The ranch was huge, but by no means the largest, it was in an area populated by such things, the vast plains inhabited by massive herds of cattle. Herds that were now being preyed upon. It hung across the ranch like a shadow, no one knew who it was, where the cattle were going, and worse, no one had actually seen the rustlers at all. But it wasn't just this one ranch, it was happening on the ranches around it, the thieves clearly knew what they were doing, they had an eye for the best stock and a couple of the ranches prime mares had already disappeared. But that was nothing to the disappearance of three Bulls from their pens, it was a loss the ranch couldn't easily pay off, not only had Mr Robertson started going out with his shotgun, most of the other ranchers had started taking precautions as well. He knew Mike had started taking his revolver out with him, a massive beast of a pistol that he'd soon put down a maddened bull in one shot.
Alastair had been on the ranch for a while now, it was what he knew, and he was good at it, and, although he would never admit it, he had a crush on Mr Robertson's daughter. He'd always liked her, but never really paid much attention, now, she was eighteen and it was like he'd had his eyes shut for the last three years, the gangly, awkward fifteen year old he remembered had turned into a beautiful young woman. Slim, tanned, blonde of hair and blue of eye. Tammi was stunning, and when she was in the room he found it hard to keep his eyes off her.
Like Tammi had just done, I took my plate to the sink, touched my forelock to Mr Robertson and headed out into the yard. I didn't really know why I was out here. To follow Tammi? That was stupid, I can't fool around with his bosses daughter, he'd have my hide, and then I'd be out of a job. It was entirely likely I wouldn't get another as a rancher, certainly not in the area, I'd have to go a long way to find another job. I dismissed the thought, I didn't know where she'd gone anyway, probably the barn, that was where she usually went right about now.
It couldn't hurt, I made my way over to the barn, it'd be good just to talk to her. I wandered into the barn, puzzled to find her not there. The horses were restless though, far more than they should be, and that prompted my curiousity. "Tammi, are you in here?"