Home > Flash Fiction, Random > I really wish I had a clever title for this.

I really wish I had a clever title for this.

So today, Wednesday, August 15th of 2012, I begin a new journey. One that I am excited to see begin. I will be leaving my home and driving my oldest child to another state to attend college. I am at a bit of a loss for words.

Yesterday, I went to work and my darling wife took my youngest child to his first day of Kindergarten. This will be the last first for us.

Yesterday, my daughter officially started High School.

Yesterday, my middle son started second grade. I hope he hasn’t corrected his teacher yet.

Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 19th anniversary.

August is always hectic, it is always busy, and this year, it is emotionally charged in ways that it has never been before.

Good luck Shawn. Work hard and take care of yourself.

Good luck Ian. Remember that yours is the third door on the right and that you are supposed to be nice to the other children.

Good luck Connor. Remember to pick up your brother before leaving the school.

Good luck Emily. Be careful and tell that boy to stop looking at you. You have a father with a gun, a shovel and no sense of humor.

I love you dearest. I always will.

L. E. White

Good Old Days

I don’t know what to think of these kids today. I would swear that my sons have no sense of what it takes to survive. The little monsters just want to watch cartoons and play video games. Games are fun but there is a time and a place. This isn’t it.

“Turn. That. Off.”

He looks up at me with sullen eyes as he shuts his little game system. I would grab it out of his hands and smash it but they are expensive. I don’t want to be wasteful.

But this is important. Today is his first hunt. He hasn’t been out before and I realize that he doesn’t know what it takes. I have tried to teach him how important it is. To explain why he has to learn but kids today just don’t get it. So, like his older brother, I will take him hunting. I will ignore his boredom until we see something to shot at and then I will watch his eyes light up as he sights down the gun. I will watch the boredom drain out and be replaced by desire.

I will watch him fill with hunger.

We are lying on the ground beneath a pine tree. The needles are soft and as long as you lie still you won’t get poked. He is just like his brother, fidgeting and hissing every time another needle pokes into him. He will learn.

The tree is low to the ground, offering better cover than a tree stand and keeping us protected from the elements. If it starts snowing, we won’t be leaving because of cold and wet. This is one of the best natural blinds I have ever found.

The trail in front of us is heavily traveled. I pointed out the droppings and prints as we walked in but my boy didn’t seem all that interested. A few years ago, we walked this same trail in the spring. I pointed out the same things and he stared in fascination. I remember stopping his hand when he reached forward to disturb one of the little piles of waste. “We don’t touch that, it’s dirty,” I had told him, mimicking his mother’s voice a little. Today, he almost rolled his eyes when I pointed these things out.

All that will change in a little bit.

He has a gun of his own; an ancient shotgun that my grandfather used to teach my father to hunt. Dad had used it to teach me just like I used it today. The two of us were sitting in a circle of heavy briars that he had enjoyed hunting in when it had started raining that first time. I will never forget sitting in the rain for an hour as we waited for something to come through. I had been sure that we were the only things foolish enough to be out in the rain but Dad had been sure that we would see something.

He was right.

I heard it before my boy shifted again, the crack of leaves being stepped on. He might not have heard the sound, but he knew it when I tensed up. I listened to his heart beat speed up and saw him raise the gun. He was aimed at the trail and focused on where it was pointing. While I realized that something could have walked by on any side of the tree I wasn’t going to say anything yet. I didn’t him making noise by whipping his head around.

The steps were slow, I wasn’t sure what was coming but I was sure that it was moving with caution. Either it had spotted something else, or it had heard the rustling noises that my son had been making. If we stayed quiet and patient, our quarry would still walk by. Most animals aren’t smart enough to just turn tail and run if they didn’t see you.

Ten minutes later, I saw our target. The soft brown of its coat shifted with each step and the ears twitched as they independently sought out sounds of predators and prey.

I smiled as my little boys eyes widened with the excited fear of a true hunter. He was feeling the thrill of seeing his prey and experiencing the fear of missing his shot. When his eyes darted over to me I nodded to the gun, giving him a slight, silent sign to go ahead. Giving him my consent to grow up a little bit today.

The only problem with this blind is that the branches and needles help hold the sound in. The old gun roared as a he squeezed the trigger and my ears were ringing from it. I don’t know if he watched or not but I saw the animal twitch as it felt the first sting of his shot. I then watched in amazement as it fell over.  My oldest hadn’t managed to kill his first in one go and neither had I.

My boy, no, my little man, is almost dancing in his excitement to go out and check his shot. He is babbling questions as fast as he can speak, asking if I saw it and if he really got it. I hold him back to be sure that it is dead. I don’t want to slip out and find it just stunned. These things can be dangerous to begin with, much less if it’s wounded.

A minute or two pass and it is still just lying there. So we slip out, weapons ready in case it is just stunned, but they aren’t needed. The thing is shuddering as they always do when they die, twitching all over.

“I got it Dad. I got it!”

We stand there, watching the fur fall out and the claws pull back as a literal walking nightmare passes on. The legends aren’t true, werewolves don’t transform back and forth with the moon. They are walking monsters until they die, then you get to see who they were. The great werewolves of the northern world are ferocious, powerful and dangerous.

And in this case, still able to be killed by a young hunter on his first hunt.

“You did real good. Your mom is going to be proud of you.”

We go home. Him bouncing and talking ninety miles a minute while I smile or nod as needed. I would love to tell him to calm down, or to take it easy, but I won’t ruin this by making him behave. He earned the right to talk as much as he wants.

He runs in to tell his mother, to share his glory. I am gathering the guns when I notice his video game. It has fallen out of his pocket and in his excitement he left it in the truck.

I leave it there too and head in to listen to how much bigger the wolf has gotten as he tells his family what he has done.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Random
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