by J.D. Holek
An old man wakes to hear that a donkey is in distress.
| It was a hot evening on September 1943. Mr. Anderson set out on his porch as he did most evens and read the paper that had came earlier that day and relaxed with nice glass of tea. The days work was done and now came the easiest part, watching it draw to a close. The sun finally went down pass the hills and it got to dark to read the paper and Mr. Anderson felt like calling it a day anyways, he had many things to do one the farm tomorrow, might as get an early start. After rinsing of the days grime and folding his overalls over the chair he went to his bed room and said his pray as he always did. " Lord, thank you for your many blessings. Take good care of my wife and give me the strength to carry on down here by myself. Amen." Then pulling back one thin blanket he crawled into bed.
It wasn't long before something woke Mr. Anderson. He didn't know right off hand what it was just that it was something. He lay there in bed for a while and heard what it had been. It sounded like a donkey braying. A donkey that had been caught in a fence and was struggling to free itself. He set up on the edge of the bed and waited... there it came again and from his guess it sound like it came from the hollow just below the field. Mr. Anderson got on his overalls and boots and picked up a lantern and his 12gadge side by side shot gun, just in case. He lighted the lantern on the porch, although there wasn't much need for it. The full moon illuminated the late summer night in its shades of gray. He opened the gate at the edge of the yard and started heading to the hollow from where he thought the noise had come from. Within moments the sound came again. This time the braying was clearer and more painful, the animal was in some kind of pain. But it didn't stop it kept braying and was soon joined by what could only be described as a women screaming. Mr. Anderson knew exactly what that was, and still knowing, the hairs on his body stood straight up on end. That sound was a big cat, although rare in those parts, they had been sighted before. The sound of a mountain lion was said to sound like that of a women getting murdered. Mr. Anderson was very grateful that he had two buckshot loaded and had dropped two more in his overall pocket before leaving the house. With that still in mind he was hesitant to go any further, rooted to the spot as if something didn't want him to go. The screaming and the braying came in waves, sometimes growing low. " Lord, give me the strength to carry me on and protect me from what I'm about to face." he whispered real soft. He took a small step forward and started down towards the hollow once again. This time the shotgun had both barrels cocked and ready. With the lantern in his left hand which was under the raised shotgun he crept down the hill towards the hair raising sounds. Closer and closer he got and the sounds grew loader. And just as he thought he was right up on it the screaming stopped; the praying died down slowly. Mr. Anderson swung left and right throwing light onto the trees but saw nothing, not a sign of a struggle, not one drop of blood. He pushed on a little further until he was standing in a dry creek bed. He stood there for some time, holding his breath, trying to make his ear open more to catch any sound that might have been heard. The only thing he heard was the beating of his heart. Minutes passed and still nothing.
" Well Lord, looks like it got away. But it still was one hell of a night." Mr. Anderson said and he turned around to walk back towards the top of the hill. When he turn something large and in shadow was standing before him. The lanterns light did not illuminate it any. Mr. Anderson fired off both rounds but was on the ground before the shoots could echo through the hollow. The shadow wrapped the old man up and in a puff the two were gone. No one ever seen Mr. Anderson after that and the old hollow down by his place took on his name. One things for sure though, you never go down to Andersons hollow to save some struggling ass.