Saturday, August 11, 2007

"One Chance"

He ran, hurried and panicked. The brush slapped his face, adding insult to injury. He knew it had been folly to go there, yet boastful and proud, he had to try once more. Hunger, and the promise of an easy meal drove him to take the risk, despite the danger to him, his family, and his comrades.

He paused and called to his comrades. No answer. They scattered when the first shot winged him. The blood oozed, leaving a faint trail behind him. He knew it lead to him. His pursuer's clumsy footfalls in the woods shouted his confidence of a kill.

As his breathing recovered, he stealed his nerve. He wasn't going down without a fight, but he didn't possess a weapon of such firepower. He waited. Footsteps came closer. A nervous cackle leaked from his throat, and then he shifted his position to the other side of the path. He scrunched down low. His opponent outweighed him by a hundred pounds, but he didn't survive all these years without learning a few tricks. His opponent stood a few feet away, looking in the direction of the last sound, bending over and peering into the forest thicket. His backside was exposed.

Bursting through the weeds, he ran the last few yards, leapt into the air, and grasped the soft flesh on his opponents backside. A primordial screamed erupted. The gunshot blast deafened him. His opponent thrashed in circles trying to get him off, but he only sunk his grasp into him further, his mouth, his only real weapon, biting at grasping hands every time one reached back. The opponent swore, but still couldn't loosen his grasp. The gun dropped to the ground, and the opponent ran up the path from whence he came.

He fell to the ground exhausted, tasting the warm, sickly sweet blood in his mouth. The fleeing enemy, thrashed through the bushes. Satisfied, he smiled and closed his eyes and lay where he had landed.

He lost track of the time. One by one, his family and comrades came by, and deferentially left small offerings. He nibbled some food. His strength slowly returned. He stood. He waddled his way to a small creek and took a drink. His wounds would heal.

He was "The Tom".

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