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A Hunter, and Dreams

Story ID:11088
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:32767
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
A Hunter, and Dreams

Morning dew was like a wet blanket wrapped around Mattís shoulders, as he waited patiently among the sheltering shrubs alongside Cooking Lake, Alberta. He adjusted the leather strap on his backpack, placed a duck call to his lips and lovingly patted the 12-gage shotgun across his legs, prepared for quick movement.

Matt scanned the horizon, embers of sun preparing to burst into an egg yolk of brilliance. He hoped his left leg wouldnít cramp up again. Absentmindedly he gave it a rub, felt the weight of his weapon, took a deep breath, then released the tension, excitement almost overwhelming him. Now he was ready.

Mallard flocks and Teal hurried by several times, too high right now for a good shot. This waiting for the correct moment was like a game of chess; your move.

Yesterday about this time Matt was carrying a bucket of grain for the sheep on dadís ranch. Within bellowing Baaís from 21 wooly critters jostling in line for their regular munching he whistled a morning tune. The words were jumbled, same as his life had been these past few months, but it helped him be patient with himself, something he needed working on.

Things were getting a little better between mom, dad and himself since leaving his love nest and coming home. They warned him about the mess he was stepping into and him being stubborn didnít help. It was dadís fault. Yes, he thought, Iím the same as my old man. Mat smiled to himself wondering if he would also grow to look at life with black and white thinking. But, at nineteen it was his decision to make.

Alice finally came right out and said, ďMaybe itís time for you to take a hike.Ē And he did, more for her sake. Living together was a tricky option for himself, not quite mature to husband a single mother and young baby, but willing to try.

That really wasnít the problem. Her ex was always hanging around, ignoring the Courtís Peace Bond, forgetting the many times he threatened her if she looked at another man. Why did that wife-beater insist on making things complicated for everyone? He should have been made to move to the far side of the planet.

Matt didnít enjoy the hassle of being considered a second hand lover every time George phoned the house at all hours of the day. He was insistent about getting back together with Alice, and too often Alice had long conversations. It was hard for Matt to even consider a lasting relationship with that nut sniffing around. And it hurt when Alice even whispered about getting back with her husband. Seemingly she enjoyed violence in her life.

There was no reasoning with her. What the heck, Matt figured it was better to take her up on her suggestion. Matt left and returned to the family farm, helping out with needed chores.

Matt stirred from his memories. Several ducks had broken off from a group, perhaps sent ahead to secure a safe landing spot. They came closer. Mattís simulated calling began to tease them back and forth, finally in the right direction. From a kneeling position his shotgun blast knocked one unsuspecting Mallard from its flight path, parachuting it to the ground. Almost like a lump of fallen dreams tumbling from the sky. Another shot went astray and a fleeing pile of feathers retreated in shock, leaving its mate behind.

With no further action in the sky, Matt retrieved his catch and hung it from a protruding branch. After settling back on his rubber mat he thought about that coyote lingering by the neighborís woodpile yesterday. Itís gray color with black on the bottom third of its tail wiggled happily as the creature pranced in anticipation looking for mice.

At the time he thought about getting his .22 and potting off the cute dog-looking killer. Coyote were such a nuisance in this part of the country. He would bet a year of steaks that animal was part of the pack responsible for ravaging a dozen of their sheep last autumn, something the family couldnít afford. The llamas had been a let down, being more interested in nuzzling with each other, oblivious to anything around them when needed. Since dad picked up half a dozen donkeys, the coyotes stayed clear of the farm.

Matt simply watched the animal trying its best to catch rodents, enjoying itself. The pest wasnít quite as frisky as his parentís dog, Misty or husky as Storm, a Pyrenee. But the coyote was having a good time and it would be a shame to end its life. Permanently. Besides, what if it had a mate depending on the wild creature? No use both of them losing a lover.

Yes, it was good to think, to plan ahead. A job, working things out, at least it provided a challenge. It was something Alice couldnít seem to do. Stand still, talk and forget her ex-husband, who couldnít care less about her and the baby. But she seemed to take it the wrong way. Matt wasnít trying to control her. ďOpen your eyes to whatís happening?Ē he ended up shouting. ĎDo you really want to live like that, always wondering when the next fist will come?Ē he often repeated.

Never once did her ex even pay maintenance payments, forcing Alice onto the Welfare rolls. Living with Alice was good. But, after a night in the sack, Matt realized very quickly there was much more to life within a family. He didnít mind necessary chores, tidying up around the house, helping prepare meals and learning how to change little Davidís diapers. Too bad Aliceís ex-husband didnít think about those necessary duties.

But then, Alice and David had their own lives to live, and somehow they would survive precious journeys as many tomorrows awaited them.

Another flock came by and this time Mattís shooting was quite successful. Two more flying missiles were flushed from the sky with one just winged and doing a flopping dance. Getting up in a rush Matt sloshed through the shoreline water, then grabbing the victim, sharing the pain he knew was in its broken wing.

The mallard stared without fear somehow understanding this was the end. A broken neck soon removed natureís magnificent creature from an episode of further pain. Matt knew some humans were like that, wounded, feeling useless and unwanted waiting for doom. But then, this duck would be tasty, not useless and unwanted. And would offer itself up as a small feast for tonightís supper.

Yes, life was full of decisions. Like knowing when to leave Alice and return home. It meant there would be a chance for renewal within his own family, a re-focusing of his future. Bringing home meat for the table, would be his peace offering--for mom, dad and his brother, Travis. It was indeed an opportunity to share with loved ones. And seek forgiveness for those words he had left behind.

With the support of his family, Matt was sure days ahead would be better ones. Just then another flock approached his hideout. After lips blew a calling, Matt sighted down the barrel, focusing on his end bead.

Got him!