Author's note: Below is a short story I had written as a writing exercise for the 2010 East Texas Writing Project. It is by no means my best work (as I said, it was only an exercise), but for some reason I felt like sharing today. And in case if anyone wonders: yes, it is a true story. Enjoy!
It was another Saturday night—another trip to Mercer Bayou. Taking out Jason’s boat and having a campfire had become common practice over the past few months. I learned to look forward to these trips, offering relief, a kind of sanctuary, from our everyday problems.
Last night, however, was particularly memorable. To begin with, I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life. Because I grew up in a heavily populated metropolitan area, our galaxy had always remained hidden from my sight, burying itself behind the orange glow of the polluted night sky. Over Mercer Bayou, the Milky Way was still only a faint blur, barely recognizable, yet so electrifying.
The wildlife was also particularly active that night. We saw several white herons, hawks, an armadillo, and even a couple of alligators, their red eyes shining mysteriously in the boat's spotlight. The most exciting event, however, was the visit of a razorback.
Sitting by the fire, we were deep into a conversation when Jason suddenly held his hand up, indicating he had heard something. In the next moment, he jumped from his chair, cursing and pointing his flashlight into the woods.
“What is it?” I asked, a bit scared.
“A boar!” Jason replied, but by that time, I could hear the noise too. I could even see the animal’s shadow lurking in the bushes only a few yards from our campsite.
I immediately started looking for a weapon, but, of course, I could not find anything—-not even a lousy knife! For a second, I became worried. I had heard how vicious boars could become when they felt threatened. As I looked for ways to escape, however, my anxiety gradually turned into excitement. The unexpected visit of the creature was extremely energizing. I could feel adrenaline rushing through my veins.
“What do we do now?” I asked Jason.
“Try to make as much noise as possible.”
We grabbed whatever we could find lying around the campsite to make noise. Jason started yelling, and soon I joined in, banging two beer bottles together. Unfortunately, in my nervous zeal, I broke them only after a few seconds. We continued trying to look and sound as intimidating as possible. Though to an observer we certainly looked like idiots—-yelling, jumping, and banging—-the boar seemed to think otherwise, and it soon retreated back into the woods.
Relieved that the situation was apparently resolved, we sat down with our hearts beating a little faster than usual. The whole episode lasted only about a minute, but I know I will remember it for a long time.