The beam of light swept slowly across the field, then came to an abrupt halt. “Bloody Hell” said my husband, flicking the switch quickly, “there must be at least fifteen of them.” He closed the window and put the old army spot lamp and battery down on the floor before belting out of the lounge.
We had spent the last few evenings scanning the field for any sign of the wild boars that were slowly massacring it. They came every night, rooting for grubs and worms churning up the grass into a sea of mud. My husband had already spent several days putting up electric fences around other fields. The fact that the boars dared come within a couple of hundred metres of the farm was more than he could bear. He wanted to scare them off once and for all.
I met him in the hallway where he was loading cartridges into his shotgun. He handed me a flashlight “Wanna come? It’ll make things easier if you hold the torch.” I took it from him, thrilled to be included in the adventure and pleased that he trusted me. “Stay behind me and when I tell you, turn it on and aim it at the nearest.” I had a few practice runs at turning it on and off, and then with my finger on the switch, I followed him into the night.
I stumbled after him to the edge of the field. It was pitch black, I could see nothing, not even my husband who I knew to be only a few yards ahead. We were downwind of the wild boar; they wouldn’t be able to smell us coming, but I suddenly felt uneasy. I felt my way forward with my feet. My night vision was non-existent and I was as good as blind. I hadn’t been in France long then, but had still heard the stories of local hunters who had been charged by wild boar. I heard a gentle click as the safety catch was released. I shivered in apprehension and goose bumps rippled up my arms. He had his gun, but all that was separating me from them was a torch.
The snort and snuffle came out of the darkness just in front of me. I nearly dropped the flashlight. “Allume!” whispered my husband. I fumbled with it. My finger had slipped off the switch and I couldn’t find it. “Allume!” he hissed. I could hear the rustling of the wild boars as they ran past. Panic made the torch slip and slide in my hands, I couldn’t turn it on. “ALLUME!….eh merde!” Light had suddenly sprung from the torch, the beam shaking as I aimed it up the field, but the wild boars were already a good hundred yards away. Branches cracked as the first ones made it into the safety of the woods at the top.
My husband took aim, but they were too far away already, he lowered the gun and muttering expletives he started running up the field after them. I stood and watched him go. I felt cold all over and my skin prickled. Worse than the fright though, was the realisation that I had blown it. Years later, we would laugh about that evening of impetuousness, but at that moment my mind reeled from terror and anger at my own incompetence.
I saw my husband striding back down the field, gun slung over his shoulder and I aimed the beam of light at his feet. I didn’t need to see his face to know what expression would be on it.
From Sunday Scribblings prompt : goosebumps