HUNTING FOR YOUR SKIN
"Death is nothing at all ... Nothing is past, nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again."
- English theologian Henry Scott Holland
I am Judice. It is a golden morning. The upper-desert breeze is cool on my face and it whispers in my ear. I hear a bird singing. I take a deep breath. Sitting so still is hard. But I can see why those hairy guru weirdos like it. You can see things you never noticed. The desert is so delicate and sharp.
Here he comes. At this distance he looks like a bouncing ball! He is golden with shades of grey like the morning desert all around him. How funny. He’s bouncing on all fours like a cartoon coyote. He’s glancing left and right like he’s saying good morning to other desert critters. He’s still coming towards us. I hear the bird singing.
Jacey told my mom and dad that coyote skins are going for about $30. This coyote is young, big and healthy. He should be worth even more.
The coyote suddenly stops and seems to be staring in our direction.
Coyotes are very keen on noise and movement and they have great noses.
I hold my breath. I hear the bird singing and it sounds too loud. But the coyote decides to continue in our general direction at an angle far to our right. I bite my lip to keep from snickering because he is so funny as he bounces on all fours, la-dee-dah. But I keep my eye and my rifle as one and the same.
Jacey blows softly on a little closed-reed coyote caller, making a sound like a jackrabbit in distress. We all keep rabbits to eat. I remember how surprised I was when I found out they scream.
The coyote stops again and stares in our direction. He is face-on towards me.
“Now,” whispers Jacey, the word barely rising above the cool desert breeze in my ear.
My rifle sounds like a door slamming in that peaceful desert. I smell a sweet savor. I see a mist of blood burst from the coyote’s right shoulder under his chin. He drops on his side and rolls onto his back. It isn’t like in the movies. No dramatic staggering. It’s like he was snatched down by the earth to witness the sky. His head rolls from side to side in slow motion. I suddenly imagine that I can hear him thinking, “Oh, my God, what happened to me?”
There are several reasons for hunting coyote. If you enjoy hunting it allows off-season hunts… they are a nuisance in some areas
Coyotes seem to become more active right before a storm front moves in.
Jacey hugs my shoulders and kisses my chin as we get up and go over to the coyote, “I love you, Judice. Jesus loves you.”
The Christian Harvest Outdoor Ministries offers fully guided hunts in a delightful Christian atmosphere.
Jacey is the Student Ministry Team Leader. Jacey would have to be impressed with this kill. I really like her. This has done it, I can tell. She was saved at the age of ten, but I want Jacey to like me as more than just another Self-Confrontation Disciple. I want to be special. This coyote showed her I can do it.
God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Jacey is looking down at the coyote’s final volitions. The cool desert breeze pets the coyote’s fur. It is a fine kill. The coyote’s fur is truly golden with shades of grey. And Jacey never looked so beautiful. The golden morning, the sweet silence, the perfect kill: This moment is so perfect for us. I just want to kiss her skin.
I embrace Jacey and she pretends to be startled. I kiss her chin. I try to kiss her mouth. She pretends to push away. I hold her dearly.
Jacey cries, “Stop it, Judice! What are you thinking?”
Jacey struggles backwards, staring wide-eyed into my face.
Jacey cries, “For God’s sake, what is wrong with you? For the love of Jesus, are you a God damned lesbian? Leave me ALONE!” and Jacey forcefully renounces my embrace. Her face is now red-veined meat contorted in revulsion.
I cry, “Jacey, what? You don’t hate me! We love each other! You said so!” but Jacey covers her mouth with both hands and whips her head side to side, denying me. Denying everything I offer her. Everything.
What have I done? “Oh, God,” I gag as fall to my knees. Why are you forsaking me, Jacey? I am crying, “Why are you doing this, Jacey?!” Oh, God, oh, God, here comes pain. Such pain! I am crying. I am going to vomit.
Jacey is slowly backing up, abandoning me. Jacey doesn’t care. I hiss breathlessly in pain, “Don’t you care at all?”
I pick-up my rifle, rising onto one knee, “If I can’t have you…”, now what am I going to do?! I scream, “What am I supposed to do?!”
I aim the rifle at her, the barrel is shaking, my eyes are burning. Jacey raises her hands and clasps them in front of her face as she backs up. Suddenly, she falls down backwards and then turns over and scrabbles away on her hands and knees screaming, “Help me, Jesus!”
I glance down at the coyote as he gazes so peacefully into eternity. I turn my rifle, taking the muzzle with my left hand and I hold it into my right eye pressing it against the skin of my closed eyelid.
With my right thumb on the trigger I vow my final volition, “”
Return and read all the other stories at The OS Weekend Fiction Club
Return to THE_TABLE_OF_MALCONTENTS