to execute her final hunt.
In what felt like slow motion again for Suspiro, the woman’s limp body fell over the edge.
Down she went. Her body crashing against the rocks near her bloody victim. Suspiro could not
register the scene, her horse spooked by an unkindness of ravens swirling chaotically above them,
themselves spooked by the distant but loud thud of the woman’s fall.
A woman, a huntress, a once mysterious forest dweller soon to be nothing more than scraps
for scavengers and the murder of crows that often circled the cliffs.
Later that night, after the authorities had been called and the family sat in the grand dining
room gossiping and speculating about the event over a wasteful feast fit for kings, Suspiro announced
she’d be moving out. Where? They all asked but she did not know. With who? They all asked as she
answered, just me. When? They needed to know, and she answered, tonight.
As soon as she’d gotten back from her last morning ride, Suspiro had arranged her spot on
the local ferry that would take her off the island. She had packed only a few outfits and personal
items, sentimental ones she refused to leave behind along with a new pack of Cuban cigars. In her
bag, she secured her passport, tucking it safely inside a zippered pocket. She had also arranged for
the ticket that would allow her to board the mainland train south and leave her life behind.
Anyély Goméz-Dickerson is a Cuban-born immigrant who grew up in Miami where she earned a poetry degree at Florida International University and later, her education degree from Temple University, forging a decades-long career empowering underserved students through writing before retiring to give her own writing dream the attention it demanded. She writes with “teeth” and probes issues plaguing our communities to foster conversations that catapult change. Her writing dives into the plight of the refugee while exploring her own European, black, and Taína history. Anyély resides in Hawaii with her better half, in her new island home away from home.