Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gator Boy: Patti Abbott's Fiction Challenge

Here's the challenge Patti put out:Scarry Night
And here's my story.

Gator Boy

Keegan had tied the rope himself, cinched it tight around the boy’s waist, had tousled the straw-blond hair and said Okay, go get ‘em, boy so he knew there was no one to blame for what happened but himself. The gators were just too fast this time.

And he could say now that he’d had a funny feeling , had a sudden flash of dread as he watched Sammy wade out into the swampy water, watched the gators on the muddy isle perk up. But that could’ve been hindsight talking.

They’d done it countless times before. The rope, the boy, the gators. Sammy would go out in the water, start splashing around, and it was never long before the gators got interested and came after him. And when they’d get close, Keegan would yank the boy back, right out of the jaws of death as it were, and as the boy scrambled up on the land Keegan would snatch up his bow and let loose with an arrow right into the gator’s head.

It worked every goddamn time.

And Keegan himself grew up doing it with his own Pop. His father had taught him how to cinch the rope tight, how to splash around in the water, how to get the gator’s attention. He had more than a few scars from his days as the Gator Boy—mostly on his legs and arms but one nice one like a jagged bolt running down his jaw.

Keegan had learned from his own Pop’s mistakes. He’d learned the best ways to minimize the danger and keep his Sammy as safe as possible.

Yeah, it worked every time.

Except this time.

The boy had yelled, They’re comin’, Pa, they’re comin’! but Keegan had allowed his mind to wander in that one split second, that most crucial second. And then the rope had slipped a little in his callused hands when he yanked on it. Those two things were all the gators needed.

One of them got Sammy by the leg, dragged him under, the whole time the boy screaming Pa, Pa, help me, Pa! and then two more dove in on him and the water turned red as they tore him to pieces. And Keegan could only watch in numb horror as his son was devoured.

He stood there on the shore forever and wasn’t positive exactly when the cops showed up. But one of them said to him, You got scars, buddy. I guess you used to do the same thing as your boy there. And you got hurt more than once, by the look of it.

Numbly, watching the gators now back on the muddy isle, full on the flesh of his son, Keegan said I really don’t mind the scars. They’re all I got left, and the cops put him in the car.

12 comments:

  1. Now, that tale had bite! Really nicely done, Heath and a terrific last line.

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  2. Terrific. Disturbing, but terrific. Even terrifically disturbing. On the other hand, gator is quite delicious....

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  3. Being from the South, this one hits close to home. I gotta say though, this is disturbingly funny to me. I have to say also that when you put out the words, "It works every time".

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  4. Wow. Outstanding flash story and I have to say, you guys really know how to have a good time out in Detroit...

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  5. Oh, boy. This was a different one. Really original.

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  6. A little southern gothic by way of Detroit. Really enjoyed the story Heath.

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  7. Thanks, guys. Katherine, you can take the boy outta Tennessee, but...

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  8. Short, original, and nasty. Good work.

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