Tuesday, May 6, 2014

For the Worms

“You know, all this hunting has got me thinking,” Derek said as he bit into the leg of their freshest kill, juices dribbling down his chin.
“Thinking about what?” Monica asked, stoking the fire as she chewed on a fatty section of stomach like tobacco.
“About if I die young,” Derek revealed, earning groans from the other three gathered around the fire.

“How many times do we have to tell you, you’re not going to die anytime soon.” David said, tearing away some dark meat from a rib.
“The very though is laughable!” Horace coughed, the oldest of the group doing his best to not be a burden on anyone else. “Maybe me, but certainly not you!”
“No,” Monica, Derek and David chorused while all looking at Horace, David reaching out to pat him on the back, helping him cough up a bit of bloody phlegm. “Nobody’s dying anytime soon.
“Well you know, every day we come out here and hunt, and we kill, and we eat. Then we go back home and rest, only to do the same thing. You don’t think that someday, something we’re hunting might get us?”
Horace chuckled darkly, his gravel-toned voice rising loud enough over the fire to address Derek. “Listen mate, we’re at the top of the food chain! Nothin is gonna kill us, alright?”
“No, I just have this sneaking suspicion that one of these days we’ll meet our maker in these woods.”
Horace laugh, waving over at himself. “Hello? Your maker sitting right here!”
The others laughed a bit as they dug out more meat from their freshest kill, holding it over the fire for a bit to get a bit of char on the wild game before popping the juicier gobbets into their mouths.
“All I’m saying,” Derek continued, wiping away the juices on his tattered sleeve. “Is that should I die, could you please bury me beneath the big poplar tree in the middle of the forest?”
“Why there?” David asked, slicing away a section of flank for himself.
“That’s where we found the two hunters set up with all that meat, the three dead bucks.”
“Best haul we’ve ever had in these rotten woods.” Horace grumbled, picking out a chunk of fat from between his pointy teeth with a long claw.
“Exactly! We ate for three days on that catch alone, and gained David as a member of the family.”
“I wasn’t exactly pleased as punch to wake up and find you lot roasting bits of me over a fire,” David laughed, earning girlish chuckles from Monica. “I mean hell, I still have a limp from all the meat you took from my leg.”
“But that’s all behind us now,” Horace gently reminded, holding out his hands, talons splayed wide. “So we’ll bury you beneath the old poplar tree should you die. Any other last requests?”
“Don’t eat me?” Derek asked weakly, holding up his hands at his compatriot’s signs of protest. “Now listen, I have my reasons. I just want to leave a corpse is all, for the worms.”
“For the worms?” Monica asked in disbelief.
“I like the worms,” Derek defended.
“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out…” David began to sing before Horace hit him with the arm of their freshest kill. “Ow! Alright, fine… we won’t eat you.”
“Promise?” Derek seemed determined.
Horace held up a claw, to talons raised high. “Not even a nibble.” He swore before cracking a wry grin. “Now that all that claptrap is over with, let’s get to the good vittles. Crack open the ribcage and pass me a lung.”
“You and lungs…” David muttered, spearing another chunk of fatty flesh on his finger before popping it in his mouth. “Best meats on the arms and legs.”
“Yeah well, I like the lungs you right dead bastard, so let me eat in piece or we’ll finish what meat is left on your leg.”

The whole group dissolved into laughter as they began to gorge themselves on the body of the hunter they’d caught slinking around the woods, his glassy eyes now staring up at the starry night sky.

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