Rhoda gripped the tough, pockmarked skin of the willow’s sturdy chest. It seemed like she’d been there forever, her feet asleep, sitting on the aluminum stand that was strapped against the trunk of the tree. Like most things, it felt unstable beneath her.

Her father, Dixon, sat on an identical treestand set up in the old oak beside her, his shoulder pressed to the tree as if he were trying to force his way inside it. His rifle was tucked under his arm, facing the clearing before him. She never took one of the rifles he offered her. She preferred to sit and watch.

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Alice Martin received her BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received the Max Steele Prize in Fiction Writing. She has worked as an intern for Carolina Quarterly, Press 53, Algonquin Books, and Folio Literary Management. Her work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly and Cellar Door. She now does editorial work at Writers House Literary Agency in New York City.

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