The bush closed in behind him, his passing marked only by the faint rustle of leaves as he moved carefully forwards, all his senses alert for the slightest sound, the smallest movement. From about fifty feet ahead, slightly to his left, came the sound of cloth brushing against the trunk of a tree, then silence.
He froze, his eyes catching the flutter of some leaves as the twig they were on sprang back into place. Aiming just to the right of the disturbed twig, he fired the small crossbow he carried, dropping into a crouch in almost the same instant. A coughing grunt and the sound of a body dropping to the ground told him that his target was at least wounded, and the sound of someone scrambling through the bush a little to the right of that position sent him trotting off in pursuit of the second man; as long as he could hear him blundering along, his own progress could be faster.
The bush was thinning out now, and he could see flashes of movement as the other man ran desperately. He kept pace easily, and soon the opportunity he was waiting for presented itself. The man he was following was halfway across a clearing, a grassy open space. All the thick vegetation was fast opening up, soon to become the open plains, offering no cover at all.
The hunted man stopped, glancing wildly around. He knew he was being followed, but could not see anyone. Jensen raised the crossbow, but before he could pull the trigger there was a loud “Huff!” and a snort from across the clearing. He could feel the vibration through the soles of his veldskoen as a rhino burst into the clearing, bounced to a stop in a small cloud of dust, and stood peering with short-sighted eyes at the man in the clearing. The rhino’s ears flicked back and forward as it sniffed the air. With the wind blowing towards it, the rhino’s sensitive nose immediately identified the source of the man-smell that had disturbed it. Without hesitation it burst into a full charge, ears back and head lowered. Jensen could see that the man’s reflexes were just not up to this challenge, and only now was he hurriedly raising the rifle that he carried.
The rhino’s long horn smashed through the man’s chest as Jensen lowered the crossbow and quietly headed back to check on his first victim. By the time he had backtracked and located him Jensen found only another corpse.
The crossbow bolt was almost totally buried in the man’s chest, going in the side and piercing both lungs. The man had dragged himself under a bush and died there. Searching the body, finally cutting open the bottom of a leather bag slung about the dead mans shoulders, Jensen carefully extracted a shiny mini Compact Disk, putting it carefully in the small leather case on his belt. He then cut a stick about two feet long and three quarters of an inch thick, trimmed it, and carefully butted the end up against the crossbow bolt shaft. He braced himself, then suddenly pushed hard. The stick drove the bolt halfway out of the other side of the mans chest. Jensen wrapped the remains of the leather bag around the arrow head, then jerked the bolt completely out. No need leaving any more evidence than necessary. He pulled the stick out of the body, broke it in two and stuffed it into the dead mans leather bag. The bag would be disposed of on his trip back to camp, but just to confuse things even further Jensen broke a leafy twig off a tree some distance away, then used the small branch as a brush to obliterate his tracks. That would not help if someone brought in a Bushman tracker, but anybody else would be at a loss to explain what had happened. Hyenas, vultures and other small scavengers would soon demolish the bodies of the two men, but Jensen was careful both by nature and training.