The Night of Trees
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A New York businessman (whose wife has just left him) and his estranged son come to New Hampshire for a hunting trip.
“Where do you want it?” Murray said, sensing that he had made a mistake to ask. “What!” “High, low, where?” “Any goddam place!” Shim shot twice before the undamaged bird sailed into the trees. “Must of run right through the pattern. I was dead on, both times.” No one could say anything to that. Shim broke the next bird, and felt a little better. “You try it,” he said to Murray. Murray loaded one barrel of the over-and-under, and when Shim threw the bird he easily found it over his barrel,
mechanism of its breech. Outside, it rained softly; it was too warm for snow, but Shim said, “Oh, I like it wet and quiet. Quiet, that’s how I like it. I seen more deer on rainy days than any other kind. Git the weather report,” he said to Opal. She slid down from the high stool she had been sitting on and turned on the small kitchen radio. In a moment out came music and the incredibly sleazy, whorish voice of a Negro woman singing a love song: “Oh, baby, baby! Oh, baby, baby! Oh, baby, baby! Oh,
impatience out of his voice. She went to one of the cool-air intake vents of the furnace, where the vent came down the wall and turned at the floor before it came across to the bottom of the furnace. The vent pipe was at least three feet wide, but very shallow, made of galvanized sheet iron. At the wall, she reached down and turned something that was in the shadow, then pulled on the whole upright section of the vent pipe. It swung open—heavily, ponderously, and there was a bright room on the
wondered, he might have—witness his grin—meant some comment upon mankind in general. With Shim, one could never tell. Opal didn’t come down for breakfast. As he ate Shim’s good, greasy, country-fried eggs, he told them about the buck he’d seen the night before. Shim immediately began to glow, looked straight into Richard’s eyes with his hunter’s yellow ones, and questioned him carefully: “Which way was he going? At what time? How many points?” Richard couldn’t tell how many points—eight or ten.
where his cap had been. On his temple was a little scar; where had he got that scar? Richard didn’t know, and suddenly with that deficiency of knowledge came the wave again. He stood through it, welcoming the knife that twisted in his throat. Had Murray cried when he received that cut? Called for his father to help him? How old had he been? What year was it? How many had he then lived of his twenty? The wave, the knife in the throat. They turned him around and led him out again. Into the gray