Sweet Saturday Sample 8/4

Welcome everyone. Here’s the Sweet Saturday Sample: #SweetSat

Tortugus Rising by Benjamin Wallace

Taken from
Tortugas Rising

They fought the mud and mire for fifty yards, through turns and twists, before they came to a rocky slope that afforded them enough of a grade to escape the trench. Steve gripped the loose dirt in his hands and pulled himself towards the top of the wall.

“Steve!” Paul’s whisper was harsh. “Let me go first.”
“Quiet.”
“I’m armed.”
“Give me the gun then.”

Paul was going to argue but couldn’t make a point. It would only cause unnecessary noise if Steve climbed back into the water to let him take the lead. He handed over the gun and tried to relax his fingers. They ached in protest at the absence of the weapon.

Bennett climbed. He tested the pressure of each foothold on the loose rocks, slipping many times as he inched higher. Within a few moments he crested the wall and peered through the grassy reeds at the top.

Then, just as cautiously, he lowered himself back down.

The astounded look on his face caused Paul concern. “Are they there?”

Steve shook his head in response. He did not even look at Paul.

“What?” Paul was getting impatient. If a man with a gun was not waiting at the top of the hill, why had his friend climbed back down? “What is it?”

Steve’s voice belayed his disbelief. “It’s a rhino.”

“A what?”
“A rhino.”
“What are you… ?”
“A rhino, Paul. Great big, gray with a horn that could pierce a truck.”

Paul looked at the crest of the wall trying to imagine what his friend had seen. “That just doesn’t make any sense.”

Steve’s face lit up, “We’re on the wildlife preserve.”

“The what?”
“It was in the brochure.”
“I never read the brochure.”
“Well you should have read it.”
“Reading makes my lips tired.”
“Well there were pictures.” Steve snapped quietly. “And one of them was of a rhino.”

“I’ll read it when we get back, okay? Are we talking tigers here? Because the rule with tigers is never get out of the boat. And I am not getting back on the boat.”

“No. I don’t remember tigers. Lions, I think. Elephants, and, obviously, rhinos.”

Paul looked at his empty hand. “Give me the gun.”

“You’re not going to shoot the rhino.”
“I’m not going to shoot the rhino.” Paul grabbed for the pistol.

“You’d just upset it.”
“I’m not going to shoot the rhino.”

Steve crept back up the top of the slope and peered over. He turned back to Paul and whispered down. “Do rhinos sleep standing up?”

“Let me check my field guide. I don’t know? Do I look like Bindy friggin’ Irwin?”

“I think they might be asleep.”
“You’re not thinking about tipping them, are you?”

Paul began to climb the hill. Soil fell from his footsteps and he slid several times before reaching the top. Steve was right; three rhinos stood twenty feet from the ravine.

“What are you thinking?” Paul asked.

“These ravines are probably to keep the animals separated. And I would much rather be in an exhibit with a sleeping rhino than with a prowling lion. Because, they’re nocturnal right?”

“Why do you keep assuming I know stuff?”
“I have no idea. C’mon.”

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Thanks for reading
– ben

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4 comments

  1. I’d rather be with the rhinos myself.

  2. Whew! That’s a lot of intensity there. Great job!

  3. Maybe they should try rhino tipping. Love the story

  4. Thanks, all. I appreciate it. If you haven’t please download the book. It’s still free today.

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