hittingrod

Scouting from the shade of the pasturetree Nathan heard the truck. Noise behind the bend in the road, a clatter of metal, and then a strange quiet, no birds. The trees along the bend one by one began to darken, and the darkness passed along them nearer and nearer, and the leaves began to vibrate, like the stirring of some infant storm, and then at last, slowly, quietly, the Ford nosed from the trees. His father and Ben, back from town.

Nathan was holding the hittingrod, a rusty treasure from the old man’s barn and evidence of idle mischief: no junebugs to crack with his Stan the Man swing, and he swore he’d never struck at the tree. But a pale barkless patch of trunk swore otherwise.

He dropped the rod and saw himself red-handed with rust.

Hadn’t he been told. How many times.

The truck came slowly and dipped as if carefully into the ruts and rose again with the same care and something clattered and the truck came carefully on. The cab seemed darkened by shadow. A tail of rope, loose from the bed, idly dabbed the truck side.

No way to tell if they’d seen.

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