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.

continued …