This is another grade 8 writing assignment. We had to write one of the missing scenes from The Most Dangerous Game, in the style of it's author. This story is about a big-game hunter (Rainsford) stranded on an island where a crazy Cossack hunts humans. This picks up after Rainsford jumps off a cliff to escape the Cossack. I recommend you read the full story first, at least up until the bit where this starts.

Full story link: www(dot)classicshorts(dot)com/stories/danger(dot)html

P.S. the italicized bit is from the actual story


Rainsford had hardly tumbled to the ground when the pack took up the cry again.

"Nerve, nerve, nerve!" he panted, as he dashed along. A blue gap showed between the trees dead ahead. Ever nearer drew the hounds. Rainsford forced himself on toward that gap. He reached it. It was the shore of the sea. Across a cove he could see the gloomy gray stone of the chateau. Twenty feet below him the sea rumbled and hissed. Rainsford hesitated. He heard the hounds. Then he leaped far out into the sea. . .

Rainsford plunged towards the clear blue water, regretting his impetuous decision. "Nerve, nerve!" he whispered to himself. Then he hit the water. He struck with such force that all his breath was driven out of him. He couldn't see; he struggled towards the surface. Rainsford broke the surface and gasped for air. Realizing that Zaroff and the hounds would soon reach the edge of the cliff, Rainsford swam quickly towards the rock face. He knew that his only chance was to be presumed dead; smashed on the jagged rocks he was headed towards now.

Rainsford reached the safety of the rocks just as the baying of the hounds reached its peak. He imagined them sniffing, sniffing suspiciously the last place he had left his scent and gnashing their long, sharp teeth at their escaped prey. He thought he heard humming, something from an opera that he didn't quite recognize. Suddenly, Rainsford realized that he had been concentrating too hard on the music. He was deep in the midst of the tooth-like boulders now. He could all too easily be knocked out and drown here, far away from anyone who would ever care. With this thought, Rainsford was imbued with a sudden determination to survive, no matter what. Somehow, he would escape this hellish island and return to wreak revenge upon the hateful general.

Rainsford wanted badly to swim towards the open water in the bay, but he knew Zaroff, though he was high upon the cliff, would notice him, and he had no doubt that he would be able to shoot him despite the added handicaps of distance and water. So, although he was straining to stay afloat and away from certain death at the hands of hard stone, he did not swim to the seeming safety that was so close, and yet so impossibly far away.

"I will not lose my nerve, I will not lose my nerve." Rainsford muttered. Then he spat, for in opening his mouth to speak, he had allowed salt water to enter it. It was getting harder and harder to stay above water, and he knew his concentration was lapsing. Then, a welcome sound, Zaroff was leaving with the hounds. Rainsford knew that if he stayed inside the maze of boulders too long, all would be lost, so he made his decision. He started swimming frantically towards the open water of the bay, desperate to be free of the jagged rocks. He heard a peculiar sound behind him, but he ignored it, and focused on swimming.

Rainsford had just moments to understand what had caused the noise before he was swept up by an enormous wave and slammed mercilessly into the hard rocks.

OOO

Rainsford awoke hours later. By some amazing chance, he had not perished in the water after being knocked out, but had instead been thrown, none too gently, onto a ledge. His body was a mass of uncountable aches and pains. His clothes, ripped and torn, were encrusted with salt. He licked his parched lips and thanked his lucky stars, to which he now owed his life. Rainsford looked out to sea and beheld a gorgeous sight. Then he shuddered, the round orange sun was slowly sinking beneath the magnificent blue sea, just as he had nearly done.

Rainsford quickly grasped that, unless he planned to spend the rest of his short days on this ledge, he had best determine a course of action. He peered across the bay, searching for something on which to base a plan. He caught a glimpse of a dark patch on the opposite cliff and, hoping desperately that it was a cave, settled on that as his destination.

Rainsford knew he had little time to reach the cave before nightfall, so without further ado, he flung himself into the water and swam across the bay. Having managed to avoid being crushed upon the rocks, he clambered, dripping wet, into the cave.

"At the very least," he supposed, "this will serve as shelter from the hot sun on the morrow." Unexpectedly, his gaze was drawn to the rear of the cave. Despite the aches that permeated his body, he decided to investigate, and established that there was a ladder leading upwards there, quite well concealed by the foliage. He decided that this could very well be some sort of secret escape from the château, in case of an attack, though by whom he wasn't sure.

Rainsford decided to climb the ladder, and shortly emerged into a dusty storeroom. He stifled a cough, and knelt to listen at the door. He heard footsteps approaching and managed to make out part of a conversation.

"Well, he seemed to be in a foul mood tonight," remarked a young woman.

"I think one of quarries finally got the better of him, by jumping to his death," replied another.

"Well, I guess I'd better go clean his room now, when he's in a mood like this, it's best not to take any chances," said the first woman, and the voices started to move off.

Rainsford made a swift decision. He presumed that "he" was Zaroff and resolved to follow the first woman, even though, in doing so, he ran the risk of discovery.

Some time later, after successfully circumventing the servants, Rainsford slipped into Zaroff's room and hid himself carefully. He felt confident in his ability to surprise Zaroff, after all, he was assumed to be dead, but he did not have a clear plan. And then Rainsford smiled to himself, as he realized that he knew exactly what he would do…