No One Speaks

March 16, 2012
The gentle clodding of boots comes to a sudden stop as I approach the alcove of trees and settle down on a log, propping my gun on the ground with a firm grip around the barrel. My father- my hunting partner- sits on a large stone not more than perhaps a yard away. The sun has just begun to peak over shadowed mountains, and my difficulty to see in the crisp morning dusk is steadily fading.

I watch the clearing in front of us intently. Any glimmer of movement is generally poised as prey and thus my gun is set to be moved at any moment possible.

The twilight is dark, though not as much so as it was mere hours before in the early morning dark when you could hardly see three yards ahead of you. The stars above begin to fade along with the black of the night as the sun begins to rise; it has seldom begun to peek up from the mountains around us, which are now being cast in a amaranthine shadow. It should be hard to see, but it’s not; in fact, I can make out the surroundings quite well.
The crisp air almost bothers me, creating a sense of discomfort. However, I quickly disregard this- just ahead, I catch the slightest movement. The grip on the barrel of my gun tightens as a doe- just a small little thing- enters the clearing which we have been watching. I am quick to act, training my gun on the doe; quick to c*** it, quick to put my finger on the trigger. I am quick to do so. I am not quick enough.

He fires.

There is a resounding sound throughout the mountains, and then silence. No more silent than when sitting and watching, but after the shell shock of the clatter leaves a sense that the whole world has died and left us behind. Actually, rather, has left me behind, because I sense no presence next to me until my father moves forward to collect the kill. He must have felt the same surreal effect, because he has to glance over, perhaps to ensure that I am still there. I follow tentatively, gun locked in a trembling hand. I don’t realize the tremor has surfaced until I move and hear the rattle of my gun; obviously I am still shell shocked, or perhaps my heart is pumping because of the adrenaline of the hunt I am still recovering from.

I kneel with him next to the bleeding life form. Its breath is shallow, steadily dying. But it’s in pain. This is the first time I’ve had to do this, had to reach for the knife around my waist and cut the vein in its neck. The first time I’ve seen a creature lay there, still living after the gun shot- ordinarily, they die right away. Then again, I’ve never hunted deer before. I cringe at the blood. It’s not the first time I’ve killed something, but I’m still not used to the bleeding. Next, he begins to gut it. I can’t handle it. Gutting a rabbit is nothing; it’s small and not unlike a fish, what with its general lack of large, squelching organs. I have to stand and step away for a moment, easing myself into it like a swimming pool, breaking it into chunks- first dealing with the imagery, then the smell and the sound. It’s gruesome and I dislike it but I push through.

Soon there comes a time when it’s light enough to haul back to camp. I’ve got to run back to camp and find Jared and Devon- employees and close friends of my father who’d decided to come with us. Devon isn’t there, but thankfully Jared is. Jared was the one that brought the ATV. As he finishes his breakfast and hops onto the vehicle in a short matter of minutes, I run back down the hill and through the forest to where my father waits with the defunct creature. I dislike standing next to the body, so I take my place an acceptable few feet away. Looking at the lifeless thing, cold sloe eyes completely glazed over- it makes me rather grievous, to be honest.

After a decent amount of time, Jared comes riding down the hill and to the field. He’s had to find a shortcut wide enough to pull the ATV down, but he manages just fine. We load the deer onto the vehicle, and as Jared drives it back, my father and I take the slow route back. Slowly, we walk through the forest, absorbing the dimly lit scenery around us in silence. No one speaks; no one needs to. Even after the shell shock of the kill, even with the rattling metal of rifles clutched in our thickly gloved hands, there is an air of peace around us. With the nipping of the hawkish mountain air at our cheeks and the muffled silence of the snow-topped slopes around us, we know everything is fine. No one speaks; no one wants to.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback