Based on "The Screwfly Solution", by Alice Sheldon writing as James Tiptree Jr. That was a very, very dark story, if you're familiar with it. This is... slightly less dark, but that's not saying much. (If you're not familiar with it, it's okay, this story explains the background you need to know.)
Roy is very excited, running, practically skipping, ahead on the trail. “Uncle Matt! This is great! I can see the woods up ahead already!”
Matt forces a smile, because he’s very much afraid of how this expedition might end, but he has to try. He has to have hope. “Sure is. Ready to go hunting?”
“You bet!” Roy turns around and flashes Matt a big, heartwarming smile. His face is pocked with acne and he’s late to have lost his last baby tooth; it’s a gap on the upper left side of his face. He looks so young, so boyish. Which he is; he’s thirteen. Thirteen is still a kid. Matt’s sixty; thirteen’s practically a baby to him. They grow up so damn fast. “You think we’ll bag a deer?”
“We might. Or we might bag a goose. Or we might come home empty-handed. The point to hunting is to be quiet and patient, and let nature bring to you whatever it will.”
They hike up to the tree line. This is one of very, very few forest areas that’s still being tended and managed by people. The rocky hiking trail up to the tree line’s been kept clear of scrub; there are bushes and tall grasses on either side of the trail, but nothing on the wide stretch of packed dirt.
From here Matt can look down the side of the mountain, to the acres planted with corn and wheat, the women working in the rows, a couple of men stationed to sit by the road with their guns, watchful for whoever might come by. He knows them both. Good boys. He took Evan out on a hunting trip like this one, ten years ago, and they came home with a deer and a couple of rabbits. Jase was called Lisa back then, and didn’t need to go on a hunting trip like this. The tradition of the hunting trip when you’re thirteen isn’t for the girls, or the gay boys, or the trans kids. Most of them resent that, until they get to be old enough to understand why.( Collapse )