Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #45

Patiently Waiting
by T.A. Novak

Though out of focus, I could see it circling above through the branches. I could no longer move as I lay encrusted in my snowy tomb. How long have I been here? Sleep or maybe death kept coming and going. I had no hunger, no thirst. I trembled, but could not sense my body move.

There he is again, his eyes seemingly fixed on me as he hung above. I want to move—must move, but can’t. He was gone again.

Oh yes, the gopher hole—a broken leg a mile from the truck—and now a desert storm. Maybe they’ll find the dog and look for me? Maybe, but when?

The snow covered me, but was it enough to hide me from that circling above? I want to be seen—be found. Just not by him.
The black form appeared again. Lower, much lower. I can make out his gnarled, red ugly head. Maybe if I blink my eyes? Damn it, he’s gone. I prayed that he was gone for good.

With a gentle flap of his wings he thumped down upon my chest. My heart raced. Slowly he turned, canting his small head, one eye looking deep into mine. He hissed and grunted through his ivory hooked beak. I quickly blinked and blinked again. A swish of wings moved him to the top of the mesquite tree within sight.
He waited. He had all the time in the world. Mine was running out.


(T.A. Novak is a retired technical writer from the Dow Corning Corp. in Midland, Michigan. He is a bird hunter while wintering in New Mexico, and a one-time police officer in Detroit. (Seven Years.) He is the author of “Among the Tin Cans and Broken Glass,” a novel about a police officer in Detroit during the 1960’s.)

36 comments:

Bernita said...

Smooth prose.

wrath999 said...

'He waited. He had all the time in the world. Mine was running out.'
Nice lines here.

Very well done.

Four Dinners said...

Nicely written. I've a feeling he didn't make it!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Nicely done.
Happy bird.

Lena said...

That was indeed very well done. Last line makes the story so more intense. Strong one.

Preeti said...

Isn't it strange how one's senses are so alert even at a time when one knows that the end is near. Maybe it is the will to survive. I loved this piece.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

This was absolutely brilliant I felt as though I was there. A quality piece, as is all your writing.

Anne Connors

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very well done. One of my favorites, so far.

pjd said...

Where's the dog?

This is well written, with the bird's appearance and disappearance providing good pacing. Beware the misplaced modifiers, though (first sentence).

Aniket said...

The last lines hit hard. He seems to be a fighter. I'm hopeful.

Meghan said...

"He had all the time in the world. Mine was running out."

That really hit home. Very powerful.

Janel said...

Very haunting. You can feel the life draining out of him, but not his courage.

By the way, I'm from Midland, MI.

Craig said...

I liked the practical way the protagonist thought.

JaneyV said...

Tom - an excellent piece of writing. The pacing was great matching the circling of the bird. Well done.

But doesn't anyone take a phone with them when they're hunting????

Aimee Laine said...

Ouch! To know it's coming ... worse than ever. Great writing!

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

Well Written...Loved it!

Kartik said...

The waiting is the hardest part! Great piece!

laughingwolf said...

dang gophers, anyway...

SzélsőFa said...

very tight piece. it gets better with each re-read. I like the survival theme.

Lee Hughes said...

A fine piece of fluid prose.

"He hissed and grunted through his ivory hooked beak." you could feel the man's fear with it upon his chest.

Chris Eldin said...

Smooth writing and very easy to read. I love your last paragraph in particular!

austere said...

Liked this waiting game idea.
Not for long, I suspect.

kashers said...

Loved this piece. Though, oddly enough, it took a while for me to realise the title referred to the bird. Doh! Thick, or what!

catvibe said...

Loved the part where the bird was looking at him. I was right there seeing that bird. Awesome.

Laurel said...

The pacing really conveys the sense of waiting, both his and the vultures. This is so despairing!

Lots of deathwatching this time around.

angel said...

Smooth indeed.

Sharon Poppen said...

Well done! You put me into the scene with the use of a frightened 1st person POV. The last line was a real punch in the gut. Nice work.

Terri said...

Chilling ending. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

PJD, thanks for the tip on the misplaced modifier, corrected on this end. (Hopefully the dog went for help.)

And no, I do not carry a phone while afield.

Loved writing with a pic to stimulate. Thanks Jason.

truevoid said...

Novak, i have a doubt - you used the 'desert storm' as metaphor for something, because i thought the imagery had lots of snow.

the last lines were real good!

Deb Smythe said...

The 'desert storm' threw me for a minute, too. But I figured 'high desert', and thus the snow.

And like so many others, I also loved the last line!

Marji said...

Good to read you again. This is top form. That bird did everything but drool on his prey. Excellent descriptions and powerful tension.

Dolors said...

Good, strong poem! Great work.

truevoid said...

thanks for your explanation. its all clear now :)

james r tomlinson said...

I like seeing my fellow Michiganders (or do you prefer Michiganians?) in these contests; even if you're a part-timer. I certainly do sympathize with your narrator's dilemma: wanting to be found, yet not wanting to be found. Seems to be the story of my life.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the new Starbucks paninis or the people over 35 who are exclusively on MySpace