The Nightmare Before Christmas Fan Fiction ❯ Roots ❯ Old Longings ( Chapter 2 )
Jack inhaled quietly, eyes trained on the deer. The bowstring was taut in his hand, the arrow pointed at the heart. Oogie was silently standing behind him. Jack let out his breath slowly then fired. The deer went down and the rest of the herd bolted. Jack handed Oogie the four unneeded arrows and slipped the bow on properly. He approached his target happily, looking at the fallen creature. Those antlers could be made into beautiful knives, while the skin would make perfect leather. And then there was the meat, drenched in blood and…
"Hm? Sorry. Let's get this thing back to camp."
Their combined strength was more than enough to carry the animal back to camp. Jack knelt down almost reverently, staring at the blood that leaked from the place the arrow had pierced. He felt old longings stir in his breast…No! He couldn't! He wasn't like that anymore!
"It's nothing, Crawly. Now, break the antlers off at the base, as close to the skull as possible. Yes! Just like that. Now, I know Squanto has a knife here somewhere…Aha! Here it is!"
"No! You are not allowed to have a knife!"
"I'm gutting a deer," Jack said dryly. "Would you prefer to have me do it with my teeth?"
"Relax. I won't do it, Oogie. I promise. Those days are behind me."
Oogie frowned and looked thoughtful, studying him intently. "Fine. But I'm checking afterwards."
"Yes, Mother," Jack said with a smile. Oogie snickered.
Jack took a deep breath and raised the knife. His green eyes didn't leave the dead animal.
"Ready?" Oogie asked. Jack nodded, eyes gleaming. "Go!"
Jack was three minutes slower than his record, but he chalked that up to not having done it in a while. There was a bunch of salt and, after he had put some meat on to cook, he took it and began rubbing it into the remaining meat. He was halfway through the pile when there was a cry.
"What in the hell?!"
Jack looked up at Squanto and the others, who were staring at him in shock. "What?"
"You…But there was…How did you…I don't…What?!"
"If you ever get a full question out of your mouth," Oogie told the Indian. "Then we might be able to give you an answer."
"Is Jack a hunter?" Squanto finally managed.
"Among other things, yes."
"When did he catch this?"
"About two hours ago. It's still fresh."
"Yes, and it smells delicious," Sam sighed. "We haven't eaten much for a week. We caught a couple of…you know, rabbits, but then Bunny joined us, and we promised him that it would be a last resort."
"Squanto's been teachin' us how ta hunt," Patrick said. "But we ain't no good at it. We keep scarin' the animals."
"It takes practice," Jack said, idly twirling Squanto's knife. Oogie barked, a strange noise that made the others jump.
"Put it back. Now."
"Don't you 'please' me. Give the Injun his knife back. Now."
Jack made a face, but held out the knife handle first. Squanto looked confused as he took it.
"Why isn't he allowed to have a knife?"
"None of your damn business," Oogie said gruffly as he pulled the sleeves of Jack's shirt up to his elbows.
"See?" Jack said with a snort. "Absolutely no reason for you to panic."
"Maybe," Oogie replied, then backed away from the fire again, staring at them with those creepy eyeholes.
"Is the food done?" Sandy asked eagerly.
"Depends on how well you like it cooked."
"Do you like it pink or brown?" Oogie asked from the growing shadows.
"Oh...A little bit of pink."
"Fine. They're done."
Jack handed them the wooden plates he'd found then set the steaks on them. The rest of them looked hesitant about eating it because they had no silverware, but Jack had no such reservations, tearing into the meat without any hesitation whatsoever. They watched him for a moment, rather disgusted, but shrugged and tried to eat neatly. They all cleaned their plates.
"Well that was an unexpected pleasure," Squanto said with a happy sigh.
"Geez, how do you survive on so little?" Bunny asked, nibbling on a blade of grass.
"Well, Indians are a hearty people, living with the land instead of just in it…"
Jack washed his hands and face using a small bit of water from the pitcher that was there. He was rather bored. He wanted to run and climb and cut and…No! Not that last one. He couldn't hurt anybody. Not even himself. He'd promised…
"Cold?" Oogie asked from behind him as he shivered.
"A little," Jack lied.
Jack found himself cushioned by his friend. His warm, cozy friend. The sounds of the insects moving around inside of him were nice, not fear inducing. He was so very tired…
"Is he sleeping?" Sandy asked twenty minutes later.
"Yes," Oogie said evenly.
"Oh. Well, I suppose that is a good idea," Eros said. "It's best to rise with the sun."
They all arranged themselves on the ground, falling asleep quickly. Only once they were asleep did the bogeyman relax into slumber himself. Jack woke up several hours later to a dim fire and a severe need to relieve himself. He stood and hurried away. When he came back, his eyes fell on the sheath beside Squanto's bed. His hand twitched, but the Indian stirred slightly in his sleep, driving Jack back to Oogie's soft form. Oogie shifted when he lay back down.
"Where'd you go?"
"I needed to…you know."
"Oh. Okay. G'night Creepy."
Jack lay there feeling guilty as he listened to his friend's breathing deepen as sleep descended upon him. He should tell Oogie that the thoughts were coming back, the urges were surfacing again. But that would be admitting he was weak. He was not weak. Right?