It’s been three days running in the hot sun. My supplies were set for a five-day journey, but I passed the fifth day a fortnight ago . . . I can’t fail my people.
The beast is quick— bounding and arching from left to right like my son’s plastic ball on cobbled roads. To be quick, isn’t it conventional to be slight? lightly built; to give the laws of physics some credit? Even the first people understood that. But God did not care when he made it. See the abomination that can be near two heads taller than me at its rear, but has outran the craftiest man in Town 3. When God made the thing he did it in one mind: drive Dryrock to insanity; may he die to dust! Give him, this! Turbo Deer! to torment this poor father with weeks separated from his family, to cut his feet on ancient cement and melted tar . . . But for all my whining to God about the animal’s advantage, there came no answer—such is the quickness of the beast.
So I, a weary, sun-baked man, with no more than a republic cap, sole-less high-tops, and heavy-spear, must chase the doe. All because, after days and days of quiet tracking, I panicked: I threw the spear in fear and merely tore its hind. To be honest, the spear handles differently than practice poles and demands lurching hurls to fly it five feet—but excuses will mean nothing if I return with no food to feed the kidlets and old-folk. And here we are. The blood trail is fading. Clean water is a pleasant thought. And here I rest, baking my brains in the middle of some dilapidated Orange County main street. I see a few plastic hides on either side of the street, most likely old security posts, along the tops of some store fronts that still stood. I roll the wrinkled spear shaft in my fists as a warm breeze blows an earthy rot to my nostrils and I know she’s here—
I crouch low at the sound of cement crumbling ahead; I start muttering the parts of a stupid hunter’s luck song my uncle taught me to guarantee kills: Hey, hey, ho, ho, this here strike’s the killing blow. Or was that something I dreamed? It was equally childi—
The beast! She stands just farther than I dare toss the spear. She bobs her head. Her speckled tongue flops around a sagging jaw. Her shoulder and thigh muscles flicker and pulse under her tan coat. She is bigger than I thought. That is why my spear failed before. She drops her head completely in a bow and now I see black wetness dripping from her ears. She jerks her head in affirmation and my kneecaps flutter. I turn the pole in my hands, carefully, until the weight feels even. Giant black scrub-flies bite and buzz around her swollen belly and she huffs. “Yeah,” I say, nodding my head and leaning forward, “I’m tired of running too.”
I wrote this sketch to experiment with some techniques of voice and style. I hope you enjoyed it; Thank you for reading!