“Y’all can’t hide from me, Indian” a three year old Hadley called out into the backyard, a sheriff badge gleaming proudly on his chest.
I grinned from my hiding place. He’d never find me there. I’d been using it as a hiding spot ever since he was old enough to play Cowboys and Indians and he still hadn’t figured it out. Granted it usually earned me a few scratches since I used to hide under Mom’s giant rose bush and in my rush to capture Hadley, I usually forgot about the thorns.
“Where are ye, ye yeller-bellied – ah!” Hadley cried as I sprang out of my hiding place, pinning him to the ground.
“Do you give up?” I asked, my toy knife pointed at his throat.
“Never!” he giggled, rolling out from beneath me.
I pretended to shoot arrows at him and he leapt on his imaginary horse, firing his gun at me as I chased after him. I dodged the bullets like my life depended on it, falling to the ground as one hit me in the stomach. Hadley giggled, glee written on his young face at the thought of winning the game for once. I smirked as he leant over me, admiring his kill. I pulled him down on top of me, rolling us over and slicing his throat. In the last few moments of his life, he raised his gun and fired a bullet straight into my chest. I fell back, my head drooping to the side as I died.
“You always win” Hadley sulked, sitting up and crossing his arms.
“I didn’t win that time” I protested, the dry grass prickling against my bare back.
“You always get to be the Indian”
“That’s because you make a good cowboy” And because I stand a better chance of winning that way, Hadley my dear.
He pouted but I could tell he was grinning inside, his three year old soul glowing with pride. I pulled myself up off the ground, lifting Hadley up and carrying him back inside the house for some ice cream. Being tall for my age and Hadley being short for his, his naked feet barely even touched the ground as I carried him, the tips of the longer blades of grass tickling his toes.