I followed Jake to his house. I sat on a bench facing the bird half way between where I sat and the lake. I hoped his neck was long enough to see the lake.
I thought back. I wondered if the bird was aware of my presence down in the swale when we stared into each others eyes. I thought we had made a connection but maybe I was imagining things.
I heard Jake approach, I looked up. The barrel of the shotgun pointed skyward. Jake swung it down so it pointed at the ground, unlocked it, jerked upward and cracked it open.
I looked into the black hole of the barrel waiting to be loaded with the fat, red shotgun shell. The shell made a thunking sound when it dropped into the gun barrell.
Jake snapped the the barrel shut and locked it.
The barrel moved upward disappearing from my field of vision.
I continued to stare at the bird. It’s head feathers ruffled in the breeze. I remembered seeing them ruffle back in the swale. Maybe it was waving good bye. Things are funny that way.
The air stopped moving. I couldn’t hear a sound. I couldn’t move. I held my breath. It seemed like time had stopped. All I heard was deadly silence.
The explosion almost knocked me off the bench!
At the precise moment the explosion rocked me I saw one of the most amazing sights I had ever seen in my life.