Vignette:Don't Fence Me In

From Anterra
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Don't Fence Me In
Parliament House, Praesel, Commonwealth of New Valentina
September 14th, 1966

eing gored by an autocannon round and missing an entire leg wasn’t how he was expecting to go out, to say the least.

It hurts like hell, of course. Suddenly missing a leg from the knee down tends to elicit that sort of reaction. Lying on the floor, the dust from the ceiling above stings his eyes as it shakes with every muffled explosion that wreaks havoc on his unprotected eardrums. Not that it matters, anyway; he’ll be dead come daybreak. The blood-stained tatters that clothe him are given a light dusting of blood and dust as the floor above him reverberates with a massive thump. His old rifle lays beside him, stock completely obliterated and barrel bent to high hell.

“Upstairs!” Someone yells, just outside the room he will soon call his grave.

“The roof!?” Sounds like a young recruit to the cause. Poor kid.

“Where’s our ammunition?” Someone asks. It’s all on fire, right in front of him. He has neither the time nor the blood to wonder how it hasn’t ended him too. Letting his eyes close, he feels himself drift away.

He’s back home again, fiddling with fireworks alongside his brother and a handful of his cousins. The sound of lit firecrackers popping off fills the air and the evening breeze wafts the smell of freshly burnt gunpowder to his nose. It all brings a smile to his face. The old tree standing firm by his house sways gently as his father stands underneath, peering through his telescope and gazing into the stars above. The smell of Mom’s Snirtjebraten hits him like a train; he hasn’t had it in ages.

The family’s all here; Mom, Dad, Solke, Grandma and Grandpa, all four of his Aunts, Uncle Dauwe, cousins Fede, Oentse, Idske, and Braalt. Grandma’s birthday always was a time to come together, even if he and his parents had different interpretations of that. It was nice seeing them all happy, though. Auntie Makke’s hyena laugh warms his heart just a little bit. Fede’s unsightly black horn-rimmed glasses make him chuckle, too. Uncle Dauwe’s hauling the record player outside; Idske has a heap of records in tow as she follows him.

He’s feeling a bit tired after playing with firecrackers for too long; the cool touch of grass invites him to lie down. The tree’s branches seem to sway to and fro in a tango with the wind as he gazes upward towards the skies. Somewhere behind him, a familiar tune plays. Even as the world around him fades away into nothingness, he sings along with a weak and bloody grin until he has no breath in his lungs, no beat in his heart, and no life in his eyes.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies.
On my cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
Gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.

Return to Top