The Last Mountain Man-chapter 5

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
chapter 5

Submitted: March 28, 2007

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Submitted: March 28, 2007



Chapter V

Another cursed the darkness. The detour of the bus had made him late in getting back to the cave. Cutting a chunk of meat from the carcass of the deer he put it on a green limb spit and positioned it over the small campfire he had made below a rock overhang. He knew better than try to make the cave after dark. It was just too dangerous., but that was why he had chosen the it; it’s accessability.

As the meat sizzled over the fire, he tried to work the coldness from his shoulder. Back in his other life, he’d two operations on his left shoulder. The joint now carried seven pins in it. The doctor had told him if these pins were ever pulled loose, his arm would be useless and there wouldn’t be anything they could do for him. It wasn’t the joint but the tendons and ligaments surrounding it.

Needless to say, in the years following the surgeries he’d favored the shoulder with the right. It now was in worse shape then the other. The joint caught just below midway of it’s travel upward. Severe pain coursed through his upper arm. Grabbing the joint he massaged the pain away. He guessed he was falling apart. That was alright. He’d lived four years and six months past the date his doctor had given him.

The crisp dark night brought back memories. This was the type of night she enjoyed. He had even built an outside fireplace in the later years so they might sit out on nights like this and enjoy the life God had given them.

His wife had fought her illness for several years. A regular trooper, he’d told everyone. He had been right. The woman had more guts in a little finger than most people had in their entire body. He knew had he been the one to catch the illness, it would have made him an invalid.

Then he had been diagnosed. Terminal, the doctor had said, six months at the most. His memory shot forward to the day he needed pain medicine. Though she didn’t feel good, she had gone to town to get it from the pharmacy. The drunk didn’t see her as he ran the red light.

He couldn’t bear to see them put her away, so he took their savings, bought enough things to last him the rest of his life, left the burying to the girls, cranked the old beast up, and went to find him a mountain.

He had found that mountain, but the death had eluded him.

He sometimes thought of the girls, the grandboys, and wondered how they were doing. The oldest grandboy probably had a life of his own by now and the youngest close to it. After he decided the doctor had given the wrong diagnoses, he had thought about leaving the mountains and see if he couldn’t look them up. Enjoy them grandkids in his later years, but he never did it. Hell, they probably didn’t need an old man in their lives anyway.

The meat turned a dark rich brown. Pulling it from the fire, he savored the wild taste as his imagination sat by his wife at that campfire back home.

The two men and their hostages also tramped through the mountains in the dark.." It’s close," "Sarge" told the other man, "There’s that lightening struck pine and "Old Baldy’s" right there." He added pointing to a bare top mountain still struck by the sun.

"I know. We can’t be far," Jude agreed. Just then their thoughts were rewarded by a whiff of smoke from somewhere close.

"Halt! Who goes there?"

"It’s us Joe and if you got that damn scattergun lined on us I’m gonna kick your ass."

"Sorry Jude, You know the rules. If I don’t take my post serious, I don’t get to do it anymore."

The post’s face flickered through Jude’s memory. He supposed the guard wasn’t bad to look at if you were a woman, but he sure lacked something upstairs. "We’re coming in with some hostages so don’t get too free with that scattergun."

"Yeah, Jesse told us you got some good looking gals with you. You reckon we can have some fun later on? Get one of them to dance for us. You know like that girl Jesse brought out with him from Silverton that time? Man, she sure was something to look at with them jugs flying all over her chest while she was dancing."

Though the group ignored the guard’s rambling, Marie felt a chill running down her spine. Working for the newspaper, she remembered something about a woman that came up missing who lived in Silverton. If this "militia had anything to do with it, she could read their future on the walls of the mine they had just entered, for here is where it would end."

The sound of the guard’s going’s on carried through the mountains. Echo’s brought him back to the present. Slipping his wife back into his memories, he listened to the echos. Though with the way these mountains carried sound, and they could be anywhere, the guard sounded like he could be more than a hundred yards from him. What was that about some women?

Instantly his mind went back to the riders in the bus. Though he hadn’t thought about it, the passengers had been small in stature. They could have been a bunch of girls in that bus. What had the other voice said? Hostages?

What was going on? His mind’s eye knew the voices to be some of those from the Militia. Several times in the past he’d heard the challenge cast through the trees, sometimes at him. He’d never answered the challenge before. Just slipped back into the surrounding darkness until the post had decided he had been some varment of the night. Curiosity got the best of him. He was no more than a mile from his own cave. In the morning he’d take the deer carcass up there, get a few more arrows, that .22 mag. and the .357. He’d go find out what these "good old boys" were up to.

A distant engine caught his ears. It had to be one of those rangers going up to the fire watch station. It was getting about time for them to start manning the station, a little early maybe, but what did he know. Why was someone going up there this time of night though. He shook his head. Something was in the air on his mountain and damn if he could figure out what it was.

The engine woke Shawna up from a restless sleep. Shivering from the chill of the mountains, she sat until her mind recognized the sound of an engine. Closer and closer the motor came.

"Here!" Down here!" she shouted in the darkness. She knew the motor was too far off to hear her cry, but it did her mind good to yell, so she tried the hail again. Again to no avail.

The puma crouched at the sound. Lips curled around three inch fangs. It was one of the dreaded humans she heard crying in the darkness. Ears lay back. She hated/ feared the human creature, but this one sounded different. It sounded weak, defenseless , almost like an infant of the woods calling for it’s mother.

The mountain lion carried mixed emotions, though she direly wanted to run away to safety, her hunger held her back. Long ago she had fed on the carcass of one of the females of this species. She remembered the meat being kind of sweet, soft, not hard for her teeth to gnaw. The lioness decided. Warily she started forth. The cry in the night was her new prey.













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