Palo Duro Panic
Coyote Gets Caught
Cody Coyote was the oldest, wisest coyote in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Years of experience had made him a well-qualified teacher in the ways of the coyote,of nature, of other animals. It was
Cody’s goal to make sure every pup born into his den could use its own good sense before it went out to face the canyon by itself.
In a secluded cave under the canyon wall, old Cody gathered the newest pack of young coyotes around him. On this particular late afternoon in March, it was gloomily dark, bitingly cold, and very windy. Cody had to speak up loudly to be heard over the howling of the wind outside the cave.
“It smells like snow! Stick your noses out into the wind and feel the cold and the damp. Feel the direction of the wind. That’s what snow smells like. It’ll be on the ground before the afternoon’s over. Now, I know how you like to jump and play while you’re hunting. And I know how some of you like to run away from the rest of the pack. But, for tonight, don’t ever go off on your own. When the weather is bad, y’all have to be more careful. Snow can make the rocks very dangerous. And where there’s snow, there’s usually ice. And where there’s ice, it’s slippery! I don’t want any of you hurt. So, be careful and be aware of your surroundings.”
Several of the pups had already started playing and weren’t listening at all. Casey Coyote stood up. “Y’all settle down now and listen to your elder.” Casey was a little older than the pups and
sometimes he acted more important than he was. “Now, listen up!”
Casey was Cody’s grandson and he made the older coyote grin a bit. Cody remembered how he used to act important, too. He’d get a bit bossy with the little ones. Then those little ones would grow up, and Cody would have to deal with them being as big as he was! Casey would learn that lesson, too.
Then Cody repeated what he’d just said, “Stay together, two or three of you, and be careful. Good hunting. I’ll see y’all later.”
The pups ran off into the canyon, each of them thinking of rabbit, squirrel, or mouse for dinner.
Cody Coyote got up from the hard rocks and wondered why he’d ever sat down. Seemed like old age was catching up to him. Oh, well, that was Nature’s way. Nothing he could do about it. He set out to hunt his dinner. He set out alone. The snow was already an inch deep on the ground and it was still coming down. From the looks of the clouds, it would probably snow heavily all night.
As he walked along the rim of the canyon, his sharp eyes saw movement just off the path. Rabbit! A big old jackrabbit for his supper. Cody crouched for a jump. Just as he started to spring forward, his front paw slipped out from under him and he went sprawling forward on his chest. He thought he’d stop sliding right there, but…Cody was wrong. As he slid, he dislodged a very large, very
slippery sandstone rock. The rock was covered with snow and ice and once it started rolling, nothing was going to stop it. Cody and that rock and hundreds of small stones went skidding along, just to the very edge of the mesa.
Then, thankfully, Cody stopped rolling, and he lay panting for breath. He could see over the edge. It was long way down to the canyon floor! Cody wondered why he’d stopped rolling and
skidding where he did. Oh, no! That sandstone rock had also stopped rolling and skidding, slipping and sliding, too… stopped right on top of Cody’s left hind leg.
Cody could not move. He was trapped.
So, there’s your sample of the first book. There are two other books that will be published soon. Meantime, please go to amazon.com, search for Laynie King, or Moochie Mockingbird, or Palo Duro Panic. Enjoy! And tell your friends