Two Green Eyes Staring at Me

Submitted into Contest #24 in response to: Write a magical realism story that takes place in the Wild West.... view prompt



Two Green Eyes Staring at Me

                                                                           Suzanne Marsh


               “You’re gonna do what? Are you insane? This is 2020 not 1900 Texas!” 

Mace wiped the sweat from his face, as he glared at his brother Jake. 

               “Look, Jake, if we don’t move those longhorns, we can kiss the ranch goodbye. What

                Part of this ranch is not making money don’t you understand. This is really simple, we can

                 Give up ranching or run the cattle from McAllen to Brownsville, I called Juan Gonzales

                 Yesterday he is willing to buy the entire herd. Juan will have his men, meet us in

                 Brownsville, where we will be paid ten dollars per head giving us a profit of ten thousand

                 Dollars. That will be enough to stave off the bank for at least six months, that is five

                 Thousand, the other five we buy more longhorns, breed them and sell them. Our

                 Cash crops once we plant the cotton and oats should be enough to keep the MJ afloat.”

Jake knew the wisdom of what Mace was saying but he would rather the MJ be sold and receive the profits from the sale but he knew his brother would never consent to that not as long as there was breath in his body. Mace motioned Jake over where he had several maps spread out:

               “Okay Jake, if we follow this old trail and stay off the main roads, we can complete

                This trip in seven days, that includes driving the longhorns to the border and allowing

                Juan a day to get his men over the border. The longhorns all have to be certified before

                We sell them, Doc Pritcher will be here in an hour. We better get saddled up. I found

                An old chuck wagon out in a field, that is where I got the idea of the cattle drive.

                Dan Barton, Charlie Rice, Tom Canton and Mike Nicholas are going to join the drive.

                I know you would rather sell the MJ but thanks for trying it my way first brother.”

Jake smiled and thought: ‘we are going be cow punchers for seven days, I sure hope we don’t

Meet anyone we know on this trail drive. He thought of his college buddies and grimaced at the thoughts they would have about a cattle drive, a seventy mile drive that normally took a little over an hour was going to take seven days driving the cattle over who knew what types of terrain with horses no less.

               Doc Pritcher arrived shortly after. He inspected each of the thousand head, certified the herd healthy and left. The longhorns had been penned in various corals for several days. The others arrived within ten minutes, they were ready for a real cattle drive, and the promise of being a part of it. Once the men arrived with their horses the pens were opened and the words shouted in true cowboy fashion:

               ‘HEAD ‘EM OUT, MOVE ‘EM”

The pens were swung open and the longhorns began to push out. Ole Blue the cattle dog worked in conjunction with the horses as the longhorns began their journey. The cattle drive would stop for the night about ten miles out of McAllen. The men had been watching dark clouds gather, the weather radio said rain. Mace knew that one clap of thunder would set the edgy herd stampeding. Most of the men brought sleeping bags and tents. Dan Barton was delegated to cook the meals. The dinner that first night was chili and corn bread cooked in a dutch oven over a fire. 

               Rapidly, the wind picked up, a sure sign of a squall line approaching. Dan, knew that dinner would have to wait. He ran for his horse Mick and headed out toward the herd as did the others. The longhorns, were still grazing contentedly when another gust of wind and a bolt of lightening lite up the sky. The men knew now it would be a long night. The closest draw was over the next ridge. The longhorns were still restless but more content. Jake sat tall in the saddle as he watched the lightning strike and waited for the next roar of thunder. Out of the lightening he watched a herd of iron cattle with eyes green as the evil they were. He shook his head, no this had to be a dream of some sort. He attempted to move but it seemed he was riveted to the scene. Then he saw a cowpoke descending from the sky. He stopped in front of Jake;

               “We heard you was gonna sell the MJ, son, you don’t wanna do that. Your brother Mace

                And you that is your ranch and your longhorns. You don’t wanna sell that, if you do

                You might as well sell it to Satan himself. You understand me boy. I jest rode in from

                Hell, to tell you that.”

Quickly, the cowpoke turned his steel steed and headed back to where he came from. Jake, shook himself, he had to stop eating chili and cornbread before bed. He couldn’t shake that cowpoke from his mind. He rode out to where Mace was riding herd:

               “Mace, I’m not going to tell you what changed my mind but we can’t sell the MJ, those two

                Big green eyes staring at me was enough to convince me this cattle drive is the right

                Thing to do.”

Mace, looked at Jake with concern:

               “Okay brother, then let’s get these doggies moving.”

Jake, gave a whoop, those green eyes would haunt him for years to come.

January 16, 2020 15:52

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