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Left for Dead No Right to Live
by Kristopher Cox
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“Smack,” screamed Nick’s hand as it smacked the side of his neck. Nick opens the palm of his hand to reveal his latest kill. Observing the worthless mosquito spattered with the stolen blood from Nick’s body, Nick contemplated as to why in all the vastness of the Universe would God create such an irritating and purposeless mooch. While smearing the corpse on his jeans, he spoke his typical epitaph he gives to all his victims, “Left for dead, no right to live,” and continued to soak in nature.

Sitting on his sturdy ice chest positioned between his new tent and his proudly created campfire, Nick engulfed and savored another helping of mountain air before releasing it back into the wild. As he snuggled in a blanket of moonlight, he reflected on the past three days of hiking and observing wildlife. With the exception of the mosquitoes, the nearby skunk spraying and the bothersome homeless man wandering through the woods, (whom he had privately named ‘Mosquito’) the camping trip had been a success. Besides, the skunk scent had already started to fade in potency and the homeless man eventually took the hint that Nick just wanted to be left alone, (especially when Nick started ignoring the man and went inside his tent each time the nuisance came up to Nick‘s campsite). Nick was determined to let nothing stand in his way from enjoying his well-deserved vacation.

He continued to listen to the wind dance through the pine trees changing tempos as it desired giving a musical backdrop to the frogs singing ballads to woo their new but unfound love. The sent of pine roasting in the fire prickled his nose as he listened to the Symphony of the night.

Hypnotized by Nature’s love song, Nick became oblivious to the steadily but stealthy approaching sounds of an intruder. Just when Nick started to recognize the sour notes that had crept into his song; he felt a sudden rush of pressure on the right side of his temple and then nothing.

…Nick let out soft moan as he laid on dry pine needles. He tried to force his eyelids to obey his commands and open but his head was too busy fighting the onslaught of waves of pain that tormented his head as if someone was squeezing his skull in and out like an accordion. In a desperate attempt to turn off the pain switch to his head, Nick reached up his right arm to major source of his throbbing only to discover a strip of cloth that circumnavigated around his head. A flood of reality overcame him as he realized two things - he was in a new place and was in the presence of a stranger.

Nick’s entire body tensed up instantly. He suddenly overrode the controls to his eyelids and popped them opened like the old-fashioned, quick-retrieval window blinds. Adrenaline raced through his body. Ironically, he no longer felt the pounding of his skull but instead could sense his entire surrounding. A slight rustle and a small change in a moonlit shadow to the right of him made Nick snap his head in the likewise direction. Not ten feet from him laid a sleeping stranger. Nick could not make out facial features of the man in the darkness but wandered what his intentions could be. Before allowing his mind to travel to nightmarish realms, Nick tried to decide what to do. Should he strike the man in the same brutal fashion that he struck him or should he just run off aimlessly in the woods searching for help? He had to decide quickly before the man awoke. As Nick was searching around for something to strike the man with, the stranger, startled by Nick’s rummaging, awoke and sat up. For what seemed like an eternity, Nick, frozen in fear, just glared at the old man.

Finally the rugged man shattered the silence, “So you’re finally awake. Well, thank God you’re O.K.” Nick continued in the same position of fear, which began to mix with confusion. “I heard some racket coming from your campsite and decided to come up and see what all the fuss was about. I noticed a couple of guys going through your stuff. I yelled out them but they just quickly gathered what they could carry and ran off. I then noticed you on the ground extremely close to the fire. I decided to pick you up and carry you away from your campsite incase they returned. Once we were far enough away I dressed your wound as best as I could and seeing that there was nothing more that I could do, I just went off to sleep.” Nick’s frozen fear melted away to a warm sense of astonishment, as he stood there speechless. “Well, we got a big day ahead of us, better get some sleep.” As the man just turned over to go back to sleep, all Nick could do is just think how he could ever repay the good deeds of the homeless man, “Mosquito” - a man who saved the life of one of God’s creature that was “left for dead with no right to live.”

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