I clutched at my Winchester rifle tightly, even though I could make out traces of blood in the deep dark soil which characterized Pine Woods directly at the border between Bastille County and Fallow Falls; it was hard to tell where the wounded deer may have headed.
Lexis barked excitedly after sniffing the ground closely and lunged forward leaving me to scramble after him frantically, and he could get so tenacious about hunting; I had grown to trust Lexis’s instincts when it came down to smells, it was after all his thing; beagles have a great sense of smell.
Over the years in my career as a leisure hunter, it wouldn’t have been quite easy to hit certain game if it were not for Lexis, the dog itself had been a gift from my wife; Caroline who’s consequently and looking forward to some deer stew.
Like most breed of small hounds, Lexi is rather smaller than a foxhound, but quite sharper and very quick – from my research based on most beagles.
“Lexi don’t go too far!” I shouted hurrying after the dog, it was hard to keep up with him, and I found myself cursing under my shortened breath why I hadn’t brought along the leash which I often used in collaring him up because Lexi always found a way of finding things which ought to be left unfound.
About a year when I had gone hunting at the Grand Canyon with Lexi, he had followed the scent of the hare which we had been chasing as usual, it had been a rather rainy day and the whole forest was somewhat muddy, so I had been careful to watch the way I trudged petulantly after him.
“Come here boy, where are you, Lexi?” I screamed at the top of my voice when I had lost sight of him, but it was only lost in the evening breeze which seemed to just swirl around me, then his barking came at me suddenly making me snap out of my silent reverie.
Woof! Woof! Woof! The barking startled me a bit as I hurried towards the direction of where Lexi was; I found myself thinking that he had either discovered the hare which would’ve most likely escaped down a hole or had even seen something inside the hole –perhaps a snake; after all cottonmouths and rattlesnakes were rather common at the Grand Canyon.
By the time I found Lexi; he was busy digging furiously, there had been a hole alright – but it didn’t even look like a rabbit’s hole, and Lexi was deeply engrossed with whatever that could be buried there.
“What have you found this time boy?” I sighed heavily, and I knew better not to stop him because he would not even budge unless I decided to leash and drag him off. I just watched him dig with keen interest which gradually built up into tearful terror.
Lexi paused a bit and looked back to regard me, sniffed the air twice and went back to digging. We must have been there for almost an hour until he finally stopped digging and what I saw in that shallow grave still sends shivers up my stiff spine.
At first I thought it was plastic, but when I probed the decayed skeleton which Lexi had somehow dug up, I soon realized that it was actually not plastic but real bones – human bones which meant that Lexi had just found the remains of a possible covered up homicide, the bile rushed and filled my mouth and I soon found myself sick.
Well, as it actually turned out, it had been a homicide when the sheriff’s office was contacted, and the whole place was secured, in my heart as I ran after my little beagle dog, I was honestly hoping he wouldn’t uncover another set of bones today.
“Lionel, why don’t you put that dog of yours on a leash” Carol always complained whenever Lexi somehow wandered off from the house in search of something, “Always bringing dead mice and stuff” she’d add bitterly.
But I could hardly even do that to Lexi because beagles love freedom and are rather highly intelligent. I soon found Lexi once more standing in front of the deer which was sprawled on the floor, the wound which I had inflicted on it with my Winchester had bled out considerably.
Lexi barked twice again and smiled a bit relieved, he had not found another set of bones but the game which we had toiled for hours to get, I bent down a little and patted his head gently, which made him wag his tail excitedly then I examined the deer.
It was still quite alive but very weak, so I took out my hunting knife and finished up the job which put it out of its misery, then I dragged it all the way back in a sack to the truck which was parked at the glade just before the entrance of Pine Woods, and all the way Lexi was hurrying fast behind me and barking.
I hurled the sack into the back of the truck and allowed Lexi hop into the passenger side of the truck, and we were soon hitting Mile 45 which led back to Bastille County, it had not turned out to be bad after all.
“You did a good job out there today Lexi, and you deserve a large helping of deer meat” I commented smiling at Lexi, but he was soon sniffing the air again, and I could only wonder what it was that had caught his attention again.
“Down boy, stay down Lexi” but he was totally ignoring me, and all I could think of as he panted around the passenger’s side restlessly was that he had probably detected another hidden set of bones lying deep in the forest again.
But somehow I took my mind off it and concentrated on the road with a plate of sizzling deer stew on my mind.