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|Author:||Laile [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:28 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Short Sighted|
Hey all, I used to be a prolific forum story-teller and I loved writing short little excerpts revolving around mine other friend's characters (where permission was given of course!). I've not written anything in a very long time, but I felt an urge and spent a few work lunchtimes putting together this short and rather unrefined piece. Comments are always welcomed by the way, it helps me develop both the character and writing skills.
Asbjorn Bre hefted the rifle pulling the butt tight against his shoulder and rested his cheek on the stock. Grey eyes stared off past the barrel and for the briefest of moments his ample girth froze as he squeezed the trigger lightly. Snow and dirt puffed up to the right-hand side of a mound where a hacked log rested, adorned with a crudely painted red circle depicting a thus far unscathed target.
Asbjorn cursed in the dying echoes of the gunshot’s report, “son of a Dolyak’s mother!” Holding the rifle before him in two meaty hands he studied the weapon with a look of concern. “What is wrong with you eh?” With deft movements he swung the barrel up straight, settled and fired again. Again a powdery puff of snow and dirt exploded to the right-hand side of the target and rained down, peppering the unmarked log.
“Skritt’s brains is your barrel askew?!” He resisted the urge to throw the rifle to the floor and once more a concerned look creased his brow and he regarded the weapon as a parent might worry over a poorly child. Grimacing and pulling at his beard, Asbjorn slung it over his shoulder, threw a mean look at the gloating red painted target and tramped off through the snow.
The heavy Norn worked his way through the dense forest following an old hunting trail, despite the fact that it lay hidden by a fresh fall of snow. This was a well-worn and well-remembered route, frequented by his family and many of their friends for countless years. At one end a small hot spring nestled amongst thick ancient boles stretching up and splitting into a thick shaded canopy where they often relaxed after a day’s hunt, and at the other, there was home. Home greeted the day’s end, welcoming bounty amongst the dark smoky wooden walls and low thatched eaves, a culmination of preparation and idle chatter leading to feasting, drinking and boastful merriment; a simplicity of tradition, of all that had ever been expected.
Tradition would have it that Asbjorn Bre usually shot eight maybe nine out of ten absolutely on target; so good that it would have taken an Asuran fixed micro-enhancer to determine the difference between the individual impacts. It weighed on his mind, this old rifle which had received new fittings and modifications over the years, the spirit was still very much intact and present, yet something was off and whilst an afternoon of target practice had given Asbjorn a chance to compensate for the discrepancy, he came away with a feeling of brooding disappointment. Granted he was no smith, he knew enough that most likely the oldest part of the weapon was at fault. Some deviation arisen through long use, or perhaps altered in the course of fierce battle; too many times it would seem the steel barrel had spared its owners life by blocking the course of a blade.
“Perhaps it’s time to hang you above the fire eh?” The stifling silence of the snow covered forest swallowed his words like a guilty choke.
He would show it to the smith upon his return and the man will offer a conciliatory shrug, venture that he might take a further look and perhaps work the rifle for some time to see if he can rectify the issue. But Asbjorn knew already that that this was the last time they would walk the trail and he had half a mind to cast it far into the depths of an icy gorge and to let the elements do their thing, to bring wear upon the constituent parts so that but a fragment of whence it came should return to nature’s embrace.
Asbjorn stopped suddenly and burst into laughter. “You were a fine friend,” he growled with good nature and spun the weapon effortlessly with one hand to smack the barrel down into the other. One finger traced finely etched patterns in the metalwork, “but it’s definitely time to put you on the hooks and to have less of this dogged contemplation or they’ll be putting me out to pasture too.” He chuckled and looked up as movement registered slightly further up the trail.
“Talking to the trees again dear?”
Asbjorn waved to the woman in front of him. “Helena, hah. Indeed my love you caught me in mournful procrastination.” Smiling he approached her, his eyes forgetting the detailed filigree-like pattern of the rifle barrel and instead drinking in the measured poise of his wife as she folded her arms and leaned against a tree to regard him with a humorous look. She was wearing her hair back in a simple clasp, most likely to keep it out of whatever work she had been carrying out and as he stepped close he reached behind and released the snowy mane, smoothing strands beneath his fingers.
“Something troubles you?” She asked.
Asbjorn shrugged. “Not anymore.”
“Silly bear, you are a hopeless romantic – tell me, why is it that as I take break in the solace of the forest, do I stumble upon your crazed ramblings?”
He regretfully stopped stroking her hair and presented the rifle.
“Oh.” Helena seemed to know instantly.
“If I do not compensate - and it varies too - I couldn’t hit a herd of Dolyak at ten paces.”
Helena frowned. “Sight for me.”
Asbjorn nodded, breaking the barrel and checking it was empty before lifting it once more to his shoulder. Helena stepped to his side and ran her hand along the length of the rifle before then moving to the front and looking straight down into his eyes. Asbjorn winked, but she ignored him and instead lifted a single finger and closed one eye. She continued to stare down the length of the barrel for a few moments more.
“Okay, drop it.” Asbjorn lowered the gun. “Come with me.”
Helena stepped free from the trail and moved into the trees with Asbjorn following dutifully behind. They had covered perhaps fifty yards before she stopped and nodded.
“Over there, can you see that large cluster of icicles hanging from that branch?” Asbjorn nodded. “See if you can hit the larger one on the end.”
“Okay.” Asbjorn loaded and hefted the rifle, pulling it close into his shoulder and sighted down the barrel. Helena moved behind him. He squeezed off a shot, missing completely.
A trickle of anger and foolishness pervaded his thoughts. “Right.” He sighted once more, but just before his finger closed on the trigger, Helena reached around and placed her hand over his left eye. The gun fired and ice exploded off the branch.
He stood stock still for a moment and then slowly lowered the rifle. “Confounded woman,” he muttered.
Helena chuckled and patted him on the shoulder. “It seems you may have seen one too many winters my love.”
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