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April 20th, 2006

A few months ago a friend was asking for ideas for a short story for his homework. I suggested writing an irony in the second person. He didn't take me up on it, but I gave it a go. Here are the results:

The fire

You wake up with a start. You know that sound. You know that smell.

You rush over to your partner and wake her. With a nudge, she gets up and looks at you invitingly until she, too, recognises that sound. Then she, too, notices that smell.

The two of you try to get away, heading toward a lake that you know is not very far away. Your way is blocked, you can't get to the lake.

You hear a very loud roar overhead and look up. A large yellow object flies by just above the tree-tops. As it passes, it drops water violently near you. You jump back, startled, raising your tail and revealing its white underside to your nearby partner. She jumps, too, then jumps again reacting to your warning signal.

The acrid smoke is starting to bother you. You are having trouble breathing. You are having trouble seeing. You and your mate continue toward the sun, hoping to find a way around the heat, looking for the route to the water you know is there.

It is getting hotter. You are getting tired. Your antlers weigh you down, slowing you and catching on branches. You continue in the hope that you are almost to safety.

The fire is closing in. You are in pain. Your hooves are starting to ache and blister from the heat. You are running out of time.

You call out to your mate, hardly able to see. You hear no response.

You pause.

Where is she, you ask yourself.

You go back along your track. You trip. You fall over. You look down. Your last bit of energy is drained: It is your mate. She does not react. You know.

You muster up some energy and overcome your feeling of grief. You have a basic urge to survive. You continue toward the sun. It is disappearing.

The sun disappears, but it does not get dark. The sun appears to be in every direction. You no longer know which way to go.

You hear the roar again. You look up, but you don't see anything. You hear a crash close to you. You follow the sound. A path appears to the lake. It is wet.

You get to the lake. You rest your hooves in the water. You are still feeling hot. You move away from the heat. You find a meadow. You fall asleep in the middle of the clearing, in a cool area close to the lake.

You wake up. It is cool. The sun is now behind you. You went the right way. You travel a little bit further away from the sun and find a stream feeding the lake. You stop to take a drink. You pause to think about your mate. It hurts, but you are prepared to move on. You look in the water and see your reflection. You are alive.

You look up from your reflection in the water you are drinking. Something is not right. You see me. I am holding up my rifle. I fire.

Posted at 10:39 on April 20, 2006

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April 13th, 2006 | essays | April 21st, 2006

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