My Thirteenth 12th Birthday
Kit and I woke up warm and safe in Kit’s den early in the morning.
The sky was just starting to get a silver tinge. Outside the den the air was sharp and cold, frost hung heavy on the branches of the Sagebrush and Chico hiding Kit’s home.
I was just finishing telling Kit WHY I was slinking around in Coyote country in the dark when—-
BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!!
A gun went off somewhere over the knoll where we were sleeping.
Then we heard a thundering of hooves rushing up the hill. We heard the skitter and scatter of small rocks as the hooves pounded onward and upward.
Suddenly four hooves bounced right in front of Kit’s den and I knew I was looking at King’s hooves!
I scrambled out the little cave as fast as my beagle legs could carry me, “KING! KING STOP!” I bayed.
I ran after him, Kit ran right next to me. All the while we were yelling at King to stop.
Then we heard it again.
BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!!
This time King, Kit and I all ran faster!!’
Up and over the hill, knolls, through the cattails, over the Rocky Point and into last year’s cornfield.
Where we all stopped. Our breath coming in panicked fast shallow waves of air. Our sides heaving and our tongues hanging out.
“Hunters!” King finally got out. “Three of them, pant, pant, standing in No Man’s Land and shooting on to the farm.
I was looking for Momma close to the edge of the Back Forty almost at No Man’s Land when the hunters spied me. I took off the second I saw the fire come out of their sticks they hold.”
I followed Momma’s tracks clear to there, then she turned and started up the other side of the farm heading toward the Dark Forrest.
I am pretty sure she is hiding out in the Dark Forrest, but I couldn’t make it there before the guns went off.!” King collapsed onto the old corn field and lay as dead.
Kit sprawled beside King. I stretched my body way-out and laid down; willing my heart to slow so I could think again.
The Dark Forrest, I thought. What a huge dangerous adventure this is turning out to be.
I looked first at King — his eyes were closed and his breathing was mellowing out.
Then I looked at Kit, Kit’s eyes were looking right at me— “Looks like we have to make into the Dark Forest before the sun sets, Boomer. It’s the only way to enter the Dark Forrest this time of year—find Momma and get back out of there alive, all before the sun sets!”
I heaved a huge big sigh! “You are right, if we are going to find Momma we have to go soon, get it, find her, and get back out all before the sunsets.”
“Okay, let us get our breath back, then we will wake-up King and head to the edge of the Back Forty and enter the Dark Forrest. If we go before the twilight sets in the hunters won’t be about and the coyotes will still be sleeping.”