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My lungs deserve less than this air. The trees exhale into every gasping breath I take, soothing raw copper lungs. But I’m staring into the puddles along my hike with envy. I’m pitying myself for this, for trying to get fit. I want to feel my body bogged down in the mud. A shriek pierces through, and it sounds human until it doesn’t.

I swing my head around to find the source. Squinting, I see a brand-new baby boar. It’s way too close to me. I walk as fast as I can to get away. It’s limping after me, its hind leg broken. Where is the mother? I can’t risk being near this thing. I run, but I’m already exhausted. I can’t do this. The piglet is bleeding. It’s so small. And still wailing.

I stare at it and shriek right back. I hope I say please stop following me in Boar. An immense sow walks up behind the piglet, blood dripping from her mouth. I turn and run. She doesn’t follow but I knew she wouldn’t. She is finishing what she started, and my stomach turns at the sound.

Flash Fiction by Dylan Gauche

Published in Summer 2017


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