TITLE: Uncle Mountain
Country teenagers Mark and Pete take their younger city cousin on a snipe hunt deep in the woods. The unthinkable happens, and Colin dies in an accident.
Pete lost it. "Oh man, Mark, this is my fault. I killed him. I killed Colin!" I couldn't half understand him through the sobbing.
I wrapped my arms around Pete, because it seemed like the thing to do. "This isn't your fault," I said. "We did it together, and it was an accident. Jesus, it was just a little rock." My own tears got going pretty good then. I don't know how long we stayed like that--me holding Pete and rocking back and forth, Pete hugging Colin's limp body. When I finally let go and stood up, I was stiff and cold.
"Come on, Pete," I said. "It's time to go home." Pete got to his feet and looked around like he didn't know where he was. "We have to get Colin home. Grab his legs." He just stood there. "Pete! Come on!" My voice sounded unnaturally loud in the deep quiet of the woods, but it did the trick. Pete shook his head like he'd been sleeping.
"Alright, Mark," he said, his voice all slurry. "Let's go."
It took us hours to carry Colin's body home. I was crying so hard I
could barely see, and Pete was just as bad. We kept stumbling, losing
our grip. Now I know where the term "dead weight" comes from. Colin
hung between us like all his bones were gone. Every time his body
bumped into a tree trunk or got snagged up in the undergrowth, my