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Ivory

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The boy wakes up early this morning, his stomach empty but his head full.
At first, the buzz of mosquitos almost sounds like a humming human voice. The footsteps passing by the place where he rests remind him, for a moment, of his grandfather beating the dust out of their door mat. He smiles despite himself, his memory bringing him back a few months to a more innocent time.
But not for long. Soon he remembers the grisly truth.
He has barely slept at all, waking up terrified in between haunting dreams of elephants attacking him. There was hardly any choice for him, he knows, but still he regrets that he killed the elephant a long month ago and sold its tusks for ivory. While he still had the meat, all he could think about was what a mess his life had become, now that his grandfather is dead. But now he has to come to terms with the fact that it has been two months of desperation, and that today he will die if he can’t get food.
So, today, he will hunt.
He gathers up all of his belongings – a carved bone spearhead, a scrap of cloth from an old blanket, the lucky spear his grandfather gave him – and leaves the patch of dusty earth on which he has lived for the past few days. There never was money to spare – even if there had been, his stern grandfather would have saved it up – but since he sold the ivory from his last elephant and spent it all on a bit of fruit and his bone spearhead, he has been desperate, even begging near Taj Mahal. The effort it will take him to hunt an elephant will kill him in a few hours if he doesn’t have food.
It is life or death.
He reaches the forest near where the elephants dwell. Spear in hand, he spots his prey. It looks so majestic, so pure and innocent, that he regrets having to kill something so beautiful when he would rather watch it from afar like those odd English visitors. But he is reminded of the persistent hunger eating at him and he creeps up to an observation point, hidden by a tree and his knowledge of hiding to hunt elephants. His grandfther might even have smiled proudly if he had seen the boy position himself near a young elephant, spear poised in hand.
The elephant leans in innocently to grab a leaf from the tree with its gentle trunk. It would have been a good chance, but the boy remembers what his grandfather taught him: always watch your prey before hunting it, to know the way it acts. He has been watching this particular elephant for a while, but he wants to use up his sympathy before –
The elephant gingerly leans in for another bite, clearly much more harmless – and hopefully less likely to attack – than the ones he helped his grandfather hunt. It starts to chew.

The boy knows this moment will decide whether he eats or dies.

He lifts his spear, as if in slow motion, and points it toward the elephant’s body. The elephant turns to the spear, but it is too late: the spear is a mere millisecond away from piercing the elephant’s skin.

At that exact moment, when the boy is just about to let go of the spear out of certainty that he will eat tonight (he rejoices in his head), he feels icy claws on his shoulder, pulling him into the jungle and turning the tables on him: now he is the prey and the Creature the skilled hunter.

At least no one cares enough about him to regret that his screams go unheard as he is pulled deep into the jungle.

And all that is left of him is his lucky spear of ivory.




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This article has 24 comments. Post your own!

TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm:
This is cool.  Interesting imagery from a time that is rarely written about.
 
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banangela29 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm:

Very good! The one problem I had with the story is that towards the middle its hard to distinguish whats in the past and present, what with the killing of the elephant and all. I really like your writing style, though!

If you get the chance, check out some of my work :)

 
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Thrush said...
May 27, 2010 at 3:23 pm:
cool anne! likin' it!
 
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ZAVERY said...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm:
Wow! I really loved this one, AnneOnnimous!
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm :
teehee; i wrote it a while ago. :P I hope you like the quote on my profile, and I need to see your house soon. Call me, or I might have to break in using my ninja skills. Trust me, you would not want to meet my numchucks in the middle of the night!!
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm :
wow, sorry. I meant to comment that on my friend's article, and for some random confusing reason it posted this here. So please don't think I'm a creeper; this was referring to our inside jokes. LOl
 
ZAVERY replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm :
Oh... you kinda scared me when you said that! Haha!
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm :
sorry, haha! My friends and I act really creepy to each other, and we probably sound like total losers to other people!
 
ZAVERY replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm :
Haha! Same here! People just stare at us as if they don't do that either... :p
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 9:00 pm :
haha, yeah, that happens a lot... we'll post things on each other's wall on facebook, saying things that make us sound like total stalkers and crazy people. Everyone probably thinks we have problems or something... so I'm glad to know that other people say creepy things ot their friends!
 
ZAVERY replied...
Apr. 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm :
Oh... Everyone does that kind of stuff! Don't worry about what others think, because they all do that kinda stuff with their friends.
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm :
yeah, although everyone sort of had different senses of humour and things they talk about with their friends
 
ZAVERY replied...
Apr. 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm :
Well, I am a totally different person when I'm with my friends and when I'm on Teenink.com. I am really serious on this website. Although, I'm totally funny and random with my Bffs. I guess there is a limit for me between writing and fun!
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm :
oh, I know what you mean abotu how different I act here from when I'm with my friends! I always try to be a bit playful and funny on teenink, but I think everyone just ends up thinking I'ma  freak or something...
 
ZAVERY replied...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm :

Yeah, same here! I'm actually more of the serious type in reality, like general. I love to change myself and seem like I'm a total doof on this website, when I'm actually not.

 

Anyways, this is a place to comment on you work, so sorry if I changed the subject. Read my first comment I wrote here!   :)

 
AnneOnnimous replied...
May 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm :
lol, yeah, we did get a little sidetracked... and thanks for your first comment!(please ignore my first comment :/ ) On this website I often seem very annoying, obnoxious and opinio nated, when in real life, I am opinionated but still sweet and nice.
 
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Chickadee said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 11:31 am:
I really enjoyed reading this. It was a little greusome but otherwise really good. I have some new stuff posted if you wouldn't mind reading and commenting on some of it.
 
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LaylaViolet said...
Jan. 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm:
I'm ignoring your Twilight comment on your profile.
The twist at the ending made me go 'WHAT?!'. Some of the sentences were a little weird, but overall--nice effect. A
 
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Secreteer said...
Jan. 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm:
wow, the ending was a real twist. some sentences were phrased a little awkwardly, but over all, my main thought is... wow. You're a really skilled writer and you should post some more stuff up for us.
 
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm :
the ending is not what i expected! nice dramatic twist! that is definitely better than an ending where he has a nice dinner and ends up being tarazan! good job!
 
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