Buck Wild by Lauren Landish Read Online (FREE)
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With a squeeze of the snips and a twist of my pliers, I finish one more section of fence. Gazing left, then right, I can see just how much I’ve done and just how far I have left to go. The answer is the same as the last time I checked: not enough and too much.
We need this pasture secure before we move the herd over, and that’s happening one way or another by the end of the week. Unfortunately, this fence was totally wrecked last winter, and with everything that’s happened to the family, it’s been put off until the last minute. And it seems that last minute is my new middle name.
I know I need to hurry, but my back needs a break more. This isn’t a sprint, the eight seconds of exhilaration and adrenaline that I’m used to. There are still hours of work left, and if I’m not careful, I’ll end up useless with miles of fence to go. I stand tall to stretch, raising my arms high above me and lifting my face to the bright sun of the June day.
Taking a deep breath, I can feel the sweat rolling down my face, so I pull off my hat and mop a rag across my brow. It’s strange, but in the barely blowing breeze, I can feel my dad’s presence, proud that I’m back here, home on the ranch, doing what he always wanted me to do. In the rush of the creek just on the other side of this rise I’m working on fencing, it almost sounds like he’s chuckling in that way he used to when he knew something would happen even if my brothers and I swore it never would.
His passing is still so new that it sometimes doesn’t feel real. Turning to the refreshing wind at my back, I tuck my rag in my pocket and adjust the Stetson on my head. “So, you’re watching, are you? I know exactly what you’re gonna say, Pops. Fence ain’t gonna fix itself, boy. Back to work. Only way to get done what needs to be done. I know, and I’m gonna get it done.”
Taking one last deep breath, I let the air current guide me back to the next section, ready to roll for another few hours. It’s been hours already, or maybe minutes. Shit, it’s hard to tell when the work is this repetitive. All I know is that I’m in that eternity between my quickly eaten lunch and sunset when I hear hoofbeats coming.
I don’t even have to look to know it’s my older brother. Especially since both of my brothers are older than me and have never let me forget that I’m the baby. But right now, I know it’s my oldest brother, coming to check on me like he always does.
Turning to face Mark, I tug the brim of my hat down to shield my eyes from the sun, which is hanging pretty low in the sky. Ah, hours then, not the minutes I’d feared. I’ve kept up a good pace; the end must be in sight.