July 23, 2010 in E
I swing down hard and split the log clean in two. The sound echoes back at me off the canyon walls seconds later and confirms that it was indeed a clean strike. The axe head shines a focused beam of sunlight on the ground to my left and I notice movement in its uneven spot light. Hundreds of ants are making short work of a dead field mouse like a bizarre stage show. I adjust the angle of the axe head to shift the spot; it’s curtains for that macabre matinee.
I follow the spot as it glides across the canyon walls. When it reaches the top it I find it is lighting the face of a man on horseback. I should be shocked. I’m not.
He puts his hand up to block the glare from the axe and yells down to me.
“Afternoon Kinkade. You’re a hard man to find.”
“That was the intention, General. But you did it.”
“Only one way I know how to move Kinkade… Toward you. I ain’t interested in going backward. Hell, I ain’t got a family to go back to, no how. You know that better than any man.”
“Yessir, I guess you’re right… You gonna shoot me from there General?”
It’s not often you can see and man thinking from 150 feet away, but I watched the general run the whole scenario in his head. Him ripping his Winchester off his back and taking me down with a single shot. He could do it, even with reflected sunlight in his eyes.
I took a deep breath, uncertain if it would be my last. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other and for the longest time all I could hear was the wind. I exhaled.
He spoke “No. I reckon want to look in your eyes when you die.”
“Sounds fair. Best you come on down here then. Let’s get this done.”
“No funny business. This time, you ain’t got no place to run.”
He was right. I knew that when I built a house in this canyon. Just as I knew this day would come.
“You got my word General.”
He laughed. Yeah… I guess I had that comin’.
“Make your piece Kinkade.” With that he spurred his horse and made his way into the canyon.
I walk behind the wood stack and place the axe down. While out of his line of sight I pull my pistol, drop my bullets in the dirt and re holster it.
I deserve what’s comin’… No point tempting fate.
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