General Fiction posted September 10, 2016


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Reporter Almost Killed

Mustang Round Up

by country ranch writer


I was only trying to help. Not a cloud in the sky looked like a beautiful day for rounding up mustangs. It was the kind of picture you'd see on postcards in some drugstore. The mountains were calling this morning for needed attention. The horses were everywhere frolicking. They sure were frisky after having spent a cold winter up in the high country. Jerry and the boys would be along soon to start the herd down the mountain.

There had been some talk of rustlers trying to make a fast buck at the slaughter houses recently. How people could chop up these horses and cart them away was beyond me. It was my job to find out all the dirt on these people and report back to the officials. They didnt think they'd mind a girl taking pictures of beautiful Mustangs on the way down the trail.

Was I scared? Well, maybe a little knowing I could get my head plumb shot off. So far all I had done was relax and take in the sunshine getting a fairly good tan if I must say so myself. Wish all my assignments were this good. Being able to just take in the beauty of it all the color of the sky as it changes during the day to beautiful sun rises and sun sets who could ask for more. A camerman or girls dream come true. It was beautiful here in Montana this time of year.

My hair has sun streaks of gold and reddish coloring now. Since I was pretending to be on vacation. Why not look the part right? It could be fun pretending here in Montana.
Gathering up my book, camera, and cell phone I went out on the deck taking a quick look all around. I was looking for anything out of the ordinary.

My boss Chase Good came by to see me and to ask if I was settling in okay, He had concern written all over his face. "Why do you look so worried?"

"Do you know something you aren't telling me?" I asked him.

Chase said, "No, it's just a feeling in my gut.
Something isn't right."

"Now I am worried when your gut starts talking to you there is always trouble that follows it. Damn, I was so enjoying my vacation of sorts." I pretended to pout.

"You sure it's not just something you ate?" I said hopefully.

Although I already knew the answer to that one. His gut was always right when he had the feeling something wasn't right.

She remembered the chill she had as she rode out to check on the mustangs. It was as if something or someone was watching her. She probably would have turned her horse and run if she knew how many were there with guns pointed right at her and her horse Blackie.

There was tracks all over and holding pens there where the crooks had been keeping the horses . If they could just get a line on these guys they could save the rest of the Mustang herd. It is a larger than usual herd this year and that is why they hired me for my expertise. I have taken so many beautiful pictures of the Mustangs coming down off the mountain into the pastures so green. I will be selling the photos to the cattle company to show the stock this year and how good they look.

I could sense his restleness and frustration of feeling helpless in a situation like this. "You aren't responsible for this happening." I told him.

"It is not our job to catch the bad guys just to report them," I added

He smiled the best smile he could muster up and said,"Keep safe," as he said goodbye.

As Jerry walked up the path, Chase stopped to talk to him for a few minutes. I heard what they were saying. Jerry told him to follow his hunch and call in the calvary to stand by. Jerry told him. " He'd spent a lot of time out on the ranges and in the woods, and he learned one thing and that is to trust your instincts."
It seemed to happen just so fast I wasn't sure of exactly what happened. Just as I had loaded my camera and focoused on the herd I heard a shot. I had been shot.


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