Elijah goes to the section of land that Jonathon described. It was about twenty, twenty-five miles away from town . He looks around and at first he saw nothing mysterious or spooky about the place. The morning sun is coming up and he sees the morning dew on the prairie flowers that are along the road but they became sparse the further in he goes. He sees trees, a few strong ones but then he notices they are becoming more bent over as he goes in and before long sees one fallen by the side of the road. He looks at the sand dunes and sees a rabbit that was scared running for its hole, Elijah hears a prairie dog in the background and he scratches his chin. Because he saw nothing frightening, he wondered what was so scary about this place?
He shrugs his shoulders and walks down the little path that's only wide enough for a wagon. He walks a bit until he begins to sees tracks of a wagon that had gone off course. They kept going until they reached the edge of the cliff. He looked down and sees a broken wagon which he assumes is the one Jonathon had his accident in and Elijah scrambles down the mountain until he comes to the wagon and he looks around. And he sees a torn white rag that he hopes covered the furs but when he pulls it back, he doesn't see any.
He curses under his breath and throws the rag back down . Elijah stopped and took time to think. That was when he smelled it...a terrible, foul smell that is a cross between a skunk and a dead animal. He looks around to see if he can see the source of the smell and he doesn't. Elijah takes off his hat to try to wave it away. The waving hat didn't help. Elijah puts his hat back on and lets out a low whistle.
Elijah jumps down from the wagon and walks up to where the horses SHOULD be. He sees a broken tounge of the wagon and the horses' broken harnesses . He realizes the prairie dog has quit barking, which isn't unusual in itself but...nothing else is making any sounds either; he doesn't even feel a breeze of the morning. Due to the fact that he felt his search was urgent, Elijah dismissed the uneasy feeling that came with the complete silence and continued walking around looking for the horses. Soon he sees them about ten feet in the distance; they are lying on the prairie floor ...dead.
Elijah runs up to where they lay opposite of each other. Thiers bellies have been ripped open, but nothing is inside. Someone has reached in and made sure they took everything out, like gutting a fish. It sickens him, and he shutters slightly.
Elijah wonders if this was the foul order that he was smelled, but somehow he knew it wasn't. He looks closer at the horses; their eyes are clouded over in death has remained in their eyes . The whole scene chilled the U.S. Army soldier down to the bones. He gulps and his heart beat a million times a minute. He stood up and walked on. As he walked, Elijah happened to look up on top of the mountain. To the left of him, Elijah saw an edge of a forest! It was then that he realized he wasn't in a stretch of a desert. The area was just an overgrown abandoned large patch of prairie woods. He looks around for a way to get up the hill and sees a barely visible path and he climbs up on it.
Elijah then realizes that the woods were thick with trees and briars were coming in from every direction. For a moment, he wondered why he was going in, but then he saw something. It looked like steps, maybe. He couldn't help but wonder where the steps led to, so he went in. He felt his heart beat faster with every step while every hair on his body stood up. The closer he got the more he realized that he is on the stops to an old abandoned building...a house? No...the more he looked, the more Elijah saw the building had once been a business of some sort. He started walking to the end of the porch, but then he heard something, something he will remember for the rest of his days on earth.
The sound starts out low at first. At first Elijah thinks it is just an owl but the sound grew louder and louder until he can barely stand it any longer but there is no way to stop it. The sound just grows more and more intense, Elijah realized the sound he was hearing was not being made by any animal he had ever heard. The sound stopped just as it started.
Elijah was confused, but he continued to walk down to the end of the porch and he looked around. He realized that the building must have been a mill of some kind, he sees the large water wheel beside it but not one drop of water flows from it, it just stands there with the broken wood and he looks down to see an old, dry creek bed full of leaves and sticks from the forest. Just then he hears a clap of thunder off in the distant. Elijah looks up while the wind starts blowing; he pulls his jacket closer together and wonders where the weather popped up from. It was strange for this time of year, but he turns and goes inside. He steps in and sees what one could expect. There was three rooms that he could see right off, the room in front of him, the doors were open and he could see spaces on the floor where machinery used to be, the room to the right and the left; the doors were ajar and he could see empty crates in them and crumpled up newspapers and leaves, looks up and sees the broken windows and feels the cold wind coming in.
Elijah walked further in and soon found himself in the largest room. Once inside the room he looks over towards the left hand corner and saw a stack of furs, he wondered if they could be Jonathon's but there was no proof but how else could they have got there ? He marches over to them and starts to bend down to inspect them when something picks him up by the back of his shirt and pants. Before he knew it he was being thrown across the room.
Several hours later in Drycreek inside of a large room a man is sitting behind a huge desk, the judge's table. The judge has salt and pepper hair, coal-black eyes and is wearing a grey three-piece suit. Jonathon and his lawyer sit at a table that sits a few feet away, and to the left of the judge. In fron of the judge's desk and a few get to the right Judd Larrabee sits at another table with a huge scowl on his face. Alongside the east wall is twelve chairs, six in front of the six that is against the wall. The judge wipes away sweat from his brow then he says, "Mister Larrabee, it's twenty minutes until noon, we have only three jurors and we need 9 more . On top of that, it's hotter than somebody cooking fried chicken on the fourth of July. Can we get this snail pace going any faster?" Judd hits his fist on the table and at the same time, the judge hits his mallet on his table to get Judd's and everyone's attention and says. "You just watch yourself Judd Larrabee, unless you want thrown out of this court or go live in the local jail!" Judd then says, "I'm sorry your honor but I'm trying to get the best I can for this trail!"
Everybody in the room makes low chuckling and guffaws sounds at Judd saying that then the judge looks at him and says, "Well, whatever you are trying to do hurry it along; at noon I'm calling for a lunch break so I can go eat my wife's Kidney pie. What the rest of you do is of your own doing. I'd call for a cool spell for twenty degrees cooler but for some reason even judge's can't do that"
Everybody laughs, and then the bailiff says, "Jessie Lewis, you are called!" A man in a tan shirt and pants stands up and walks up to the chair. The dozen or so people who were in the courtroom were watching Mister Lewis and they didn't see the judge turning pale and how his breathing is getting shallow and just as Judd asks the man, "Now mister Lewis...". The judge then falls out of his chair, he kneels beside him and checks his breathing then looks up and hollers. "Somebody go get Doc Braddish!" Everybody strains to see what is going on and hears the sound of scuffling of feet as somebody races for the doctor.
A/N-This is my 3rd rewrite of this chapter, I now have a beta for my Little House stories.
Please read and review.
Sand n' Sable