The July 2003 Challenge (The Mother Nature Challenge): offered by TwylaJane
He stood beneath the juniper tree, the only cover in the Arizona desert. Oh, mind you there were others; problem was that none of them afforded much cover. The sudden thunderstorm that hit several hours ago; although, not a strange occurrence during this time of year, could be damn inconvenient if caught out in the open.
Ezra sighed for what seem the tenth or was it the hundredth time since the rain had come pouring down. He hated getting wet, now Ezra loved taking baths, or even taking a dip in a refreshing pool during the summertime. But getting caught out in the rain was another matter all together.
He hated the clingy feel of his cloths when wet, or his damp hair when wet, and lets not mention his soggy shoes when wet. No, he just hated being wet.
But all that didn’t compare to how he felt right now. He only recently discovered that his whole body could change. By some mystical happenstance Ezra was able to shift into another form, the form of what can only be described as a werewolf. Now, this transformation came in real handy at times. This was one of those times that it didn’t.
Kojay, The Chief of one of the neighboring Indian Tribes, had suggested as part of the southerners training he should commune with nature. This was so Ezra could learn to use all his senses in wolf form as well as human form. The training would give the southerner an edge in understanding his senses in either form. This type of exercise would, Kojay hoped, help merge his senses, so he wouldn’t always have to be in wolf form to take advantage of his heighten abilities.
Vin, of course, was all for it. That is until Kojay explained by communing with nature meant Ezra had to do it alone. Then the Texan wasn’t all that happy.
* * * * * * *
Chris turn over the engine of there rented land rover, a vehicle that was supposed to be made for bad weather. Now the engine was flooded and both he and Vin were stuck in mud. Chris was not a happy man.
Vin would take quick glances over at his best friend and chuckle every few minutes, which happen to coincide with each colorful curse uttered by Chris.
Chris leaned back in his seat, and then heard the Texan’s laugh again. Turing to glare at his friend; and having no effect, he asked. “What’s so funny?”
Vin smiled not put off by the famous Larabee glare. “Thought you didn’t say more than three words a day. I’ve been counting them curses, there more than three.” He stated showing off his lop sided grin.
“You know; I hate being stuck out in the middle of no where, with a smart ass,” still glaring at his friend as he spoke.
“Now that was diffidently more than three words.” He continued with his most innocent look.
Chris just shook his head, “shut up.” Which only made the Texan laugh again. Chris turned the key, this time the engine latched. “About damn time.” Now getting out of the mud was another matter. Well one down two to go.
* * * * * * *
Ezra wanted to shake his body, hoping to dislodge the wetness from his fur, but what good would that do, he’d be soak all over again… He sighed, wishing he were some place warm, suddenly he sneeze, ‘good lord will this disaster never end,' sighing once again.
* * * * * * *
Vin got out of the vehicle, his boots, instantly sunk into the thick mud. He now understood why Ezra always complained about situations like this; he pulled his boot out of the mud and shook it out. But only a few loose particles of the wet soil seem to fall. The rest stayed on, not that it mattered as he put his boot back in the foul substance, he chuckled to himself thinking on the word (substance,) now that's a word Ezra would have used. He smirked to him self.
Vin walked to the back of the jeep with the idea that by pushing the vehicle from behind would help get them out of the ditch.
After a few minutes, all he managed to do was have mud splatter all over his jeans, shirt and face. This wasn’t working.
Chris open the side door of the jeep and shouted, “any luck?” There was just a hint of amusement behind his tone, which the Texan picked up on.
Vin growled at the tone, “why don’t you get your ass out here and help?” He yelled back.
Chris chuckled as he replied, “get back in hear.”
Vin grumbled; they really needed to get out of here and look for Ezra, no telling in what condition they would find him. Damn wish you were hear Ez, could use your strength to get us out of this hole, Vin thought as he made his way back to the jeep.
* * * * * * *
Meanwhile, several miles away, Ezra was still wondering how he was going to get out of the rain, but more importantly when was it going to stop.
He had been sitting under the Juniper tree now for over three hours. Ezra could feel the wetness down to his skin. The very thought of that made him shiver and to top that off he sneezed again.
Ezra looked around, using all his skinwalker senses, to pick up any strange vibes as Mr. Wilmington was opt to saying. He was hoping to get a line on Chris and Vin. He was sure they were out here somewhere.
The constant down pour of the rain was hampering his vision. He couldn’t take it any more, he moved to all four legs and with one jolt managed to shake off most of the water from his fur, but that sensation didn’t last as the rain hit him once again. It was a desperate move he would admit if asked, but damnit he hated being wet. And out of despair he howled.
The sound was heard even above the downpour. The animals in the surrounding area popped their heads from their underground holes, or caves or where ever else the critters of the desert sought shelter and searched for the blood-curling howl.
Chris and Vin were still contemplating their situation, when the Texan touched Chris’ arm, “you hear that?” Looking over at his friend as he asked.
Chris looked at Vin in confusion and then listened; just above the noise of the rainstorm he could hear a pitiful sound from either an injured or dying animal.
“Yeah, what is it?”
Vin paused listening again, “damn, its Ezra.” He stated with shock.
“What?” He too listened again, no way, he thought. “That sounds like an animal dying. You sure?”
He nodded, “oh, I’m sure. And by the sound he’s one piss off beast.” He said, a smile appearing on his face, just imagining the poor southerners disposition. He sure hates being wet, he thought.
“You think that’s funny?” Chris was astonished with his friend’s wry sense of humor. A piss off Ezra was nothing to laugh about.
“I should have known this would happen,” Vin said leaving the statement unfinished.
“So what do we do? We’re stuck here in the mud and Ezra’s out there pissed, any ideas?” Chris just wanted this all to be over with.
Vin grin, “honk the horn.” He said.
“Cowboy, honk the horn.” He said again, when nothing happen, he took the initiative and started honking the horn.
“Okay, okay… but what good is it going to do, I don’t think Ez will hear it.” Chris answered as he started honking the horn of the jeep.
The whole area was over cast, it was one of those days that you’d hope to stay in bed for, maybe sipping hot coffee or cocoa, not stuck out in the middle of no where.
Vin tried looking through all the miserable weather, when he spotted movement coming right for them. “Oh shit, Chris hang-on.” As he grip the door handle and brace himself.
Chris not understanding asked, “what?” For the third time, wondering if Vin was right about only saying three words a day, when suddenly the jeep was hit. “Jesus,” He gasped as he hit his head on the window.
“Okay, put the car in neutral and hang-on.”
Chris growled, but this time he didn’t question just did as told. With car in neural the vehicle finally started moving forward and they were out of the ditch.
“Okay put her in gear and keep going but slow, we should reach the interstate just up ahead.”
“Okay, but what’s going on?” He knew he shouldn’t ask, but he couldn’t help it.
“Three guesses.” Was all Vin said?
“Never mind, how’s he look?”
Chris kept his eyes on the road in front, while Vin turnaround to see if he could make out their friend.
“Wet, very wet.”
Chris groaned, wondering what the interiors cleaning fee, would be when they returned the rental. They’d probably asked how many dogs were they hauling.
Just before they reached the road, the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was as though nothing had happen.
Ezra stopped, as they reached the interstate. The Texan jumped out and took one look at the beast and just shook his head. Damn he looks bad, he thought.
Ezra changed from skinwalker back to his human form; naked and shivering he entered the back seat. Chris sighed in relief at the southerner’s thoughtfulness.
Vin jumped right behind him, grabbing every blanket from the back.
You could hear the southerner’s teeth chattering; Vin started rubbing Ezra’s shivering body with the ruff blanket using them as a towel. He pulled two more placing one over his shoulders and another over his head. At this point Ezra didn’t mind how ruff the blankets were just glad to be out of the rain and warm. He sneezed.
“Ah hell, we got ta git you back to town, and have Rain look you over.” Vin stated, still drying his friend.
With those words said, Chris turned the wheel and headed back to the reservation.
“Can we just go home?” Ezra pleaded hoping to change their minds.
“Don’t think so, you don’t sound so good.”
“Well you wouldn’t sound so good, if you’d been sitting out in the rain for the last few hours.” Ezra stated.
“Well why the hell didn’t you seek cover?” Vin asked.
“I did, I stayed underneath a juniper tree.” He answered.
Vin stared at his friend, then started laughing picturing the fussy southerner under the tree, which gave really no cover, sitting there soaking wet.
Ezra glared at him, not happy with the Texan’s attitude, after a moment, he couldn’t help it any more, he started laughing too, just imaging what was going through his friends mind.
Chris up front just shook his head; leave it to the dynamic duel to see the humor in what had to be a disastrous afternoon.