Family Non-Fiction posted November 2, 2016 Chapters: 1 -2- 3... 

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A Rabid Dog on the Old Wood Bridge!

A chapter in the book A Truck Load Of Hard Times!

Rabid Dog!

by junglefighter

Previously in Chapter 1: Strange! The whipperwill's not calling tonight, probably making whoopee with his mate. "Oh, my! The sheep's jumping the fence--gotta get to sleep and count 'em."
A special note to my friends: As I write chapter after chapter, I invite you to join in. My wish, "is to make you laugh and cry, while leaving you in a state of uncertainty of what will happen next." Hope you enjoy and best wishes wherever you are.

Chapter 2

"THAT DOG IS RABID! Get it away."

"Wake up Billy! You're having a nightmare."

"But it seemed so real. I could see the dog on the bridge, drooling from the mouth and ready to leap. Why am I having nightmares, Mom?"

"That's something we'll ask Doctor Smith, Okay?" But in the meantime, breakfast is on the table. So go wash your face and let's eat. Are you going to Youth Night at Church?"

"Yes, ma'am. That is if you don't mind."

"Of course not. I'm happy to see you go. After supper, I'll remind you to take the coal-oil lantern and some matches. It gets pitch-black on the old dirt road."

The day passed, and before I knew it, it was time to head out for Church. Quickly filling the lantern, and my pocket with matches I headed out. Going to Youth Night gave me a break from getting all dressed-up. It was three miles from home to church and I dearly loved the walk. Sometimes, I would make a game of it by timing myself then try to better each record.

Once arriving at church, my friends and I gathered on the front steps and traded stories. As usual, the most exciting thing that had happened to anyone, other than myself, was killing a bird with their slingshot. Of course, my killing an eight-point buck-deer with my own shotgun, made me the hero throughout our community.

After bragging somewhat, I said goodnight to my friends, fired up the lantern and headed home. Normally, my steps would range from thirty to thirty-six inches. I would make a game of counting paces while doing the walk, and next week, I'd do less paces in the same time. My record time for the walk was twenty minutes. Of course tonight, the shadow cast by my lantern was more spooky, and it seemed as if something was behind me.

I heard hoof beats on the road ahead. Surely no one would be riding their horse in the pitch black night without a lantern for light. Quickly jumping clear of the road, I waited as the hoof beats, "came closer and closer." Just then, an old silver mule trotted past and disappeared into the night. Although I was guessing, I'd say it probably jumped the fence somewhere up the road and went looking for greener grass. After the scare, I couldn't remember how many steps I had taken since leaving church. Oh, well, I could do it again next week.

Taking everything into account, I had made good time thus far. As I approached the old wood bridge, I saw the reflection of automobile lights up the road. This late at night, it was strange for anyone to be out driving. "Who could it be?" I whispered. I waited for the vehicle to cross the bridge and then stop short. Of course, I could tell right off it was Sheriff Taylor.

"Is that you, Billy?"

"Yes, Sir."

"I stopped by and said hello to your Mom and Dad. They said you were walking home from church. And I just wanted to congratulate you on bagging the eight-point buck."

"Thanks, Sheriff Taylor. However, I didn't bag it, because it wouldn't fit in the bag. I loaded it up on the sled and my horse pulled it home. It's nothing to brag about."

"Wow, wish I could bag one that big. And it's okay to brag, Billy. I'll say goodnight now. So be careful and enjoy the walk home, okay?"

Sheriff Taylor had swollen my head, and I could see me becoming a celebrity in our county. But then, of course, I was eating it up like apple pie. Just then, the patter of dog feet on the bridge, "brought goosebumps to my skin." Raising the lantern above my head, I saw that the dog was heading straight toward me. Its tongue was swollen, and saliva was forming at the mouth. "This dog's rabid," I yelled. My nightmare had come true! Faced with the reality of it all, I panicked then waited for the onslaught.

"Get away from me," I yelled, and then swung the lantern in front of me. The dog stopped on the bridge, bared it's canines then began to growl. "It's not attacking," I whispered. Why. I asked myself? Oh, I know now, it's because of the flame from the lantern, I reasoned.

Grandpa told me once, "Rabid dogs are afraid of fire and water." With that in mind, I lowered the lantern to my knees, took one step forward then waved it back and forth. The dog whimpered then backed off. I tried to swallow but couldn't. "Thanks for being right, Grandpa," I whispered, and then slowly began to cross the bridge.

It's working, I thought, then moved slowly toward the dog. It growled once again then backed away. Quickly swinging the lantern in a circle, I proceeded toward the animal. And then, I lost my grip on the handle and the lantern fell into the creek. "Oh, God, what'll I do now, Grandpa," I screamed. The dog bared its canines once again, then came straight for me. Jumping to one side, the animal tumbled from the bridge into the creek.

For a seven- year-old, I was a pretty fast runner. The old wood bridge was around one mile from home, and with the incentive of my being scared to death, I would probably set a record time. The dirt road was pitch dark, and with my having slung the lantern into the creek at the bridge, I was running on instinct alone. Behind every stride I took, I felt the dog biting at my heels. "Help me, please help me someone," I cried.

At that moment, headlights from an automobile shone from behind and lit the road up ahead. Thank God, someone was coming to help me. Closer and closer it came, and the lights reflected brighter and brighter. I heard a familiar voice call out,

"Stop running, Billy. Its me, Sheriff Taylor."

"Oh, please, Sheriff. Shoot the rabid dog!"

"There's no dog, Son."

"Then where did it go?"

"Billy, what in the world is wrong with you?"

"Oh, it was so frightening, Sheriff. I dropped the lantern into the creek. The dog came at me. I jumped away. It fell into the creek, got out then came biting at my heels as I ran. It was bigger than a bear."

"Billy! There's no dog to be found. Now, just calm yourself, get into my automobile and I'll drive you on home."

"Yes, Sir, Sheriff Taylor."

On the way home, I felt weak. And then I remembered grandpa telling me, "When you get real frightened sometimes, your Adrenalin really starts pumping, and you are much stronger and can run faster. However, after the excitement is over, you feel weak and kind of worn out. The moral to my little story is remember to pump a gallon into your tank before you wonder out into the night alone. Grandpa was so smart knowing all about that stuff. "Well, tonight, I think I used two gallons, Grandpa," I whispered.

"Okay, Billy, we're home. Now, go and tell your mom and dad all about the rabid dog."

"Okay, Sir! Thank you for helping and bringing me home."
"For heaven's sake, Son. Calm down and tell us about what happened."

"I'm sorry Mom, but I met this rabid dog on the old bridge, and was so scared. I think it followed me home too."

Quickly getting his shotgun from above the fireplace, my father headed out for the barn. "Rabid dogs are known for biting the livestock," Grandpa had said as well. After about twenty minutes without finding the dog, my father came back inside and sat down.

"Tell us what really happened out there tonight, Son."

After calming down somewhat, I told my story, did some homework and then went off to bed. No one ever reported seeing the dog, dead or alive. Could it have been a figment of my imagination? Of course, not. What mattered to me was that my family believed my story. I didn't go to Youth Night at Church on Wednesdays for a little while. "A cowardly approach," I whispered to myself, then started back regularly.

A "Salute!" Mr Jones, for the Artwork.

Continued in chapter 3...


My cousin out in California, is in the Motion Picture Business. He and I were joined at the hips as kids growing up in Pigeon Forge, (Dolly Wood) Tennessee. We're meeting there to discuss filming a movie of my book. I'll be editing the chapters then posting them for review.
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