“Goddamn boy how’d you get so damn good at running?
It must just be survival, you know, one trait making up for the others, cause you sure can’t sneak worth a damn.
But I caught up with you. Now here we are. You’re keeled over dying. I should let you die. But here, throw it all up and I’ll give you water.”
He was a large man filled out with muscle. His beard was trimmed shorter and his hair all managed to be tucked under his woolen hat so as to not fall over his eyes that right now, were looking at a pale dark haired pile of sickness and regret. Gary the hunter picked him up by the back of his shirt like a dog picking up her pup by the nap of the neck. The sick man supported his body with his elbows on a log and let loose what wanted to come out over the other side.
“There we go. Say, how’d you get yourself into a mess like this anyway? What the hell is a slick fella like you doin’ in the middle of Pennsylvania wilderness? I came out here to get away for awhile. Just to adjust.” But then Gary stopped and gave a look around. “Well hell why the hell did I tell you that? Guess I am lonely.”
Gary’s company only responds in gags and coughs and a couple groans of pain. But he doesn’t seem to mind.
“You know what fella? I have such faith in your recuperation that I’m just going to go ahead and make you up a little get well package for when you’re steady again.”
Gary sets to gathering the water in a jug and wrapping the food while the other man writhes his way through a new form of pain. Suddenly his body shuts off for a while and the only part of him that was truly resisting and complaining rolls into the void of sleep.
When he wakes up his body seems to have a much stronger memory than his mind as even the simple act of rolling his body up triggers blunt pain to coil in his lower abdomen. The unwanted memories start to drag in, pulled by the even more undesirable physical pain.
Francis certainly was good at running. He had run from his father when his mother died. He had run from his wife and her rich father in law when the stocks fell and the money’s color got sucked out from the paper. Now, most recently he had run from a hunter only to get caught by his own impatience.
Dave Francis was hungry enough to eat whatever came along. He was smart enough not to touch mushrooms and managed to pick out a few berries to nibble down, but surviving out there took more wits than he could muster. He thought he’d use the different brand of wits that had managed to get him this far. He just wanted a little helping hand, but knew better than to ask for it. So when he happened upon that big flank of fresh deer meat he took the opportunity and ran. His hunger caused quite the ruckus and the hunter took off after him. Dave was fast though. Fast enough to get an hours lead on the hunter. Dave Francis’s college track and field team would have been gushing with pride.
Night came and Dave knew that the hunter couldn’t track in the dark and would have to make camp. This gave him enough time to cook up his prize. He took out the raw deer meat from his bag and placed it down on a piece of cloth that he placed on a rock. He just wanted to look at it. Wanted to keep his mind occupied with it while he started up the fire.
He had done it. The fire had a nice slow burn coal ember glow to it that had already begun to brown one side of the deer meat suspended above it by sticks and twine. Slowly, black spots began to form on the coals as drops of rain began to gather momentum. David’s eyes grew fearful, his mind raced, but worst of all, there was a constant rumble that echoed throughout his hollow with hunger guts. He cursed up a storm and began to shield the fire with his body by leaning over it, but it was too late. It started raining sideways with a wind that whipped and jostled out all of Dave’s hope for a meal. Oh but his body took over. What remained of Dave’s wits sank into the earth like all of that water from the sky.