Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Entry #52

"Picking Cattails"
by Jade L. Blackwater

Damian turned his collar up as he shuffled quietly along the shoulder. The highway was strangely void of traffic, even for 2am. Beside the road a marsh began to speak as the warm night gave way to soft drizzle. Damian paused to listen to the rustling cattails. Their even motion beckoned like a porch light; he turned and waded in among the punk of damp earth and skunk cabbage.

Water poured over the tops of his boots as the marsh's true depth became clear. Now with the cattails reaching above his head, Damian's thoughts drifted. It was the kind of peaceful night that only solitude could perfect.

A loud snap jolted Damian from his repose and sent his blood flashing. He squatted low among the cattails as the sound of rapid movement approached him. Damian's fear thrust his feet into action; he turned back towards the road, his boots sticking heavily in the soft bottom of the marsh. Cattails clapped his face as he grasped for the safety of the shoulder.

Damian's boots hit gravel and he tumbled forward into the road. A bright light overtook him, and he froze on the dividing line, eyes widening. As the rush of wind came upon him, Damian turned to glimpse his pursuer. Staring from the reeds stood a young buck, its tail flipping placidly at the early morning moths.


Flood said...

"sent his blood flashing"

Lots of great lines in this, and I liked the deer as pursuer.

Scott said...

Yeah, such irony. I only went deer hunting once. The man who took me said that deer were extremely intelligent, and thank God that for their lack of opposible thumbs. "If they carried guns..."

jenny said...

Great suspense built up in such a compact space! Nicely done.

Jaye Wells said...

Nice job.

k l gilbert said...

I like your use of vivid verbs and descriptive language. Love the tables turned perspective.

Also, thanks for the favorable comments on my poetry entry. It shores me up.

JLB said...

Flood – Thanks! I really had fun writing this piece!

Scott – I totally agree, deer are so intelligent. Where I am currently living, we have many who pass through every day, so I’m sure they provided some of the inspiration. ;)

Jenny – Thank you, it’s a fun new challenge for me to play with flash fiction.

Jaye – Thanks again, it’s been so much fun to read everyone’s work!

K L Gilbert – I’m glad that you enjoyed it, and I really did like your poetry. Being a poet myself, I have a great affinity for it, and sometimes find it hard to keep the poetry out of my prose!

Bhaswati said...

It was the kind of peaceful night that only solitude could perfect.

Such a nice line.

I liked the tension that ran throughout the piece. Nice!

cesarcarlos said...

Nicely done.

Anthony J. Rapino said...

Great sounds and images. You put me there. What else can I say.

sandra seamans said...

I live in the country and this piece rings so true. There's nothing more noisy at night than a deer that doesn't know you're there, and then they snort! Scares the crap out of you. Great job!

Amra Pajalic said...

Love it. Beware of the deer turned hunter. Great irony.

Lisa said...

Concise writing packed with action and suspense. You did a great job in making every word count.

INKcogKNEEdough said...

VERY nice use of descriptions to put us(the readers there). very enjoyable read.


desiderata said...

like the irony, as amra noted. learnt the novelty of a different approach to telling tales.

Elisha Bridges said...

My favourite bit: The human caught in the headlights. Great!

anna said...

Intense visuals. could almost feel the water in my boots, smell the heavy scent of fear from Damian. Great little twist at the end. A tiny constuctive thought
(very tiny!) Since Damian is the only character in your piece, instead of using his name everytime a he might have sufficed.
Just a thought.
Excellent concept and a great read!

JLB said...

Bhaswati, thank you! Incidentally, that’s also one of my favorite lines in the piece (being a lover of solitude myself).

cesarcarlos, many thanks!

Anthony J. Rapino, thank you for the compliments. I’m glad you enjoyed the read.

sandra seamans, deer really are amazing… I’ve had some “curse” at me for sure for following too close behind, and they really can be a wiley bunch. Thanks!

Amra Pajalic, thanks so much! So often it is the deer who is startled into the road, I just had to try and turn that one around.

Lisa, thank you! That’s one of the elements that I enjoy most about flash fiction, is the frugal use of words and thoughts (a bit like poetry).

INKcogKNEEdough, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for the compliments.

desiderata, I enjoy challenging myself to find new ways to tell stories – thank you!

Elisha Bridges, I’m so glad you like it. I loved the chance to exchange roles between the human and the deer.

anna, thank you so much for your kind thoughts, and for your constructive criticism – I always appreciate feedback on my work! Thank you for your input!

Thanks again everyone, I had so much fun reading your work, and I’m glad that you enjoyed mine.

Fran Piper said...

Loved your description of the marsh - it really drew me in. "Beside the road a marsh began to speak" - there's a line of poetry there.

Good job!

jason evans said...

Jade, strong writing style with good use of verbs. The image of the buck was very real to me. I've watched my share in the forest. Just right.

jlb said...

Thank you Fran and Jason both!