Saturday

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story that is part of a series about Bobby and his imaginary adventures. The series is still a work in progress, hopefully will become a book at some time.

Saturday

By Joel Anderson

 

The alarm pierced the air with repetitive blasts of noise, conveniently situated in pitch to be somewhere between “annoying” and “mildly maddening.” Bobby opened one eye and flung a sleep weighted arm lazily toward the source of his consternation.

“It’s Saturday, dangit.” He said as he fumbled with the snooze button and faded back to sleep.

With a start, Bobby bolted upright in bed as he shouted “IT’S SATURDAY!! DANG IT!!” flinging back the bedding and bounding across his bedroom into the hallway to the bathroom. He put toothpaste on his toothbrush as he relieved himself, then combed his hair while brushing his teeth. Without looking in the mirror, Bobby bolted out of the bathroom, back into his bedroom, grabbed the jeans draped across the end of his bed from the day before, pulled them on without buttoning them, picked a shirt from the equally wrinkled pile of previously worn clothing, gave the shirt a quick sniff, cocked his head and shrugged, as if to say “Good enough for Saturday,” pulled on his hiking boots, without socks, buttoned his jeans, and quick stepped, because his mother did not allow running in the house, through the living room to the kitchen, and headed to the door.

“Zip up your fly,” came his mother’s disembodied voice from the Utility room, just off the dining room. Bobby looked down and grabbed the tab to his zipper and gave it a quick tug.

“How does she know?’ Bobby asked himself as he resumed his drive to the front door.

“Don’t forget to eat something.” Came the spectral voice from the depths of the utility room,

Bobby slowed enough to notice the plate of pancakes, eggs and sausage steaming on the table. He quickly placed a fried egg on a pancake and then a sausage on the egg and rolled it all up into something that resembled a thick Burrito. He took a bite and grabbed the bottle of orange juice sitting next to the plate.

“Dankyu,” he said as he clattered through the aluminum screen door.

Bobby covered the distance to his bike in three long steps, all the while wolfing down the pancake burrito, still chewing the last third as he lifted the handle bars with his recently free hand and, running alongside the bike for five quick steps, launched himself into the air, to come down firmly on the seat.

“Make sure you come home for lunch!” called his mother as she opened the door to let the dog out.

“Ungay, bom” yelled Bobby from around the pancake egg sausage mush that would soon be washed down with the last of the orange juice.

Bobby pedaled furiously down the short drive way and, with a quick glance to his right, turned left onto the lightly used highway.

Bobby eased his pedaling as he reached the top of the small ravine where the highway dipped down and made a slight turn to the right in order to cross a small creek. There was a culvert running under the highway, and next to it was a small pool where Bobby liked to wade. He picked up the old hockey stick that he had left the last Saturday. He used the hockey stick to swing at Golden Rod as he walked to the pool.

Upon reaching the pool, he took off his boots, rolled up his pant legs and waded into the water, enjoying the cool water as it surrounded his feet. He laid the hockey stick to his side and sat down on an old tree that had fallen across the pool. He reclined against the branches of the tree and smiled at the slight tickle produced by a school of Sucker minnows as they, timidly, came to investigate the new addition to the pool that his feet and ankles made, and make a meal of the dry skin.

Bobby laid back, closed his eyes, and gave a long sigh. He very much loved these spring Saturdays, almost as much as he loved summer, which he thought of as a three month long Saturday. He didn’t have to go to school, didn’t have to worry about who would make fun of the way he ran, didn’t have to worry about being called “Fat,” didn’t have to be hurt by being picked last for Dodge Ball, didn’t have to deal with kids making fun of his home made clothes. Here he could be anyone he wanted, a war hero saving the day in the Allied advance, a space traveler exploring a new and strange planet, here he was brave, and strong, and the best at whatever he did.

Dream Stalker’s eyes snapped open and quickly took in his surroundings while the rest of his body stayed perfectly still. Slowly, he reached out for his rifle where it lay beside him. He quickly checked the priming pan before he raised himself and, silently, put on his moccasins as he looked down the stream in the direction from which he had heard the twig snap. He had been hunting all day and was taking a welcome rest, but he had not lived this long in the frontier by letting his guard down.

There. About fifty yards downstream and twenty yards up the bank, that branch was moving oddly. Dream Stalker slowly raised his rifle to his shoulder and eased the hammer back while watching the quivering branch. Slowly, Dream Stalker’s eyes were able to disassemble the tangle of brush to make out a human form crouching behind. Where there is one, there are usually others. Sure enough, further downstream, he could make out another signaling to the first.

The strangers’ attention seemed to be focused not on him, but on something around a bend in the stream and hidden from Dream Stalkers view. It was then that the smell of cooking meat wafted across his nostrils and he decided he needed to investigate further.

Using the brush as a screen between himself and the strangers, Dream Stalker stealthily made his way behind the strangers, and noticing two more between the first two, and further up the bank. He worked himself to a position from which he could see around the bend in the stream. He saw a hunting party of three young Ojibway, taking a rest and cooking some Rabbit over a fire, because the first five he had seen were not making themselves known to these three, Dream Stalker deduced that they were Sioux and were preparing themselves for an ambush on a less numerous and less experienced enemy.

Dream Stalker had tried to stay out of the tribal conflicts as much as possible, but had made a decision that if forced to choose a side, he would much rather have the Ojibway closer than the Sioux. He had spent several winters in the Ojibway villages and was always treated like a friend. His experience with the Sioux can best be described as “at arm’s length,” even when he had been in their villages. He had witnessed how the Sioux treated those that they considered enemies and that it was very difficult to be considered their friend.

His next decision was how to proceed, preferably in a way that did not result in getting an extremely short haircut. He noticed that one of the Sioux stayed further away from the Ojibway than the others. Was this a lookout? What advantage would keeping one member of your number out of the fray give? As Dream Stalker crept behind this segregated Sioux, He noticed that he was very young. This changed things a bit. The Sioux were vicious toward their enemies, but even they saw no honor in dispatching an untried warrior. They would rather take them captive and possibly turn them into Sioux warriors. This left only one alternative as far as dream Stalker was concerned.

It was now that Dream Stalker demonstrated the reason he had been given his name. Dream Stalker had been born Richard Lemmon, son of a French fur trapper and a Huron woman who had made their home with the Sauk and Fox Tribes west of Fort Detroit. Having lived his life in the forests, and among the tribes of the farthest frontier, Richard had learned to be very stealthy in the thickest tangled brush. It was the Ojibway that gave him the name, Dream Stalker, because they felt that he was so silent that he could sneak up on an adversary as if they were asleep.

The young, future warrior did not realize what happened. One moment he was watching the progress of the older warriors as they waited for the Ojibway to let their guard down to while they eat their rabbit, the next, he felt the sharp blow of a rifle butt against the back of his head, and then darkness. Dream Stalker knelt down and re-primed his rifle as he re-familiarized himself with the locations of the other Sioux.

Dream Stalker focused his attention on one warrior that seemed to be the leader. If he could be neutralized, the others would be momentarily confused. The only thing is that this one wouldn’t be an inexperienced boy. This warrior seemed to be hyper-aware of everything around him. Getting close enough to him to take him out silently would be a test for even Dream Stalkers formidable abilities.

After tying and gagging the boy, Dream Stalker cached his rifle under a tree and eased into the brush, intent on reaching the lead warrior before the Ojibway settled down to their meal. He knew he didn’t have much time because the Ojibway were beginning to mill around in anticipation as the smell of the cooking rabbit became more pungent.

As Dream Stalker crept closer to the Sioux leader, he began to notice more about him. By the number of scalps on his belt, Dream Stalker knew he was an experienced warrior, and from the blood on his thighs from the scalps, he could tell that this group was not a hunting party. He could tell that they were carrying on the years of tribal warfare for this much sought after area that was coveted by several tribes. Recently, the fighting had been between the retreating Sioux and invading Ojibway, but the Sauk, Fox and even the Huron had made their presence known in this land of lakes and trees.

Several times, Dream Stalker had to stop his advance as the Sioux warrior was repeatedly reacquainting himself with his surroundings. Dream Stalker found himself in one of these frozen moments when he was within arm’s reach of the warrior. Across the stream, a clatter arose when one of the Ojibway’s rifles fell as he sat down for his share of the rabbit. As the Sioux warrior turned to focus on the Ojibway, Dream Stalker saw his opportunity. In a swift, fluid motion, he rose up drew his knife, reached around the warriors head, clamping his hand tightly over the warrior’s mouth. Without breaking stride, he allowed himself to fall on his back, bringing the warrior with him so he was laying on Dream Stalker’s chest face up.

As he brought the knife around under the warriors chin, Dream Stalker felt the warriors teeth sink deeply into the meaty part of his palm. Resisting the urge to shout in pain, Dream stalker drew the sharp edge of his knife across the exposed throat of his surprised adversary, then held him tightly until he felt the warrior’s body relax and his teeth ease their pressure on his hand. Careful not to disturb the brush around him, Dream Stalker eased himself out from under the dead warrior and glanced around to see if the other Sioux were showing any signs of suspicion.

Backing carefully out of the grizzly space, he made his way toward the next warrior. On his way, he noticed that the Ojibway hunters had all gathered around their fire to partake of their meager feast. He also noticed that the other Sioux were looking in the direction of where they believed their leader to be. They were confused, wondering why their leader had not signaled them to attack. It was only a matter of time before one of them ventured to see about their leader or took leadership upon himself and commenced the attack. Dream Stalker preferred the former to the latter, and he didn’t have to wait long.

Dream Stalker watched as one of the Sioux warriors, consternation and irritation plainly visible on his face, silently left his hiding place and quickly but silently, made his way to where he last saw his leader. Dream Stalker carefully fell in behind this warrior, hoping to subdue him before he found the dead warrior, but was a moment too late. Dream Stalker abandoned stealth and leapt at the warrior as he turned to signal his comrades. The warrior gave a short yelp as Dream Stalker crashed into him. They both tumbled to the ground and Dream Stalker made sure he was on top with his fore arm on the Sioux’s throat when they landed, focusing his full weight on that elbow. He used the opportunity this provided to draw his knife and plunge it into the warrior’s chest. He raised his head in time to see another Sioux notice what was happening and raise his rifle to his shoulder. From across the stream, Dream Stalker heard a rifle speak and the Sioux warrior jerk oddly as the bullet made its way through his head, his own bullet flying harmlessly through the trees.

The need for stealth obviously no longer a necessity, Dream Stalker ran low and fast to where he had cached his rifle, hearing more shots behind him. As he re-primed his pan, he glanced at the boy and saw that he was still unconscious. He looked carefully across the battle scene and saw two of the Ojibway as they crossed the stream to see if there were any more Sioux, having dispatched the other two. The third Ojibway was in the process of reloading his rifle behind the tree that he had used for cover. He looked up toward Dream Stalker and raised his arm in greeting having seen him dispatch the second Sioux. Dream Stalker raised his arm in return. The Ojibway signaled his fellows and pointed in Dream Stalker’s direction. When the others saw him, they too raised their arms in greeting.

Eventually, one of the Ojibway approached him.

“Greetings, Dream Stalker, it has been many summers since we last met.”

Dream Stalker looked closely at the young man in front of him, “Stands Alone! Is that you? It must have been a long time, the last time I saw you, you hadn’t even killed your first deer, now here you are on a hunting party!” Dream Stalker grabbed the fore arm that Stands Alone offered, “How is your Father?”

“He is good, lives near the French fort at the Big Portage by the Big Water to the East.” Stands Alone looked across the stream, “Come, Dream Stalker, sit with us a while, we have much to talk about.”

“The spirits smiled on you today, Stands Alone, If I hadn’t smelled your rabbit, I would not have known you, or the Sioux, were here.”

“I’m glad you did, and now that I know that, the rabbit will taste even better.” Stands Alone smiled and clapped Dream Stalker on the shoulder.

Dream Stalker looked toward the sun, “I’m sorry, Stands Alone, but it is near midday and I am headed to the lake in the woods to the north.”

“What will you do there?”

“Hunt, trap, build enough supplies to head west to the Shining Mountains.”

“Many Sioux that way.”

“Yes, but many furs also, and not all Sioux are like these.” He said, gesturing with his head to the bodies lying on the ground.

Stands Alone motioned toward the boy who was just coming to, “What will you do with this one?”

“I was hoping you would give him some food and let him go back to his people.”

“Maybe we’ll wait for you to leave and send him to his ancestors with the others.”

“You are too much like your father to do that, Stands Alone, there is no honor in killing a boy.”

Stands Alone looked into Dream Stalkers eyes, “No, there is no honor there. He’ll go free to his people, as you have said.”

“You’re a good man, Stands Alone, like your father.”

“Good journey, Dream Stalker, and may you return again to share my fire.”

“Good hunting, Stands Alone.”

The two men shook hands and Dream Stalker waved to the other two Ojibway. He headed back up stream toward the pond that he had been sitting in. He paused and cocked his head a bit to listen because he thought he heard someone calling in the distance.

“Bobby! Come in for lunch!”

“Dang it,” he thought, “Just when I was getting ready to head West. Maybe next Saturday I can invite one of the kids from school out. Maybe then I won’t be picked last for Dodgeball.”

Bobby retrieved his bike and pedaled home, a bit slower than he had earlier. He pedaled up the drive way and dropped his bike in the yard and went into the house. His Mother looked at him from the kitchen.

“Do you want chips? Pickles?”

“Yeah.”

His mother walked to him with a plate and set it down next to the glass of milk that was already on the table. Bobby lifted the corner of the top slice of bread on the sandwich and wrinkled his nose at the Tuna Fish and Cheese he saw underneath.

“Mom?” he said, looking at his sandwich, “Have you ever tried rabbit?”


Submitted: January 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 J.D. Anderson. All rights reserved.

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dreamcatcher10

Good Work! :)

Sun, January 17th, 2021 10:15pm

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