Chris, Age 14, Weatherford, TX

The night before we went hunting, I was having trouble going to sleep. Cool air blew through the window above my head. The ceiling fan blew the air all over my body giving me a chill.

I was so excited that it felt like my first time at Six Flags. I looked up at the clock and it read 8:45. That was the last thing I remembered as I dozed off to sleep.

The next morning we had to get up at 5 A.M. The morning came so quickly; I felt like the night had passed us by. In my subconscious I could hear someone whispering to me, this made me roll over and drag myself out of bed. It was my dad, not my subconscious at all; he was actually yelling at me to get up, so I got ready.

A shower, my camos, and a short stack to go. We left, happy to be ahead of schedule. My grandparents, who are always up at 2 AM, beat us to the lease. They stood in a clearing, surrounded by trees, their equipment was stacked neatly beside their red truck. The scene before me looked like a painting.

My Grandparents went in one direction. My Dad and I went the other way. My grandparents didn’t believe in deer stands. They generally crouched in the bushes or wherever they felt most comfortable.

Dad and I climbed into a twenty foot covered stand that seemed to blend into the treetop. The air was brisk and the day was young. My stomach quivered with excitement.

Time passed so slowly, the day stretched forth like an eternity. The new shine of my first hunting trip had worn off. The brisk air began to freeze my feet to the bottom of the stand, or so it seemed. My bones ached, and I worried for my grandparents because of the cold and their arthritis. It was getting late.

I leaned back against the wall of the deer stand and closed my eyes, envisioning a warm fireplace in my mind. I must have dozed off. The ear shattering sound of gunshot woke me with a start.

I jumped to my feet as I heard the thud of a deer fall to the ground. My Dad turned, grinning from ear to ear and said, “We got one”.

Shortly after my Grandparents arrived, we retrieved the deer. “Field dressing” that’s my Dad called it, is not a pretty thing. I imagined my sister barfing at such a sight, as the intestines rolled out of the deer carcass. Blood flowed into the winter hardened dirt.

On the road home, I slept, dreaming of moments I’d missed. The deer walking into the clearing. My Dad aiming his rifle. The pulling of the trigger. The fall to the ground.

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