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Prim Die?: A Short Story

Decent Essays
I enter a nightmare from which I wake repeatedly only to find a greater terror awaiting me. All the things I dread most, all the things I dread for others manifest in such vivid detail I can’t help but believe they’re real. Each time I wake, I think, At last, this is over, but it isn’t. It’s only the beginning of a new chapter of torture. How many ways do I watch Prim die? Relive my father’s last moments? Feel my own body ripped apart? This is the nature of the tracker jacker venom, so carefully created to target the place where fear lives in your brain.

When I finally do come to my senses, I lie still, waiting for the next onslaught of imagery. But eventually I accept that the poison must have finally worked its way out of my system, leaving
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But I establish the slow hunter’s tread I use when tracking game. Within a few minutes, I spot a rabbit and make my first kill with the bow and arrow. It’s not my usual clean shot through the eye, but I’ll take it. After about an hour, I find a stream, shallow but wide, and more than sufficient for my needs. The sun’s hot and severe, so while I wait for my water to purify I strip down to my underclothes and wade into the mild current. I’m filthy from head to toe, I try splashing myself but eventually just lay down in the water for a few minutes, letting it wash off the soot and blood and skin that has started to peel off my burns. After rinsing out my clothes and hanging them on bushes to dry, I sit on the bank in the sun for a bit, untangling my hair with my fingers. My appetite returns and I eat a cracker and a strip of beef. With a handful of moss, I polish the blood from my silver…show more content…
Following the stream against its current seems the smartest course of action. I’m traveling uphill now, which I prefer, with a source of fresh water not only for myself but possible game. I easily take out a strange bird that must be some form of wild turkey. Anyway, it looks plenty edible to me. By late afternoon, I decide to build a small fire to cook the meat, betting that dusk will help conceal the smoke and I can quench the fire by nightfall. I clean the game, taking extra care with the bird, but there’s nothing alarming about it. Once the feathers are plucked, it’s no bigger than a chicken, but it’s plump and firm. I’ve just placed the first lot over the coals when I hear the twig snap.

In one motion, I turn to the sound, bringing the bow and arrow to my shoulder. There’s no one there. No one I can see anyway. Then I spot the tip of a child’s boot just peeking out from behind the trunk of a tree. My shoulders relax and I grin. She can move through the woods like a shadow, you have to give her that. How else could she have followed me? The words come out of my mouth before I can stop them.

“You know, they’re not the only ones who can form alliances,” I
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