Friday, October 17, 2014

The raccoon watches from behind a boulder as the man hacks at the deer. He watches without moving, without blinking, almost without breathing. Panting heavily, the man stops with laughter still frozen on his lips.

The raccoon retreats fully behind the stone, closes his eyes, and counts silently. Ten...nine...eight... When he reaches one he opens his eyes. The footsteps have disappeared in the opposite direction. The man is gone. 

When the raccoon makes his way back to the small clearing, the one which they have made their home the past week, he climbs the ash tree and lies on the lowest branch. 

When the girl walks over, she sees his expression and the words die in her throat. 

"What is it?" She asks. "What happened?" 

He tells her. The man he saw had not been hunting. He had slashed, blood splashing onto his face, into his eyes. 

"Where?" She asks. 

The raccoon shakes his head. "A fair distance. He went the opposite direction. Must be from the village." 

"That's quite far," she observes. 

"There's a good mushroom patch there," the raccoon shrugs. His bushy tail hangs low. "That man - I've never seen anything like it. It was inhuman." 

"Inhuman." The girl reaches up, mussing his fur. "That's something coming from a raccoon!"