Excerpt from my novel titled, RAMPAGE.
“Come inside, Rocky, and eat!” shouted Jim. “We have a long ride ahead of us. You don’t want to go all day without eating! Jim knew the ride up to the Henley farm would take a while, and by the time they would make it back home Rocky would be starved.
“Okay… I’m on my way in,” Rocky hesitantly replied, then climbed down from the saddle. “I won’t be long, Comanche.” After tying his horse to the hitching post and giving his trusty steed a pat on the side of his neck Rocky ran up the steps. He suddenly flung the heavy wooden door open with a bang, then scampered to the table and began devouring his food.
“Slow down, Rocky!” warned Mary. “You don’t want to choke by eating too fast…”
“Yes, son,” interrupted Jim Topp. “We have plenty of time to get up to the Petersens!” Rocky slowed his eating, but not by much. He couldn’t wait to get going, and he could hear Comanche outside also getting restless. After finishing with breakfast Rocky ran out through the cabin’s front door, and in no time was sitting on Comanche’s saddle all ready to go.
“Time’s a-wasting, Pa!” shouted Rocky, as he backed Comanche away from the hitching post.
“Hold your horses,” replied Jim, as he gathered up his boots and hat.
“I’m already holding them,” laughed Rocky, grabbing on to the buggy horse’s reins.
“I got the message,” laughingly said Jim.” Here I come. We’ll be back later this afternoon, Mary.” After giving his wife a look he lifted his hat from the rack. “That boy must have ants in his pants,” Jim smiled.
“Have a good trip, you two,” said Mary after walking her husband to the door. “And give the Petersens my regards.”
“We will, Ma,” Rocky replied after turning Comanche in the direction of the trail.
Rocky couldn’t wait to get started, and neither could Comanche who was straining at the bit - as if to hurry everyone up. Finally Jim climbed up into his buggy, and then was also ready to go.
“Let’s take a ride out behind the barn to the wood line first, Rocky.” spoke Jim, as he turned his horse.
“Why do you want to go down there?” asked a bewildered Rocky. “Don’t you think we should hurry to the Petersens, Pa? Before he sells his farm to someone else?”
“I don’t think you need to worry son! The farm’s not going to be sold that quickly. Besides; I want to see if there are any signs as to what exactly happened out behind the barn last night with the attacking grizzly.”
Rocky redirected Comanche in the direction of the barn, then headed down the small path leading out across the partially plowed field, over to the wood line on the other side. They were almost at the trees when Comanche suddenly stopped. The blond stallion started pacing back and forth, as if he were standing on a hornet’s nest.
“What is it, Rocky?” spoke Jim, after reigning in his buggy’s horse. “What’s wrong with Comanche?”
“I’m not sure, Pa… he doesn’t want to go any farther? It’s as if he encountered an invisible wall of some sort.”
“The scent of the grizzly must still be lingering in the air,” surmised Jim, as he reached for his hidden rifle under the buggy’s seat. “Comanche is warning you of danger. You stay here. I’m going up to take a closer look.” Rocky backed Comanche up until his nervousness lessened, and then rested his shooting hand onto his rifle’s stock. Jim continued moving closer and closer to the trees, and then stepped down from the buggy. He then knelt down to take an even closer look at something. After several minutes he suddenly stood, then dusted his pants off at the knees.
“What is it, Pa?!” Shouted Rocky, as he slowly slid his rifle out of its leather holster attached to Comanche’s saddle. “Is it the poor elk?”
“N-No… It-It’s a dead grizzly bear!” replied Jim after lowering his rifle to arms length. “There must have been two grizzlies out here fighting last night.”
“Why would grizzlies be fighting?”
“It looks as though they may have been fighting over an elk. The ground has elk tracks all over. The other grizzly must have killed this one for the elk’s carcass.” Jim climbed back up into his buggy then headed toward Rocky and Comanche. “Well, you learned a valuable lesson today, son. Never make Comanche go where he doesn’t want to go. He sensed the dead grizzly behind the brush-pile. He probably would have saved your life if that would have been a live bear hiding in the brush.” Rocky and his pa turned their horses then went back up past the cabin, up to the beginning of the trail. They had almost made it to the peak when the chilling screams of an elk echoed out of the woods off to their right.
“Pa… it sounds like the grizzly is at it again,” softly spoke Rocky, temporarily stopping Comanche.
“Don’t worry, son, I can hear it! There’s no reason for the bear to be attacking another elk this soon…unless…”
“Unless what, Pa?” interrupted Rocky.