Word Count 484
Turmoil in the Forest
by G. Ackman
“Mom, dad said I could go hunting with him this year – well, he said as long as you say it’s okay, but it’s okay isn’t it? Please?”
Mom kept her back turned, fixed her mind on dinner for the family, and didn’t answer. She didn’t want her sweet, gentle son to become a killer. It was so barbaric, but she also knew that hunting was a major sport in the area.
“Mom? Did you hear me? Dad said..”
“Yes, son, I heard you. Why do you want to do this?”
“Why? Well, it’s a..it’s a…it’s a….I just do, that’s all.”
“Son, sit down here and let’s talk for a minute. Then, if you still want to go hunting with your father, I won’t stand in your way.”
She could clearly hear the eye roll, but chose to ignore it.
“Once we lived in harmony with these creatures that you now want to hunt and kill. I never have and I never will. I enjoy watching them frolic in the yard. The young ones are so cute. They haven’t done anything harmful to me, and I don’t see the sense in killing them just for the fun of it. It’s not like we eat them or anything.”
“I understand, mom. And I like watching them too, but there’s so many of them. It really would help them if we thinned out their herd some. And the cars. You have to admit that it’s hard for us to live peacefully with them because of the cars.”
“All right, son” she sighed, knowing the battle was lost. Hunting season only came once a year, and now she dreaded it even more than ever. She still shuddered anytime she glanced at the wall in the den, where the head was mounted. She hated it being there. It looked so alive somehow that she kept expecting it to reproach her for its death.
She knew all the logical reasons for the hunt: keep the herd healthy, prevent starvation, reduce accidents with the cars. She knew all the sportsmen’s arguments too: the thrill of the chase, the watching and waiting, the sudden sight of a fine specimen coming into view. She knew all that. She knew that their species caused great turmoil for her kind. But she still couldn’t condone hunting them. Humans were so helpless. Their skin doesn’t keep them warm in the winter without them adding fake layers. They don’t seem to understand or follow nature’s signs. Their eyesight is weak, their sense of smell is abysmal and they smell pretty bad, too. Yet, there was something endearing about them – especially the young ones playing in the yard, laughing, and chasing each other.
She watched her son scampering off to give his father the good news. She shook her white tail in resignation, leaped over the brush, and began grazing. Soon another head would be on the wall.