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rabbits, so Little Bird carried only blunt-tipped arrows to stun and Emmett steel-jacketed bullets to pierce, eliminating the possibility of mangling the meat of the animals with soft, hollow-point shells or thick, razor-edged arrows.

The sun was still low in its dawn, and the air was still chilly and wet with the last moments of night, when Emmett and Little Bird came upon the bunch of snowshoes, nibbling on the underside of a large berry bush right where they knew they would be at that early time of the day. As the rabbits continued eating their morning meal, Little Bird slipped next to a birch tree to break the outline of his figure, and Emmett followed his comrade's example, halving the shape of his image behind the thin, moist trunk of a young sapling, while slowly raising his rifle to his shoulder and bracing his left forearm against the rough bark to fasten his leverage and steady his aim. Little Bird had already eased an arrow from his pouch and stood poised with the shaft resting across his bow and the two fingers of his right hand pinching it in position with the still-relaxed string.

There were three rabbits, and the men were on both sides of them with Emmett closest to a pair and l,ittle Bird not more than ten yards from the pudgiest. Emmett had a bullet already in thc chamber, and a five-shot clip. He would hit the brace nearest him while Little Bird stunned the outsized one who was eating alone. Emmett kept both eyes open as he took bead on the tip of the nose of the snowshoe farthest from him, and watched Little Bird pull back his bowstring with one swift, silent motion. Emmett began to squeeze his trigger when he saw the blunt arrowhead nearing the shaft of his Indian brother's bow and returned his attention solely to his target.

The arrow and bullet shot through the air simultaneously with the crack report of the rifle overwhelming the clean sound of the snapped string--and the sweet whistle of the feathered arrow's flight was lost in the resounding echo of the gun blast. Emmett rapidly ejected the casing of the spent shell and bolted a fresh round into his chamber, and Little Bird unsheathed another arrow and quickly placed it flat across his bow, but Emmett's bullet tore into the bone above the third rabbit's twitching nose before Little Bird pulled taut his string. His unsheathed arrow did not go unused, however, because Little Bird's alert black eyes caught sight of another snowshoe leaping from beneath a bush some twenty yards away toward the protective cover of a large patch of underbrush. Emmett also saw the rabbit racin~ frantically, and he bolted another [end page 370]


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