Zaroff greets Rainsford warmly and has Ivan show him to a room where he can dress for dinner. As the yacht sails through the darkness, the two men discuss whether their prey actually feels fear. And the stake is not without value, eh? He had achieved a doze when, just as morning began to come, he heard, far off in the jungle, the faint report of a pistol. Rainsford, a big game hunter, is traveling to the Amazon by boat. He slid down the tree. It was an empty cartridge.
You shall see for yourself tomorrow. Why should I not use my gift? This is a most-restful spot. I shall not follow till dusk. First read it when student teaching in 1996 in a 9th grade literature class. We try to be civilized here. He hears the screeching sound of an animal in agony and heads straight for it, until the cries end abruptly with a pistol shot. Stunned and disappointed, Zaroff returns to his chateau.
I read this in junior high school and thought it was pretty cool then. I suggest you wear moccasins; they leave a poorer trail. He invites Rainsford to hunt with him the next day. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. He was dressed faultlessly in the tweeds of a country squire. Even so zealous a hunter as General Zaroff could not trace him there, he told himself; only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail through the jungle after dark.
Rainsford is disturbed that the General managed to find him so quickly. I had to reread this again, and thanks to Bobby Underwood I remembered this great classic and found it. The swish of the underbrush against his hunting boots grew fainter and fainter. The cat was coming again to play with the mouse. In his hand the man held a long-barreled revolver, and he was pointing it straight at Rainsford's heart. Your strength and stamina against mine.
After a fitful night of insomnia and light dozing, the sound of a distant pistol shot awakens him in the early morning. Both are also highly enjoyable. Our protagonist has to keep his wits and outsmart his pursuer if he wants to survive. Naturally, I continued to hunt--grizzliest in your Rockies, crocodiles in the Ganges, rhinoceroses in East Africa. Rainsford fashions another trap by tying his knife to a sapling.
It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror. But what Rainsford sees as bonding over a mutual love for hunting has a sinister dimension that he has yet to fully grasp. I have invented a new sensation. A blue gap showed between the trees dead ahead. These allusions juxtaposed with Zaroff's behavior create an intentional irony in his character. He tried to escape, but his door was locked and looking down he saw the dogs that guarded the property.
But the sharp eyes of the hunter stopped before they reached the limb where Rainsford lay; a smile spread over his brown face. I read it years ago and was reminded of it just today. But perhaps the general was a devil-- An apprehensive night crawled slowly by like a wounded snake and sleep did not visit Rainsford, although the silence of a dead world was on the jungle. As he drew closer, he heard a screaming sound, like an animal in pain, but he continued to swim toward the ruckus. Sanger Rainsford told the man his name and explained that he had fallen off his yacht. It was the baying of a pack of hounds. Leave it to say that you should The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell.
After he realizes he cannot swim back to the boat, he swims to Ship-Trap, which is notorious for shipwrecks. . He was dressed in uniform--a black uniform trimmed with gray astrakhan. He points a gun at Rainsford and only backs down when another man, General Zaroff appears. He need not play that game if he doesn't wish to. I have heard that voice, and sometimes even though it is muffled, it is there, hoping it will not be ignored. He noticed the many mounted animal heads along the walls.
Later that year, he sold his first short story. As Rainsford presumably kills Zaroff, he experiences contentment and satisfaction. The softness of the earth had given him an idea. It was the shore of the sea. Who cares how a jaguar feels? There, weaving in and out in the pattern of shadow, were black, noiseless forms; the hounds heard him at the window and looked up, expectantly, with their green eyes. Night found him leg-weary, with hands and face lashed by the branches, on a thickly wooded ridge.
They do excessively stupid and obvious things. He finally reached shore and didn't awake until late the next afternoon. Rainsford runs for hours until he mistakenly steps into a bed of quicksand. The baying of the hounds stopped abruptly, and Rainsford's heart stopped too. Nothing escaped those searching black eyes, no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no mark, no matter how faint, in the moss. Zaroff hints, however, that he has found a new kind of animal to hunt, one with courage, cunning, and reason. Most people praise long novels for their ability to hold a reader's attention and create a graceful story arc, but I think it's just as challenging to tell a fully developed story in a small number of pages.