Rite of Passage

Though gray and overcast, it was a warm morning, the temperatures above freezing; Toby would be anxious but comfortable, waiting for him over the ridge at the edge of the hardwoods, hoping for deer to cross his path.

Milton paused, leaning on a tree as he caught his breath, smiling at how he had caught his grandson’s buck fever, the boy’s excitement for his first opening day of deer season palpable and contagious.

It had been a fine morning, with his daughter, also infected by her son’s joy, making them a big breakfast before sending them off to the woods, Toby proudly carrying a double barrel 16 gauge, the gun that she had been holding for the boy since his father died seven years ago.

Shaking his head, Milton started off again, refocused so as not to think of his daughter’s pain, of his own pain at having had to be both father and mother to her when his wife died and now in the role of both grandfather and father to Toby since the death of his son-in-law, a fine man who he sorely missed.

Milton shifted his deer rifle to both hands, listening intently as he squinted into the stand of balsam and hemlock where he detected movement, and there, a patch of brown in the brush; quick aim, squeeze the trigger, BANG!; dropped with one shot.

As he approached the downed deer, the first thing Milton noticed was metal, twin barrels lying on the mossy ground; the second thing an orange hat sticking out of a jacket pocket, and then he went blank but cried over and over, “Wake up, Toby, wake up!” even while he kept wondering if this were a horrible nightmare that he might please, please, wake up from.


six sentence story.jpg


It’s another six sentence story, prompted by Denise at GirlieOnTheEdge. This week’s prompt word is “wake”.




12 thoughts on “Rite of Passage

  1. This is one of those nightmares you pray to wake up from, and I really don’t know how someone could live in the aftermath. You grabbed us with your carefully set trail into the woods, and although I had a feeling something was going to go wrong, I wasn’t prepared for this! My nephew was accidentally shot, thankfully with buckshot, last Fall when a group of family and friends were out pheasant hunting in Dakota. Had the pellets been just a fraction closer to his temple or eye, the outcome could have been worse than I care to consider. The scenario you set is real, so is the fear. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Almost as bad are farm accidents where a young child is …caught in the machinery.
    I knew folks who hunted, and some that still do. Most use everything they ‘take’.
    I can’t see hunting for sport. I remember the Native tradition of asking the deer first if it was a good day to die… and if it wasn’t they’d wait for another. Intuition… we need to listen to our inner voice –
    I’d still have my glasses if I’d listened… but I put ’em in an outside pocket on a walk… last week.
    I’m looking forward to getting home and getting a new set of bifocals. Though at least I’ve got a spare reader and distance sets at home. I’ve been using store bought readers… find for somethings…but…

    Liked by 1 person

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