Bad Day on Red Rock

Bad Day on Red Rock

A Chapter by Cherrie Palmer

The rumbling bays of Shiner reverberated from the holler, trickling out like water from a spring. His deep-chested bark distinctively his lead the way. The ground fanned out forking around a steep cliff. One path wrapped around a large boulder, while the other set upon a wet spring. I noticed a freshly broken limb. So, Cracker and I trod upon the boggy soil that runs in an easterly direction. It took a hard ten minutes to reach up to Ted.

"Man, am I relieved to see you," Ted said.

"Have you spotted either of them?"

"No, not yet, but that old Tom let out a shriek that made the hairs on my neck rise."

"I heard it too. Did you get a good look at the size of the beast? He's twice the size of my old hound."

"He runs 180 easy. His head looked like a bowling ball."

"A bowling ball with fangs," I said as I passed Ted to take point. "Skin your scabbard, and let's look alive," I said as we grew silent and moved forward.

The eastside of the ridge feeds a natural spring. This is one of the few spots around these parts that has a bog. That's one reason wildlife is so thick in these parts, plus there is no hunting on the reserve. I wish we were on the other path, better footing for the horses, and visibility. Even the sun did not like the trail we were on and hid-away.

The outlaw caterwauled, and I grimaced. A shiver ran down my spine as I batted away the vision of the boy, and what could have been.

Finally, I broke the silence, "did you get ahold of Mary?"

"No, I couldn't reach her."

"Good. Just as well. Don't need a bunch of people traipsing around, best you and I handle it." Ted nodded, and we rode on.

Shiner sounded much closer than before. The lonely sounding echo of hid barks had fallen off. I kept expecting to see him at any moment. We finally cleared the bit of bog. The noontime sun wanted back in the hunt, and pointed out a few drops of blood. I figured both animals sported injuries. My throbbing knee needed to get this over with. Running and I are not friends.

The horses were walking up a dry creek bed that holds nothing but tension, tons of tension. Cracker began to sidestep, twitching his ears, and whinnied.

"This is it. Look lively," I said.

A flash of movement about three o'clock caused me to level my rifle and crossed in my Leupold stood Shiner. The dog was all over the trunk of a Red Oak. I scanned the tree, cutting sections with my scope. Nothing, I pulled my weapon to my side to survey the area. The cat had given the old dog the slip.

Lost in instinct, the old dog would not be called off his position. Impatiently he danced in circles around the tree. Occasionally he would jump onto the trunk as if willing himself to climb. Tired of calling his name, I dismounted and went over to pull him off point and checked his injuries.

"Hey Dub (short for 'W' in Woodrow)," Ted said, looking around on any and every shelf the basin displayed.


"Where do you think he lost the old Outlaw?"

"I just don't know. He's a big cat. I guess he could have leaped to several points from here, if the cat made it this far," I said, "toss me my saddlebag."

I pulled out a jar of lard, mix with herbs and powdered antibiotics that I covered Shiner's shoulder with. He needed a couple of stitches, but that would have to wait. I noticed the cat had two ear tags. Meaning he had been someone else's problem, and they relocated him here. Now, that the animal had attacked a boy, He must be put down. I stood back-up, then, unsnapped my holster. I surveyed the area because chances are good; we are being hunted.

© 2020 Cherrie Palmer

My Review

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This is a great story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Strong dialogue that clearly conveys all the tension & frayed concerns of your characters -- the kid, the dog, the cougar. I have one little suggestion: "bowling ball with fangs" (instead of "teeth") . . . just a thought! Have a lovely thanksgiving full of love & good food! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago

Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

Yes, I love the idea of fangs. I have enjoyed this tale and hope to finish this weekend. Honestly .. read more
You did a great jov at the beginning, very action packed to keep the redar intrigued. -Kay

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago

Mountain lions and polar bears are the only mammals that actually will stalk humans, others too if you tick them off. We had to have a cat hunted around our property, the tracker brought three dogs, and two forest service officers with shot guns. They treed a young cat and then brought it down, and it took six shots and the cat still took a hunk out of one of the hounds. When predators don't respect boundaries, regardless, they need to either be relocated or put down. And when I say relocated, I don't mean just near another settled area. Around here, they relocate dumpster grizzlies from Yellow there's always a reality beyond what conservator agenda's create mandates about and what the reality of living with wildlife actually is. But I don't think you want to include any of that political stuff in your story Cherrie, I just mention it because the "in the moment" of your story is so real.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago

Cherrie Palmer

2 Months Ago

When we owned a cattle ranch for a ling spell we had a mountain lion (dark skinned panther not black.. read more

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5 Reviews
Added on November 10, 2020
Last Updated on November 27, 2020


Cherrie Palmer
Cherrie Palmer

Oakland, AR

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..

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