Monday, 24 March 2014

The Poacher by Jenny Brigalow



                                          
 Here's a bit of flash fiction, my small offering  (659 words) for Denise Covey's March teaser. This month it's Through The Eyes Of A Child.
                                                http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com.au/

 

 As a child I had way too much imagination. It invariably got me into trouble but what a wonderful world it was.











                                          The Poacher by Jenny Brigalow

 Becky galloped through the birch woods, her bow and arrows tight on her back and a brace of pheasants bouncing from the saddle.  The wind roared past her ears and pushed tears from her eyes. Ahead, sunlight streamed through the birch trees. They had reached the wheat fields. Becky checked her horse, Belle, and looked behind to make sure that her black dire-wolf was still with her. She need not have worried, her faithful servant raced at her heels, ears pinned to his sleek head, tail streaming behind.
      When she looked forward, the breath rushed out of her chest like a tornado.  The storm had bought a tree down across the path. For a moment she hesitated, maybe she should go to the road. But she didn't have time. Her pursuers were close behind. Now she could clearly hear the baying of bloodhounds in the woodlands. She stood in her stirrups, lifted her slight weight from the saddle and gave Belle her head. She touched her heels lightly to the Arab's sides and the tree rushed toward her.
     And then, for a heartbeat, she was flying like a bird through the sky.
     Belle landed lightly and they raced out into the crop of wheat, now reduced to a pale gold stubble. Relief flooded through her.  The game was over. She had won. They would never catch her now. The pheasants were hers.  Tonight she'd make her poor, sick father a fine stew for his supper.  She turned to smile at her wolf. But he was gone.
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    Becky stopped, panic fluttering in her chest. She called. "Jo! Jo! Come here!" But there was no sign of him. He'd gone. Her heart beat like a pneumatic drill as she remembered  when he'd been hit by a car. Hurt bad. And her heart filled with the dread. Somewhere out there on a road, Jo was all alone, bloody  and dying.
     Her small hands clutched the dog lead as she set off toward home, her sock-less feet squeaking inside her gumboots. Every few minutes she stopped and called. But he never came. And the closer she came to home, the better she knew that he was gone forever. 
     She ran the last bit, down the main street and up Wood Lane. Tears ran in rivulets and dripped off her nose. Sobs wracked her thin shoulders as she fought to open the wooden gate. She raced up the drive and burst through the back door. "Mam! Mam!"
     Her mother came into the lobby, a half peeled potato in her hand. It dripped on the lino. "What's the matter, Becky?"
     For a moment Becky couldn't speak. Her throat was like glue and her nose blocked with cement snot. She blew hard into a grimy handkerchief. "It's Jo, Mam, he's lost. I've looked everywhere. We'd best call the police."
     Her mother smiled. "I don't think we need go to such extremes."
     Becky opened her mouth to protest, eyes spouting a fountain. "He's been hit Mam! He's been hit." But then a movement caught her eye. Her mouth flapped open like a letter box as Jo wondered in.
     Mam shook her head. "He's been back this last half hour."
     Becky raced to the old dog, sank to the floor and hugged his sandy speckled neck. "You bad dog!" she scalded.
     The bad dog wagged his tattered tail and licked her nose. 
     "Come on, you," Becky said. The dog followed her into the lounge. The TV was on and Becky collapsed into a saggy armchair. Jo clambered up and flopped onto his back.
     Becky tickled his tummy and watched The Worst Witch. She looked down into Jo's beady black eyes. "We'll go back tomorrow, Wolf. I spied a white deer. The King's finest. We'll hunt him tomorrow. You, me and Belle."
     The dire-wolf blinked wisely and nodded off to sleep.
                                                                The End


 Many thanks for the opportunity Denise!

19 comments:

  1. Oh wow, Jenny, soaring through the forest. I was a bit confused with Becky/Belle. I read through twice but must have missed something!
    I love your descriptions. They are so full on they draw the reader into the story. I was in that forest with Becky. Jo added another layer to the story.

    Thank you for creating this piece for the WEP challenge. Your entries are always much anticipated when they happen!

    Denise

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    1. Hi Denise, thanks for dropping by. To clarify - Becky is the little girl and Belle is her imaginary horse. Sorry about the confusion. I spent most my child hood either pretending to be a horse or pretending to ride one! Now I have a real one. How great is that!

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    2. Lucky is the girl who owns a horse! I did when I was a child, but sadly, horses don't fit into a city backyard!

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  2. Lots of imagery there, like a child lost in her dreams.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Madeleine. Glad you enjoyed the short story.

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  3. Right into the action, this story amps up well in the beginning. I'd like to know more about who she's stealing from. . .visiting via the WEP bloghop. Nice to meet you.

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  4. Very descriptive and gripping, but I found it a little confusing. It's tricky trying to orient the reader to the imaginary world of this girl and then dropping her back into reality.

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    1. Thanks for the feed back - much appreciated.

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  5. Nicely blurred reality and daydream, great descriptions. A little confusing when the switch is made, maybe para separation with *** would help?

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    1. Hi there! Again, many thanks for the suggestion. That's what I love about blogging, people are so generous with there know how!

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  6. Cute! I liked her moving from a young woman to a child. Through a child's eyes indeed! I too had much imagination when a child. Sometimes it still won't leave me alone, thank goodness!

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    1. Thank goodness indeed Lisa! Imagination is truly a gift.

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    1. Hi Trisha, wish I had a direwolf, even a cheeky one.

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  8. I was slightly confused with the change from pretence to reality as well but apart from that your descriptions of the exhilaration of the chase to catch the pheasants and the panic run in reality when she imagines her dog has been hit by a car are quite powerful and brought back down to earth by her calm mum and then back in to the ordinary and again into the imagined world. It's amazing how children can switch so easily from one to the other.

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  9. Thanks Sally. When I was young the real and imaginary overlapped and blurred. I guess that's what I was trying to create. What a shame we ever have to draw a line between to the two.

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  10. I've always thought the view from the eyes of a child a more interesting view. :-) Nice writing!
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Debi, must agree. I try to hold on to the child as best I can!

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