Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday for January 12, 2014. The six paragraphs below from Big Horn Storm, describe one of Niki’s more minor incidents she experiences while trying to elude a deadly enemy, protect neighbors and family, reconnect with her childhood infatuation, and survive. For trivia, travel, cheap and free ebooks, and updates on my adventures in life and in fiction, please follow me on twitter at https://twitter.com/kimmcmahill.
The days were still long and the sun hadn’t quite set, giving Niki plenty of light as she rode toward the chaotic noise. The normally fifteen minute ride, took her less than ten. She crested the hill and didn’t slow as Joe’s old horse bolted past her on its way back to camp. The sheep were running in every direction and Gracie and Stella were barking wildly, hair standing up on their backs, holding their ground between a prone Joe and an angry three-hundred pound grizzly.
Niki wished she had grabbed her rifle, but her reaction to the sure knowledge that Joe was in trouble was so immediate and instinctive, she had left without thinking. She screamed as she raced toward the melee, but doubted the bear or the dogs could hear her over the pandemonium.
Suddenly Gracie went airborne as the bear’s paw connected with her body. The dog flipped end-over-end several times. She landed hard and yelped, but jumped up and raced back into the fray. Niki barely registered Joe struggling to get to his feet and retreat as she neared the scene, her concentration solely on the bear.
Stella circled behind the bear and nipped as its back leg. The bear swung around and lashed out, barely missing the determined dog. Stella ran backwards, never taking her focus off the bear, drawing the large animal further from Joe, who had managed to grab hold of Gracie to keep the injured dog from going back into the fight. Stella continued to taunt the bear, pulling it further and further from Joe and Gracie, but in its frenzied dodging of the deadly claws the dog had allowed itself to be backed against several large boulders.
Niki realized in dawning horror that the dog had no way to escape and no hope. As much as the thought of losing Stella broke her heart, she knew if Stella were killed there would be nothing to keep the bear from turning back on Joe. She had to stall and hope Deuce and Frank would arrive soon. She had no doubt they were on the way.
She screamed even louder and guided Storm straight for the bear. The bear looked away from Stella and stood frozen for a moment as the distance between it and the huge horse quickly closed. Niki was less than thirty yards from the bear, Storm giving no indication he would back down. She was still screaming wildly and Storm was running full out when the animal turned and dashed off into the trees.
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