Dan Borden had ridden through the sage all day. He was tired from the heat, his mouth dry. He hadn’t shaved in three days. As the sun reached the horizon, he found a stream bordered with cottonwood and willow. Dismounting, he laid out his saddle and blanket on the bank of the stream, built a fire, and placed his cooking utensils and rifle beside it.
A shot rang out, the bullet snapping through the trees. He rolled over the bank, cocking his rifle. Nothing. Who could be out there?
It was dark before he ventured onto the bank again. The fire had gone out. He did not think he would rebuild it.
He ate a dry crust of bread and rolled up in his blanket. Several coyotes began yipping. He would get an early start in the morning, as soon as first light broke. It was better to keep moving.
Copyright 2013 George Lowell Tollefson