Chpt - 3 The Littlefield ChroniclesA Chapter by Tegon Maus
The smell of burning flesh filled me with new panic. My wound screamed a new level of pain into my brain... I was on fire.
Bridgehaven, the thought of it. How do I find a Jonda that doesn't want to be found? How do I find a little girl I've seen only once? How do I? The closer I got to Bridgehaven the more the questions haunted me. Night became day and then night crept upon me once more. Failure loomed larger with each footfall from my horse. It ran with heart, with the same desire that filled me, certain Eloise had chosen poorly.
I loved this little town. I had spent a considerable amount of time here in my youth. At one time I had visions of settling down, raising a family, and getting a dog.
I had to laugh a little to myself, Enon's dog jumped to mind. The neighbors would have loved that.
I stopped at the top of the last rise overlooking the town. It was just after sunset and the cooking fires glowed through a thousand windows.
Set in the middle of the
The road divided in three directions, and as it began to rain, I strained my memory to locate the eighth bridge. My horse stomped nervously as I tried to make up my mind. Something had him spooked.
Movement caught my eye, rustling in the darkness along side the road I had finally chosen to follow. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. My horse pulled against my restraining hand, fighting to take another route. Again the crinkle of leaves cut through the soft rain and my horse stopped in the middle of the trail, frozen with fear. A hundred yards ahead a dark form crossed the road. Its yellow eyes flashed in my direction making my skin rippled with fear.
I pulled on the reins to hold my place as the apparition came closer. The horse reared up and dropped me to the ground before disappearing into the darkness.
"Citizen Tucker," the deep unmistakable voice offered its greeting.
"Enon. I should have known it was you," I said.
The yellow eyes came closer, becoming his dog.
"Sorry, I got here as fast as I could," I groused. I was irritated, wet, muddy and embarrassed.
"Eloise say wait." He just stood there and made no effort to help me to my feet. "Enon wait."
"Ah, the Governess. Why are we here? Why Bridgehaven?" I asked, stumbling in the mud to get to my feet.
"Enon follow Jonda here."
"Izie here, then not."
"Well, where the hell is she?"
"Here, then not," he repeated.
"I'm sorry. I don't understand. Is she in Bridgehaven or not?"
"Tucker not want help Enon, say so." His animosity toward me showed through his voice. He turned his back and walked down the path. "Enon not need help. Dog help Enon find Izie. Citizen Tucker can go home," he said and waved his hand to dismiss me.
"I promised Governess Eloise to bring
"Not mention Enon. Enon not need mention from Tucker. Enon know all Tucker can say." He turned and shook his finger at me.
"I only meant.”
"Not mention Enon. Last time say," he warned.
"Fine, have it your way. Come on, I know a little place we can get something to eat." I started down the path toward town.
"Enon not hungry."
"Well, I am. So you can come or you can stay but I'm cold, I'm wet, I'm tired and I'm hungry and I don't care anymore," I waited but he said nothing. I shook my head and turned again to go.
"Dog hungry. Enon go."
The town, although familiar, had changed since my last visit. The homes, all dressed in clapboard siding, made it confusing in the dark. Eventually, we made our way to the center of town to the Dores Inn. It was a small tavern with good food, a place to sleep, and sometimes, if lucky, a little something extra.
"Tucker? Tucker Littlefield is that you?"
I hardly recognized him. It had been years since I had seen him last. Although Andy had never been a handsome man, time had been less than fair. His thin red hair had gone missing up the center and the wisps that remained stood at right angles to his head. His skin was blotchy and ruddy from years of drink. I seldom drank but with him I was seldom sober.
"Hey, you. Get out," he suddenly yelled angrily as Enon slipped through the door behind me.
"Andy, he's with me." I soothed.
"We don't serve his kind here, Tucker."
"His kind? What the hell does that mean?"
"He's a stinking savage."
"What are you talking about? He's just a Jonda."
"And we don't serve his kind here."
"Andy, what the hell's gotten into you? I don't remember you being like this."
"Things change, Tucker, and I say he's out."
"I said he's with me. If you want, think of him as a bodyguard or whatever it takes but he stays," I said firmly. No one, least of all Andy was about to tell me what I could and couldn't do.
"I don't care who you say he is, get him out."
"Perhaps it would be best if I talked to you know who. I'm sure she would be interested in a little get together I seem to remember."
"Keep her out of this, Tucker. She doesn't need to know anything about that. Besides, that was years ago. What's her name is married now... the blacksmith. He doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Best to leave the past in the past."
"Fine with me. We'll need a room and something to eat,"
"I don't want any trouble here, Tucker. He so much as breaks wind I'm coming to you. Understand?"
"Yeah, I got it. Now, what do you say, a little bread, a little cheese, some meat, maybe a little ale?"
"Take the room at the top of the stairs. The kitchen is closed and no ale, not for you and certainly not for him."
"You're being a b*****d, Andy. Now for the last time, I'm cold, I'm wet and I want something to eat. Please don't make my friends here get ugly."
"Alright, but you're both out of here at first light."
"Gladly, Andy. First light," I said and started up the stairs.
"No dogs allowed, Tucker."
"What dog?" I said, ignoring him.
"That dog. You can blackmail me into letting that heathen stay but not even you can have a dog in here."
"I don't have a dog," I said, turning to face him. Enon and his companion slipped up the stairs past me toward our room. "You gotta stop sampling the goods, Andy. You're seeing things."
"No trouble, Tucker. I mean it."
"No trouble, Andy."
The room held the smell of mildew but was warm. I sat next to the small hearth and crackling fire, trying to get the feeling back in my feet.
"Enon not bodyguard for Tucker."
"Look, if you don't want to sleep indoors, then don't. I don't care, but I need to sleep, even for a little while." I said and sat on the bed.
"Him not bring food," Enon said with an I- told-you-so tone.
"Yeah, I know," I said and lay out on the bed. “Put the candle in the window for me, will you?"
"No, bad thing. Tucker not do this," he said, standing.
"What? The candle? I've always slept with a candle in the window."
"Enon know. Enon know all things, Tucker. Bad thing now."
"You know all things, Tucker? What does that mean?" I asked, looking over my shoulder at him.
"Dog see inside Tucker; Enon see inside dog. Enon know all things, Tucker."
"All things? You couldn't possibly." I asked with some dread and a lot of disbelief.
He stood there looking at me and my heart sank a little with the thought of his words. I glanced at the dog, which was still staring at me. I was overwhelmed with an instant of memory, a memory inside this very building. The images of my night with Andy's wife after I had set things in motion between him and the young lady, now the blacksmith's wife, filled my head. I turned away from the dog only to see Enon's face. His head cocked slightly to one side as if something inside him pitied me. A pang of guilt sliced through me as I turned away.
"Just put the candle in the window, please. You can blow it out after I fall asleep."
"Enon know Tucker afraid of dark."
"No, I'm not. It's just a habit, that's all. Afraid of the dark, please." I rolled over and the eyes of the dog were staring me in the face.
I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. As I dozed and awoke the eyes were still there, fixed on me. Enon had spread himself across the floor, his back toward me. I leaned on one elbow to look at him. The dog shifted, leaning forward to match my curiosity. Enon made no movement to indicate he was awake or asleep. I lay back again and the dog eased its stance. I turned my back to the beast and fell asleep.
"Tucker not move. No sound." Came the whisper.
It was everything I could do to breathe with the weight of the dog on me. Slowly, Enon moved away.
"Cayra, brother," his voice little more than a whisper.
"Cayra," a voice returned from the dark.
"Why here?" Enon asked.
"I saw your signal in the window. I came to free you brother," the voice said.
I moved my head slowly in the direction of the voices. There standing in the room was another Jonda. I thought my heart would stop when something metal glinted in his hand.
"Not need saving, go with Enon's thanks."
"I heard this man say you are his servant. I saw your candle," the voice countered.
"Enon not slave. Tucker afraid of dark."
There was a long silence and then a controlled laughter from both men. The dog slowly slid off me and returned to its corner, its eyes locked on me once more.
They stood in the dark, speaking softly in their native tongue. The exchange went on for several minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to follow their conversation. It was fast, rhythmic, and interesting. The words carried a sense of familiarity between them. A commonality or central thread seemed to run through the words, binding them to each other and, I suppose, to all other Jonda.
With effort I opened my eyes, and to my surprise, those of the dog were closed. In the dark it was difficult to see the animal but I was certain, it was not looking at me. The oddity that stood out in my drowsy mind was Enon's voice. It was deep, strong and never hesitated, not even once. In his native tongue he was as eloquent as any statesman. The thought slowly sank into my mind and I rolled it over several times, trying to decide which end was up as I drifted off to sleep once more.
"Tucker." Enon's voice penetrated the thick fog of my consciousness.
"Go away. I'm sleeping."
"Not sleep. Trouble comes now."
"There will be plenty of trouble if I don't get some sleep soon," I said, pulling away from his grip.
"Trouble, now," he said forcefully yanking me to my feet.
The other Jonda was gone and we were alone. The sun was coming up. The sound of unruly voices filtered up the stairs to our room.
Andy and a few of his friends were coming and they were becoming louder. Enon's dog bristled and stood ready at the door.
"That's him," a strange man yelled, forcing the door open. Andy and three other men pushed their way into the room, inundating the air with the smell of drink.
"What the hell's going on here, Andy?"
"This b*****d wiped out Caldron," the man in the door slurred.
"What? When did he do this?" I asked.
"Four days ago. A band of twenty of these murdering Jonda b******s burned it to the ground. He was their leader."
"Well, it couldn't be him. I've been with him for the past two weeks. He's never left my side," I lied.
"Ya? Well, we're going to solve our little Jonda problem right now," one of the men yelled and lurched forward with a dagger.
A flood of thoughts poured through me. They meant to kill him, I could see it in their faces. I have much to be ashamed of but I couldn't stand aside for this. I couldn't just let them murder him.
I stepped in front of him to grab for the dagger when a horrible pain shot through my side.
The dog lunged and the others advanced on Enon, all within the confines of the tiny room.
Clutching my side, a warm, thick wetness suddenly oozed through my fingers, I was bleeding. The dagger meant for the Enon found me instead.
I cried out in anger and pain as I was knocked to the floor. The dog rushed to sit on me, pushing against me until I was wedged between its massive body and the wall.
It snarled and snapped viciously at the men as each came within range but refused to release me.
Enon picked them up and threw them around like rag dolls. Neither the fight nor the furniture lasted long.
"Tucker hurt bad?" he asked.
"Get him off me." I grimaced.
Enon made a quick gesture to the hound and I was freed from its weight. He had obeyed his master without so much as a word between them.
"Good blood. Must be good hole," he said, trying to remove my hand from the wound.
"It's not stopping," I said begining to feel a little panicked. My life was slipping away with each passing moment.
"Tucker look Enon's eyes. Not look at blood. Enon fix... promise," he said and pulled me to him. He slipped an arm around my shoulders and then my legs, lifting me like a child.
I passed in and out of awareness and we were down stairs and then all at once, outside. Branches flashed by with large patches of bright sky and then more so tight together they blotted out the sun.
Time didn't exist. The warmth of my blood soaked my clothes. My breathing slowed and I was weak beyond description. The light swirled in my head changing solid objects to fluid blobs that oozed before us and then melted away.
Sleep pulled at my consciousness; fear pounded sluggishly at my heart. We were moving, jostling over the ground for what seemed like forever. I hurt more with each new jarring impact. Enon cradled me as he ran and the light began to grow into darkness. I struggled with myself, angry, full of fight for fear of dying... and then bartered for that life and finally accepted my fate allowing the growing darkness to take me.
At that moment, as if Enon had heard the thought, he stopped and laid me on the ground. It was warm and soft; the smell of crushed grass filled me.
A flicker of light formed in the center of my darkness, growing larger. Someone pulled at my clothes and then my wound.
The crackling sounds of fire assaulted me.
The smell of burning flesh filled me with new panic. My wound screamed a new level of pain into my brain... I was on fire.
© 2012 Tegon Maus
Added on January 21, 2012
Last Updated on July 4, 2012
The Littlefield Chronicles
Cherry Valley, CA
AboutDearheart, my wife of forty three plus years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. .. more..
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