Thursday, January 06, 2011

New Beginning 821

I remember the last day of hunting season in 2015, the cold wind blowing the clouds from the valley, the deep green line of pine trees on the hills above and the browns, yellows and oranges of fallen leaves in the valleys. After a disappointing week of no bucks just does and yearlings, this was a hunter's nightmare that kept us awake in our tent during the long nights. Our once in a lifetime trip to the Appalachian Game Preserve ending in a bust. No trophy. No ten point, 36 inch masterpiece of manliness to hang on our wall.

Skeeter and I trudged back to camp and collapsed the tents, rolling up the sleeping bags and scattering the last, stale remains of jerky and biscuits for the birds and varmints. That's when Skeeter grimaced in pain and held his hands to his ears. I heard and felt it a moment later -- an alien, nerve shattering whine that ripped the world to whiteness, pain and unconsciousness.

I collapsed to the ground, writhing in agony. Skeeter was lying on the ground next to me. He opened his mouth and made the sound again, this time louder, and I screamed in a similar fashion as my innards began to twist inside me. That's when I noticed that Skeeter had removed what used to be his hands from his growing ears. He stared back at me with sad Bambi eyes, and I realized the horrible truth. That yearling that attacked us the night before was no ordinary yearling, and we were becoming our own worst nightmare--Weredeer.

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Janae


Evil Editor said...

P1: "Valley" used twice in one sentence. Maybe the first one could be "sky."

I could do without this sentence: After a disappointing week of no bucks just does and yearlings, this was a hunter's nightmare that kept us awake in our tent during the long nights. I can think of more nightmarish things for hunters than not seeing any bucks. I hear the point of hunting is the fresh air, camaraderie, and exercise, not the trophy, but even if that's not true for these guys, would it keep them awake nights?

P2. As the trudging, collapsing, rolling and scattering are four separate events, I would list them in the order they happened (wouldn't they roll before collapsing?). Maybe make the trudging a separate sentence, and then put the rolling, collapsing and scattering in one sentence, all in past tense. The way it is sounds like rolling and scattering are aspects of collapsing the tent.

I assume from the word "unconsciousness" that we aren't going to get a first-hand account of what happened next in the woods.

Anonymous said...

I confess I haven't had my coffee yet, but I had trouble reading all the way to the end of the first sentence. It just seems long and flat. Possibly a rhythm problem, or maybe it's all the 'ee" sounds, or just too much description in one sentence; I don't know.

The second sentence needs a comma after 'bucks'. Plus the image of all these hunters lying awake every night seems melodramatic at this point. If the second and third sentences switched places the reader has something to hitch that nightmare to.

If this were set in northern Canada I would assume the nerve-shattering whine was the onslaught of the giant Weremosquito, but as it's Appalachia I suppose they're only being attacked by aliens.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of hunters. I've hunted before. The point of hunting where I come from is for the food. I never wanted to promote my manliness.

Now, granted some that say that are looking for the trophy and some just really like the sport of it - tracking down and ambushing game animals. (Those hunters are usually bow hunters.)

But most hunters state they are doing it for the meat.

anyway, your hunters could be honest but I don't think it would be such a nightmarish concern that the hunters are kept awake at night. Especially, hunting where a day of fresh air, cold temperatures, excercise usually makes hunters pretty tired.

I don't like the "no bucks just does or yearlings." It read akward to me - maybe we found only does and yearlings, no bucks." instead


Dave F. said...

I saw this video on the internet and very quickly wrote this ending to a story.

Damn the creators of the system! Damn them all to some alien hell for turning hunter into hunted. Man into beast. This stag ain't no sheep. This stag fights back and if any of those hunters think they're going to sit in a tree and pick me off easy game, they better check their sixes. This stag is coming after them.

Then I had to write all that came before.

alaskaravenclaw said...

I live at the edge of a large forest which belongs to the state, but which is all mine except during hunting season. All spring, summer and fall I see deer in it.

Come late fall, dozens of guys arrive in campers dressed in pages 72-198 of the Cabela's catalogue (mostly XXL). They crash about in the woods for a couple weeks and there are occasional loud bangs.

When they leave there are always, AFAICT, exactly as many deer in the woods as there were before they arrived, incl those with handsome antlers.

So I'm guessing it is indeed the camaraderie that the guys are after, plus the oppty to commit long-awaited murders. I think the Cabela's camouflage helps with the latter.

Dave F. said...

EE, I understand your comments and fixed the opening. FYI - In the third paragraph, the speaker opens his eyes to see an alien standing above him and telling him he's going to be the hunted, not the hunter. They don't know how they ended up on another planet with furry bodies and antlers, they just start running from the hunter.

vkw - I understand.

vkw & Ravenclaw - I have friends who hunt for meat, for sport, for companionship, and for trophies. The meet over at the Cabela's or Ace Guns every few months and chit chat like women at my Mother's hairdresser about the one that got away. In my story, the buck that got away is the narrator who now has a rack of antlers and is hunted every so many years.

Anonymous 1:40. I split that sentence up and shortened it. I have another story I'm writing about Sasquatch in Northern Canada. You might see that opening.