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Sarah
sahuarita
......: :.: ..:::.:...... ......: ...: ..:.:::.

November 2006
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Sarah [userpic]
I wrote something!

It was at one in the morning, and I don't like the voice, and the ending is clunky, but hey! I blew the dust off my keyboard and wrote SOMETHING! To answer three challenges, no less. :)

So I'm going to start trying to answer the weekly challenges in a slightly more weekly fashion. Whee.



Gideon liked birds. He liked the farm animals, and the wild animals, and the creeping things of the ground, too, but he especially liked birds. They weren't as scared of him as most little animals were, and they didn't think he was food like the bigger ones were. They were happy and friendly and curious, in a kind of silly way. Most of them weren't very smart. But neither was Gideon, so he didn't mind.

Ducks came every spring to nest in the river bend near his family's homestead. Glossy, fat, sassy ducks that spent most of their time fighting with each other over the best bit of river grass and the warmest spot in the sun. Gideon came out often to see them. Sometimes he would bring them stale bread, and sometimes he would fight with them over the best spot in the sun.

He knew that at the end of the summer, they would leave", but he didn't really mind. Then he wouldn't have to hear them whine about the cold and hunger, like the rest of the animals did, and feel the pangs of their empty stomachs echo in his own.

After the first frost, the flock flew away, and Gideon didn't think about them for another two weeks. He was walking along the bank of the river when he heard a mournful honking and knew immediately what it meant.

"You broke your wing," he said aloud to the brown-speckled duck he found huddled in the browning grass.

The duck nudged at the wing with her beak.

"Of course they left you. The river is going to get icy, and the plants are going to die. They couldn't stay."

The duck got up and waddled to him, nibbling at his shoes.

"Fine," he said, and the duck followed him home. She stayed in the henhouse and pestered the chickens until Christmas came, and the peskiest chickens were killed.

Then in February, all but a few of the chickens were killed and eaten.

March was icy and bitterly cold, and spring seemed farther away than ever.

At the end of March, Joshua came to him with his serious grown-up expression on.

"Mom's crying," Joshua said.

"She does that sometimes," Gideon replied.

"She's crying because she doesn't know what to make for dinner."

"We've been having black bread and milk for two weeks, now." Gideon hardly ever understood what Joshua was getting at.

"We're all out of bread, and we can't have just milk," Joshua said.

"So we don't have any food for tonight?"

"We've already killed all the chickens we can afford to," Joshua said, nodding in that grown-up way of his.

"Okay."

"And there's that duck that follows you around and it--"

"Okay, Joshua," Gideon interrupted.

"Doesn't even lay eggs and --"

"Okay, Joshua," Gideon said, and walked out the door.

He opened the door of the henhouse and the duck rushed out to meet him, nibbling at his shoes and honking a raucous greeting.

"Hello to you, too," he said, and led the way into the shed. He sat down on the dirt floor and let her clamber into his lap.

"You're right, there isn't any food in here. You've already eaten today."

She honked and poked at his pockets.

He sighed. "I've got nothing for you, I promise."

She gave him an aggrieved look, if a duck could look aggrieved.

"I know. I'm sorry. This isn't what you expected."

He stroked her feathers, and then settled his hands around her neck. There was a quick snap, and then a flailing of wings and feet, and then stillness.

"It's just that everything dies someday," he said to the quietness.

When he went into the house to give the duck to his mother to clean and cook, Joshua stared at him with open-mouthed dismay.

"You killed it yourself?" he asked, disgusted.

"Yes," Gideon said slowly.

"You just snapped its neck?"

"Yes."

"You coulda gotten Pa to do it for you, you know."

"Why?"

Joshua rolled his eyes and walked away.

When dinnertime came, Gideon discovered that duck was delicious.

Comments

Oh! It's so sad. Poor duckie. The voice is vaguely creepy, though. Especially that last line! Like the voice is a Tim Burton-esque puppeteer guiding the readers down this seemingly innocuous path and then BAM THE DUCK IS DEAD AND GIDEON THINKS HIS FRIEND IS YUM.

But! I like it, all the same. XD

*pokes an Em* You should join talechasing too! There are weekly writing helpy challengy thingies and fun stuff and no introductions necessary and ... stuff!

Either that, or you two could get cracking on scribite again. Really, which is less painful - writing, or listening to me nagging and whining about writing? ;D

*hoo hoo hah haahs*

*toddles over to look*

No introduction necessary? nifty.

Arrrrgh, he killed his ducky friend! And ATE his ducky friend! O_O That is Criminal! *backs away*

Ducky cruelty aside, the POV is fantastic. You can feel how steadily and slowly he thinks, and you can sense his 'five degrees to the left' detachment there ... just great.

Go you for fitting three in one, too ;D