Fear radiates from both she and her companion. Through night-vision goggles special ordered for just such an occasion, the Hunter can almost see Erin’s dilated pupils, the way her chest heaves as she half-drags her friend to some imagined safe port in the storm. Her friend – blonde, blue-eyed, with a close-trimmed beard and a penchant for watching her when she is unaware – is bleeding. Badly. Between his blood and the haphazard way they forge through the underbrush, tracking them is a simple matter.
The clouds are thick in the night sky, and there are thunderstorms in the forecast. The highway is at least a mile from here. Since he began tracking them, Erin has made some surprisingly foolhardy decisions – frankly, he’d expected more of her, but she’s been running in exactly the wrong direction for the past six hours. She and her friend both have cell phones, he is certain, but there’s no reception in this area – they’d have better luck using tin cans tied together with string out here. It’s only a matter of time.
He prefers hunting in the spring or fall – while the ground is still soft enough to ensure easy burial after the kill, but before the summer’s rampant overgrowth makes progress through the woods slow going. Erin forced his hand this time, but he’s not bitter about that. On the contrary, he’s looking forward to the game. He’s always loved a challenge.
I think this first page is very effective in drawing the reader in – it establishes the scene well, raises the stakes and leaves the reader eager to learn more. There are a few minor points however that I think might make this first page even more compelling:
1. The descriptions in the first two paragraphs make it sound like we are in daylight and so when the night vision goggles are mentioned I was taken out of the story as I wondered how does he know the girl’s hair is red or the man’s eyes are blue if it’s at night? By the third paragraph it’s clear the hunter has been stalking them for hours but, still, the issue took me out of the story.
2. The use of the name ‘the Hunter’ took me out of the scene as well. Although this first page is written in third person, the thoughts are those of the antagonist and I wondered whether he called himself ‘the Hunter’ or whether it sounded too distant – pulling us away from the very close perspective we have.