Flash Fiction: Shady Brook

I'm getting a little self-conscious about posting all this writing on here, but hey, a promise is a promise. If nothing else, this flash fiction experiment is teaching me the value of free writing.
I just hope the stories (which are all unplanned at the beginning, by the way) are at least comprehensible. Anyway, enough bickering. Here's today's entry. Enjoy!

The two boys crept through the dense thicket of ferns, paused for a moment and let their arrow fly.

“Whop! A direct hit! Nice shot Marcus!”

Marcus adjusted the crow feather he’d found earlier and plunked into his ear to block out the sun.

“Thanks Nick. I wonder what we hit. Let’s go check it, huh?”

Nick nodded enthusiastically and the pair pushed their way through the ferns. The forest was thick, but their prey had fallen in an easy clearing. As the boys stepped into it they were surrounded by rays of golden sunlight, piercing down in near-parallel rays from above the high tree canopy. It was noon, or thereabouts.

The pair scanned the ground and their eyes fell to the struggling form pinned to the side of a tree by a vicious looking arrow. The legs were still kicking and a small pool of crimson blood was forming underneath.

“A rabbit! Whop! Right through the heart, I’d say. You hit a rabbit Marcus! Nice shot!”

“Thanks. Makes me feel like one of them folks Father’s been talking to. They shoot the rabbits, you know. Use every part of them too. The fur for gloves and the legs for meat. Probably even find some use for the bones and teeth, but I don’t know.”

“What do you think Father will say when he sees it?”

“I don’t know. It’s supper at least. That will make him happy.”

While the boys were talking the rabbit stopped its struggle. The pool of crimson had filled out nicely. Nick reached for the rabbit, picked it up and plucked the arrow out from the creature’s still heart. A squirt of blood shot onto Marcus’ face and he smeared it into three slashes, pantomiming a native dance he’d observed back at the Indian’s camp one night.

Whop! Whop! He screamed.

“Come out of it now, Nick. We need to get back to camp.”

The boys began their march back through the fern bush, carefully navigating around a cluster of rocks before hopping on the old log and crossing over the Shady Brook stream.

“Father says this place wasn’t always called Shady Brook,” Marcus said. “He says it used to have another name. Its true name before the White Man came and changed it. What do you think of that?”

“What do I think of what?”

“Of the name. Of us changing it. Do you think it changes things any?”

Nick’s eyes crunched up, squeezing the blood war paint into a frightening pattern of intricate lines dancing on his cheeks. He seemed to be thinking. “I don’t know, it does, I suppose. But things always change. That’s the way. Just look at what Father’s doing, he’s trying to change the Indians, isn’t he? Give them religion? Who says they want it?”

The boys walked back in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

It was near dusk by the time they reached the camp. Father was sitting with one of the Indians when the boys walked into the camp, the rabbit proudly slung over Nick’s bloodied shoulders.

“Father! Father!” Nick exclaimed. “Look what we killed out there today! All by ourselves! Can we cook it?”

The conversation with the Indian broke of and the boys’s father made his way over to the two youngsters.

Nick thought he noticed a flicker of momentary disgust pass over the Indian’s eyes before he turned his head to the ground and walked quietly back toward the burning fire at the center of the camp.

Nick’s Father knelt down in front of the boy and sternly asked, “Why did you bring this here?”

Puzzled, Nick answered “We brought it for you.”

“Well, I don’t want it. Can’t you see you’ve insulted Chakotay? I’m surprised he didn’t walk over here and tell you off himself. It’s not good what you are doing, bringing a dead animal in here and asking if we can cook it when there’s already plenty of food.”

Marcus, feeling pity for his brother chimed in. “We thought you’d be proud of us. You always say a man needs to make it for himself. He needs to stand on his own two feet and get his own food.”

“That might be true, but not here. Can’t you boys see? These here Indians, they see us as takers. Takers who consume all that’s around them. We’re like blight to them. That’s why they need religion. That’s why they need us here. We’re not takers, but we’ve got to show them that. Now get rid of that rabbit Nick. And for the love of God, loose the war paint and the feather!”

Confused, the boys scampered off into the woods, depositing the rabbit into Shady Brook.

“I just don’t get it,” Nick said, after a long silence.

“Get what?”

“How we’re the takers.”

Marcus couldn’t answer. “Come on, let’s go back and ask Chakotay what they used to call Shady Brook. I think he’d like that.”

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