'There is a monster in the forest, whispered the trees.
“I know, Sister.” I patted the vast trunk of an ancient cedar with one sun-browned hand as I passed. “I know.”
The tree shuddered a little. I turned away to crouch by the body of the serow I had just brought down. Its thrashing and struggling had already stopped. My fingers sank into the soft, greyish fur as I turned it over and looked down into the animal’s swiftly clouding eyes. I did not fool myself that its death had been painless – how could death ever be without agony? – but my arrow was embedded deeply in the mountain antelope’s heart. It had only suffered for a moment in its passing. That was the best I could do.
The serow’s meat, hung and cured, would feed us for many days. Its pelt would make a warm blanket and perhaps mittens for the coming winter. The horns and bones would become a multitude of useful tools. I had seen little game today, and I was already perilously close to the ever-shifting edge of the Dark Wood that encircled the village; the small preserve of friendly trees that made up our hunting grounds were anxious, shivering and creaking around me, warning me from wandering deeper.
The animal’s death had been necessary, vitally necessary, to our survival. “Thank you,” I said quietly.'