Tuesday, April 6, 2010
This vignette I wrote for a class
I collapse back against the tree trunk. I fight to harness my raging breath and pounding heart. How could I have been so stupid? The old man told me the tiger, a man-eater, had been stalking the camp for days. I curse my youth and arrogance.
The air stands still. The wet heat shimmers green. He must be close, the birds hold their chirping, the saar beetles fall silent. No breeze. Perhaps he won’t smell me. I must control my breathing.
A moment passes. Where is he? Run! No! Stay. I clutch the revolver, pressing its cool barrel against my lips. Why didn’t I bring my rifle? A crack, a rustle, birds screech fleeing the treetops.
He’s right behind the tree. I must run. Right or left? One chance. Crack. I whirl left. Wrong choice. The striped demon crouches low in the grass. Paralyzed in the amber fire of his eyes, I can’t even scream.
I raise the gun. He springs, slashes. My hand! The gun! They disappear into burning pain. An eviscerating swipe tears my torso. I’m flung to the ground, the beast crushing my chest with an iron paw. Golden eyes pierce through the black pain closing in around me. He throws his head back. The roar crashes against the pain and crushing pressure. His fangs flash to my throat.
He whips his head around. His ears perk up.
“Time for lunch.”
My nephew rolls off my chest. I sit up.
“After lunch could we be cowboys?”