|Snakeskin Bite (standard:drama, 656 words)|
|Author: BENTLINK||Added: Aug 24 2010||Views/Reads: 1466/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A boy learns a life lesson.|
The Snakeskin Bite The huff of hot gases from the falling rifle's discharge lifted then dropped the light brown hair above his right temple only hundredths of a second after the hollow-point bullet made its singing spinning way skyward. This was not the boy's first brush with death. He often climbed to dangerous heights on roofs and rock cliffs or to the uppermost limbs in the largest of trees. He had been raised in a careless way; the people responsible for his upbringing happily oblivious to the many chances he took so long as he stayed out from under foot. Along the way to growing up he had adopted this same careless, “his life is not worth paying attention to” outlook as well. As he sorted through the facts of this, his latest close encounter with death, and forced himself to examine the truth of just how near to death he had come, his body began to fail him. His arms and legs first trembled then went to jelly. His knees weakened until they could no longer support him and his whole body sagged as a boy shaped balloon with a slow leak might, his skinny buttocks settling onto the nearest tree fork. When he looked to see why his hands were hurting badly he discovered his fingers were blue from gripping so long and tightly to branches of the little tree. The decision to climb the small tree with a loaded rifle was that of a careless, lonesome, under trained boy with his first gun. His lack of training combined with his concern about the present location of the former owner of the enormous castoff snakeskin he had seen moments before had almost proved fatal. The singing round from the 22 had been chambered to protect him from the unseen snake. Those discovering his body would have never known the irony of his death. The paradoxical lack of fear for his personal safety while at the same time having a powerful unreasoning fear of snakes and snake bite that almost killed him. No one discovering his body would understand that what appeared to be a fatal head wound from the dropped small caliber weapon was in truth an unloved inexperienced boy dead from fear of a snakeskin bite. He understood that his life was spared by a miraculous inch. This current inch, this single perfect inch was why he still lived. Had the bullets path been but an inch closer to his head he would have known nothing of the singing bullet, the rifles' hot gasses or his hurting blood starved hands. His inch was the difference between being alive in the here and now with the burned gunpowder taste and smell instead of dead. But for the fateful inch, his still warm young body would be dangling by a leg wedged amid the trees many small branches. Hanging suspended by a foot and ankle head downward with chin and both arms pointing at the discharged rifle lying near the base of the little tree. Pointing accusing at the offending weapon or perhaps instead reaching in a too late lunge to try to take back what had already happened. Giving evidence to where the bullet had started ending this twelve year olds life would be a small harmless looking blue-black 22 caliber spot clearly visible on the underside of his chin. By the grace of his personal miraculous inch, he was unmarked on his outside. There would be no need for discovery of his dangling body by strangers or for an investigation of his death by townspeople in authority. No official reports need be written to reveal how carelessly the boy had been taught to live or how needlessly he had died. There was only this learning of another of life's many lessons, the cooling rifle, and a shaken lone boy sitting in the forks of a small leafless tree on a gray fall afternoon. Tweet
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