Another pheasant tale – First Place, Senior Prose

I     wobbled on my paws as I paced to and fro in the back end
of the old, grey pickup while it bounced down the uneven dirt road.
I was shaking with excitement when it wheezed to a stop. We were
going hunting, had to be, that was the only time I ever got to ride
in the truck.

I peered out the grimy window as the man and the girl climbed
out of the cab. My mouth watered as I caught a whiff of bacon and
something dead and, ohhhhh, beef! I licked my chops then stopped
suddenly as my hair stood on end. There was another dog here! I
stared out the window, squinting as he came into view.

No, I whined as I jumped around in the back, Don’t leave me and
take him. Please, I promise I’ll be good.

After what felt like eons, the topper flipped open and the girl
looked at me. “Chessy,” she scolded when she saw my puddle of
excitement soaking into the carpet. She dropped the tailgate, I
leapt out and was right up in that other dog’s face in a split
second. He was not coming with if I had anything to do with it! We
exchanged fightin’ words, but as he attempted to attack he was
dragged off by a strange man and locked in a truck.

Satisfied, I followed the man and girl down a field driveway,
rushing here and dashing there to roll on a dead sparrow, pee on a
dirt clod, and rub my face in the snow. Eventually we reached a
line of trees. I could smell squirrels and rabbits and… pheasants!
I raced towards the brush ready to go get them.

“Chessy!” the man called. I turned and glanced back at him.
Couldn’t he see that I was getting the birds? I bolted into the
trees immediately busting up a roost. Three birds burst out and
soared into the sky. One bird cackled midflight, and I knew it was
a boy. Shoot! Shoot! I thought as I chased after them waiting to
hear a deadly bang, but there was only the flapping of wings. I
looked at the man and girl; they looked disgusted.

“Chessy, come here!” the man demanded, but I could smell another
bird, so I dashed into the trees. Hey! I yelped as I was zapped
with a string of electricity. I raced to them and sat down
pouting.

“Do you have a gun? Huh? Did you shoot the bird?” the man asked
me. I just stared back. “I didn’t think so! Stay by us!” the man
warned.

We slowly made our way back through the trees. The last bird I
had detected was a girl. After the trees we went down by the swamp.
The cattails were thick and snow-coated. I couldn’t smell anything,
and decided rather than break my own path I would just follow the
man. We trudged on, my feet growing cold as ice froze between my
toes. I was getting thirsty and hungry. Where were the birds?

As if it was answering my questions a whiff of pheasant filled
my nose. I broke off the path darting through the cattails. It was
growing stronger. Here, no, there! I leapt into the heart of the
smell, a clump of weeds expecting a bird, but it was empty.

Suddenly, I heard a rustle in the underbrush. The bird! I
bulldozed that direction, and the bird burst into the sky. My heart
flipped from my mouth to my stomach as I chased it up.

“Rooster!” the man hollered. I heard one explosion, then
another.

“I got him!” the girl yelled. I had heard him hit the ground and
was already trucking in that direction. I circled once, twice,
three times. Where was he? Concentrate Chessy, I told myself. Oh,
there he is! I pounced on him, already stone dead and carried him
to the girl.

“Give,” she coaxed, pulling at the bird, “Give!” I held firm.
“Chessy give!” she demanded pulling my lower jaw and yanking out
the bird. “Got him!” she yelled. “Good boy Chessy,” she praised as
she scratched my ears. I stood there for a moment, enjoying my
moment in the sun, then darted off to find another bird.

Categories: Youth Writing Contest

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