All four of us took a moment to look out into the black shadows of those woods surrounding us, and I felt my feet sliding back a bit all on their own as that unfamiliar vibe of danger came creeping up over my shoulders. I know a quick pack of coyotes when I see ‘em, and they looked mighty hungry as they moved forward just enough for the moon to highlight them for what they really was. Can’t say that I was prepared to tussle with anything of that nature tonight. I probably should have brought something defensive with me. But I wasn’t quite in my right mind. Being turned all inside out by the idea of kissing Colby’s lips once again made me lame in my own mindset.
NOW what am I gonna do? My first time spilling my seed with a boy like that...and now I’m going to be torn to pieces by the likes of a couple of wild dogs? Lord almighty sure has hisself a weird sense of humor, I tell ya.
“Don’t move...” Colby said.
“Trust me, I ain’t got it in my head that I’d be able to outrun no coyote with an empty belly on foot.” I said, stating the obvious. Still, Colby kept his arm outstretched as though he could protect me from what was about to come our way out from around them trees. Can’t say that I took much comfort in that.
I saw Tucker and Ahote move in closer to us in order to form some sort of a wall...but as I looked around, it seemed more like it was more about keeping me safe, rather than themselves. Which was kind of them and all, I reckon, but...these were hungry coyotes we’re talking about here. I’ve seen what they can do to people foolish enough to stand in their way when it comes to finding themselves a fresh meal. There was six or seven of them all together in a single pack. Why would a couple of fellas that ain’t never laid eyes on me before tonight put themselves between me and that level of harm without thinking twice about it?
“Deke...” Colby said softly, but urgently. “...When I holler for you to go, I need you to run off to the cliff’s edge to the left of us. You hear?”
“Colby...I don’t know if I can make it all the way to...”
“You’ll MAKE it! Just do what I tell ya!” He said.
And before either one of us could utter another word...them coyotes came charging at us all, snarling and barking and salivating from the sharp fangs that there were bringing with them!
“GO!!! Run, Deke! RUN!!!” Colby hollered, but it felt like my legs were too terrified to work right, causing me to stumble almost immediately after I started off.
Falling down in the dirt, I rolled over to look behind me...and I saw something that made me rub my eyes twice and question if my sight was working right in all this darkness out here.
Instead of all of us boys scattering the way that I expected us to, the others seemed to be rushing right at them. And it was then that I noticed something rather awkward going on. Colby’s friend, Tucker, began to wave his arms around in a wide circular motion, and it seemed like the wind itself started to pick up all by itself. So much so that I could barely keep my eyes open, even as I felt myself being pulled into the vortex of it as if it was some kind of invisible cyclone or something! All of the sand and dust began to pick up and swirl around him, and I dug my fingers into the sand to keep from being dragged into the center of whatever it was that he was doing...and with a shout, he pushed his hand out to force the sand forward towards the coyotes coming after us!
I couldn’t really explain what I was seeing...but the wind and the sand just kept going, and I heard the coyotes howling as they turned away and began howling from the pain of having the grains of sand blasting up against their faces the way it was. In fact, the winds became so strong, that the country sand looked as though it was practically eating the flesh right off of them! They began to bleed, and Tucker kept pushing his hand further out to punish them with a ferocious attack, like I had never seen before.
Was he...controlling this???
It wasn’t until Ahote ran over and placed his hand on Tucker’s chest, silently shaking his head to get him to pull it back before he stripped the fur and skin right off of them and left them there to bleed to death in the stinging dust of the forest ground.
The first coyotes whimpered and ran off in pain, but there were a few more that were too hungry to let us go just yet. It was then that Ahote stretched his arms out and I watched as these black streams leapt out of his arms and reached out to tangle a few more of the hungry dogs up in their crazy trap. They was like a whole field of weeds, working their way around the coyote’s legs, throat, and middle...until it looked like it was about to squeeze the very LIFE out of them, sure enough. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything like it before in my life. I didn’t even realize that I had been so mesmerized in the scuffle until Colby ran over and took a tight hold of my hand. “What are you still doing here??? I’m trying to keep you in one piece, Deke!”
“I...I saw...” I stuttered, but he just picked me back up to my feet and started running with me towards the cliff. I didn’t have the words to properly explain what I was watching anyhow...but I couldn’t help but to look back over my shoulder as Ahote and Tucker took on most of the hungry pack all by themselves. Ahote was slinging around those black ‘ropes’ like trained nooses to wrap around their limbs and hold them back from chasing us, and Tucker kept those ‘sandstorm’ winds circling around him to the point where it looked like it threatened to severely choke or rip the flesh off of anything that came close enough to be within its blast radius.
It was a TERRIFYING thing to behold! And as three more coyotes came chasing after me and Colby...I got scared that I might not even make it home tonight!
Colby was running soooo fast! I couldn’t keep up with him! My legs began to give out, my knees getting weak...but, somehow, he was strong enough to drag me forward, my twisted ankles and limp legs dragging in the dirt behind him. But, despite his best efforts, the coyotes were gaining on us fast. I tried to get my feet working right so I could help Colby run, his hand still firmly clasped around my wrist...but my legs were fatigued beyond belief. I was reaching the point where I reckon I could just drop down to the ground and tell him to save himself instead.
But as the barking dogs approached, I looked forward and saw Colby heading RIGHT for the cliff!!!
He wasn’t even slowing down! And we were almost at the edge! “Colby…???”
“Put your faith in me, Deke!” He shouted.
“Put my faith in...HUH?!?!” I screamed as he kept running forward.
Those hungry coyotes were close enough to start taking bites at my heels now! Only missing me by a hair or two! But even though I was doing all I could to avoid the razor sharp bite of those wild sons of bitches...my inner instincts nearly caused me to dig my heels into the sand as Colby dragged me to the very edge of that steep cliff. One that I was sure would provide me with a merciless drop that would either kill me or break every bone in my body once I came slamming down to the bottom and the rocks below.
“COLBY!!!!” I hollered, now pulling back from him to get him to let me go.
But he didn’t even give me the chance to slow down. Instead, he tightened his grip, and with a strongman’s circus strength, that boy whipped me around in front of him while we was still running, dug his shoulder into the center of me, and he pushed me right over the edge of that cliff against any right that I had to refuse the massive impact of it.
I reckon that I still had half the wind knocked out of me as I was dropping down from the cliff’s edge, but I remember looking up to see those damn coyotes slide to a complete stop before following us over the edge. Looks like even the wildest of varmits got some level of good sense.
But even as I felt Colby’s arms tighten around me and hug me close...I knew that the harsh impact of hitting the ground was going to make a cripple out of me. And that’s only if I was lucky enough to survive the fall.
It felt like time had come to a slow crawl. Where I just wanted to keep my eyes open and drink in everything that I could before my life was over, and I was thankful that...through it all, I’d be able to spend my last moments wrapped up in the arms of the first boy that I ever loved. The boy that made me whole, and let me know who I really was on the inside, as well as on the outside. If only I had the gumption to make it last for longer than a few lonely nights in the dark. I’m thinking...that would have been a blessing worth ‘jumping’ for...
It was then...just as we were both falling fast towards the ground below, that Colby lifted his head and I saw his eyes glowing bright enough to outshine the Summer sun. Gold. The kind of gold that nobody in these parts have ever seen before. He opened those eyes wide and took a deep gasp of breath.
And just seconds before we both hit the ground...we stopped.
We stopped so fast that it nearly made me dizzy in the head...and even though I had slammed my eyes shut to brace for whatever pain was sure to follow hitting the ground that way, and from such a height...I had to take a peek with one eye to figure out why I hadn’t already gone on to glory. I was already prepared for an unconscious visit to the undertaker at that point...so I felt a bit tangled up about just floating about two or three feet off the ground the way I was a that moment.
I finally got me enough courage to open both of my eyes up, and I turned my head with a bit of a cringe to peek back at the stones beneath me. The same ones that I was expecting to break my back and fold me up like an infant once gravity granted us a quick meeting.
Was I dreaming? What in the name of common sense was going on here? Both me and Colby...it was like we was...floating above ground. I got scared, and held onto Colby even tighter as I slammed my eyes back shut and wrapped my legs around him for fear that he’d drop me the last foot or two down to the ground. Instead...we just hovered there for a few moments longer as Colby glided us past the rocks and then lowered me down to rest in the soft sand below.
Even when I had my back and shoulders resting on solid ground, I found it a touch frightening to dare to open my eyes again. My heart couldn’t find the time to calm itself down. It just kept pounding away in my chest, hard enough to nearly crack a rib or two with its persistence alone. But once I heard Colby’s softy voice speaking down at me, I felt my lids flutter open and opened the floodgates to let some more of that surreal beauty into my head. I swear...he’s the prettiest fella I’ve ever been lucky enough to be this close to.
“You alright, Deacon?” He asked, and I found myself at a loss for words as I attempted to make some sort of realistic sense of what was going on here.
“I’m...I think I….” I started, and then I looked back up at the top of that cliff that we just fell from, and I watched a few of those angry coyotes back away from the edge...obviously realizing that we were out of their range as far as a late night snack was concerned. “...Where…? How…?” I wasn’t right in the head at that moment, looking at how far we fell from the top to the bottom, and I didn’t have any aches or pains at all. Not a scratch. And just as Colby used his hand to brush some of my hair out of my eyes, I took a notice of that strange glow that shined back at me from behind his concerned stare...and for some reason...it scared me something awful!
Without even thinking about it, I started to squirm and thrash about something fierce, kicking up dust until Colby flew right off of me, worried that my panic would only get worse if he tried to hold me down any longer. He floated backwards and landed on his feet, right on top of the rocks, and he put his hands out to try to get me to settle down. But, as I scrambled to get back up on my feet, close to wetting my pants now that the events of the last few seconds were starting to take hold...I reckoned the last thing that I wanted to do was settle down!!!
“What was that???” I cried out.
“Deke...please...give me a chance to explain...”
“EXPLAIN?!?!” I hollered. “What did you DO to me? How did you keep us from getting all broken up down here?”
“Calm yourself, alright?” He whimpered, a pained look on his face.
“CALM? I ain’t nowhere near being CALM, Colby!” I said. “What kind of voodoo was that, huh? Did you…? Did you jinx me with something???”
“Deke, I need you to listen to me...”
He took a step forward, but even weak kneed with fear, I jumped back, ready to run away from him if I had to. “Don’t you touch me!!!” I screamed.
Colby seemed really hurt by the words coming out of my mouth at that very moment...but he did all he could to not let the pain show on his face. Instead, he just took a step backwards away from me, and then I watched him get down on his knees in the sand...putting both of his hands up, palms out, to show me that he didn’t have any malicious intent by just trying to chit chat for a spell. Still, as much as I wish that could bring me a decent sense of comfort...I can’t say that it did.
I never thought that Colby’s beauty would be enough of a threat to keep me from looking at him, dead on, in the eyes. But what else was I supposed to do? “What you just did to us wasn’t natural. Not natural at all.”
“Deacon...I was only trying to protect you. I did what I did to keep you safe.” He said.
“I don’t right understand what I just saw...” I told him. “...I ain’t so sure that I want to, neither.”
“If you can just give me a few minutes...I can tell ya.” He pleaded with a shaky voice. “But you’ve gotta trust me when I say that I ain’t never meant for no harm to come to you. Had to God, Almighty. I would never hurt you. You’ve got to know that.”
My head was still spinning, the fear inside of me still preparing me to run off into the night at top speed if the next few seconds called for it. But my heart...my heart seemed like it was telling me different. And while all human hearts are vulnerable to deception and betrayal from time to time...I can’t say that I distrusted Colby enough to turn myself away from him. Whether it be something grand about him, or something defective in me...the best parts of me wanted to trust him with every fiber of my being. It yearned for an explanation. If for no other reason than I felt totally lost as to what was going on out here, and didn’t have any way to tell anybody if they came asking about it.
For the sake of my own sanity...I felt the need to maybe press Colby for a few answers concerning all this. I ain’t one for dealing with this level of mayhem all on my lonesome.
“You’re gonna tell me how you did what you done?” I said, suspiciously looking him in the eye.
“I’ll do my best.” He said, and even though he kept his open hands up for me to see, I quickly scurried back a step or two when I saw him getting back up on his feet. “Be steady, now. Easy.” He told me, approaching me as if I was some sort of a spooked horse or something.
And then...just I found myself able to catch my breath again...Colby very gently put his hand on my shoulder. He gave me a good pat or two, allowing me enough breathing room to relax a bit more...and then he stepped forward a bit further to lightly deliver a tender kiss to my left cheek. A gesture that caused a single tear to drip from my right eye as I fell in love with him all over again.
I sniffled from the helplessness of it all. “Are you...a devil?” I asked. “Or maybe a demon of some sort?”
The pain in Colby’s eyes nearly broke my heart. And he said, “No. I don’t reckon I am.” Adding, “...I’m...something else...”