A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 43: Visitors

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

The next morning I used the tractor to clear sod so the women could have their garden. Dropping the forks and attaching the bucket was surprisingly easy and I quickly learned how deep to cut to only get the sod. Amos guided me and we got pretty good at it by the end of the day. We used the sod to begin to build a root cellar, I dug out a 12’ x 12’ five foot deep square hole and we started piling up the sod to make walls. The dirt I dug out went back into the garden giving them plenty of the dark rich earth to work with.

The entrance was a different problem, I dug a descending trench about three feet wide to bottom floor of the root cellar and then used sod to build a small wall and sill around the downward steps; it would not do to have our root cellar flooded. Locating it on a small rise, not quite a knoll, as I did would help but I needed to be careful about drainage. I had learned throughout my life to treat mother nature with due reverence, she still might be a bitch to you but if you treated her with proper respect you usually survive her fury and her little tricks.

I planned to lid it over with logs and add sod on top of it; in the end it should look just like a small hill with a door in the side of it.

We had gotten as far as we were going to get that day on the root cellar, we needed more sod for the walls and I wanted think further before I cut that out; I’m not a big fan of mud and without the sod that’s what we’d have when the rains came.

We were called to lunch and Matilda had made one of my very favorites: peanut butter and onion on toast. I ate three of them. The food was good and everyone was getting better at rehashing the story of our lives, we were starting to get some interesting embellishments. Occasionally even fantastical.

Matilda had broken out her seed stash and after school time the ladies went to work on the garden. Amos and I were going to walk the line and inspect the fields, I had shown him what to look for in the tomato fields and I saddled Lunch to ford the brook and check the corn.

I checked the young corn for problems stemming from the few cold nights, we seemed to have gotten lucky and avoided significant losses from cold and the deer hadn’t found the field yet. I guessed that Oscar had planted a cold hardy breed in hopes of crashing the market early, time would tell.

I had just made it to the tree line when I heard a sharp crack and a scream of pain from the other side of the camp. Something had just gone very wrong. Lunch and Brin were both looking in that direction also so I launched Lunch and called for Brin to follow.

That stallion took off like a dragster, he made full speed in his first three bounds; after that it was breakneck speed all the way. He cleared the brook in one large leap and never lost stride, we whipped through the main camp with Brin trailing behind.

As I passed the garden the women were all looking towards the far side of the tomato field and so I angled for there, calling up Mila and Kordi as I passed. Matilda was the first to move and then the rest of the girls woke up and started moving also.

As I crashed across the young tomatoes I could see four men and they seemed to have Amos held between them, I saw one of them drawback with a whip. They froze when they saw me coming, they would have ran had they seen the three hellhounds following close behind.

It was too late for them before they even understood what was happening. I reined Lunch to a turning halt dismounting with him between me and the men; I could hear the dogs, they were closer now.

I stepped out from behind Lunch with my M1911 in hand, they didn’t recognize it for what it was. Pity for them.

Two of them were holding poor Amos, a third had the whip and one big guy seemed to be leading the show. The big guy was almost my size.

The big guy stepped forward saying “This ain’t none of your business mister...”

Those were his last words, an unfinished sentence.

I shot him in the face.

Brin was there.

A skinny guy holding Amos’s arm tried to pull his knife.

I double-tapped him.

The other two froze and Amos fell to his knees.

I set the dogs to guard.

Esther was there hugging Amos and crying.

Michelle looked motherly and checked Amos’s back.

Sonya was weeping.

Matilda looked like the Angel of Death. She had her straight razor in her hand. Christ on a Crutch that woman scared me!

The moment froze for me; still life once again and I knew I’d never forget this.

I was starting to get angry, very angry; this was about to get brutal.

I waved the two away from Amos, they just stood there looking shocked until I put another round into the ground between them. Poor fellas couldn’t understand my pistol but they weren’t asking questions either. The moved a good twenty yards from Amos, the dogs shadowed their every move. The chubby whip guy appeared to have pissed his pants. Matilda stayed near them that frightful straight razor still in hand.

“Sonya, run and fetch me some rope please!”, she didn’t move until I shouted, “NOW!”

Off she went.

“Michelle, Status please?” I asked.

“He’s gonna hurt but he’ll be OK, he’s still bleeding pretty good.” Was her reply.

“Amos?”, I queried.

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