Somewhere in the American Unorganized Territory 1850
The dog days of winter.
It was so cold I had to start a fire to warm up my wood before I could start a fire.
I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee from my only cup; I’d heard having more than one cup would keep me awake at night. Being awake in the daytime was bad enough these days.
Looking out the window I saw a figure coming out of the horizon vertically.
It was Rankin Order walking in the snow away from the distance toward the cabin. He must have burnt all his britches cause he was in his underwear.
I’d recognize him in any wear anywhere.
He was tough as snails and as cruel as a cucumber. He was rough like a sanded table top with sand on it. He was as hard as a soft boiled egg cooked for too long. If he hit you, you’d squeal like a stuffed pig and probably run around like a cow with its head cut off.
I’m sure walking a smile in his boots would produce a frown or a sneer as I can tell.
He was Rankin to most, but to those close to him, he was just Rank.
He’d always been Rank to me; I was his brother.
As he came closer to the cabin, he called “Justin! You in there?”
I answered “no“, but that didn’t fool him.
When I opened the door I asked, “What happened to you?”
“Got ambushed” was his reply.
“By who?” tumbled out of my mouth.
“More like ‘By what?’ By bushes!”
This may sound strange, but I didn’t disbelieve him for a second.