Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “A Home on Rosy Mountain”

Please welcome today’s aspiring author, Cary Brunswick, ready for a peer critique. Take a moment to read the excerpt, then please leave some thoughtful feedback in the comment section below.

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A Home on Rosy Mountain

Short Story

The buck tensed, as he stood hidden between the two spruces, watching the hunter below trudge through the leaves and begin climbing the opposite hillside. The buck must have sensed that the hunter was eager to find a lookout from which he could spot deer. The hunter then would call his buddies and tell them where to find them.

Clad in an orange coat and cap, and brown, insulated pants, the hunter clawed his way up through thick undergrowth. As he neared the top of the rise, he caught a glimpse of a platform high in an old oak tree that he figured some ambitious hunter constructed some years back.

The stand was high, maybe 50 or 60 feet up, and the man-made steps were missing until you reached maybe 25 feet. He stood at the base of the tree looking up, trying to decide if it was worth the effort to make the steps necessary to get to the platform.

“What the hell,’’ he said out loud to himself, “that would be a great place to get a view of the deer.’’

The next day, the hunter came back with nails, 1-by-3 fir strips and a 20-foot rope ladder. He told his friends he’d call as soon as he made it to the lookout.

As the hunter slowly made his way up the tree, nailing slats as he went, with his rifle slung over his shoulder, the buck and two others watched from their spruce row.

When the hunter neared the platform, the bucks grew agitated, looked at each other and then back to the old oak. Finally, as the hunter was about to reach over the edge of the platform, the bucks dashed toward the tree, snorting and circling it with abandon

The shocked hunter wasn’t sure how to respond at first. Hanging onto an edge of the platform with one hand, he tried to slide his rifle down his arm. It slid too quickly, however, and, trying to keep his grasp on the strap, he lost his balance and fell from the tree. He broke his fall a bit by latching onto branches and slats, but he fractured a leg and an arm when he hit the ground.

He lay there groaning, trying to fetch his cell phone from his coat, when he sensed the bucks glaring down at him.

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