Without warning, a crackling sound interrupted the morning stillness on the pine needle path Jim Benet traveled. Jim's sudden action of looking back caused his horse to rear. Retaining his seat he rode forward a few feet and looked all around at the changing trees and red berry bushes. The sound puzzled him. He looked down and to his amazement found two sets of horseshoe tracks.
"They don't look new, boy, maybe a few days old. Somebody must have been here earlier. There are only a few dried tracks and no footprints. Not too much to go on. Whoever came couldn't see Sam's house from here. Maybe this may have been somebody's meeting place. Sure is curious, though."
When he decided to resume his travel to Sam's house, two squirrels jumped in front of him. Jim felt a sigh of relief, thinking the sound may have come from them.
Jim could see Sam's small wooden house in the distance through the pines. He sat taller in the saddle, easing the stress he felt in his back and muscular frame. He shrugged his broad shoulders and thought about seeing the men he needed to help him in his cause.