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A Kestrel for a Knave – An alternative ending.

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Introduction

A Kestrel for a Knave - An alternative ending. He stopped feeling, and straightened up quickly, holding the hawk in his hand. Fresh tears descended the ragged cliff side of his face, mingled with the dirt on his cheeks, welled up at the bottom of his chin, and dropped as shiny brown globules onto the limp corpse of Kes. Through his blurred and bloodshot eyes Billy begun to examine the hawk; pulling out and stretching its unresisting wings, realigning its twisted and broken neck, and finally staring into its glassy eyes, which were now just small, cold umber marbles, devoid of any life. Blinded by the now steady stream of salty water pouring down his face, Billy, hawk clutched close to his chest, turned on his heel and ran, slipping on the wet gravel as he did so. As he arrived back in the kitchen, his mother and Jud both stared at his dishevelled form. Billy stared imploringly back at his mother, and then gave his brother a glare of unmitigated and utter hatred. 'He killed it.' Yet more tears arrived in the corners of his eyes. 'Oh gi't a rest now Billy.' His mother replied quietly 'There's nowt you can do about it now.' 'That bastard killed it,' Billy shouted pointing at Jud. 'Shut tha mouth Billy. ...read more.

Middle

A small green frog splashed about in these newly formed puddles, leaping across to a different pool every so often. It looked up and quickly retreated as Billy waded through the miniature lakes, icy water seeping through his old trainers making his feet sting. Over the horizon, dark peaks arose, overshadowing the fields ahead. A car trundled past, swerving as the driver saw Billy, and spraying him with muddy liquid. Not that it made any difference; every inch of Billy's ragged attire was saturated, and his skinny legs ached with the strain of running. As he reached the cover of the woods the rain seemed softer, though around the edges of the red, yellow, brown, and occasionally green autumn branches the rain poured down like a mass of billowing skirts. Billy squelched across the carpet of soggy dead leaves, his tired legs catching on tangled, scarred oak roots and fallen branches. He finally came to rest under a hollow tree trunk. It was warm and comparatively dry with a soft floor of decomposing leaves, which felt like a radiator on Billy's frozen torso. He laid back and surveyed the scene around him, first examining the rotted and deformed interior of his temporary shelter, and then the rest of the forest. He was beginning to awake from his earlier dreamy state. ...read more.

Conclusion

He rubbed his blue hands together and breathed into them his breath condensing in the cold night air. The rain seemed to have stopped. He reached out to a shard of tree bark resting at his feet and, with his finger, began to trace the rough patterns engraved by unknown hands into the surface of the material. One, he thought, looked distinctly like a hawk. NO. The thought made him shudder, but more like it came. Thought after thought of Kes flooded back into Billy's conscious mind like a huge damn had burst. He fell backwards, knocking his head on the hard wood of the tree. Only semi-conscious he fumbled for support, found it in the shape of a branch, and finally regained balance. Then, directly overhead, he heard a very, very familiar sound. He looked up, and saw the shape of... Was it a kestrel. Even if it was not Billy was in no state to deny its existence. He had to see it. He begun to scale the great oak branch by slippery branch, with all the might and haste he could summon. He climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and slipped. He desperately grabbed for a handhold, but none came. The back of his head slammed into the first branch for twenty feet with breakneck speed, closely followed by a second, and then a third. As he lay in the mud and autumn flotsam, and as his vision disappeared, he began to dream again. ...read more.

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