Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Skitter of Motion

(I wrote this on April 29th, 2006. It is a true story from my childhood, except perhaps for the last paragraph, which I hope is true. Occurred at Lake Powell, Utah.)

A skitter of motion across the sandstone, and then stillness.  Two lizards clung to the face of the rock, mouths open, panting.  Heat rose from the rock in waves.  One lizard turned an eye back towards the other, readying its legs to run.

From downslope, a crashing of rocks.  Hands gripped a ledge, and soon a child pulled himself into view.

The boy slapped his dusty hands together.   He stood, and his head of blond hair approached the lizards.  The lizards scrambled up the sandstone wall.

The boy looked up, and the lizards froze.  He stared at a lizard, squinting.

The lizard slowed its breathing and hugged the rock.  The boy remained still, watching.  Eventually the boy looked down.  He knelt and probed his hands among rocks at his feet.

When the boy stood again, he again eyed the lizard.  Suddenly his arm blurred with motion.

Crack!  A rock exploded beside the lizard, and the lizard ran.

The lizard halted, its chest heaving.  It looked back.  The boy's eyes were lit with excitement.

Crack!  Another explosion, and the lizard ran.  Crack!  Again the lizard ran.  Crack!  It ran.

Crack!  This time the lizard was still.  Crack!  Still the lizard didn't move.  The boy slowly lowered his arm and squinted.

The lizard's eyes were closed.  It lay limp, unmoving.

The boy stood there, staring.  Then his eyes melted, his face melted.  His fingers loosened and little rocks clattered at his feet.  He tore his eyes away and scrambled quickly down the slope.

The remaining lizard stood motionless, one eye staring at the limp form.  Heat rose from the rock in waves.

The limp form opened an eye and spotted its companion.  Its companion readied its legs to run.  A skitter of motion across the sandstone, and both lizards were gone.

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