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Pity the Wounded Animal
By B.R. Jones
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
When Jerrilyn goes into the forest...
Kyle Tompkins was 25 years old, but he giggled like a school boy as he squeezed the deer blood from the canvas pouch. It splattered like broken eggs in the dirt before settling into a warm puddle amid the pine needles and clover.
Kyle made a grunting noise in his throat, then intensified the sound to a near wail, much like that of a wounded animal. Thinking of what he was about to do, he snickered like the fool his daddy always said he was. From a crouch, Kyle peeked from behind a holly bush that sat at the edge of the forest. He could see across the rows of freshly plowed fields, the would-be stalks of corn now merely minuscule sprouts, his view of Jerrilyn Rutherford uninhibited. She sat on her back porch, moving forward slightly in the cane rocker, her neck stretching upward, her head tilting slightly as she strained to recognize the sound. He giggled when he saw her rise from her seat, knowing that she would come now. He giggled again and moved deeper into the forest, spilling more blood as he went, continuing his wailing sound.
When he reached the edge of the creek, Kyle began moving slowly along its edge, his near-empty pouch dangling limply from his hand. He managed to squeeze out a few sparse droplets before reaching the massive live oak that shadowed the creek, then stepped quickly behind its enormous trunk. He uttered one last giggle that came out more like an insatiable whine, and waited.
He knew it wouldn’t be long now. Jerrilyn wasn’t the smartest grape in the bunch. When she was only two years old, everybody around here quickly realized that Mrs. Rutherford had given birth to a retarded kid, or mentally challenged, as the folks in town would say just to be politically correct, but Kyle didn’t much go in for politics. Everybody thought it was terrible, but hell, she was about the prettiest damn thing you ever saw, with that light, feathery blonde hair and those big brown eyes. He sure didn’t give two cows’ tits what her brain was like. She was only a couple of years younger than Kyle, but she’d never had any formal education. Too stupid to learn, didn’t even understand what school was, everybody said.
And she was so weird. Kyle could remember as far back as grammar school, riding the bus home, and nearly every day they passed the Rutherford farm, there was Jerrilyn poking a tobacco stick into the dirt and talking to it. God knows what she was saying. Probably more gibberish about “deer babies.”
She loved the deer in the forest. As a matter of fact, her whole stupid family must love those deer, because Jerrilyn’s daddy had come to speak to Kyle’s family about it. Since they lived on the next farm, Mr. Rutherford had asked all the men in the Tompkins family to please not shoot the deer, especially not on or near his land. The discharge of the rifles frightened Jerrilyn, and the thought of the deer being killed sent her into crying jags for days. Kyle’s dad told Mr. Rutherford that, sure, they wouldn’t mind one bit not shooting deer, had no use for venison, anyway, couldn’t stand the taste of it. Then after Mr. Rutherford left, Mr. Tompkins turned to Kyle and his older brother, Kevin, and said, “That old coot’s as nuts as his daughter is. Be up at five tomorrow morning with your rifles cleaned and ready. We’ll shoot deer any damn time we give a care to.”
That’s what Kyle liked about his father. He could tell people anything they wanted to hear, then do whatever he pleased. He figured that pretending to care about retarded Jerrilyn was all Mr. Rutherford was due.
But as retarded as Kyle knew she was, damn if she didn’t have a right fine body. She’d bloomed into one down-right good-lookin’ woman. It was an odd thing, though, seeing that curvaceous body connected to her brainless head. Robert Lee McKenzie, the manager at the Piggly Wiggly, called her “an anomaly,” but Kyle didn’t see what a board game had to do with Jerrilyn Rutherford.
All he knew was that he wanted to have her. He’d bet she was still a virgin. It wasn’t like the dimwit could actually date a guy, and besides, her daddy sure wasn’t going to let her leave that farm with anybody. Which made Kyle’s plan perfect. He couldn’t wait to get a good look at her without that dress on. And that dumb apron she always wore over it, as if she were a butcher or something.
Kyle remembered the last time he’d seen her before today, at the filling station in town last week, sitting in the front passenger seat while her daddy went in and paid for the gasoline. Kyle had gone over and stood next to her open window and said, “You’re dumb as a rock, but you got nice tits.”
Her only response was, “Jer-ree-lyn takes care of the deer babies.”
“Can I touch ‘em?” Kyle had asked, wiggling his fingers toward her large breasts.
"Jer-ree-lyn takes care of the deer babies,” she’d repeated, smiling wide with teeth as white as any Kyle had ever seen at the movies.
He’d grinned and said, “The deer babies want me to feel your breasts, okay?”
Kyle had glanced toward the filling station office, just to be sure he had time, when Mr. Rutherford swung the door open and began walking down the cement steps.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Rutherford,” Kyle sputtered. “I was just telling Jerrilyn here that nobody was goin’ to be shootin’ deer anymore, not if I had anything to say about it. No, sir.”
Just tell ‘em what they want to hear, Kyle thought, as he trotted off toward his pickup.
He looked at his watch now as he squatted behind the large oak tree, waiting. It had been nearly fifteen minutes since he’d seen her rise from her chair on the porch. She was probably just taking her time, tracking the blood toward the poor wounded deer. Kyle smirked and murmured, “Probably went to get a God-forsaken first-aid kit before she headed for the woods.”
Jerrilyn walked quietly through the forest, listening intently for any sound that would lead her to the wounded deer baby. She had heard from her back porch the first moaning and wailing from the poor little thing, had seen the blood.
She lifted her apron as she climbed over a large boulder near the creek. Her apron had become quite heavy and cumbersome, but she didn’t care. Mama had made this apron especially for her, and she wore it every day.
She loved her mama very much and Mama could make magic things happen. Like Bambi coming to life before her very eyes every night. Mama would tuck Jerrilyn into bed and then push buttons on a magic box and the next thing Jerrilyn knew, there was Bambi running through the forest. She loved Bambi and all the deer babies, especially those that lived in her very own forest. She didn’t have to turn on a magic box to see them.
It made her very sad when the deer babies got hurt. She began to cry now, as she continued searching for the poor animal that lay bleeding deep in the forest. It might not even be a deer baby. It might be a Thumper baby, like she saw every night with Bambi. Whatever it was, Jerrilyn knew it was hurting real bad, and she was going to make the hurt go away.
As she moved slowly beside the creek, her head bent, her eyes searching, she saw sparse droplets of blood leading to the large oak tree. Suddenly, the wounded animal stepped out and spoke to her, just like Bambi and Thumper.
“I can’t wait to get my hands on what’s underneath that dress of yours.”
She saw the blood on the wounded animal’s legs and feet, blood that seemed to have dripped from a bag at the end of the animal’s arm. He must have been shot in his bag hand and it sure seemed like he had lost a lot of blood.
“Jer-ree-lyn helps the wounded animals.”
Kyle Tompkins looked down at the bulge in his pants and smirked, “Yeah, I’m a wounded animal, all right, and you’re gonna put me out of my misery.”
Kyle unzipped his jeans, and when he looked up again, he had only a millisecond to think ‘oh, shit’ before the bullet entered his skull.
Jerrilyn looked down at the animal, now out of its misery. People tried to say she was dumb, but she knew better. Jerrilyn was smart. She’d thought to get Daddy’s pistol and put it in her apron pocket before she went in search of the wounded animal, hadn’t she?
And she was proud. Because, once again, she had helped to end the suffering of a poor, wounded animal.
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|Reviewed by Missy Cross
|Riveting story; loved the ending. Quite a read!|
|Reviewed by April Smith
|Wow, that was a good story! I really enjoyed it...especially the ending's twist! Thanks for sharing, April|