‘That Little Bastard’

09:23 Wed 14 Feb 2007. Updated: 02:23 17 Feb 2007
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The man walked slowly along the road. He was naked, and his bare feet were swollen and blistered. He was still bleeding slightly, his wounds not completely healed.

He dragged one leg. His hair, caked and knotted, hung in straggly threads. His slumped shoulders barely supported his bowed head. He walked.

Every step ended as if it were the last, and the next began unsure of ever finishing. Every breath was hollow and rasping, air providing only merest sustenance.

He left a small trail, of blood and tears and sweat, in the dust, soon dried by the sun and erased by the wind. He walked.

He approached his destination. After countless months, there was a chance at some respite, some relief, some rest. Shelter, if he could get that far. His strides had slowed further, but now there were small hints of doggedness, his knees rising slightly higher at each step, his eyes looking a little further down the road.

Far away, well beyond the man’s hearing, was a noise, a thrum or a twang. He walked.

He walked, and did not hear the slight hissing rush that preceded impact. He was jolted back, staggering. The arrow protruded from the left side of his chest.

His eyes were wide, uncomprehending. He looked up at the sky, which gave him no answers. He swayed, upper body circling dizzily.

He straightened. His eyes were bright, and his head held high. He strode, then loped, then ran, back the way he had come.

(250 words)

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