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NO ESCAPING DANGER

March 12, 2019

The sun beats down on the barren Nevada desert, heat rises off of the sand and rock.  The Wranglers horse struggles to make it through the heat as he tries to guide the stampede of cattle back to the ranch.  Neither the horse or The Wrangler can take the heat anymore, they both stop for a rest and let the cattle start to graze on what little grass they can find.  The Wrangler pulls out his canteen of water and drinks from it, water has never tasted so good. He dips his red bandana in the cold water and wraps it around his sunburned neck.  He then pours some water for his horse to try and give it some energy. He sits down in the shadow of his horse to try and get a break from the sun but it is so relentless. It’s unforgiving- this whole land is unforgiving.  Life in America’s frontier isn’t easy- life is more of a privilege than a right. People are almost reduced to animals, they will do anything to survive including killing their fellow man. If you’re different from your fellow man people turn into a pack of territorial wolves and kill each other in a heartbeat.  

Suddenly a bullet whisks right past his head, cattle rustlers, it had to be, who else would be out here in this heat?  He runs to cover behind a rock and draws his revolver, he waits for any form of movement at the top of the hill. The Wrangler has never killed anyone, he never had to.  Did he have it in him, could he take another man's life? It’s so hard for him to see with the sweat running into his eyes and the heat radiating off the rocks up on the hill.  He thinks he sees it, a man in a brown vest and hat. The Wrangler rises and shoots the rustler in the head, he can clearly see the rustler fall over dead. He can’t see anyone else so he creeps down behind the rock again, trying to catch his breath and calm down, he did it, he took another man’s life.  He turns around and leans back on the rock and begins to fan himself with his hat. He takes a deep breath and puts his sweaty hat back on. He stands up and starts trudging up the hill cautiously with his gun drawn and pointing at the rock where he shot the rustler.

He stops and looks at the bloodstained rock- it has already started to dry.  He begins to slowly peer over the rock and he sees it, he had shot a deer, but how?  He saw the rustler, didn’t he? He turns around and looks at the bottom of the hill, there are no cattle, there is no horse.  He begins to lean back on the rock in confusion, did he just imagine everything? How long has he been here in the desert? Where is he in the desert?  Where does he go from here? This land is unforgiving and it takes your soul and your mind in an instant.

 

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