Flying through the back door at the ranch, I’m stopped dead in my tracks, alarmed by the blood on the worn boots jamming the screen. They were tossed aside as if the person was in a hurry and suddenly I am not.
I stare at the blood pooling beside the muddy heel. My mind racing to identify any scenario that would warrant the thick red puddle. None surfaces.
I enter the house slowly, the silence is so loud it rings in my ears, I feel the counter make contact with my head as I hit the floor. Total blackness…
“Clarence, I just saw Cheryl’s mount Blaze still wandering around and saddled. And she’s not picking up her house or cell phone. Why don’t y’all go and see what’s up, “Lavina said while her worry lines furrowed deeper on her old face. “Meanwhile I’m gonna put through a call to Doc and see where that man’s at.”
Clarence started up his four wheeler. Crossed the pasture in no time and went right to the back door. Only company ever used the front. There was a bloody boot trail on the porch.
“Cheryl, where in tarnation you at?” Clarence shouted.
By Anurag Bakhshi
I woke up groggily to find that my head was bursting with excruciating pain.
Willing myself to ignore it, I somehow managed to open my eyes and looked around to find myself in a ramshackle room which looked and smelt like a stable…my stable, I realized with a start as I regained a semblance of my wits.
I suddenly heard Clarence shouting my name out loudly near the porch. I got up to tell him where I was, and it was then I realized that I was holding something in my right hand- a knife, soaked in blood.
By Lisa A. Listwa
I stared down at my hand as though it were not my own. Why the devil am I in the stable with a bloody kitchen knife? Something dripped onto my bare foot – blood from the knife. Wait. Where were my boots?
Clarence shouted my name again. I suddenly remembered the bloody boots at the back door – my boots! A stabbing pain forced an image of the counter into my consciousness. I must’ve gone to the house for the knife and slipped on the blood. But why – and how – would my own blood-soaked boots have arrived before I did?
By Charli Mills
Clarence kicks aside bloody boots to enter his sister’s house through the screen door. Another pair of boots, women’s boots, lie discarded near Doc Maddox. He’s face down in a pool of thick blood. Tufts of bloodied down from Doc’s vest reveal multiple wounds to his back. His feet are bare.
“Clarence? Clarence, that you inside?” His sister Cheryl’s voice is pitched higher than usual.
Clarence spins around like the champion horses he trains, lunging for the porch. He stops. Cheryl limps from the stable, holding her head with one hand. In the other, a bloodied knife.
My vision tunnels. I see Clarence burst out the screen door. He gawps like a baby bird. My head aches. My feet hurt, walking on gravel. Where are my boots? I can’t loosen my grip on the knife.
Doc, oh God, where’s Doc? We were to meet back at the house after I rode the fence between my place and Clarence’s. Told him to use the back door. No one knew about us yet. My divorce final, but Jerry disappeared after court.
What had he said? “If I can’t have you, no one will set boots on my ranch.”
By Jules Paige
Lavina tried to get a hold of Doc. Maybe the veterinarian was
tending and emergency? No matter, the police were next on
Lavina called her cousin directly, “Jonas you get your rear
end over to Cheryl’s right off. Something ain’t sitting well.
I sent her brother on over, but he hasn’t called me back.
I’m tired of waiting… Cheryl confided in me that Jerry made
With sirens blaring Jonas hightailed it over to Cheryl’s.
Jerry had been his friend too. But the man hadn’t like
that Cheryl had been awarded his ranch in the divorce.