The Little Steed
Richard Lee, Grade 12, Queensland Academy for Science, Math & Technology -
I had met a young girl. Weak legs with knees bent, worn heels, petite body, wild yet quiet as it slowly stumbled, skinny to the point where her ribs protruded from her chest. Abandonment. I had glanced a miserable sight. Out of mercy, perhaps I could have loaded my hunting rifle, disengaged the safety lock, aimed whilst making sure that the muzzle pointed right at the centre of the forehead, and fired. I would be confident that it would have ended well too. After all, I cannot afford to spend so many years to trudge through the woods, weapon at hand, finally finding fair game, and being unable to finish the act.
However, it was a rather sunny day in which I had chosen to embark on a hunting trip, sunnier than I thought it would be as at the heat of the moment I had already began to approach her. First, I made my presence known; if she had not noticed until I was right beside her, the shock would send her into a panic more than she could probably handle in her current state. As I got closer, her droopy eyes began to widen, and, still shivering, began to tremble as she stumbled slightly back, but her sorry self on the verge of collapse had gotten the better of her. At that point I wondered how I could convince her of my innocence and an inspiration instigated me to fumble through my backpack to the carrot sticks I had packed in the morning, and whilst holding onto one of them in front of me, I continued my gradual advance. Although she was still wary, the prospect of food tempted her and by the time I was a less than a meter apart where I had stopped moving and knelt in front of her, her head began to lean in to reach the treat. It did not take her very long to finish it, so I grabbed a few more from my bag, and each stick I gave, she ate so reservedly, like a small squirrel savouring an acorn, despite her blatant hunger.
Of course, this moment of fascination could only last until I had realised that I had already reached the last of the carrots. I stood back up and gave her a pat for farewell… or so I had thought. As it began to follow behind me, and I felt like a mother duck with her duckling. When I began to pick up the pace, I expected her to give up, but she desperately followed, hobbling about until she was an arm’s reach behind me. I could not bring myself to watch her crumple, so I slowed down, turned to her, and in a quiet voice I spoke, “Do you want to come with me?”