The Antelopes
Ben Woodiwiss

He adjusted the focus on the sight and handed the rifle back to her.

"Can you see them more clearly now?"

She propped herself back up on the log and leveled it out. Screwing her face up as she pressed the sight into her eye.

"Yes. Thatís much better. This telescope is excellent, I feel like Iím right there with them."

"Itís still a toy though. I shouldnít think itíll catch on."

She studied the antelopes closer now, watching them as they ate and gently nuzzled each other. A cool wind had picked up, unusual for this time of day and she felt a relief from the heat that she hardly noticed. The feeling coupled with the joy of watching the animals and she felt something near to elation.

"Now come on," he broke the silence and the moment, "bag one and we can move on."

She pulled her eye away from the gun and turned to look at him.

"I donít think I can now, I mean, I donít really know if I want to anymore."

He threw up his hands very slightly, but she could tell that the motion harboured a stronger irritation, one not so easily given away by the gesture.

"This is what we came out here for."

His voice pitched itself higher now, betraying his anger.

"I know what we planned, but I donít think itís needed now. Before, it was something that I thought was necessary. They are always so skittish around people, so wary. Perhaps I merely felt like I needed this moment. To feel like I was next to them. Really, theyíre quite beautiful, not at all stupid looking. I might have been feeling jealous of their beauty. I may have even thought that by mastering and slaying one of them I could own their beauty and possess something of their grace myself. Whatever it was, that moment has gone now."

"This is how you always are. Your opinions and desires change when you are faced with the grim reality of a situation."

She narrowed her eyes at him and stood up, handing the rifle back.

"And you always want to tidy things up. Follow an idea to the end, no matter what."

She turned and walked away from him. He watched her walk, sharing his gaze between her and the antelopes. He raised the gun, took aim and fired.

First published: November 2002