The rest of the story…
A thousand thoughts ran through George’s mind all in a split second. Here he was with the trophy buck he waited so long to get, in his site, just a breath away. If he shot the deer, what would he do with it in all this snow? There was no way George could drag him another half mile to his truck, and if he did make it, the deer would be too heavy to lift up into the bed of the truck.
George thought about his life as well, an old buck himself with not that much time left. The old deer had eluded him and other hunters for years. It would be a shame to end old buck’s life here with no one nearby to help him drag it out. Until he could go for help and come back, the mountain lion, coyotes, or vultures would be devouring the carcass. He could not end this beautiful animal’s life that way.
At that moment the old buck turned his head and looked straight at George like he knew what was about to happen. They both stared at each other for a moment as George lifted the scope an inch and fired. The bullet shot right above the bucks right shoulder and lodged in a distant tree. Startled, the old buck turned and bounded back into the pines, flicking his white tail at George as he ran.
George felt his arm go numb, as he watched the old buck disappear into the trees. This was more than the tingle he had been feeling earlier that morning. Tightness drew across his chest like a heavy weight and his breathing became labored. He knew he was having a heart attack and there was nothing he could do but collapse to the ground. He fumbled for his glycerin pills in his coat pocket. He put two of them under his tongue and passed out!
Patrick was up at 6:00 AM eating his breakfast when Jim came down the stairs. He wanted to come along and help search for George, but Patrick and Nora felt he was too young for something as dangerous as this. Reluctantly, he sat down and began to eat his breakfast. He was worried about old George out in the mountains all alone.
Old Blue was still in the house up the lane so, Patrick kissed Nora goodbye and made a quick run through the snow to check on him. Old blue was delighted to see him and gobbled his food down quickly. On the spur of the moment, Patrick decided to bring Old Blue along. Barking happily, he jumped up in the front seat of the truck, sitting with his paws propped on the edge of the frosted window. Driving down the lane in four-wheel-drive, Patrick turned his F-150 onto the snow covered main road and headed to the Sheriff’s office. He was glad Nora remembered to send some sandwiches and a large thermos of hot coffee along.
At the Sheriff’s Office, several deputies arrived to join the search. Since Patrick knew where George hunted, Sheriff Taylor asked Patrick to lead the way to Windy Gap. The sheriff called the DOT the night before requesting that county snow plows clear the highway all the way up Rt. 17 to Windy Gap before plowing the other roads. They worked all night and by morning the road was fairly clear, but still very slick.
Arriving at the entrance leading back to the National Forest of Windy Gap, they saw the road was completely covered with snow. All the vehicle switched to four-wheel-drive and started the four mile journey to the base of Moonshine Ridge. They found George’s old Dodge truck buried in the snow, next to the creek, but he was nowhere to be found. By now it was 9:00 AM.
The mood was very somber, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Splitting up into groups of two, the men started up both sides of the hollow. If any one found George, they were to call on the two-way radio and let the others know. If they were out of range they were to fire three shots in succession, wait ten second and fire three more.
Patrick and Sheriff Taylor started up the deep end of the hollow with Old Blue following close by. Old Blue was having a great time chasing squirrels and birds as they climbed. Twenty minutes into the climb, a single shot ring out echoing across the mountain. One shot and then nothing at all. No one would be hunting in this kind of weather, so they knew it had to be George. The men quickly headed up the hollow in the direction of the gun shot. As they drew closer Old Blue started barking and took off up the hollow leaving the men behind. He had picked up Georges scent and headed up to find him. They could hear him barking excitedly in the distance.
When the men arrived, Old Blue was there licking George’s face and barking happily. He was semi-conscious, but still alive. They knew they had to act quickly, so Sheriff Taylor and his deputy hiked back down to get a stretcher out of his vehicle. The Sheriff got on the radio calling for an Ambulance to meet them at the entrance Windy Gap. Grabbing the stretcher, they quickly made their way back up to George. They loaded him on the stretcher and four deputies carefully carried him down the mountain. Old Blue followed close behind barking all the way.
Patrick was relieved that they found him alive, but really worried about his physical condition. As they carried him back to the SUV, George was in and out of consciousness. He kept mumbling about shooting at a mountain lion, and then about shooting at the old buck. The men thought he was out of his head and just hallucinating.
The Ambulance met them at the gate on Rt. 17. The EMTs loaded George into the Ambulance and headed to the hospital. At the hospital, Dr. Adams was amazed that George survived his ordeal. Hooking him up to a heart monitor and IV medications they soon had him stabilized and resting comfortably.
When George regained consciousness, he told Dr. Adams about taking the glycerin tablets just before passing out. Dr. Adams said that was probably what saved his life. He told George he had some heart damage, but with rest and avoiding mountain climbing, he should make a full recovery.
Patrick, Nora, and Jim all came by the hospital to visit George. Old Blue wanted to come along, but as you know dogs aren’t allowed into ICU. They all wanted to hear about his adventures on the mountain. George told them about getting caught in the snowstorm and taking shelter in the cave. Jim’s eyes got big when he told him about his wild night and the mountain lion. He was very excited to hear that George had taken a shot at the old buck, though George did not mention that he had raise his gun a little just before he shot.
George’s friends thought they were just stories of an old man telling tales, but Jim knew every word George said was true.
If you would like a pdf. file of the whole story just email me at email@example.com and I will send you one.
Thanks to d’Verse Poets Pub, for the prosery flash fiction prompt that was the beginning of this story. And also to my blogger friends who encouraged me to continue on with what turned into 17 segments. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.