Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Fiction for Earth Day 2017 Part III

Penumbral Eclipse (cont'd)
by Frances Madeson

By the time we got back our scouts had returned with their report: A loner who emerged from his cabin infrequently. Firewood, food, elimination. At daybreak it was his habit to amble to an outhouse down a well-marked path from the cabin set in a copse of Ponderosa pine. 

That’s where we’d do him in.

Every night, from one moon to the next, as my belly swelled with the future, we wolves tunneled under trees, digging with our paws until bloody, claws raking the roots. The last time I’d moved dirt was for my pups’ den. I dug deeper now.

As I burrowed into the loamy soil I thought about their sire. That day, I'd had no idea what he was running towards. I never will.

Finally, we were ready to fell the trees. 

As he always did just after daybreak, the human emerged from his cabin and headed for his throne. We had three teams. On a signal we’d fling ourselves against the tall pines and let gravity, the wind, and other unseen forces do the rest.

The first tree snapped and crashed down fast just missing the roof, landing inches in front of the door barring the exit.  The second sliced the shitter in half, instantly killing the trapped human with a death blow to the skull. And the third, though it teetered as it fell, landed on the bullseye, smashing him down into the latrine.

Then we howled. Which would have been the end of the story, but we had to deal with all the others in the back of the truck, a reality which brought everyone a lot of pain to contemplate. 

We pulled the tarp off of the vests and jackets fashioned from our packmates, and spread them on the flatbed, under a sliver of a full moon. We bowed our heads and asked for guidance.

Five sharp puffs of black smoke escaped the chimney, followed by a long curl of white. The cabin door, unfastened, banged noisily. Inside the hearth fire roared. 

I don't remember any talking. I don't remember a decision. 

We laid the pelts in a single line right up to the hearth, placing the last one in the fire. The fur sparked and the fire spread to the next coat as we’d hoped. 

Outside, we howled the devil down as our dead took their revenge, and the house with its wealth of weaponry burned down to gray ash. 

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