Her eyes scan the crop. Row on row of corn on each side, near high as Jolan’s shoulder. Hardly any smell of corn pollen left. Just a faintsweet, cloying scent. This year’s harvest might be a good one, M’Deah would be proud. Wiping sweat from her forehead, Beneda thinks about everything that can still go wrong.
If it gets hotter, or too much rain. Or not enough.
The weeders should be working the south acre. Heading that way, she examines the stalks she passes. Glancing down row by row, admiring the straightness and the bright green stalks going to dun. Her feet stop suddenly. In the distance, a disturbing sight. Feet, not moving. Maybe, one hundred meters ahead. Sticking into her row.
She quickly unslings her bow, pulling an arrow from her quiver. Starting to run, What could’ve happened? The weeders, attacked by a wolf? A bear?
Running to the end of the row, she wonders, Where everybody? A quick frantic inventory in her mind. Mama in the big house. Jolan back near the steps. He has blades. Old Willy, he be at the stables. Nat and Angel on pest control, on the north acreage. Tyrone and Sarah weeding. Those feet be one of them?
As she gets close to them feet, Beneda slows. Nocking her arrow, her head bobs in all directions. Eyes flash. Danger? Jumping past these feet she looks. It is Tyrone she sees. Sarah be down too!
Her arrow tip quivers in each direction. Seeing nothing, she kneels beside Tyrone. He moves. Looking closely shows Sarah’s breathing, and she utters a hurting moan. Tyrone with the whites showing around his eyes, and bruises forming under his brow, circling to near his ear, tries speaking.
“Two men.” Tyrone voices a raspy and rough explanation. “Warned us.” Beneda looks around again. Wanting to hit something. Wanting revenge for these two in her perfect row.
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