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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Kenzie Fell Down on December 18, 2007
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Even those with nothing have something.

It was Christmas Eve, and night was falling across Texas, cold, so long withheld, began to flow over the land. In a tranquil, wooded place, silence fell. Birds ceased their squabbles and celebrations. On swift feet, a crouching man padded between the trees, searching the ground. His head jerked around incessantly, wary of every sound. Suddenly, he halted, eyes lit up. He sighed with relief. Quickly, he maneuvered himself down the hole he had discovered. It seemed to be coyote's den, not long abandoned, but if inhabitant there still was, it would at least not return before the morrow. Fair few minutes passed as he lay there, breath slowing, then catching as the hunting call of a hound came dancing through the brittle air. A shudder wracked his body. Stiff he stayed, hardly daring to pray. His mind fled out and up, crossing the miles and the years, to another, the only other, time he had carried such fear, since his childhood dreams had faded. The raucous cries of rich men, the smells of a muddy, rutted lane, the sobs of his own poor, bruised children, the rattle of chains all resurrected around him. He struggled, but the memory held him firm. One by one, he again watched helpless as his children were sold like so many sheep, pulled from his grasp, even his wife stolen. The pain of the whips again burned along his ridged skin , and the hollowness again swept through his heart. Gasping, he dragged himself back to the den, the present. Voices now echoed through the brush, ghosts, intertwined with the wailing of the hound, ever closer. In the other direction, the failing grass parted, and a coyote burst past. Only minutes later, the man heard the chaos caused by the vagrant's passing. From the shouts, he must have trotted straight through the middle of the hunters. Now, the voices drifted, turned in another direction, possibly home. The man smiled to himself in the dark, whispering thanks for his precious Christmas present.

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