Quatre sat back on his heels, wiping a forearm over his brow. The lamb bleated softly, and he adjusted the bottle, giving the little one a caress around the ears. It was one of three whose mother had perished in the fire. The bottle finished, he pushed the lamb back, urging it to join the others and hoped they’d find a surrogate soon.
The sun was low on the horizon when he left the corral. He latched the gate behind him, and brushed at his dungarees as he walked. The wind picked up and blew a dust devil across his path. He squinted his eyes and watched it dance out into the open field and followed behind slowly.
At the old withered tree, he stopped and leaned against it, watching the sun dip behind the hills. Two years, and he still looked for his truck, still listened for the call of his name. Absently, he rubbed his chest, and wondered.
The row had been one they’d had more than once. And as he watched his truck disappear in a cloud of dust, Quatre knew he’d be back. Two months later, it was shearing time when he heard one of the hands talking about him. About how he’d been seen down to the coast, in some traveling show. He hadn’t even felt it when the shears sliced through part of a finger. It didn’t seem to matter much any more.
He turned from the purple sky and headed for the house.