June 3rd, 1990
Daryl moved slowly through the woods, bow in hand. He had to bring something home tonight unless he wanted to be punished. His daddy had threatened him within an inch of his life before he'd been sent off into the woods that morning.
"If you don't bring nothin' back, I'll skin your sorry hide!" He'd said, pushing Daryl roughly out the front door. And when his daddy said things like that, he meant them.
Daryl had been tracking the same deer for close to two hours now. He cursed to himself, frustrated.
He was tired and thirsty, but neither of those things were as excruciating as the panes of hunger in his belly. He'd lost count of how many days he'd gone without eating, but if he were to guess, it'd been at least four or five. But to a growing 13 year old boy, those few days felt like weeks.
Merle was in the county jail for a bar brawl, and their daddy was too busy drinking and gambling to bring anything home – so it was up to Daryl to bring some game home for their supper.
He couldn't help thinking that if Merle were with him, he might have shot something by now – not that Merle was much help.
Daryl sighed and bent down to examine some fresh deer tracks in the slowly drying mud of what used to be a creek bank.
Stupid drought, Daryl thought to himself.
A twig snapped somewhere to his left and he whipped around, his bow ready to fire.
There she was. A big ole doe, less than 15 feet away from him.
He had one shot. If he missed now, he'd spook her away – and if he did that, not only would he go hungry for another day, but he'd get the shit beat out of him.
Daryl let out a quiet breath as he aimed for the deer's head.
She was dead before she hit the ground.
He smirked in triumph and ran noisily over to start dragging her out of the woods.
They were gonna eat good tonight.