April 2
by Harris Green

Mabry Russell knew only too well that he had no more than a fifty-fifty chance. But the alternative was almost unimaginable, so he had no choice, really.  He had to go for it. He had to make a dash for freedom. The open area he had to cross was small—only about twenty feet–but the danger was hideous. A lasher about five feet in length sat nearby in brooding silence. He noticed it was female, even more dangerous than the male if there are young in the vicinity. A lasher in defense of her hatchlings is fury incarnate .

His situation was this: the lasher’s back was turned toward him, but he would have to pass within forty feet of her. Could he be quiet enough to escape her preternatural sense of hearing? Having lived in this region for a number of years, Mabry was keenly aware of the awesome power of the lasher. He knew that their keen sense of hearing was more than matched by their uncanny eyesight and sense of smell, and that they strike with lightning speed over great distances–all of which made the bravest man sick with fear.

While carefully considering the magnitude of the danger he faced and weighing his chances, his dry throat made drier by the rivulets of sweat coursing down his face into his mouth, he became delirious and imagined himself standing at the edge of a clear jungle pool looking up at a thundering waterfall. Just as he envisioned himself gliding into the pool, in naked splendor, he snapped out of his reverie and sputtered, through clenched teeth, “Concentrate! Concentrate! For God’s sake concentrate!”

He found himself clutching the club in his hands so tightly that his palms were stinging. And how stupid, he thought, to be holding such a puny weapon in the face of such horrible danger. All he could do was wait for some sign that the lasher might be asleep or at least distracted. After three or four minutes of agony, muscles tightened to the breaking point, sweat streaming down his back and collecting in a pool at the top of his belt, he saw her head droop slightly, and, like an overwound spring, he exploded across the opening.

But he didn’t move fast enough. The lasher struck at him with all her fury, her tongue lashing, lashing:  “You can just put that golf stick away,  Mabry Russell!  You’re not going anywhere until you clean the garage. I have been after you for months to do something about that God-awful mess. Do you want me to do it?  Do you want me to clean it up, on top of everything else I have to do around here? Do you? …”

Read about Harris on the Writer’s Bios Page