by: Marty Chrisman
Rusty pulled his battered blue sedan onto an old dirt road not far from Henderson Ridge. As he and Jamie got out of the car, Jamie looked at his brother and said “What makes you think Luke will go back up on the ridge?’
“Just a feeling, that’s all….” Rusty said, as he opened the car trunk. Both boys took out high powered rifles with long distance scopes. Rusty also took out a wicked looking hunting knife that he stuck in the case attached to his belt. “We’re gonna split up. You go in from the west and I’ll go in from the east. If he’s watching for us, he won’t be able to take us both out at the same time if we come at him from different directions.”
“What if he ain’t here?”
“Then we keep looking till we find him. We need him dead unless you wanna spend the rest of your life in prison for killing that little girl….”
“Yeah…I know that….but you’re asking for trouble messing with a Duke.” Jamie declared in a nervous voice “The rest of them Dukes will after us once they find his body….”
“One…they ain’t gonna find his body…we’ll make sure of that. And two…we’re gitting as far away from this jerk water town as we can once we get rid of him….” Rusty said firmly “Now let’s go…and for god’s sake be careful….that Duke is an ex-Marine….that means he could kill ya with his bare hands if he wanted to. He’ll take you out in heartbeat if he gets the chance.” Jamie nodded solemnly. He never questioned what Rusty told him to do, he just did it. The two brothers spilt up, each one going in a different direction. They were almost two miles from the ridge so it took them awhile to work their way through the brush and overgrown weeds before they reached the trail to that led to the clearing at Henderson Ridge.
Luke had been waiting for hours but he knew that his patience had been rewarded when he heard the faint snapping sound of someone stepping on a twig off to his left. Silently, he rose to his feet and disappeared into the trees. He doubled around so he could come out behind whoever was coming up the trail towards the ridge. Moving silently, he soon saw a man just a few feet away and immediately recognized Jamie Harrison. Luke frowned when he saw that he was alone. Rusty must be approaching from another direction which meant he had to take Jamie out as quickly as possible.
“Hey…” Luke said in a loud whisper, stepping out onto the path behind Jamie. The other man jumped at the sound of Luke’s voice and spun around, bringing his rifle up to shoot. Since he fired without taking aim, the bullet missed Luke ricocheting off a nearby tree. Luke spun and kicked out with his left leg, slamming his foot into the side of Jamie’s knee, breaking it. Jamie screamed in pain and fell to the ground, curling up into a ball and clutching his injured leg.
Unfortunately, while Luke was distracted by Jamie, he didn’t realize that Rusty had managed to sneak up behind him. Unknown to Jamie that had been Rusty’s plan all along. He had used his own brother to bring Luke out into the open. Luke screamed in pain and surprise when he felt a sharp burning pain in his left side. As Luke fell to his knees clutching a hand to his side where his shirt was rapidly soaking through with blood, Rusty smiled maliciously and swung his hunting knife at Luke again, this time ripping a deep gash in his left shoulder and disabling that arm. Grinning triumphantly, Rusty advanced towards Luke intent on finishing him off. But Rusty had underestimated Luke’s courage and his fighting skills.
In a move that caught Rusty completely off guard, Luke swept out his leg, knocking Rusty off his feet, He fell heavily to the ground and lay there stunned. It gave Luke the few precious minutes he needed to slip away into the woods. Suddenly the tables had turned and the hunter had become the hunted.