The Unknown - Part 1b
I got moving. Well, half assed hobbling was more like it. My leg and thigh, the one that had taken one too many deep penetration wounds, was numb all the way to the knee which wasn't helping. I made it to the top of the sandstone ridge after a couple of awkward hops from rock to rock. Awkward because I had seen a snake trail in the sand just before them and was trying to be careful about where I put my feet. My final jump had startled a horney toad whose quick movement had upset my timing by a hair. It was far from a graceful and quiet movement and another reminder, if I needed one, that what once was taken for granted had become a struggle.
I hadn't lost it completely. A young Navajo was sitting on a chunk of sandstone watching his handful of sheep graze about a 100 paces away from him. His bicycle was leaning against the same rock and his rifle was in its sheath across the handle bars. I grinned, and yelled, "Yatahai!"
To say he was startled would be an understatement. He literally fell off his seat and sprawled in the dirt. His dogs, two mixed breed collie types out tending the sheep, heard me and came hauling ass towards him. I saw him look to his bike and the rifle. I shook my head, smiled, held up one hand in greeting, and said "hello" again in Navajo.
He gave me a tentative smile with a hint of embarrassment. I told him in English, "Sorry about that. I would have yelled out if I knew you were here." He yelled something in Navajo at his dogs who were standing off and barking at me from about 10 paces." Inwardly I winced. Navajo was a sing song language that picked at old scabs. He was going to be out of luck if he thought I spoke Navajo. Hello was my entire vocabulary.
"You okay with me coming closer? I just want to talk."
He looked a little dubious but nodded his head and told me "Come on. I'll make the dogs behave."
I almost laughed at that but if it made him feel safer I was okay with it. I had already run it in my head. Him and his two dogs had a lifespan of, maybe, one second after I drew my guns.