This excerpt if from The Last Day of Forever, and we find our characters in the middle of a hog hunt. The dogs in this scene are Catahoula Curs, now a recognized breed and the Official Louisiana State dog. Enjoy.
His eyes closed as he listened intently, Little Zeke focused on the sound of the dogs. “They moved off to our right and away.” After only ten minutes or so, the bugles turned to barks. “They’re on him, Massa Ethan. It’s another boar. I can tell by hiz grunts. And he’s a big one. They’re over by the swamp.”
The sound was coming from the general direction of where Rachel and I had seen Old Bull back in June. “There’s no catch pen over there. Old Zeke, bring the wagon around. You can pick up this one later. Let’s ride!”
I swung up into the saddle and jammed my heels into Pepper’s flanks, and he lunged into motion. Up the ridge we went and down the other side and across the creek once more. I pushed harder than before because of Zeke’s comment about it being a big hog. We came out of the woods and into another cotton field. I cut around, knowing Peyton and Morgan would have plenty to say about me trampling down cash crops had I crossed the field. Once around the field, we jumped another fence and entered the woods and down into a water-filled bottom. It was shallow and had a hard bottom, so I continued on through, it being the most direct route to the dogs.
We topped the next ridge, and my worst fears were realized. The dogs were on Old Bull, and he had one dog down already! Rachel topped the ridge right behind me and immediately recognized Old Bull. Morgan and Zeke were right behind her and looked down at the melee below.
“We got trouble!” exclaimed Zeke.
“Ethan, what are you going to do now?” asked Rachel.
I sighed, because I didn’t want to think about what I was going to have to do. The other times we got on Old Bull, there was a catch pen nearby, and we had fooled him into it twice. I knew that wouldn’t likely happen a third time, besides there was no catch pen near. I either had to shoot him or catch him by hand.
“Trouble, huh,” said Morgan.
“Big trouble,” I replied. “And we have a dog down already.”
“What are you going to do, Ethan?” asked Morgan.
Looking down at Old Bull, I blew a few times, as I steeled myself, then answered in a low voice, “Catch him.” I swung my leg over Pepper’s head and slid out of the saddle to the ground. After I handed the reins to Morgan, I pulled two short ropes from the saddle bag and tucked them under my belt behind my back, one on each side, then tossed two more to Zeke.
“Let the dogs tire him a bit before we go down there, Massa Ethan,” urged Zeke with apprehension in his voice.
Until Zeke said that, Rachel hadn’t realized what I meant by catching him. She looked at me incredulously. “You’re going to flip him like you did that sow, aren’t you? Ethan, are you crazy?”