The Ghost Deer

Chapter 1

Sawtooth Mountains, Central Idaho,

June 24th 1987

A branch snapped in the dense undergrowth, close enough to hear breathing. Inching forward, my hands sunk into the cool moss-covered earth, smelling of decayed leaves and rotting wood. Water seeped into a deep cloven hoofprint as big as my hand. Seconds passed, as I could only stare in disbelief.

This must be an elk. I wish Dad were closer.

I knew he was just sixty yards away at the top of the ridge, glassing the ravine for mule deer, but it felt like a mile.

Knees wet, I repositioned myself, straining to see through the wall of branches smothering my view. A loud snort pierced the air. I dropped to my stomach. Small saplings swayed back and forth on the other side of the brush, accompanied by scraping sounds and snapping twigs. I laid my head on the ground, trying to become one with the soil. Slowly, I rose to my knees struggling to control my breath, hoping the creature’s noise would cover my movement.

I wish this wasn’t a scouting trip! I cursed inside, agonizing, that my first bow hunt was still over two months away.

With only my arms, I drug my body forward inch by inch, craning my neck through the thinning branches. A massive white animal rubbed against the tree in front of me. I froze. Could this be the legendary muley buck Grandpa told stories about? Sweat trickled down my forehead as I wiped my eyes.

Suddenly, something crawled into my ear followed by searing pain. Jerking back, I swatted it away, stopping the hornet’s attack. There was a loud “snort,” then “thump, thump, thump!” I bolted to my feet, frantically scanning the forest as a flash of white fur and a web of antlers disappeared into the trees.

“Noooo!” I yelled.

In pursuit I ran, dodging rock and brush. Branches clawing at my face and arms.

I’ve got to get another look; I just have to!

Dad called out from above. “Tater! You, ok?”

I cut across a meadow, running at full speed for the patch of pines where the buck disappeared. Upon rounding the corner, I skidded to a stop. A pine bow swayed back and forth as if waving goodbye, while the squirrels chattered—laughing at my defeat.


The Ghost Deer
  • Sawtooth Mountains

New Release

The Last Roundup

Chapter 1


May 14th, 1932

Aranti, Chief of the Last Tukudika  

           Water dripped in the darkness like tears from years past. The glow of the torchlight flickered, casting dancing shadows on the jagged rock deep within the cavern of the mountain. Aranti’s face tightened and his lips pressed together as he gripped the young brothers’ hands, one kneeling on each side.

They’re so young, he thought. I wish I could see them grow into men.

He coughed wincing in pain, wheezing as he closed his eyes, laying upon the rubble strewn ground. An ornate silver helmet, mounted with two spiral ram’s horns, lay by his side.

The oldest of the two boys leaned forward, eyes wide and voice shaky. “I’m so sorry, Grandfather,” he whispered. “I meant no harm. Just trying… trying to have fun. I didn’t… I didn’t know…” The red cloaked, black-haired boy laid his head on the dust covered robes of the withered old man and wept. “Please—please forgive me!”

He hugged the old man tight. Aranti’s eyes fluttered open as he coughed again, holding his chest.

“Chet… Chetona, is that you—son of my son—flesh of my flesh?”

“Yes—I am here.”

Aranti coughed, spitting out foamy red blood. “I forgive you.” He took Chetona by the hand. “I go my son—to be at one with Mother Earth, and the ancestors having gone before.” The old man wheezed, curling into a ball onto his side…

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