A Prairie Tale

By Blake Robinson All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Action

Chapter 1: The Hunter

It was a warm sunset, and the area was quiet. A lone deer roams freely around the vast frontier, scavenging for food wherever possible. Someone set a sharp eye on this prize, hidden among the bushes. He fired his bow at the deer, killing it in one shot to the eyeball, and he got his reward.

This man was Bill Burton, a skilled hunter living in his old wooden shack nearby where he hunts and finds his food. He already had enough (living by himself and all) so he carried the deer back to his shack and to relax for the night.

Bill didn’t just eat meat; he grew his own humble vegetables like pumpkins and carrots outside next to his shack. The weather in his area was gentle and tranquil with fertile soils, thus choosing a good spot for a private life.

As his campfire is burning brightly, he skinned his reward and left it to cook. While doing this, he sat back in his robust wooden chair and laid back; his work finished for the day.

Bill knows all the tricks in the book, though he believes his hunting techniques should still be respectful, and only kills when he needs. He waits for the animals to reproduce instead of killing them all with sheer aggression and running out of meat too quickly. The shot should be swift, and with no pain.

He looked in his late 20s, with already aged hands and a worn face. Bill was brought up as a hardened tracker and survivalist since the age of 15. He knew his father well, but he left just when he was fine living on his own. So he quite frankly abandoned him, got him to live in his long-standing shack, and went to live a life elsewhere. Bill had been by himself ever since.

This did not make him a social outcast however; as many eager traders bought his pelts and herbs he collects, in return for rare food like fruits not found in his area. Bill may not have been famous, but was able to live without the lively town life.

His dinner was ready, and he slowly moved it out of the pan and ate it gradually, tasting every morsel of it. Bill added a few other vegetables to his well-deserved meal (he was out hunting for hours that day, more than the usual).

The bed in his shack was surprisingly comfortable, and was made by soft rare wool bought by traders for an unspoiled bear pelt. His shack was bigger than it sounds, but it only had enough room for around 1 or 2 people (including him), along with many decorations, a small furnace and a weapon cabinet. Bill sunk into his comfy bed, and thought of all his audacious but tiring life he is leading.

It was the next day, and Bill stretched and got out of his bed slowly and carefully. He grabbed his trusty bow and arrows and his hunting knife before leaving. When just about to exit, he saw a man at the door, in a motion ready to knock. He didn’t know this man, but he seemed welcoming and friendly, hoping to cooperate.

“Hello. I was around uh, 10 years late to talk to you about this, but do you have a deed to this land, sir? Jackson Springwater is on your trail.” The man said. Bill was worried. He never knew this was a private, owned land. He was panicking, and needed more time to find if he ever did have a deed. Bill then responded,

“Give me a moment, please!” Then Bill shut the door and rushed around, plunging through the reaches of his shack, and hoping to find an answer, a good one that is. Bill found a piece of paper with signatures and loads of text, but looked brand new, supposedly not used in a while, or at all.

He then rushed back and opened the door, but the man was gone. Bill didn’t stall him that long! He may have got the answer he wanted, and never having to show it in the first place, for which he was relieved for.

“Why would someone suspect a deed or a land ownership proof? I owned this land for years!” He questioned himself. Maybe his father had hidden secrets, or this man was an imposter and wanted to steal it from extortion.

Bill cross-examined the deed, and it clearly wasn’t a forgery, and was signed by 2 men, Matthew Burton and Jackson Springwater. Matthew Burton was Bill’s father, and I guess he was right about him secretly renting land instead of setting up a spot elsewhere. Whichever way, he needed his land back. Either by discussion and pricings, or something else more ‘easier’…

The deed itself seemed fair and forgiving, but this ‘Jackson Springwater’ might have been the man at the door earlier, or simply a messenger. Nonetheless, Bill needs to find out where this ‘Jackson Springwater’ lives and what was the land’s history in the first place.

But then a thought came. When the traders come to trade with Burton, the horses stop and feed at Jackson Springwater’s ranch. He must have been well known in the area, and Bill remembers where it is. Now, he approaches the landlord.

A visible dust cloud is on the horizon; the horses are being broken in by ranchers alongside Jackson Springwater himself. He is a short, well-built middle aged man with combed back hair, a waistcoat and spurs.

Although he was a Negro citizen he was respected due to his extreme knowledge of horses and saddling. They caught eyes instantly and sternly walked to each other cautiously when the dust had faded; anything could happen next.

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