Caspian "Cas" Gray
A pair of golden brown eyes scanned the forestry from just above the brown fence. A black horse rested beside Caspian Gray, and a tattooed arm rested on the shotgun hanging at his side, and the other arm leaned steadily on the fence. Behind the horse and Caspian were rolling fields of corn that rose, and fell with the landscape. The horses leash was tied to the post. Steadily the massive animal’s feet hoofed at the grassy ground beneath it. A tan cowboy hat rested on Cas’s head, his chest free of clothing, and a pair of loose boot cut Levi’s hung at his waist with a deep brown belt keeping them up. Dirt was splattered across Cas’s toned chest, steady bulks of dried mud had found its way to his arms, and face.
For the last two weeks the corn, and cattle had been being terrorized by a small group of coyotes and Cas had made it a point to stand post for at least a short time to see if he could find the culprit. All that the large area of forest had accomplished was previous memories he wasn’t fond of. As a young boy he and his best friend had always snuck out to just the edge of the forest, and moved around twigs, logs, and rocks to find critters they could play with. Caspian remembered how she had made him promise not to tell the kids at school that she liked to play with the bugs. While that little conversation between the awkward pair had brought a crooked smile to his face, it was quickly torn away.
The shot gun was tossed from one hand to the other, and the tattooed right arm latched onto the wood, as he hoisted himself over the wooden fence. Midnight, the horse, let out an uneasy huff, in response to his masters reaction. Caspian ran forward, the movement in the wooded space catching his attention. A tuft of fur and the movement in the undergrowth had been spotted, that alone had gotten Cas’s attention. So he bolted forward as quickly as his legs would propel him. The shotgun again moved from his left hand to his right. Brushing past a number of plants and tree branched he slipped into the muck of the greenery. When he spotted another motion of movement, he began again running in that direction. Branches ran across his bare chest, undergrowth missing his skin from the long jeans and high cowboy boots, but the branches scratched at his upper bodies skin, causing small spasms of pain but they were momentarily ignored as he pursued the assumed offender.
Huffing heavily Caspian was stopped by the small fur ball stopping to stare at him. An annoyed sigh left his lips, as he laid eyes on the baby deer, causing it to retreat once more in the opposite direction. Shaking his head in annoyance he glanced down at his bare arms and chest, noticing only then the scratches which littered and burned his skin. Turning on his feet is when he was faced with the very thing he had been looking for – a medium sized coyote standing about as high as his knee. The animal’s hair was in all directions, tufts napped, and a crimson and brow color around its snout and feet. Without hesitation Caspian lifted his shotgun directed at the creature, and for some reason an image popped in there causing him not to pull the trigger immediately.
Maybe in part due to the woods, or maybe in part due to his inability to let the past go – but it was of her, Hannah. The way her dark hair fell over her face, she was taller than him too, a foreign beauty of sorts just like the deer. Then there was him a short pimple faced kid, the unnatural of the two, just like the damn coyote in front of him. The animal lurched forward its eyes intent on untamed curiosity. Bang, and without a second thought, he pulled the trigger, annihilating the outsider just like they had done to him, years ago. They may have appeared the same on the outside, but Caspian knew that the small animal would have tackled him, and chewed his face off if given the chance. Caspian found it morbidly ironic, he was more like the docile deer back then, at least on the inside – too na´ve and confused to see what was coming. While Hannah was just like the coyote on the inside– ready to take him down for her benefit. That was his last thought on it, before he checked the animals pulse to make sure it was dead, and headed out of the woods.
Once back at his horse, he mounted it, and headed for the house. It was nearing dinner time, and if he was late his mom would skin his hide, and he wouldn’t need to worry about the coyotes. A steady pounding of Midnight’s hooves against the ground was heard the entire way home, the dull rise and fall of the animals movements were a comfort for Caspian after riding for so long. His back was arched, and his hands were on the saddle’s nub, as they also barely hung onto the control rope. Midnight was his horse, and he hardly rode other horses, but they had a bond, and Caspian trusted him. So while the horse headed back towards the stables, Cas’s eyes scanned the surroundings, ushering in the workers who hadn’t paid attention to the time.
When the horse was in its pen, Caspian gave it a small bucket of food, and headed in for his own dinner. The screen door creaked as he opened it slowly, he knew he was late, and he knew he wouldn’t hear the end of it – or at least he had thought that. Once he had crept inside he slid off his boots, but there was a strange buzz in the kitchen, an overly chirpy tone coming from his mother.
“Cas? That you? Yer late,” she nearly sung the words, “You’ll never guess what happened to us today. Come wash up quick.”
His mother was exuberant, and on some occasions overbearing. Much like Bill, Cas’s father, Cas had learned to let BettyAnn take the lead on things, and only did they speak up when it was necessary – though this was more so Bill’s forte than Cas’s. Cas was his own man, had his own choices and more often than not he had found himself standing against his mother, even if he hadn’t wanted to be. While she had told him to wash up, he planned to at least his hands – he had been out working all day and was starving. With a few quick strides across the gap leading into the kitchen, Caspian darted for the sink - too hungry to consider looking around the room. On more than a few occasions he and his father had attended dinner shirtless, and it had never been an issue, as it never was for men. Though as soon as his arms and hands were clean and he turned around he realized he should have pieced together his mothers chirpy tone, and comment to something bigger.... Caspian's mouth didn't drop, but his entire body tensed up as his amber eyes took in her vibrant blue eyes, tanned skin, and flowing auburn hair. Nothing could have prepared him for her being there.