(August 5 ’08)
Prompt: Watch this time
Time: 15 min.
“Watch for now, soon enough it’ll be time for you to try.” My brothers voice was softer than usual, as he pulled the old wooden bow up, stretching his arm back.
With a sudden swiftness, the arrow flew from the bow, hitting the tree that had been the target. I knew that I would never be able to copy my brothers’ skill, but hoped that I would be able to master the bow enough to provide food for my family.
Aelkin was busy explaining how to pull the bow back, and I struggled to pay attention. My thoughts often wondered off, unable to keep away from thinking about the beautiful wilderness around us. Wind cut through the long grass, tickling me as they snaked around my legs. Before us stood the old forest, the trees older than any remembered. There had never been a time when these mighty trees were saplings, not even my great grandfather, eldest in the tribe, could recall such a time.
“Makiln, are you even listening?” Aelkin paused, turning his head to give me a stern look.
“Of course I am, brother,” I replied automatically before pausing. “Well, I’m trying that is.”
Aelkin gave a soft laugh. “Sister, try and keep your mind off of the wilderness for just some time. To use this bow is not an easy task, and I need you to concentrate.”
I nodded, resolving to pay more attention as Aelkin handed me the bow. My hands ran over the wood, smoothened by the many years. I had once asked my great grandfather where he had gotten it; he replied that it had been handed down to him from his grandfather.
Imagine how old! I thought, my eyes running over the intricate designs on the wood. Time had scorned it, the designs faded.
“Makiln, please try and pay attention!” With a start, I realized that Aelkin had been talking when I was examining the bow.
“Sorry, brother,” I replied, trying my hardest to look at him and not let my gaze dart off to the animal, an elk or something like it, that had just emerged from the forest. The animal was a good distance behind my brother, and my gaze momentarily slipped to it, watching as the majestic animal slowly started forward, its muzzle grazing the grass.
My brother didn’t seem to notice that my attention had slipped again. He pointed to a younger tree, one that was closer to us than the rest.
“That’s your target, sister. It is not a difficult shot, I think even you can hit it,” Aelkin grinned as he teased me.
I viewed the tree quickly, noting the smooth bark, and mentally picking out where I wanted the arrow to hit. Pulling the bow up, I stretched my arm back, feeling my muscles strain.
Come on, I silently urged myself; I carried three buckets from the stream to the house this morning! This isn’t near as bad as that; I can do better!
Pulling back with the rest of my strength, the bow wavered, before becoming still. Carefully, I view the tree, adjusting the bow so that I would hit my mark. Before Aelkin could complain that I had once again lost focus, I released the string, letting the arrow dart through the air.
The air made no sound as it flew towards the tree. When it struck the tree, the sound was nearly too soft for my ears to detect.
A wide grin spilt across my face as I saw that the arrow had flown tree, striking right where I wanted it to.
“Good job,” Aelkin said, as if he had been expecting me to hit the tree the whole time.“Thanks.” I couldn’t stop grinning, even as I made my way to the tree, yanking the arrow out of its flesh.