Towards the end of February, Injun Sam and his brother started walking into the mountains. No one expected to see them again anytime soon, least of all their families, but it was something they had talked about for years, and nothing, and no one, was gonna stop them.
Sam’s brother, Injun Joe, had been the one who’d pushed for them going so soon. Sam had wanted to wait until the spring, but Joe said that ‘there weren’t nothing to keep them in that little town’ and Sam wasn’t one to argue.
Sam had been told a story years before by his uncle Charlie, (who had sworn on a bunch of bibles) that there had been strange lights seen in the mountains in the dark winter days of 1947.
Sam had told Joe, and Joe, being Joe, had started searching the libraries for any other stories about the lights. There had been some newspaper reports but nothing real specific - leastways, nothing good enough to satisfy Joe and his cynical ideas.
So Joe started putting his spare cents and pennies into a big jar in order to save for the day when they would both walk into the mountains. He and Sam had to work seven days a week just to keep food on their families’ tables and a roof over all their heads. So if they intended to take time off, to go looking for ‘little green men,’ then they’d better make sure that there would be food for the little ‘uns, while they were away. Leastways that’s the way their wives put it to them.
Sam had always been good with money and had made sure that his family had sufficient in the bank, in case anything untoward should happen to him.
The boys had said their farewells and were half way up Sycamore Gulley by the end of their first day. To be real honest, neither was that sure where to look - for whatever it was they were looking for – just that the lights had been seen over Brownskin Canyon and probably the Wild Hittock hills beyond.
It took them more than two weeks to get into the mountains, proper. And in those two weeks, Sam and Joe had talked about their lives, and their families, and had come to realise that as brothers, they were probably closer than most.
They lived off the little food they had brought with them, and Sam, being a trapper by trade, kept them fed in any wild animals that had the misfortune to pass by the boys. Joe was the cook and always managed to rustle up a decent meal at the end of each day.
In early March, the snows started to melt and the rivers began to rise. The boys knew this rhythm of nature like it was a background heartbeat which followed their lives.
By the Friday of the second week of that month, they found themselves camped above Brownskin. They sat that night wondering what they might find the next morning in the gulley below – and as they did so, they ate the heartiest meal washed down with a small bottle of bourbon that Sam had been keeping ‘for just such an occasion’.
It was probably true to say that apart from the odd beast, no man had intentionally walked through Brownskin Canyon for many a good year. The way was difficult, as it meant always cutting and slashing at the trees and branches – but the boys managed it, and all in good time.
The sun was still sitting pretty low in the sky when they found what it was that they were looking for. The boys could smell it long before they had seen it. It was a small burnt-black ball that sat between the snow and grass.
“I reckon it’s a meteor,” said Sam.
“Like you would know,” replied Joe.
Joe lunged for the ball and Sam told his kid brother to be careful, but Sam was way too excited to heed any warnings. He just picked up the ball and the strange thing was, it didn’t feel as if it had any weight.
“Weird that,” was Sam’s feeling on the subject.
“Let me,” pleaded Sam and so Joe passed it over.
“I sees what you mean,” said Sam.
“Givvy here,” said Joe grabbing the ball from Sam and in one swift move, Joe threw the ball on to the ground and whacked it with the knife he’d been using to hack at the trees.
The boys were never seen by their families again. How do I know this, you’re probably asking yourself?
‘Cause I’m one of the brothers and I ain’t telling you where I’m writing this from. I ain’t allowed.