Night Falls

       Elmer was a type of newspaperman known as a stringer. Stringers didn’t have a regular job with one paper but covered for whatever paper had a need at the time. The two papers he contributed to mostly were The Daily Tribune and The National Register. Elmer enjoyed the freedom that his position gave him and having spent time in the Signal Corps in the Spanish American War, photography and writing fit right in with his ability to meet deadlines and his eye for detail. Elmer also loved words, especially two syllable ones like shotgun,
typewriter, saddlebag, or sidearm, and in both his paid and personal life he tried to give preference to those over other ones.
The Daily Tribune
       He was in an area known as The Barrens, on his way to Rocky Hill, he had just left Russellville after he had received a telegram from one of his editors to proceed to Rocky Hill because reports of the town burning had reached the main office. Urgency aside, he had decided not to try and make the two day trip on one and had made camp next to an old Sycamore tree. Barrens was a good name for this area, about as barren as that group of Nuns at the Mothers of Mercy Mission, and some of those Nuns probably had fine features under their Habits. He had never heard of old Doc Honaker having to go to the Mission on a childbirth call which was probably a good thing because if Henry were to see a Nun naked he possibly would have heart failure on the spot.
      Hardscrabble soil, not much farming going on but for the chicken farm about three miles away that he had enough sense to camp upwind of. While collecting firewood for his campfire, he had spotted Bobcat tracks and decided to tie up his Mare a little more closer to him than usual. 
      The bright spot was that he would pass through Bowling Green with its L&N train yards at Memphis Junction. Normally he would pause there to take photos of the massive Baldwin locomotives on their way to KY Rock.Sometimes he and his mare caught a ride on one of the trains. The other item of interest was that he would pass through Park City and he had every intention of paying his old friend Mae a visit. The visit would a farewell of sorts before he committed himself to Evelyn
Paw print
Elmer's Mare
      Elmer had it heard said that night falls, but on a night like this it seemed to rise up like some dark fist that wanted to extend its fingers before it clutched him from the warm daylight. For some people it brings with it fear, and for others, relief. It is that time of the day when our bodies relax and our minds take uncertain twists and turns.
Fear is what had brought him here. Not a fear of the usual variety, but more like the kind that could shut him down or it could wake him up, a fear of failure. Cut either way it doesn’t like to leave on its own. It’s a lot like finishing that cup of coffee and before you pour the next refill you notice coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup. The first thing you do is try and knock out the loose grounds and when that doesn’t do the job you give it a good rinse, and right now he was in the rinse cycle. Sometimes fear works hand in hand with imagination and comes at you like a sucker punch, other times it hits like a knuckle buster. As weary as his body was and as tired as his mind felt, night had come more like a one-two punch.

      The darkness and the feverish flames fueled his imagination that powered the transmission of fear in his gut. First gear is named anxiety, second foreboding, third distress, and fourth gear was terror. He didn’t even want to think about fifth gear which labeled despair. He had to find out how to shift the mixing machine into reverse before it turned into a conveyor belt  complete with an assembly line of cold rocks , hot sweat, pounding heart, dry mouth, and gonging in the ears like that of a funeral bell that announced your real fear was that of failing.
    A low branch of the sycamore scratched at the dirt as the wind kicked up again and his mare snickered from a few feet away. So much for rest and quiet in the nowhere. The mare had been with him a long time and with her slowing going lame and although he tried not to let her snickers bother him, after all, he had his eye set on an almost new Locomobile that would be his future mode of transportation.


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