Taken Between The Jaws

He had walked now for a significant amount of time, finding himself nearly halfway through his journey. The sun was tipping upon the banks, the Gates of the Mountains opening, invitational. The leaves fell in glorious autumnal patterns. The trail which he followed was myriad in organic beauty. Each element was indulgent, honest, resurgent, perfect in its imperfection. Everywhere the colors flashed phantasmal. And the sunlight fell with such a decent propensity—so elegant and warm and sonorous. In this fall-time wonder, the spectacle was beyond magnificent. This place could become my refuge, Samuel thought: an escape from the miseries, the aspects of horror so persistent in daily life. Through the walk in the woods he experienced and encountered various wonders, and he found himself captivated in the beauty of the moment. The cure, he found, was to sit back and listen: the river has the answers.

Near the end of his voyage, Samuel discovered the form of a small rodential creature dragging itself against the ground, chocking up dust in its lethargic movements. It was a sight of confusion. After adjusting his vision and rubbing his eyes he was able to see that it was a squirrel. It was peculiar, the way the squirrel moved. It seemed to hobble, as if wounded, and Samuel was confused. There was no route of understanding for what was before his eyes. The squirrel had materialized out of nothing, wounded, as if nature herself had taken the creature between its grinding teeth upon creation and shook the defenseless manifestation about before letting it go to watch it drag its wounded self away.

The squirrel he saw scuttled wounded across the tabletop forest. It kept moving, flinging itself about spasmodically with the will of life. But it was as if the animal were a pawn on the chessboard of humanity. Mankind was the king; the creatures were the pawns; and the knights, the rooks, the bishops, these were the leaves, the snow, the sky; they were all forfeited to protect that one piece which was always implied to denote a loss once taken out by opposing forces. Even the queen herself, the Mother—the elastic, the strong, the elegant—was oh-so-readily sacrificed to protect that very entity of the king: mankind. But what man forgets is that nature is a rubberband, and that every action has its own equal, its own opposite. And the pain of this squirrel would ring true, and its melody would fluctuate in wavelengths through the cosmos, until some inopportune entity in an inopportune civilization elsewhere hears its screams in the form of tonal frequencies, and the listener will be overcome with feelings of fear, sadness, and disgust, without knowing the source of the feelings or the reason why.

He did not know where the squirrel had come from, and he did not know the cause of its injury. All he was able to deduce was that some foul predator had taken it by the leg and had broken it, to let it scamper off, filled with fear. He grew worried, because he imagined some great mountain lion crawling about, preparing to dig down into unsuspecting creatures, itself being either incompetent or cruel, tearing into the leg of the hors d’oeuvres of a squirrel, to let it run away, to watch it run away.

Samuel heard the rustle of the leaves and he grew afraid. Were there mountain lions around here? He had heard stories, stories of awful encounters with great big beasts: bears which tore campers to shreds, mountain lions which had no remorse when it came to unsuspecting travelers. He didn’t have anything to protect himself! The leaves rustled and he heard deep groans approaching, approaching. He was fearful. And he saw it, he saw it! The creature, it appeared!

“Ugghhhh!” Ty groaned. He had a slingshot in hand with a giant rock clasped in the elastic band. Two girls and a guy were nearby. The Guy In Corduroys was there and he had a swollen lip.





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