Kay’s small heart was beating fast like a drum, I could tell. Quick breaths fanned out in front of his mouth in the frozen air. I wanted to tell him to exhale deeply, to make sure his fingers were steady, to focus and then take the shot. But we both knew that if I so much as whispered, it would be over. So I gently squeezed his shoulder and he understood. We were hidden perfectly among the dead branches and the snow. She would never see it coming.
I would be lying if I said that me being there the first time he took a life didn’t fill me with excitement and pride. It was such an important experience and being able to go through it together made it all the more special. My own heart was speeding up now. This was the perfect moment. I couldn’t help myself.
“Now,” I whispered. A loud crack echoed through the woods.
Her blood seeped into the snow as the life left her eyes.
“Look at her,” I told Kay. “Never turn away when they die. It’s about showing respect.”
Kay nodded and stared down at her.
“What is it?”
“I’m not sure,” he said, his voice shaking slightly. “I guess I’m meant to feel good now. Like I did something important. But I don’t, really.”
“So what do you feel like?”
“Sad. I’m sad that I just killed a friend.”
I was so proud at that moment I found it difficult to speak.
“I know it sounds odd,” I finally managed to say. “but it’s good that you’re sad. Because your friend died and that is supposed to make you sad.”
Kay looked up at me, the tip of his nose pink in the cold.
“You’re not mad?”
“Of course not. You did so well!”
He smiled at me with the innocence that only children possess and I knew we were going to be all right.
“Now, “ I said, as I took out my knife, “let’s gut her.”