Carries-Her-Water led his pony over the ridge, heart glad with homecoming.
His spirits sank when he looked down at the camp.
Normally the morning would be full of laughter and playful banter as the women worked outside the lodges and the men prepared for hunting or war parties.
Today there was nobody. The lodges seemed to stand vacant.
He reached back and took up his lance, holding at the ready as he approached.
“Hey!” he called out. “It is I, Carries-Her-Water. I have an elk! Come get it and we’ll eat!”
From inside the Medicine Lodge he heard only moaning.
Max had a powerful fear of night travel, a real handicap considering his chosen profession of jazz musician.
You see, in them days the gigs was scheduled catch-as-catch-can, usually back-to-back and sometimes five-hundred miles apart.
There weren’t no interstates then, so the boys would finish playing, get their money and pile into the car to head for the next stop.
They’d spell one another every few hours, but each man was as tired as the next.
It was cramped in there, what with all their instrument cases and so many bodies.
So you see, Max was right in being afraid.
I especially like when a neighborhood has an ADP contract. Homeowners have so much trust in ADP, a company whose main product is a 911 auto-dialer that a ten-year-old can disarm in five minutes.
People also trust their dogs, like Dakota the flabrador is some kind of attack animal. I bring along a Ziploc of fentanyl-laced hamburgers and have never seen it fail.
Other tools of my trade include duct tape and a two-pound sledge head for smashing glass, a stiff putty knife, wire for jumping the alarm.
Gated communities are the easiest because nobody locks their doors.
Trust is dangerous.
The situation at the university has only gotten worse. Though they no longer demand a weekly list of names, it is not due to clemency; rather, they have run out of people to arrest.
Remember how we scoffed at the absurdity of the Party when it first appeared?
Now it is dangerous to even think such things.
The worst of it is that Rosa was taken. They had the audacity to come for her at her office, during business hours.
You would have been so proud of her, standing tall and straight and silent as the tomb.
“We’re sitting ducks down here,” Sergeant-Major kept saying. A nervous man for a soldier, but I didn’t say so. Instead, I maintained the legendary silence which had served me well throughout my career.
I raised my telescope and saw the dust-plume of a single horseman.
Sergeant-Major saw it too, and without a glass. “That’ll be Lord Leighton’s galloper, I expect,” he said unnecessarily.
I leaned in the saddle and glanced back at the column behind us, the glitter of harness and the immense cloud of dust raised by so many hooves.
Sergeant-Major may be nervous, I thought, but he’s right.