The man hadn’t taken a step closer to Rolen, but his gun was raised in his right hand, flashlight in his left. When Rolen lowered his head he again heard approaching footsteps. They were lighter this time, but it sounded like two pairs of footsteps rather than just one. As it approached, Rolen felt it coming behind his back. He froze – hoping the shadows would envelope him in their darkness. He tried to control his breathing.
Prrrrr. Prrrrr. Prrrrr.
What? A cat?!
Meeooww. Meeooww. It was Dingleberry, the neighborhood wandering feline. Known more for its glazy eye more than its strange name.
Click. The man’s gun was cocked and the beam of his flashlight buzzed the top of Rolen’s head right onto the black and white cat.
“It’s just a cat!” he yelled. “Keep digging!” On command, with no hesitation, all nine men were back digging holes.
Inhaling deeply, Rolen steadied his breathing. Along with its four-foot depth, the hole gave Rolen only three paces forwards, backwards and less than two side-to-side. He wasn’t quite sure how he was going to get himself out.
Feeling around, he found some rocks he could use for leverage. With that and every bit of strength he could muster, Rolen managed to climb out slowly – scraping his chest and belly on protruding rocks in the process. The most difficult part was not making a sound. If a mewing cat drew guns. A spying, nosy kid could certainly fire them.
Covered with dirt head to toe, Rolen lay on his back still breathing heavily staring up at the sky shaking his head questioning why he ever decided to come.
Realizing the most obvious and perhaps safest option was to head back home and forget he ever saw anything, Rolen stood up and faced the direction of home. But before he took a step, one of the men shouted.
“I hit something! I hit something!”
Some men dropped their shovels, others hung onto them as they scurried towards the man who was neck deep in his hole. With their backs towards him, Rolen sprinted towards one of the trucks and rolled underneath it. He instinctively shook his head over his decision, but his doubt grew exponentially when the driver’s side door creaked open and a pair of boots twice the size of his face stepped out.