|Mudcreek (standard:non fiction, 2734 words)|
|Author: Rich Eubanks||Added: Mar 07 2007||Views/Reads: 2365/1569||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Anyone who has read, or seen, any of my books in print might wonder, 'why the coyotes'? This is just a little, true, story of why I designed this logo and name for my writing.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story Dewey knew that his wife had been cheated, just as he had. He knew that if he hadn't had the strokes that they'd be in that modern new home they'd started building in Ardmore. He wished he had on the slacks, shirt and tie that he'd worn to work at the control tower instead of the feedsack shirt and overalls that he was now wearing. “Well, we've got to find him.” Christine hurried through the old screen door so quickly that the rusted hinges nearly broke. “I'll look in the trees up by the road and you look in the sheds.” Christine headed up the long driveway that led from the old shack towards the dirt road. She looked down at the ground as she stayed in the rut. In southern Oklahoma you didn't have pavement, gravel, or for that matter even a graded level drive. Instead you had two sandy ruts between a two or three foot wide area of grass that the tires of the cars, pickups, and tractors made on the numerous trips to and from the house from the main road. She had that fast gait to her walk that was partly a need to hurry and find the toddler and partly her way of controlling panic in a bad situation and looking confident even if she wasn't. Christine hadn't been raised in the same caring, confident, and pioneering type of family that Dewey had. Dewey was the youngest brother of twelve children. Christine was the oldest sister of seven children and had been more of a mother to her siblings than their own mother had been. Her mother just didn't quite have the capacity to help out when her father decided to abuse the kids. So that walk, that expression of false power and confidence, that shoulders-back and head-high look that had bluffed her way with her father so many times was now part of her personality. “I can't believe that it's harder now than when he was in the hospital.” Christine muttered out loud to herself as she turned off the narrow dirt driveway and walked through the knee-high Johnson grass into the small group of trees on the north side of their eighty acres. “I thought he'd be a help, I thought I could count on him helping out with Mike. I just can't watch Mike all the time and take care of Jennifer and him too.” “Mike didn't leave with me,” Dewey thought to himself as he looked in the outhouse. “An outhouse. We could be living in the house in Ardmore right now. We could have all the modern conveniences that we'd planned. We wouldn't be in this place, this farm, living in this old shack.” The old shack barely had a kitchen, much less a bathroom. No telling just how old the house was. The water was from a well outside and the outhouse was nothing more than an enclosure with a wooden seat over a hole in the ground. “He was in his room playing.” Dewey gathered his thoughts and tried again to say them out loud. “No..., not.” The frustration made his face red and he thought to himself. “Why can't I say what I'm thinking?” “Did you find him?” Christine yelled across the hundred or so yards to the shed that Dewey was coming out of. “Na, no.” Was all that Dewey could get his vocal chords to accomplish. “You go check the ponds,” Christine directed Dewey as she maintained her in-charge attitude, “I'll check on Jennifer and meet you at the ravines. Dewey, practically running now, headed for the first of the two ponds while Christine went back into the house. “What's wrong Momma?” Jennifer was standing in the kitchen looking through the old screen door as Christine came in. “Is Mike hurt again?” Mike was a boy. And all boy at that. If a day went by that he didn't get into some kind of trouble or hurt it meant he was too sick to get out of bed. For three, Jennifer could talk like a much older child. Christine had lots of time to work with her, and Mike too, with their learning. In 1950 there wasn't anything like preschool but a good parent could do a lot more than preschool could anyway. “We don't know honey,” Christine hugged Jennifer then continued, “we just have to find him.” Christine thought a second, held Jennifer back away from her and looked into her pretty little girl's blue eyes and asked. “Have you seen him?” “No Momma, he left right after Daddy did.” “Well, you stay right here in the house.” Christine gave Jennifer another reassuring hug. “We won't be long. He can't be far.” “Should I go in the water?” Dewey thought to himself and also again wondered why in the world he couldn't say things when he could think them just as clearly as he could before the strokes. “It's so red and muddy, Mike could be inches under the water and I wouldn't be able to see him.” “Find him yet?” Christine spoke breathlessly due to her fast pace from the old house to the pond. “Nn, no.” Dewey stammered his disappointing answer. “He must be in the washouts then.” Christine climbed back up over the earthen dam that had created the farm pond as she spoke. “He's got to be in one of the ravines.” The eighty acres that the couple had purchased wasn't the best farming land. But with their new financial situation it was the best they could afford. It had a large portion in the middle that washed out every time it rained and had created a small version of the grand canyons. As bad as it was for farming, it was a little country boy's delight. “I've told him to stay out of these a thousand times.” Christine muttered to Dewey as the two climbed down the six or so feet into the first one. “There're snakes and who knows what in these worthless ditches.” Dewey simply followed his wife and listened to her continuous comments. He understood her frustration with their situation too, and loved her even though he'd like for her to stop talking at times. “No,” Dewey managed to actually say loudly and clearly when he thought he'd heard something, “no talking, hear something.” Dewey's face reddened as he gathered all his abilities to convert his thoughts into spoken words then finished. “Listen.” Christine stopped talking and the two of them stood frozen, and actually felt like they were straining their ears for any sound. “Puppy.” It was barely audible but they heard it. “Puppy.” Again they heard it and this time they were able to ascertain what direction it'd come from. “Over there,” Christine pointed at about the same time that Dewey had began to climb up out of the ravine they'd been standing in, “He's in one of the ravines over there.” Relieved to hear the small voice that let them know Mike was OK the two climbed down into the next ravine and again stood motionless and listened. “Oh puppy” This time the voice was closer and they were able to tell that Mike was happy by his tone of voice. “Next,” Dewey began climbing again out of the ravine they were now standing in and over to the next one, “here.” Christine had a little more trouble getting up the side, which crumbled away with each foothold so Dewey had stopped at the top and helped his wife up. Then the two mostly slid down into the third ravine and stopped again to listen. But this time it was so long before they heard anything that they feared they'd gone the wrong way. Then just about the time they were ready to climb out of this latest ravine and go back, they heard the little whimpers that did sound like puppies. “Over here,” Christine pointed at a little cave in the side of the ravine they were in, “it's coming from in there.” Christine got down on her knees in the red sand and clay bottom of the ravine and peered into the fairly dark small cave. “He's here Dewey,” she paused with relief then finished. “I see him.” “Me.” Dewey grunted as he pulled Christine up and got down on his knees in front of the small cave. “Be careful,” Christine spoke quickly, “I think they're coyote cubs in there with him. The mother might be in there too.” There were too many coyotes in Oklahoma in the early fifties. In fact there was a substantial bounty for their elimination. You could drive along the highways and see dozens and dozens hanging from the barbed wire fencing as a show of the prowess and community service of the farm's owner. Coyotes were always considered a nuisance to farmers. It's intelligence and cunning nature gave it an almost unfair ability to forage on a farm's resources. Dewey reached in and grabbed Mike by the leg of his little overalls and started pulling him out. When Mike was far enough for the sunlight to show him clearly Dewey noticed one of the coyote cubs still in Mike's hands. Dewey, in a combination of relief, frustration, and anger took the cub out of Mike's hands and practically threw it back into the cave. He then yanked Mike the rest of the way out of the cave and started spanking him. “That's enough Dewey.” Christine was angry with Mike too but knew that Dewey's frustration and anger could be greatly exaggerated at times because of his handicap. “Let's make sure he's not hurt.” Mike was crying but when Christine took him from his father and looked him over the only real thing wrong was the dirt. His overalls were filthy from the red soil and even his nearly white, blond, hair looked red. “Puppy,” Mike was still crying as he pointed to the little cave, “puppy mine, want puppy.” Christine tired of trying to hold the squirming, crying bundle had put Mike down. Mike immediately started back in the direction of the small den. “No!” Dewey yelled sternly and clearly enough to get the little boy's undivided attention. “Home!” Mike was still crying but turned to follow his parents out of the ravine and back toward the house. “Was the mother in with the cubs?” Christine asked as they walked. “N, no,” Dewey stammered, paused, then finished, “think not.” The three walked in near silence the rest of the five or so minutes it took to get back to the house. When they got near the back door they could see the Jennifer's blond hair through the old screen door as she peered out to see what was going on. “Is Mike hurt?” Jennifer's words were loud and clear for such a young child. “Is he in trouble again?” “No sweetie,” Christine smiled at her little girl as she pushed the screen door open and watched Jennifer stepping back, “he's not hurt this time but he's sure going to be in trouble if he wanders off again.” Dewey came in behind Christine and Mike and went straight back to the couple's bedroom. In a few minutes he came back through the small living room where Christine was sitting with Jennifer in her lap and Mike was sitting on the floor looking out the front screen door staring at really nothing. “Where are you going now?” Christine saw the 22 caliber rifle in Dewey's hand. “Coyote,” Dewey said fairly clearly as he walked past the family in the living room, through the small kitchen, then out the back screen door letting it slam behind him. In about ten minutes Christine, Jennifer, and Mike heard the shrill yelping coming from the ravines. Mike began to cry again but Christine and Jennifer remained quiet in the old rocking chair. About an hour of silence went by and the three in the old house hadn't moved or said a word. Then they heard the snap, and echoing of the small caliber rifle being fired followed immediately by one loud yelp. Mike again began to cry but Christine and Jennifer still remained silent and unmoved. The looks on their faces indicated a combination of emotions but it was as though they understood the situation better than a two-year-old boy possibly could. Tweet
Authors appreciate feedback!
Please write to the authors to tell them what you liked or didn't like about the story!
Rich Eubanks has 9 active stories on this site.
Profile for Rich Eubanks, incl. all stories