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The Most Dangerous Game
by Richard Connell
The Most Dangerous Game Part 2 Summary
A little fuzzy-headed, Rainsford pulls himself together and heads out to the forest. He starts off by creating a looping confusion of paths, doubling back, and leaving misleading clues in an effort to throw Zaroff off his path. He leaves no traces: “[…] only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail […]” (II.3). That night he sleeps in a tree. But the next morning, sure enough, here comes Zaroff. Looks like this is it for our intrepid hero. But nope. Zaroff lets Rainsford go in order to prolong the pleasure of the hunt. And he lets out a spine-tingling cackle to go along with it. Why do all villains have that same laugh? Rainsford hauls himself to another part of the island and builds a trap. And here comes Zaroff. Seriously, this guy doesn’t miss a thing. He laughs at Rainsford’s effort to get him with a “Malay mancatcher,” which only swipes him on the arm. Nice try, though. Rainsford goes on the run again and this time winds up at “Death Swamp” (get it?), which is a pit of quicksand. He has a flash of inspiration and starts digging a pit. It reminds him of digging trenches in World War I. But a major world conflict is child’s play compared to this situation. He places stakes at the bottom of the pit and covers it with branches. He hides and waits… Here comes Zaroff. Rainsford manages to trap one of the precious hounds with his pit, but not Zaroff. Zaroff heads back to his chateau, but not before complimenting Rainsford on his fine work on the Burmese tiger pit. Nighttime. Better get some rest for the climatic third day, right? And there's nothing like the sound of a pack of baying hounds to rouse you out of bed in the morning. He spies Zaroff and Ivan headed his way with those pesky puppies. Time to make another trap: a knife tied to a sapling. Just a little trick he learned in Uganda from those natives. The forest goes quiet. Rainsford braves a peek: Ivan took one for the team. The Ugandan knife trap worked. Rainsford has a feeling his luck has run out. He jumps off a cliff into the sea. Meanwhile, back at the castle… Zaroff is just not satisfied. It’s hard to get good help on the island (especially if you're looking for burly homicidal Cossacks), so replacing Ivan won’t be easy. Plus, he feels like Rainsford totally cheated by jumping in the ocean. Like all depressed people, Zaroff decides to go to bed. Lo and behold! Who is in his bedroom but his very own prey—Rainsford himself. Zaroff admits defeat, but Rainsford isn't content with an academic win. The thing about prey, especially dangerous prey, is that it gets mad when it's cornered. Now, it does get a little hazy and suggestive here—but we're pretty sure that Zaroff ends up making a tasty meal for his hounds… and that Rainsford has the best night's sleep of his life. And we can't say we're sorry.
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