After days I had now reached a point in this wilderness where
certainly no man had ever been before. I was here all alone and
relied only on myself. Only a few single birds could be heard.
I couldn't tell where exactly I was because thorn bushes reached
up to my neck and all I could see was steep rock. With a stick
I fought my way through the thicket. As I, totally scratched up,
crawled out of it I faced a wall. I looked around. Behind me was
the thicket that didn't show a trace of anybody having come through
it. No one would be able to find me. To my left was the rock face.
I saw that I was standing on a plateau and could see down into
the valley to my right whose beginning and end could not be made
out. I was thoroughly pleased with my situation.
A week ago I had escaped from prison that was booked for me for
the next couple of years. I didn't know where to go and had no
money at all. My only thought was to get away to a place where
no one could find me and return years later when I wasn't wanted
anymore and the crime was too long ago to still be punishable
I stole an ax and a rifle to have the necessities for survival
and hiked up into the mountains. I soon left the path for the
wilderness. I marched day and night without eating much, crossed
rivers and climbed rocks. I guess I had to be a hermit for the
coming years. The most important thing now was to find a good
spot with water to build a house. So I went further into the woods.
After a few hours I finally found a good spot. It was a small
clearing near a ledge. Right in front of me it went straight down
but I had a good view. Next to me a small creek flowed and plunged
over the edge. It came from a spring in the rock and gathered
in a small pit right below where even a few fishes swam. For starters
I had food at least - later I would have to go hunting.
After I had succeeded in starting a fire and gained strength from
eating the fish, I began cutting trees to build a house. I wasn't
unskilled with that and in four days I had assembled a decent
log cabin that I was rather proud of. I made a soft bed out of
leaves, laid down on it and started thinking. I certainly was
a bit afraid of the wilderness and the loneliness. Maybe I would
have to domesticate some animals. But first I had to recuperate
from the hard work and gather strength again.
Meanwhile about a year had passed without me ever seeing a human.
My hair and beard had grown very long and my clothes were totally
torn and ripped. But I got used to the life here. I felt like
a little Robinson Crusoe. I had my own tools and weapons, supplies
and a badger for a pet. I never had to go hungry or thirsty.
One night I suddenly heard a low creaking or scraping at the door.
I jumped up and rushed to the door. But no one was there. I only
saw a vague shadow disappear in the bushes. That was quite eerie.
Maybe I was dealing with a pursuer here or a whole horde of people
that had found me. I was also very upset since I didn't seem to
be the only one in my territory. Something dared to enter my territory
and threaten me! I decided to find this enemy and to eliminate
him. After all I didn't want to go back to prison.
The next day while hunting I heard steps following me in the woods
nearby. As I hurried over there they went away fast. I returned
to the cabin, packed as many supplies as I could carry and went
back to where I had lost track. I threw some rocks into the bushes.
Suddenly I heard a sound that could have been made by handcuffs
or a gun. It had to be the sheriff. If he would recognize me at
all, now that I looked wild and strange? The police had to think
for a while now that I was probably dead. I had to find my rival!
I had to find him before he would launch a mean surprise attack!
I had to be as alert and skilled as a wolf.
The steps I heard must have been my own. Did he loose my track?
I had picked up his scent.
I had pursued him for four days already without ever even seeing
him. My supplies were running out. I kept getting lost and going
the wrong way. Who knew, maybe I even went around in circles.
I grew weak.
The next day I could only hear him. I had gotten a fever and hadn't
eaten for a day. Still I pushed onward. At times I walked on all
But if he wanted to catch me, why did no one ever show himself
or attack me? The rival must have stopped now. Somewhere he was
hiding and watching me. All day long I felt like I was being watched.
Maybe he waited for reinforcements. I really was at the end of
my strength. I had shivers and fever attacks and kept bouncing
into trees. I had lost all orientation and didn't count on ever
getting out of here. At least then they could not put me back
I had gotten so used to this wilderness, would it defeat me now
after all? I heard a rustle nearby. The sheriff would be here
any moment. I stumbled and fell to the ground. With a last effort
I could hear steps right next to me and swimming in front of my
eyes was a large creature, coming closer. Then I dropped my head.
From the thicket, a wolf crawled towards my dead body.
Copyright © March 1983, Wasty, Savage
German title: Rivalen
Reading time: approx. 7 minutes
Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com