Eustace was eleven years old. He lived in the country. He had four pet ducks. They were black and white.
A river passed through the neighbouring farm. It wasn’t a big river; more of a large stream. One day Eustace’s ducks waddled down to the river and went for a swim. Eustace told the farmer. The farmer didn’t mind. He said the ducks were welcome to cross his fields and swim all day if they wished. Besides, they looked pretty swimming around.
So that is what they did. Every morning before school Eustace would let the ducks out of their pen and they would waddle down to the river. They messed about in the river all day. Then after school (after he had done his homework) he would go down to the river, call the ducks, and they would follow him home. Of course they followed because they knew it was dinner time.
One day Eustace went down to the river and called but no ducks came. Then he saw them. They had been shot at close range by a hunter and tossed into a pool in the river. The hunter hadn’t even bothered to take them home to eat.
Lying in the grass on the side of the hill he would have had an excellent view of the valley if it hadn’t been dark and he hadn’t been dead. The corpse seems to have his foot caught between two rocks and was in a sitting position. It was in an advanced stage of decomposition. The head was all decayed and only the bones remained. The body was dressed in a brown coat, singlet, and trousers, and a brown knitted beanie was found lying close to it, while a plastic shopping bag containing a dead rotten rabbit’s carcass lay about two metres away.
Eddie had taken his sister’s teenage boy, Charlie, rabbit shooting in the hills beyond the valley where they lived when they came across the body. It was fun to hunt rabbits by torchlight. The beams of light would catch in the rabbit’s eyes and BANG! Usually Eddie would go out rabbit shooting with his sister’s husband but he’d disappeared some time back. That’s why Eddie went out this time with nephew Charlie.
Suddenly, the sweep of the searchlight caught the corpse of the man.
“What the hell?” said Eddie. They moved closer.
“We’d better go to the police.”
Charlie knew the dead man was his missing father. It was then too he realized for sure a funny feeling he’d had all along; this wasn’t an accident.
Paddy had always enjoyed clay pigeon shooting. In fact, he was something of the local champion. His nine-year old son, Charlie, was a great help too. Charlie would sit in a ditch on the farm and pull the clay pigeon trap, shooting the clay pigeons into the air at different adjusted angles and heights. Paddy would stand back at quite a distance and shoot each clay pigeon as it suddenly flew unpredictably into the sky. Paddy practiced clay pigeon shooting usually a couple of times a week.
On this particular occasion young Charlie had just over thirty clay pigeons to fire into the air. His father missed hitting only two of them. All the others were successfully blown to smithereens.
When he ran out of clay pigeons to fire into the air, Charlie popped up from the protective ditch to tell his father that the clay pigeons were all used up, and quick-reflex Paddy blew his son’s head off.