Some-Thing or Someone
(Continued from yesterday.)
On the rear of his snow machine he placed a box for Pal. In fifteen minutes Shepherd and Nan were skimming across the snowed plain on their snow machines. They drove on the frozen stream that cut a gully and led to a forest. Shepherd followed closely. On both sides a wall of white. Standing high over them where pines laden with snow.
Nan maneuvered the machine like she knew every bend in the stream and every rock protruding above the ice.
Her tail lights came on. She stopped. They cut their engines. Nan hopped from her machine and walked ahead. Shepherd grabbed his rifle and caught up with her.
“A tree across the stream,” Nan said. “It was not there when I came this way earlier.”
“Perhaps heavy with snow,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd climbed to the top of the stream bank and ran his hand across a roughly cut pine. He quickly slid back down the bank.
“It’s been cut,” Shepherd said. “Someone wanted you to stop here.”
Shepherd brought his rifle to he shoulder and aimed at the trees above and fired off three rounds. “If someone is out there that will speak volumes.”
Shepherd and Nan listened and looked overhead.
“You know how to handle a rifle?” Shepherd said.
Nan grabbed a rifle from her machine. “Never leave home without it.”
“Go up the bank over here,” Shepherd said pointing to the south bank, “And I’ll go up on the other side. Take a good look.”
They crawled to the top of the bank and scanned through the trees.
Shepherd strained his eyes. Deep into the trees something large and dark moved behind a tree.
“Nan!” Shepherd whispered loudly.
Nan slid down the bank and crawled up the other and laid next to Shepherd. “Do you see something?”
Shepherd pushed his rifle firm in the snow and aimed it toward the tree. “Come take a look at the tree I’m aimed at. There is someone behind it.”
Shepherd moved out of the way and Nan looked down the sights of the rifle. “It is someone or …”
“It is someone,” Shepherd said. “Some-things don’t conceal themselves.”
“Keep an eye on him,” Shepherd said.
“What are you going to do?” Nam said.
“Move the tree,” Shepherd said.
“How?” Nan said.
“I came prepared,” Shepherd said. He slid down the bank and untied a small chainsaw from his machine. He tugged it a couple if times and cut the fallen tree from their path.
Soon they were on their way until the steam bed rose where they could see over the banks. They reached the point where the stream joined the river. A small bridge across the stream marked the path to Daniel’s home.