End of the Feud

For the purpose of this tale, one man shall be called Jones and the other Smith. The two are neighbors, sharing the same property line and yet are anything but neighborly with one another.

For nearly three decades the pair have been feuding over boundary-lines, accusing the other of cutting down trees, stealing the lumber; usurping water from the other; and hunting the wild game that the other claimed belonged to them. And for years, the nearby communities expected to hear at anytime that they had finally shot it out with one or both killed in the melee.

Elk season had begun. It was still dark when word reached the other man’s encampment that the other was trespassing.

A general alarm sounded, with both Smith and Jones unknowingly acting in unison. Each man set out groups of men to scout the area and return with information, that being of the location and the number in each party.

All day, men wandered the forested grounds, the rocky ledges and crags as well as the lower scrub brush with its tall grasses in search of the other’s hunting party. Finally, and with no activity found, men from each camp returned with their lack-luster report.

Jones decided to take care of the problem himself. “I should have done this years ago,” he told himself as he chambered a round in the rifle.

Meanwhile, Smith had come to the same ugly conclusion. “I will hunt him down and shoot him like the mad-dog that he is,” he declared as he shouldered his rifle and walked out of camp.

Soon darkness befell the landscape and to make matters worse, a raging storm had built itself in along the mountains, spreading its high winds into the valleys and woods below. The weather did not dampen the hatred the men felt for one another.

Smith stood still, having heard the cracking sound of a twig breaking under foot. He pressed himself next to a thick, towering tree, certain his quarry was on the other side of it.

Jones was quicker, he stood with rifle at the ready, pressed tight against his shoulder waiting for Smith to spring upon him. Then it happened as both men moved to murder the other, a gale force wind swept over the forest, shattering trees throughout, including the one the pair stood next too.

In the ensuing moments of terror and pain, both men found themselves trapped beneath the tree, broken and sharp pieces of branch and the massive trunk, pinning arms, legs and bodies under its massive size. Broken, bleeding and angry, both men struggled to find the better advantage before slowly coming to the conclusion that he was hopelessly held tight to the earth.

For hours, they called one another names, promising that each would dispatch the other once his men came looking for and found them. It proved to be exhausting work and eventually the pair settled down and began conversing, initially about how they might effect an escape from their present situation, then to the other subject at hand.

“So, do you recall why we started fighting?” was that general topic. Neither man could remember what had begun the feud, but soon they were talking of their childhood and how they had been friend’s at one time, and eventually the silliness of their ongoing battles.

“Let’s put this stupidity to rest,” the two trapped and one time mortal enemies concluded, each vowing to help the other first, when their men came to the rescue.

Both laughed at their situation, trapped beneath a tree neither could move. “I can’t wait to see those town folks faces to see us sitting at the same diner having breakfast on some fine morning,” one said.

“And soon, too,” spoke the other. They laughed some more until the pain was to much to take.

Then they lay there in the dark, as the storm died down, listening. “I hear something. I think it’s our salvation!”

The two men cried, “Over here,” again and again in a single chorus.

“They’re close, I can hear them clearly, but I can’t see them.”

Then they froze, hearts sinking as they each looked at the other realizing, “WOLF!”

3 thoughts on “End of the Feud”

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