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.