My father cinched the rope, a noose around my waist, and lowered me into the darkness. I could taste my fear. It tasted first of dark, then earth, then rot. I swung and struck my head and at that moment got another then: then blood, which spiked my mouth with iron. Hand over hand, my father dropped me from then to then: then water. Then wet fur, which I hugged to my chest. I shouted. Daddy hauled the wet rope. I gagged, and pressed my neighbor's missing dog against me. I held its death and rose up to my father. Then light. Then hands. Then breath.
First published in The Southern Review, 2001
Volume 37, Number 2, Spring 2001
Copyright 2001 by Andrew Hudgins.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of The Southern Review. Copyright 2001 by Andrew Hudgins.
Andrew Hudgins (1951- ) is the author of Saints and Strangers (1986), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His third collection, The Never-Ending (1991), was a finalist for the National Book Award.