Boys Games

The day was bright and hot, but in the woods it was cool and comfortable, and two boys played there.

In the shadowy woods, a dark haired boy stood motionless as he looked down at a shaft of an arrow. Its fake colorful feathers rippled slightly in a wind and made it look festive.

Beside the boy’s foot was his bow, which only moments before had held the arrow with its brightly colored feathers.

The boy’s left hand hung by his side, his fingers curled and uncurled, seeking to wrap around something. Perhaps they wanted the bow back.

The bow lay partially in an ant bed, and angrily disturbed ants marched single file along its string, using it as a bridge from their destroyed nest to the foot of the intruder who had destroyed it.

A few of them crawled the other way, away from the foot, away from the bow, away from their ruined nest. Their antenna wiggled frantically, giving off chemical signals of retreat.

The retreating ants crawled over an open book.

Their small black bodies were well hidden as they marched across the printed words, but they stood out strongly against the brightly colored illustration on the second page.

The art was printed in shades of yellow and red, the same bright colors as the feathers on the arrow shaft.

It showed two boys under a tree. One boy stood with his back to the tree. He had an apple on his head and a smile on his face.

The second boy in the picture stood away from the tree, facing the first boy. He was not smiling, but looked serious and in thought. He had an arrow notched in a bow and pointed at the first boy.

The wind blew a bit harder and caught the pages of the open book. It flipped them rapidly and tossed the disgruntled ants farther away.

The same wind wrapped around a bit of spittle from the dark haired boys open mouth and plucked it away. Unanchored the drop fell down, past the feathers, past the arrow, and landed soft and silent on the cheek of a little blond haired boy.

The little one didn’t notice. He laid as still as ever, his right arm up and under his head like a pillow. His left arm lay stretched away from his body, palm up towards the sky, fingers curled towards the palm.

Neither arm moved to wipe the drop of drool off of his face.

Even the corners of his lips curved slightly upwards. His mouth held the tiniest tender smile. IT was the innocent smile usually reserved for infants and toddling children, or for the comely face of the Mona Lisa.

He gazed up into the branches of the tree the boys were under. One of his blue eyes watched the patterns of light and shadow made by the leaves of the tree as the wind passed through them.

Here the wind forged shadow art in the form of a laughing face. There it carved out a boot. And the boy watched with his blue eye and his gentle smile and the yellow and red feathers on the shaft of the arrow still danced in the wind that blew through the cool comfortable woods on the bright hot day.

Those red and yellow feathers, jaunty and playful, blocked the view that would have been seen from the blond boys second blue eye. They might have apologized for this and moved out of the way, but being stuck to the arrow, and the arrow stuck in his eye, they had little ability to do anything but dance in the wind.

As with the drool from the mouth of the dark haired boy, the blond one seemed not to mind that the wind blown feathers were blocking the view of one of his eyes. Neither did he seem to mind that an arrow had replaced one of his eyes.

Still wearing his Mona Lisa smile, he seemed content to lie like he was forever, watching the wind play in the forest canopy.

When the wind blew very hard a pair of the trees branches parted and one shaft of the bright hot sun was able to reach down. It touched the top of the blond boys head, but did not shine in his face.

Just above his head the natural spotlight touched a splash of red.

It was an apple, a beautiful red apple that could have been the perfect fruit if it were not for the ants crawling on it. Ants, which had been scatted from their bed by the bow, had found it and had set upon it.

They worked hard on carving it into ant sized bits and carrying it away, back down into the tunnels below the remains of their destroyed bed.

One ant reached the very tip of the apples stem and paused for a moment before going back down.

He thanked the god of ants and insects for the bounty they had received, and for the dangerous games boys play.


Dave said...

Nona, that is really nicely done!

There are so many gross and morbid ways that the failed reenactment of William Tell's archery feat could have been told.

I found the ant perspective to be rather interesting.

Good job!

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