…More a Least Worst Seller. The title of this post refers to a book and e-book first written in 2004; then re-written in 2007; before being giving a once-over again in 2014. It is…
But since it is my Least-Worst seller, here’s an extract from it…
A stray shaft of sunlight shining in my eye woke me from my troubled slumbers. Straw may look comfortable, but it pokes you in places you didn’t know you had, and it can really make a body itch. Fortunately the others had neglected to mention rats the previous night, so, when upon numerous occasions, I awoke to scratching sounds, or the weight of some furry animal running across my back, I was greatly alarmed. If I’d known what to expect in advance I’m pretty certain I’d have taken a tent with me – or just slept beneath the stars, and hoped that it didn’t rain.
Now, as brightness attempted to blind my bleary eyes, I knew that I hated living rough.
‘Nature? You can keep it!’
Katherine, on the other hand, was full with the joys of spring. She already had a fire burning outside, and the smell of coffee perked me into a sitting position. I noticed the absence of Lee and Kevin immediately. As I wandered outside I enquired after them.
“My, who’s a sleepy head, then?” Katherine chided. She then answered my question, “They’ve gone hunting.”
“Lee went hunting with our only assault rifle?” I was surprised that Lee would willingly waste such irreplaceable ammunition.
“No, silly.” Katherine replied – offering me a cup of black, watery coffee.
“With Kevin.” She added, “The lad’s very good with snares.”
I admired Kevin: He was worth two of any other boy of his age.
“He’s a little diamond.” I said as I sat myself beside Katherine.
The coffee was awful, but it was wet and warm, and at that moment it was enough. I gazed out upon the silent countryside, and let my brain slip into neutral.
Some unmeasured time later the boys returned with four dead rabbits. They were young. Perhaps born only a week or two after the virus had struck. It seemed such a crime for us to take life when it was so rare and precious. I must have said as much…
“Wanna eat, don’t you?” Lee was slightly miffed. He and Kevin had worked hard to make their catch. I apologized for my foolishness.
“Next time,” Kevin spoke eagerly to Lee, “I can show ya fish tickling.”
“Are there any?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Came Kevin’s positive response, “loads of ‘em. I seen ‘em in the river this morning.”
“Make mine trout.” Katherine put on her cut-glass accent, “Just like my men – I prefer them slightly soused.”
An hour later, with a rabbit each tied to our haversacks, we made our way along a dusty dirt track. It was a fine day, and in our childish ways we had shrugged off our troubles for the duration. This came to an abrupt end when a bullet kicked up the ground beside us.
© Paul Trevor Nolan