The Fray

The Fray

A Chapter by Cherrie Palmer

Mary and our closest neighbors have been at odds with each other nine years.  I like to call it ‘the battle of the rock.’ I cannot throw my hat in the ring with this war, because I like those neighbors, even if they raid our garden, and trample her petunias. She built her raised garden around an impressive red rock that she turned into a sun dial, and the tribe claims, 'squatters rights;' daily. 


I snap off a few more pictures of an impressive ram with a black coat, his ears and nose tipped white. The brut faces me broadcasting wide set horns that flare and arch all the way back, only to complete the rotation by spiraling upward once more. I close the shutter.


Then, yell at the trip, “stay out of the turnips,” my laughter fell into the basin, silence returned, and I smiled. Remembering how Mary ran him out the garden with a water hose. 



I zoomed the lens of my Nikon to take a picture of five vultures riding a thermal straddling an island of clouds and growing smaller with each rotation.  I adjust my Glock 19 that is digging in my hip to remove my cell phone that just dinged. There is not much phone service up here but given enough time a text will find you.  I checked my message it is Ted. My oldest friend, deputy, and all-around good guy. He lives a few miles away. Well country miles, by vehicle 14, but on Nell a 15-hand trail horse only 10. I guess he wanted to join me for a trail ride.



[meet me at Mel’s his grandson is missing!]

[Jimmy, 3, snoopy pj’s, no shoes!]



Playtime just ended, I stuffed the camera in my shirt and hit the speed-dial, no good. So, I texted him back and hoped it landed.



[on Cracker be there in 15- call Mary so she can start calling all the neighbors]



I gave Cracker his head and a firm tap to his ribs and we blazed a path working our way to Mel Morrisons. He jumped a log then the gully and we started the ascent to Mel’s cabin. I could hear the frantic voice of Betty Morrison.



“Jim," fear carried her words down the trail for all to hear, but no reply greeted her. "Jimmie,  baby-honey,  answer granny!”



The trailing sound of her voice stopped. For several moments I heard nothing. Then running. Aloud crashing of leaves as she called for Mel, screaming his name. Up ahead the brush was too thick for my horse. I tied him off, yanked my rifle from its scabbard and started to run. My knee protested with every stride, but I have had lots of practice ignoring that old complaint, and pushed harder. I now heard Mel calling out to her.



“Betty!” Mel yelled.



“Hurry! Bring the gun! Hurry!”



As I cleared the thicket, I saw Betty charging a cougar with a big stick. The boy laid crumpled on the ground motionless. So, I tuned my attention on Betty and the cat.

 



“Betty, No!”  Mel yelled, as he busted over the horizon at a dead run, but she could not hear him. Her mind, will and emotions tethered to the cat. Her screams filled the thicket, hyped on adrenalin I could not make out her words. 


For now all I could do was watch her stab at the cat with the stick, while I looked for an opening. 

She stood between me and the animal, I did not have a clear shot. I looked to Mel and couldn’t tell if he had a clean lane either.



The cat charged in fast quick bursts. It slapped its front paws in the dirt with each progression, teeth bared, and ears pinned. The cat reared up on hind legs lunging forward, and slashed her arm. Betty screamed out but held her ground standing over her grandson. Before the cat could do another thing, Shiner leapt on the beast and the two were a huge ball of hissing, biting, and  flying fur.

 

Somehow the cat broke away and the chase pursued. I ran to the boy. He was alive, mauled but alive. His left hand looked bad, really bad. I removed my bandana and wrapped it. I worried he might lose his little finger. However, considering how this could have gone, I felt grateful, to hear him begin to cry. 

 

Ted rode up on Nell. I motioned for him to keep going. “Stay with them, I’ll be right behind you.” I quickly gave Mel and Betty instructions, Shiner’s bark marked the way, as Ted and I followed the fray.



© 2020 Cherrie Palmer


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Reviews

This is suspenseful compelling & engaging for all the senses! Wow! This is some of the best writing of yours that I've read. The thing I love the most about your writing is that you don't clutter up an action scene with too much description or backstory, but you do include a fair amount of description in order to make everything as if watching a movie (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Months Ago


Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

I try to strike the middle of dressing the scene and allowing the reader to fill in the middle. :) .. read more
I was right there with you... your talent has
enveloped me... ny heart murmur is purring like a Mountain Lion...
a Cougar... I believe. Be still my heart. Good Grief, as Charlie would say.
tenderly, Pat

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago


Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

I almost always open my story in the middle of an event. So I wanted to start the 1st chapter and th.. read more
Patricia Wedel

2 Months Ago

Looking forward to the next episode... gently, Pat
Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

Bad Day on Red Rock :)
Lots of taught action, well done Cherrie. I notice your handling of cell phone and texting...which has changed the fabric of our society I guess, even in the wilds of the west. But that was only a part of the narrative here and quickly faded as you crafted the plot. Nice stuff.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago


Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

I wasn't sure how to display the text and kinda like the set brackets. Back in the day everyone car.. read more
Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

I was afraid i confused the reads by implying the goats were their closest neighbors
roarke

2 Months Ago

I think it works both ways. lol
damn that pulled me right in! no hesitation no foggy start just deep dive into the scene what a talent you have for this! wow if i could do that with a poem that would be something! when I read you write story i always wish i could write story maybe someday but not the now im still trying to write a decent poem LOL small steps they say small steps:) your story writing skills are simply superb Cherrie I mean it!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago


Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

so often I start a story in the thick of it, and I really wanted the opening chapter to still be int.. read more
Hello dear Cherrie. A very interesting tale. I wanted to know and read more. Great characters and the story live. Tempting and worthwhile. Thank you for sharing your amazing work.
Coyote

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago


Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

I hope to write it the next part tonight, and thank you for such a generous review:)
Coyote Poetry

1 Month Ago

You are welcome dear Cherrie.

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Added on November 7, 2020
Last Updated on November 21, 2020


Author

Cherrie Palmer
Cherrie Palmer

Oakland, AR



About
I am a published poet and love poetry. My husband and I live near the White River, and love trout fishing. I find my surroundings a great inspiration to me. I also have two books on Amazon Kindle: O.. more..

Writing
Time Time

A Poem by Cherrie Palmer



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