Let’s Get This Over With
I blew out a sharp breath in the cold. “Let’s get this over with,” I muttered, rubbing my hands together quickly. The snow fell lightly around us, and no matter what I tried, I could not keep warm. I blew into my gloved hands, but I was greeted with only a couple seconds’ warmth before the cold overtook the heat from my breath again.
I sighed. “Why do we have to do this anyway?” I asked as I tried to tighten the scarf around my neck.
Beside me was a slightly younger man than I, dressed similarly and equally cold and irritable by it. He made a like gesture to the one I had made a moment before and pressed his palms together, moving them back and forth and blowing into them.
All before answering me. I rolled my eyes as he finally answered. “You know why. You screwed up yesterday and now he sends us out here.”
I did know why. But it wasn’t my fault the power wasn’t working right. Not completely my fault, anyway.
In response I just shook my head, annoyed. He doesn’t have to be such a prick about it, I thought to myself. Besides, I thought there was more to it than my overloading the circuits and causing a fuse to trip, and I thought my partner knew what that was.
He probably knew I knew it, too.
“Yeah, whatever, Jack,” I said, not buying it. He looked over at me. Yeah, he knew the real reason. I could see it in those goofy eyes of his. I met his stare until he looked away. He continued watching the forest around us, the snow covered trees bare of leaves.
I thought they looked better this way. I hated the green that the trees were in the spring and summer. Even worse were the oranges and reds and yellows of the fall.
“There,” Jack said, interrupting my thoughts. I saw what he was pointing at: our prey. We had tied it with brown rope the day before.
I didn’t know why we couldn’t just let it live. Why we needed to kill it anyway. But that’s what the old man told us to do, and I knew there was no questioning that. Jack did too, though it seemed like he actually enjoyed it. That prick.
I nodded to him – my only inclination that I had even heard him – and proceeded to where the brown-covered mass was tied up.
“Let’s get this over with,” I muttered again. He took out a long blade and we began hacking away. There was no blood.
I blew out a deep breath and smoke came from my mouth. It was cold as hell. I had to wonder if we had killed it by slashing it open or if it was already dead from the body-numbing cold, laying out here bare and tied.
I guess I didn’t really care, though. When we were finally done I looked at the shape lying down in the snow.
We had found our Christmas tree.