The mangled sheen of the flesh-colored mound glistened on the ground next to a sprinkling of iridescent blood red rubies. Its eyes, which were still pulsing, could vaguely make out a flock of children running towards it, prodding its open skin with their pudgy, little fingers.
“Look,” they whispered. “Looky here. It’s been a year, hasn’t it? Since last time?” Slowly, they all stopped horsing around to recall the last time any lesser-than had even almost made it away from their collective cage.
“I found it first so I get to decide what to do with it!” The youngest child, Rainier Sanger, yelled. There was a burst of noise at this proclamation, and the children grew angry at the thought of giving away their rare play toy to the youngest of the group.
“No, I have a good idea, really! Something we can all do!” Rainier cried out, trying to quell the rebellious spirit that hung in the air. “We can play tanners!” This quieted the group, and the children happily gathered sharp rocks to split the skin from its convulsing body.
Once done collecting rocks, they began whistling and rolling in the mud, just as the hunters do every spring, and Rainier spread berry juice on his face and got ready to make the first incision when—
“What are you doing, Rainier?”
Rainier looked up in surprise; the hunters were never stopped mid-incision.
“You know that any runaway game should be left to rot! Why, you have hundreds of playthings at home, and you’re going to waste your time with this disgusting thing. You know, only,” his sister’s voice got quiet, “only the lesser-thans, the creatures in the pens, play those kinds of games.” Then she straightened up with a huff. “They’re so primitive! And that’s why we hunt them, because even though they look like us, they don’t know the difference. Now stop playing this cheap, filthy game and come home. Mom has some tasty game for dinner.”
This is my entry for this week’s Trifecta challenge, in which we have to write a poem or story between 33 and 333 words (mine is exactly 333, finally!). We also have to include the word “cheap” in the story, in which the meaning of cheap is:
This is an incredibly dark story, especially for me, so I hope it turned out well. It’s been a while since I’ve posted on trifecta, so I guess we’ll see. Look forward to reading all of your submissions as well!