The Wild Hunt

Author: Andrew Schoen

Diana plucked her heavy bow from the infinite abyss. With its tremendous weight suddenly lightened, she extended her weapon high overhead, signaling that the hunt was about to commence. But this was not any ordinary hunt conducted by earthly bodies. No, it would act as an existential quest—a hunt that would only conclude following the discovery of her rightful place in the universe.

She took aim at her first target: her twin brother, Apollo. Diana was well aware of how bold it was to challenge another wildly proficient archer like herself, especially one who happened to be the centerpiece of the cosmos. But her ambition, along with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, consumed her every action. If she was going to carve out her own space, she might as well occupy the best space she could find. Bow in hand, she drew a celestial arrow from her quiver and flung it towards the molten surface of Apollo’s body. On impact, the arrow disintegrated into millions of microscopic particles—a cloud of space dust interspersing across an infinite plane into eternity. Unfazed, Apollo mustered a prodigious wave of energy and hurled it towards his sister. The conflagration sent Diana tumbling backward, spinning every which way until she no longer recognized her surroundings.

She awoke in a field of asteroids, not far from the home of her violent cousin, Ares. Knowing his red body was far too warlike to tolerate company, Diana slowly crept away to avoid his wrath. As she receded, she nudged an asteroid out of its place, sending shockwaves across the galaxy. At the sound of this siren, Ares sprang into action, firing clouds of rusty dust in every direction imaginable. With her vision obstructed by red haze, Diana procured another arrow, notched it in her bow, and drew it back with every modicum of her strength. But the bowstring wouldn’t budge. She tried again, heaving the string with all her might. Still nothing. Ares used this momentary lapse to gather one of his moons and launch it at Diana—dislodging her weapon from her grasp before sending her cartwheeling back to wherever she came from.

Diana, now bow-and-arrow-less, found herself in the proximity of Earth. No one in her family possessed much knowledge about the world of humans, so she decided to observe them for herself. Hovering high above the atmosphere, she orbited the terrestrial planet countless times—waving to Atlas with each additional revolution. Diana had always admired the way Atlas performed his duty without complaint, and examining him in his element provided her with a sense of serenity she’d never felt before this moment. He looked so stoic in his support of the humans.

She loved the way the humans tethered themselves to their homes in some form or another, rarely straying far from their individual sites of creation. They were far from perfect, but their presence, along with Atlas’s stoicism, left her at peace. The shadow of Earth might not have been the best place to exist in the galaxy, but this place felt right to her. She propelled her body slightly closer to Earth, flipping and spiraling her elegant equilibrium in the process.

After a few more twists and gyrations, Diana finally settled into place. Into her place adjacent to these curious, mortal beings she enjoyed watching over so much. The hunt was over—she found her home. Just close enough for her and the humans to see each other, yet just far enough that she was out of their reach… at least for a couple millennia or so.

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