07 April 2010

Hunger, Thwarted, Does Not Let Go

Hellfire, Henry David thought, 'tweren't for bad luck I'd no luck at all...

He fell to his knees beside the carcass. A faint reek, putrescence and mineral tang of ice, stung his nose. His chest was heaving, exhausted from struggling against the frigid embrace of snow about his trembling legs. The quivering in his belly threatened to burst into retching. Henry's eyes watered as appetite fought hard against disgust. He was hungry.

The first meat I seen in days, and its scraps on the bone. Damnation, it probably lay me up with the scours...Henry considered the rock and the hard place of his current predicament. Winter had its claws in hard, and exhaustion born of the hard slog from the empty cabin was setting the points. He blinked, breathing slow. The bones seemed to dance in the cloud of mist billowing from his mouth.

There was a sudden rustle in the branches of a large pine tree across the clearing. Lumps of sugary snow wafted from the needles to reveal glaring patches of deep green. Henry started, squinting at the commotion. Sitting on the end of a thick branch was the largest crow Henry had ever seen. It was watching him, head cocked and a beady eye unblinking. Tilting its head back, the beak opened to "CAWWW!CAWWW!" loud enough to hurt Henry's numb ears. The huge bird flapped its wings like the rustle of an undertaker's frock coat. Henry gulped. He swore the bird was mocking him.

A loud growl escaped Henry's aching belly. He swallowed hard. Well, Old Crow, it's you and me at the table, Henry whispered to the bird, and I reckon to be your guest and not your vittles.  A trembling hand reached out for a stringy bone, and the bird threw back its head with a screech, for all the world sounding to Henry's ears like the Devil's laugh.

--For those not familiar with Henry David, other tales can be found HERE and HERE.

Photo credit: Irish Gumbo 


  1. Awesome little tale. Crows do sound like devils, that's for sure. As does snow look sugary. But believe you me, using snow instead of sugar DOES NOT DO IT. It just makes the tea cold.

  2. Your labels once again simply caught my attention...that was a taut piece of writing, kept me on the edge.

  3. Holy cow...what a visual your description provides me.

  4. I need to catch up on my reading!!! But this read awesome!!!

  5. Henry David is liable to pick up a bad case of the trots from eating rotting meat.

  6. Well no wonder his intestines are an issue. . .


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...