A man from church, Dan Peebles, asks Saul and his father to join him and his son, Jimmy, for dove hunting. Any doves they kill will be dressed like miniature turkeys for the children. At least that’s what Dan says. He says it like Saul isn’t still a child, like Saul already knows the taste of dove.
They get up early and dress in camo and a smattering of hunter’s orange. Saul loves to shoot. The crack, the force, the impact on a distant target, the smell of a spent cartridge. But for all that, he’s never been hunting and the anticipation sets him thrumming. Maybe the first time he’s been excited about something, anything, since they moved to this little mountain town.
They meet Dan and Jimmy close enough to their house that they walk. Ice pops beneath their boots and the dirt road winds among pines and leafless trees Saul doesn’t recognize. Gray clouds drift far above the treetops, bulging with potential snow. The men have stainless s