By C.S Grable
At the end of a river meets a place so wide and vast her edges can’t be seen. Tall pines dot the rising sheer cliffs, and black sand rolls out to greet her loyal blueness. The sun has just risen, his sol light dancing across cool soft waves.
The morning clatter of gulls in the wind soared and drooped on misty breaths. A call, deep and honking strutted across the tide seeded sand.
A sea lion basked with her head back, turning to and fro. Long black whiskers twitched in the welcomed rays of the sun. Several gulls drooped low clacking their bills in the cool lapping breeze, passing the sleek roan creature. She flipped head again, slapping a long dark flipper over golden eyes.
They narrowed with a snort head turning quickly back to the shore she hopped off the rock slipped in to the rivers shed and swam to the open sea, the gulls still above flapping effortlessly along her smooth swimming strides. Once far from a shore turned green in the haze and iridescent of the black sands and pine, the sea-lions head rested slightly under the water, small nostrils sniffing. With a snappy breath she was gone under the water her shadow lost with the reeds and sea grass.
The Gulls circled above watching quietly as a dark form emerged from the pines edge, a deer wild eyed and tired leaped over logs, tripping up on branches and twisting roots. The gulls scattered taking flight leaving the doe to her fate, heads shaking. The doe lost her footing and took the fall, catching the sand with her shoulder. She looked back with a forced pause as her ankles grew weak. Her pale brown eyes searched the tree line, her breath forming in the air. Tall ears twitching she could hear their breath, her wide nostrils could smell their pungent odor, just over the ridge.
With what she had left she pushed herself up, bounding for the still waters edge, a harsh cool air picking rushing past short brown fur shuddering from her plight. Again lanky soft white tipped ears twitched back, her head turning with the noise of two long legged hunters leaping over the thicket, riders one small and large bound her way. With a gulp the Doe ran back and forth along the shore, her heart thudding she panicked backing up into the water.
The horses seemed unmoved by her distraught form, her heart rapid and wild. The equine moved forward at their masters command, their voices pitched and out of tune to them all.
“Hold it steady less you miss and snap the deer into her senses.Sit still in your saddle, take good aim, breath…hold it.’ A boy no higher than the forward bent head of his hunter held a rifle in proportion to him. He’s snapped his breath and the bolt dropped.
With it the doe.
The horses moved forward at command sniffing the sand they stopped just shy the crestfallen beast. Both horses shifted as their masters dismounted approaching their sea salted kill.
The boy looked back with wide lupine like intensity, reddened cheeks puffed in the chill sun. His hands extending over the doe, the waves lapping at her shoulders he spoke in a tiny shaken voice.
“Forgive me sister,” his eyes glancing back, his father nodding. “For ending your day so mine could continue.’ His tongue clipped the roof of his mouth, it was down turned with his heart still heavy.
“Thank you lad,” The tall dark father stepped out of the shadow of his lanky pale horse slipping his weathered hands over the lads soft dark curly locks.
Heavy indigo eyes blinked back at his quiet father as he was lifted back into the saddle. He ducked the gently fatherly pat, his eyes away from the shore. He glanced at his father after he slipped the boys rifle along side his saddle.
He patted the horses neck and stepped back to his new charge listing in the incoming tide.
In the lisp of the sun’s reflection bobbled the sea-lion with confused and frustrated eyes. With a slap of sleek flippers she vanished beneath the tide and far from the bloody shore.