HANGING IN THE TREES, AS IF CAUGHT THERE, IS A SICKLE OF A MOON. Its wan light scatters shadows on the snow below, only obscuring further the forest that this man negotiates now as much by feel as by sight. He is on foot and on his own save for a single dog, which runs ahead, eager to be heading home at last. All around, the black trunks of oak, pine, and poplar soar into the dark above the scrub and deadfall, and their branches form a tattered canopy overhead. Slender birches, whiter than the snow, seem to emit a light of their own, but it is like the coat of an animal in winter: cold to the...
Tigers are similar to drugs in that they are sold by the gram and the kilo, and their value increases according to the refinement of both product and seller. But there are some key differences: tigers can weigh six hundred pounds; they have been hunting large prey, including humans, for two million years; and they have a memory.
Trush has been threatened many times, and his attitude is: “A barking dog  doesn’t bite.” He knows how things are done in Russia, and that if someone powerful wanted him killed there would be little he could do to prevent it (in the taiga, the same is said to be true of a tiger when it has set its sights on a victim).
In any case, Lev Khomenko saw or sensed the tiger in time to take off his gloves and lay them neatly on the snow. With his hands free for shooting, he turned  toward the tiger’s hiding place, stepping from side to side as if searching for a clean sightline. By the time he brought his rifle to his shoulder, the tiger was already charging.