“Do you have to go? Can I go? You really need more rest.” The bruises on his face stood out vividly and I imagined his side was not much better from what the hospital had told me.
“Don’t fuss, Jess. I’ll be alright and you can’t count the sheep for me.”
His smile kept the words from stinging and I answered, lightly, “I think I can count. What makes you think I can’t?”
“Well, come along then and help.”
Booted up we went out in the yard and through a gate into the pasture where the sheep had gone earlier in the morning. Their wool was covered in most cases with a sort of poncho for sheep called a sheep coat, a fact I had not paid attention in the morning. Now it became an issue. Duncan was looking for some black sheep and all the sheep wore coats of the same color. Further, some sheep had black feet or partial black faces/masks. The sheep were all around the pasture. There wasn’t much except tall grass in the pasture but the fence line had a few bushes growing on it and some of the sheep were lying down in thick grass. We counted and recounted. Total numbers and black sheep numbers and compared our numbers. And at least two sheep were missing.
Duncan got a little stubborn about looking around, wanting to check the upper pasture and maybe other places, and I tried not to worry. After all what did I really know about how tough he was? Nine-year olds aren’t too bright about that and Annalise, his wife, was dead. It was, or would have been, a very beautiful day with just a little chill still in the air. The sun was shining and the rain from Sunday night had dried. The various fields were full of grass and other spicy smelling vegetation. Walking through them looking for sheep would have been nice if Duncan hadn’t just been in the hospital and if I had reasonable socks inside my boots. What put a stop to the situation was that my feet were killing me and Duncan finally saw that I was unable to keep up and unwilling to leave him out alone. We went back to the house. Sitting in his chair Duncan made a clear statement. “There are two rams missing. I’m not sure about the lambs but there aren’t any moms hollering.
I said, “I don’t know what to make of this. Did they get out and wander down the road? Surely someone would have brought them back.”
“If they actually got out yes, or if they were hit we’d find them. They wouldn’t really go far without trouble. I’ll have to ask Killian.” He looked at me. “That’s about all I can say at this moment. I’m still trying to understand what happened to me.”