Thursday, February 25, 2010

An old exercise from "The Archives"

I wrote this with a friend while we were chatting online one evening.

November 1, 2007 11:42 PM

The makeshift spear pierced the rippling surface of the water and nicked the tail fin of a passing fish.

“Damn it!” said Kevin. He’d been struggling to get just one fish for the better part of three hours. The last of the rations from the plane wreckage ran out four days ago and Jesse wasn’t looking very good, huddling under a tree on shore shivering despite the intense heat and humidity. They figured it was probably the insect bite that caused his illness. It flew away before they had a chance to swat it. It was probably a half inch long, purple with green wings. It was very beautiful. Would probably have made for some pretty good fish bait, thought Kevin. Though he thought that if he did see another one he would try and catch it and hold onto it. If--no,when--they were rescued he could take it with them to show whatever doctor would wind up treating Jesse. Maybe they would recognize it and say, “I’ve got the cure for that kind of bug bite right here!”

Kevin let go of the thought and set his mind back on the task of finding breakfast. More like brunch now, he thought. He peered through the rippling surface and saw a fish swimming against the current. It made no progress, just stood in the same place over the river bed as it calmly swam. Kevin threw the spear as hard as he could and managed to pierce the fish right through its gills.

“Ha HA!” yelled Kevin. “I got one!” He ran to the spear and picked it up out of the water, the fish dangling on the end, it’s fins flailing about trying to swim through the unfamiliar medium that was the damp air of the jungle. It gasped as it started to drown in the air rushing by its body as Kevin ran back to shore, stumbling through the water.

Jesse’s eyes had cracked open when he heard Kevin’s shout of success. They opened again as Kevin knelt beside him and spoke, “I got a fish, Jesse. Let’s get back to camp so we can clean it. I promise it’ll be a lot better than those fresh water shrimp we found... and a whole lot bigger.” Jesse managed to crack a smile, giving Kevin some encouragement as he put his arm under Jesse to help him up to his feet so they could shuffle over to their camp about a hundred yards away.

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