The Proud Serpent

They snapped it like a pencil. But the glossy vermin still darted toward them. With ruptured vertebrae, it made a perfect “L” as it lurched its body upward and stood tall. A Trojan, readied for a blitzkrieg. He flouted the boys with silver, soldered orbs then stormed the sweltering beach, hissing and rattling, and twitching his forked tongue… with contempt and anticipation. It didn’t start this fight but sure as shit wasn’t going down without a spar. 

Even its dead trunk couldn’t deter the scorned snake – he was resting in the cool shade of a neighboring meadow when they spotted him – now he looks like Satan. And the boys, roused by dominion and fear, hurled more rocks at the frantic reptile. Big ones, flat ones, smooth ones, pebbles, fistfuls from the shore.

They closed in... 
Crippled and bloody, the snake jerked left. And they poked with whittled sticks. He jerked right to retreat – and they slipped the box atop their prey. 

“Look at that son of a bitch wriggle!” 

“Slimy fucker!” 

Panic and regret gave way to furor. The savages were burning! Punting the cardboard – back and forth, and back. As the desperate snake thrashed against its confines, the boys shrieked with delight. Nefarious cackles bounced across the lake, denim blue, riotous amidst the calm. 

In a final surge, the wounded captive burst free, charged the closest boy and struck his naked shin. 

Stillness. For an instant, the lawlessness ceased. Nothing dared to stir. Even the summer winds held their breath. 

But as quickly as it came, the flash of balance was blown to hell again. The lustful serpent jack-hammered the boy’s leg. And bit, and bit and bit. 

“Get ‘em!” 

With their finely pointed weapons, the predators pierced and stabbed and tore. 

And, though ravaged and listless, he held his sheen – heather and crimson – loud against the cream colored sand.

by Chad Broughman


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