Wednesday, October 16, 2013

duel


photo: Beware of Dog, by Justin Morris


He leaped across the shallow muddy creek, misjudging the water's width and his own beer-bellied girth, falling with the butt of the shotgun pounded into the soft creek underbelly like a stake through a napping Dracula's heart. He broke his fall reaching out to the sharp gravel with his shooting hand, and was bleeding. It made him more furious for the score to settle. He limped with soaked pant legs up to sore knees along the farm-road by the graveyard, past a thick shrubbery full of scattering blackbirds and a tree housing an abandoned hornet's nest. Beyond a splintered white gate he inspected both barrels. Clean for the kill.

Only days before, as the judgement against him for amount due was being read, tears rolling down his face onto a stiff white collar, he saw hope fading, and it reminded him of a line from an old movie for those with their backs to the wall: Do they know what a shotgun is for? Must be a pellet for every one hundred dollars owed, he thought.

The plaintiff stood on his porch, knowing what a shotgun was for. Stood there holding his suspender straps. He had a terrible scar on his chin that made him look as though he was constantly smiling; made you just naturally resent him like you were a clown he was amused by. The sight was raised to his gut, hand with gravel embedded remarkably steady, breathing calm from both fellows. One cricket started to sing, others in the chorus hesitant.
"I got my dog", the smiling man said, fearless.

The sorrowful man relaxed his trigger finger, lowered the sights slightly, and stood listening, scanning the porch, stable, and barn. Satisfied there was no beast he took aim once more. Wait a moment - there came in the silence of the crickets a slight crackling of maybe a trampling of hay, a hurried rustling. He turned his head and looked into the forbidden gentle eyes of the dog behind a narrow broken plank of the barn.

The dog snorted, sounding like farm machinery chugging after a winter thaw. Eye contact set the cast between the hunter and prey. He felt the blood drain from his head, dropped the gun and ran, the dog pounding its head against the narrow opening. That was the last anyone saw of the gunman, wheezing and coughing, a sprint through the woods like a charging elephant knocking down trees. A general alarm was issued for the mad man. People in the village triple-checked their deadbolts at dusk.

Three days later the local constable found the man dead, wide-eyed fright etched into a stone face, sprawled face up in a dry creek bed, the crime scene illuminated in a posse of dim lanterns.

3 Comments:

Blogger hyperCRYPTICal said...

I guess the dog got him?
Anna :o]

10/17/2013 8:48 AM  
Blogger ds said...

Talk about a hound from Hell...

10/17/2013 12:27 PM  
Blogger ~T~ said...

*shiver*

10/18/2013 2:20 PM  

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