It turned out to be a water moccasin, drawn to the cool of the empty house with its absence of humans, presence of easy rodent meals, and proximity to water.
After uttering another string of syllables that could not rightly be described as English. she looked up with him with a mixture of fear and wonder.
How did you do that?!
He cocked his head towards her and raised his eyebrows. Not so much in astonishment at his alacrity but with her question.
Started hunting javelina with a sling shot when I was five. Guess you chuck things at varmints enough, muscle memory kicks in.
He grins at his own use of the word, “varmint.”
You pitched ball as well, I remember now.
Yep, arm and shoulder took a beating. Couldn’t compete clean so I eventually let it go.
Thank you, she said, as the force of what he had just done sank in she sank as well–into his chest.
He smelled pretty good. Cut grass and sunshine. The worn cotton of his shirt was so terribly comforting. For the first time in years and years she felt safe:
Wondered if there was any way to umbilically attach herself to this man?
They remained that way for an endless time–her eyes closed, face burrowed in his shirt, his right arm completely supporting her weight as he slowly ran his left hand from the crown of her head to the base of her neck.
Surrounded by silence and light, the crushed body of the serpent lying prone at their feet.