Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hero For A Day

She woke up, groggy and still tired from the night before. Unsure of how she ended up in a desolate field in the middle of autumn was beyond what she could process at this point in time, so she followed through with what she knew best: to pick herself up and push forward. Exactly where she was moving forward to was still up in the air, and the thought of the mantra caused her to gaze upwards. Taking in the stillness, the calm, was something she otherwise never had the opportunity to do.

As she titled her head upwards, she allowed herself to appreciate the now golden colored leaves that sprawled above her. Unbeknownst to the open wounds on her arms and legs, still wet with plasma, she stepped forward into the vast openness ahead of her. The sky loomed ominous although there was no breeze in the air. A storm was coming, and her options of shelter were limited at best.

The bushes that lay ahead were relatively unaffected by the cold, but her wounds were starting to ache. She looked down at her arms and noticed that they were littered with dirt and small blades of grass. She was beginning to think that she had fallen down the steep hill that towered behind her. She was about to investigate the hill as she heard a rumbling in the brush. Startled for a second, she stood still and eventually dropped to the ground to play dead on the off chance that it was a predator larger than her.

The shaking continued, until a man stepped out, hunting rifle in tow. He crept forward, approaching her assumed lifeless body. Once reaching her, he knelt down beside her, one knee on the ground, gently placing the gun down with one hand while simultaneously scaling the hunting belt around his waist.

The wind picked up a tick as she squinted her left eye barely open to catch a glimpse of him.

His brown skin was lightly covered in what could best be described as brown cow hide, something that a native would wear. If his face were painted he would be a dead ringer for Tonto, or a scary close lookalike. A hunting bow wrapped around his neck and over his back, the tips of the back end of his hair bouncing off of the tip of the arrow.

The bloody openings on her arm were beginning to crust, and she could feel it happening.

The man pulled something out of a pouch that rested within his waist-belt. She heard a thud, which caused her to open her eyes briefly, to only see the man laying face down with an arrow through his chest. Blood began to pool out of him, and it took everything in her to remain motionless. She did her best ‘playing possum’ impression as a herd of footsteps drew closer.

“We’ve got one over here!”

The shout from the distance told her two things. One, she didn’t have much time, if any, to react, and secondly, that her odds had shrunk and the number of her adversaries had grown. She envisioned what she may do in her mind before actually doing it, knowing that the rifle was her last and only chance of a fair fight. As the footsteps got louder and faster, she realized that they weren’t footprints, but actually the sound of a group of horses clattering their way toward her. She heard men speaking to each other, getting closer within earshot.

Rolling over quickly, twice so she was still face down, hoping they wouldn’t notice that she re-positioned her body, she laid within reaching distance of the rifle. Seconds later, the cavalry approached her and the now dead native. The head horseman instructed the rest of his men to inspect the surrounding area for other potential threats. As they rode off, he hopped off of his horse and kicked the corpse of the man that lay a few feet in front of her. Pulling a handgun, out of his holster he let out three shots, two to his chest and one to the face, She shrieked, but the sound of the echoing gunfire masked her brief misstep.  

She knew her chance was now, while he bent down, back turned to her while he inspected the dead mans belongings. As quietly as she could, she rose to her feet and grabbed the rifle and pressed it against his back, causing him to lift his arms in the air defensively. Taking two steps forward, arms still in the air, and turned towards her.

He began to chuckle at the sight before him. A low cut blonde haired slender woman, holding a rifle almost as big as herself.

“Something fucking funny?”

“No ma’am. Was just expecting to see that one of my men had turned against me. But,” he said, adjusting his cowboy hat, “seems like you have the same idea they may have.”

“I don’t want to kill you,” she told him, her finger shaking on the trigger.

“Could ya, even if ya wanted to? You ever shot one of those things before?”

She knew his insinuation was correct, this was the first time she had ever held a gun that wasn’t aimed at beer bottles. She refused to let him intimidate her, and reached deep within her to play it off.

“Yeah, it’s actually pretty easy. You pull the trigger, like this.” She did just that, shooting him in the stomach, blowing him back a couple feet. He held his leaking wound, and reached into his holster and sent off the last shot of his life, hitting her in the leg as she dropped the gun and scampered away. The bullet hit her in the right leg, grazing her skin, just missing the bone.

The familiar sound of the men on horseback began to rattle the ground. They stopped to attend to their fallen leader as she crawled her way ahead. She knew this pace wouldn’t be sufficient to escape, so she rose back to her feet, letting out a contained painful scream. Turning her head behind her, she witnessed a couple of the men being instructed to go after her. She picked up the pace, as hurtful as it may be, and made her way into a maze of trees directly across from the hill she suspected had put her in this situation.

She felt a pinch in the middle of her arm, and was awoken by loving licks from her canine companion, Dotty, exactly where her open wounds should have been. Reaching over to her nightstand, she clicked the bedside lamp on and shook her head briefly before realizing that she had went back to the place she felt she belonged.

Her home doctor approached the bed and sat beside her.

“Did you get the bastard this time?”

She nodded.