Second Harvest (Chapter Five, page 2 of 21)

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Resting on two large spikes above the mantel, Roy spotted Thaddeus' Winchester 30-30. Taking out his bandana from a rear pocket, Roy carefully brushed the dust off the rifle. With reluctance, Roy had only needed to use this weapon twice in his lifetime. One year, a mountain lion came through the open front door of his log home. A single round fired above the lion's head scared the animal away, but Roy was prepared to kill if necessary.

The second time Roy used this weapon was to put down his first horse. At thirteen, the older horse tragically stumbled on loose rocks and snapped a leg resulting in a compound fracture. It broke Roy's heart because he was sure his four-legged friend would one day just lie down and go to sleep forever. The eyes of the horse showed pain, his breathing labored; in vain the horse struggled to stand.

Roy remembered pointing his father's rifle at his horse but pausing because it was a difficult task. Finally, the horse rested his head and slowed his breathing. He rolled his eyes toward Roy as if he gave him permission to end the pain. Reluctantly pulling the trigger, Roy heard the sound of the gunshot ricochet multiple times as it bounced off the rock walls of the mountains.

Opening the chamber, Roy saw that the rifle was still loaded and ready for action should he ever require it again. Roy then returned the gun to its resting place above the mantel.

Roy's respect for the Winchester was mixed with raw emotion. This weapon belonged to his father, but for reasons unknown, the day that Thaddeus tangled with the Apache Indians, was the one time he did not take the gun. Thaddeus was wearing a pair of Colt 45 pistols and holster, which remained tightly coiled and resting on the hearth.

Roy glanced down but did not put his hand to the pair of Colts. Years of dust have settled upon the revolvers almost disguising them completely. They have sat in this spot since Roy placed them on the hearth after his father's funeral. Roy refused to touch the pistols ever again.

Stuffing the bandana back into his pocket, Roy shook his head. Far too many memories Roy, plus you're getting sentimental and soft, he thought. Lifting the folded American flag one more time, Roy settled into a nearby rocking chair and allowed his fingers trace out the two war medals. Leaning his head back, Roy closed his eyes and sighed heavily. Memories of the past flashed within Roy's mind, like a movie in a theater.

World War One began in Europe in July 1914. It had taken another three years before the war had any significant influence on Roy's remote area. Robert joined almost at the onset of the war, becoming a fighter pilot. Within in a year, he was shot down over Luxembourg during a dogfight when one of the enemies clipped his wing off. The locals buried him in a farmer's field where he crashed.

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