The tip of her arrow aims at him and she lets fly.

Cold Blind

A blind: fir and hemlock branches, cross-hatched and crusted with snow, big enough to crouch in, small enough for stale breath to warm. She is quiet as an apparition, tense and steady, drawing back an angry elbow, victimhood thrown down, finally, dun and dull.

Her prey walks, bareheaded.  The tip of her arrow aims at him and she lets fly.  It rives him from damnable domination and she thrusts him into her bloody blind.

A crunch, the pluck of an arrow and the task is done. The blind fills with the spill and tang of damp copper and her corners of guilt sharpen with the angle of the moon. Another shove, a push. His lank arm flings to the sky in supplication, in abeyance to eternal rules of battery and repayment.

The frozen blind hides him until a spring breeze, blurred, releases him.  He sinks like soured milk into mud, through sticks and pine needles, and the blind collapses one soft afternoon.

Her conscience rounds back upon itself as the sun blackens. She circles the old blind, throws down the bow, then the arrow, narrowly missing the crest of a ribcage and she gasps at the grasp on her ankle.


Jane Banning is a writer in the north woods and walks cautiously during hunting season.


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