by Joanne Anderton
It had once been a sheep, and it wasn’t dead yet. A mangle of smouldering wool, scorched skin, and cooked meat, breathing in puffs of hot ash. Outrun by flames, tangled in underbrush, or crushed beneath a falling tree, who could tell? Everything was charcoal now.
I pull the mask from my nose and mouth and breathe the warm smoke in. Load the rifle, aim between what’s left of the poor thing’s ear and eye, and give it peace with the slow squeeze of the trigger. Try to ignore the shakes, the tears stinging my eyes. I’m soaked in sweat and covered in ash, but supposed to be grateful that I’m still alive. At this point, it’s hard to even give a shit that the house is still standing.
Thank god, mum. We thought you were a gorner this time.