Cherokee Sunrise
Margot Comstock
“Welcome, stranger.”

I woke instantly, bolted upright, hand going for my gun. And as quickly dropped it.

A tall woman stood silhouetted in the barn doorway. She had no weapon, unless you were to count the large dog at her side. Both were ebony-haired, big-boned, and strong-looking; and both were beautiful.

She gave me time to collect myself, but I think I was already in love.

“I expect you’d like some breakfast. Freshen up at the well then come inside.” Equally graceful, woman and dog turned as one and disappeared.

The smell of bacon and hotcakes lead me to the kitchen door. The woman greeted me with a mug of hot, strong coffee.

“Looking for farm work, are you?” she guessed.

“Actually, I just left the army. Since Cuba, it’s fighting Indians. I see it, they’re Americans too; soon’s I could, I mustered out.”

She smiled and the sun grew brighter. “Well, thank you,” she said. She looked at the dog; he sat right up and, I swear, he smiled too.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I wondered if I could stay here forever.

Just then, the dog yawned loudly. Finishing, he stared at me, then glanced at her, and lazily dropped his huge head to rest against her foot. She reached down and stroked his silken hair. She smiled at him.

I left soon, well fed, heart full, and a little sad. There was no place for me there; but I’d had a glimpse of true love.

First published: August, 2013
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