The house offered very little security as I checked every door and window to make sure it had been locked. I loaded my old .22 high power and placed it by the door. I started doing the weeks worth of dishes and watched it through the gauzy curtains. Through dishes, and dinner, and dishes again, it never moved.
It took no notice of the cars that sped by contributing another layer of dust to the pile already settled on its heavy black wool wardrobe. As I stared and squinted and could almost see its chest rising and falling in pure agony as it breathed. Thoughts of calling the sheriff crossed my mind, but my breath matched it if I touched the phone receiver.
As dusk approached I picked up my hunting knife and unsheathed it. The cold steel blade flung bits of kerosene’s lamplight across the room where it disappeared into dusk. I sheathed it again and stuck it in my back jean pocket. The back yard had the energy like when its going to storm. The horses were restless. I decided to barn them tonight.
The green Coleman lantern refused to light. It gave in when I said “Please God, light.” The light cast a gentle warmth over the stalls which were filled with fresh straw. Father was always adamant about keeping things prepared. “You never know when you might have urgent need for something that could have been ready and waiting if you took the five minutes to get it ready.” I opened the grain bin, and filled two buckets with two large coffee cans of alfalfa pellets and a half can of rolled oats. The horses nickering returned my wits to me. I tossed the pellets in each horses respective 55 gallon Zep barrel feeder, pausing a moment to watch the light play off the sorrel coats like fire.
As I stepped out with the lantern and padlocked the barn as the wind managed to angle itself the right way and blew out the lantern. “FUCK.” I fumbled with the gas valve and managed to turn it off as the pitch dusks creeping blob of darkness started to distinguish itself into various shapes and shadows outlined by the rising blood moon. As I walked to the porch, stupidity or pity overcame me and I noticed the old moth eaten saddle blanket. And the thermos the neighbor boy had evidently returned this afternoon. I filled it with water…muttering at my stupidity.
Blanket and thermos under the arms, I cautiously walked out there with the safety off my .22 and newly lit lamplight. The wind howled and wailed louder and louder with each step I took. I could feel its red eyes bore into me as I crossed the road. If it was growling again I couldn’t hear because of the wind. My eyes were locked on it and my finger screaming for permission to pull and return to a space closer to its brothers. Ten feet away I set the thermos and blanket down and slowly backed away. It would attack me if I turned my back. I knew that fact as much as I knew that there was a God in Heaven.