Luis España Walking Stick “Shh!” Nita tells me. I stand still. I even stop breathing, so I don’t make any noise. My grandmother thought someone or something was coming towards us, but there was nothing. Sometimes when we go hunting, we get lucky and find an animal, like a deer, a wild pig, or a turkey, so we have to be quiet and not make the animal run away. Nita’s father taught her to use his rifle, which she still has. When we don’t find animals, we collect mushrooms. There are plenty of mushrooms out here and not many people collect them because they don’t know which ones are good or bad. Nita often tells me that the bad kind can easily kill people, but rich people pay decent money for the good kind of mushrooms, so it’s worth learning which ones they are. We are down on our knees picking the mushrooms when we again hear something approaching us. As soon as Nita hears it, she stands and prepares her rifle, ready to send a bullet. Before I can stand, I hear the rifle go off. Then I see Nita come down by my side. I’m still on my knees, looking at Nita lying on the ground. I get paralyzed for a few moments until I hear her cry out. “Nita!” I say. “Nita! Are you okay?” As I manage to say those words, I start looking for the wound. “It hurts!” she keeps screaming. I look at her, and ask her where it hurts. “The leg!” she responds. “It got the leg!” I look at the leg and see the blood. I can’t move again. I hear the gun go off again, but the sound, which brings me to my senses, is far from where we are. I feel cold and weak. I look into the hunting bag and find a rusty pair of scissors; I try to cut off her jeans to see how big the wound is, but my hands are shaking uncontrollably. By
the time I manage to cut off her jeans, my hands are soaked in blood. The wound doesn’t seem big, but the warm blood doesn’t stop from coming out. As best as she can, Nita sits up and takes a quick look at it. “Better stop the blood from coming out,” she says, “or I will not make it home.” By the look in her face, I can tell she’s in agonizing pain. That’s when I realize that I’m crying. I don’t know when I started crying, but I try to control myself. “It’ll be alright, Nita,” I tell her, “it’ll be alright.” I look into the bag again and find three handkerchiefs. I tie them together to make a bigger one, and then wrap it four times around her leg. Less blood is coming out now. “That should help,” she tells me more calmly, but I still see the pain in her face. I’m still shaking, too, but I help her stand up, and then we start walking home. She tells me that I’m her walking stick.