I wished I hadn’t seen him, I squeezed my eyes and prayed that he would disappear once I unscrewed them.
In the forest, Granddad always carried his loaded gun; broken of course, but … shot ready. “Just cos you a girl don’t mean nowt” he would say. “You needs to know, and to do.” Each time I nodded my head, I secretly begged not to find him. In the clearing he glistened with snow. Head held proud, no hurry to go. He looked back the way he had come. I darted forward; a distraction technique. Without a breath his gnarly hand caught my nose and cheek. A backhander he called it, a gentle reprimand. Grabbing my lobe he dragged me, not releasing for a second until home. My face wet, my heart bled but … my conscience clear. We never spoke of our last hunting trip. We neither repeated or apologised. Our last meeting was on his deathbed, our eyes met one last time. Silently he closed his lashless eyes, and nodded his naked head.
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