Friday, 18 May 2012

'Kill your Own' by Nick Johns

It was new; it was exciting, soon everyone will be doing it, she had mysteriously assured him in their online chat. It had seemed like a nice thing to do, letting her choose the venue for their first date. Now he wasn’t so sure.

The spear was getting heavy and, despite the leather grip, kept slipping in his sweating hands. He wrinkled his nose at the musky odour of unfamiliar animals.

“I thought that these places didn’t like you getting out of your car?” he said

“Shhh! You’ll scare them off!” she hissed, a fierce grin twisting what he had previously regarded as unremarkable features.

She was certainly different from her online profile, he thought. Perhaps he should complain to the company when he got back. She was crouched in the shade of a stand of bushes, sniffing at something that she had picked up. Euw!

            “This way. I think we’ve got one.”

            “One what?” he asked, quieter this time.

“Wild pig I reckon. Hopefully a young one separated from the sow. Isn’t this great?”

Politeness made him choke back the long list of alternatives to ‘great’ that he thought this was.

He shuffled in her wake, trying to avoid tree roots that seemed to be conspiring to send him sprawling face first into the dirt and sundry other deposits that he would rather not consider too carefully.

As he passed her last stopping point, he heard a rustling crash of leaves and breaking braches and was knocked down by a blow that caught him just behind the knees. His spear finally succeeded in its attempts to escape his grasp, falling alongside him.

He scrambled onto all fours just in time to find himself looking at what appeared to his untrained eye to be something like a wire haired water butt with legs – and tusks! The beast completed its turn, scrabbled for grip in the dirt and charged towards him. His hand scrabbled for his fallen weapon.

As he struggled to raise the spear, its tail caught in one of the tree roots. Grabbing it with his other hand to try to pull it free, he was stunned once again by the animal’s arrival. Blinking furiously to dispel the dust, he found himself gagging on the creature’s failing breath from far too close to be comfortable.

He scrambled free as she ran over to him and helped him to his feet.

“You did it! That was quick thinking.” she gushed “A stroke of genius to brace the spear in the ground like that; you would never have stopped it before it gored you otherwise!” She pulled him into an embrace where perfume fought a losing battle with sweat.

“Is  that it?” he asked, disentangling himself from her arms. “Can we go back now?”   He though he sounded a tad less gracious than he planned, but she was evidently undeterred.

“Oh yes. The rangers collect the carcase and it is prepared for us while we clean up. Then we move on to the second part of the date. It’s like I told you, this restaurant is a whole new concept.”

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