This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!
No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….
Rattlesnake Falls Book 1
“Shelley. Hey. Time to wake up.”
Something nudged her thigh, and reluctantly she allowed herself to be pulled back to the present, but it still felt like a dream. Blinking her eyes until they would open all the way, she sat up and yawned. The road had turned to gravel, though the truck moved over it much more smoothly than her car had the day before.
“How long did I sleep?” She stowed the pillow back behind the seat and smoothed her hair as well as she could with her hands.
Dillon shrugged. “Long enough for us to be getting close to the spot where your tire blew. I can reach your car, if there are still things you need. It’s not going anywhere until a tow-truck can get out here. Andy, the guy who owns the garage in Rattlesnake Falls said he’d be out sometime later today or tomorrow.”
Shelley shook her head, not wanting to slow down for anything. “I’ve got my bag — thanks to you. Anything else can wait.”
Dillon nodded, and then pointed to her right. “There’s your car. Slid broadside right into those trees — you’re lucky the passenger side hit instead of the driver’s side.”
Shelley stared at the mangled mess as they drove by. It seemed so surreal, like it wasn’t even her car, but something tragic that had happened to someone else.
And now she was sitting here with someone who was still practically a stranger, going up into the mountains to rescue her cousin who was lost in the woods with another guy who was practically a stranger, on the stranger’s home turf.
If she’d been watching a horror movie with this plot, she’d have already left to avoid watching the whole killing-and-never-finding-their bodies scenario.
Considering she was living it, she had no choice but to keep moving forward. With any luck, it wouldn’t turn out to be a bloodbath.
The trees were getting denser and the road was climbing in front of them. Shelley felt like they were driving right into the mountain.
“So how does one go about buying a mountain resort?” she asked, leaning as far forward as she could to peer out the windshield at the thickening canopy above.
Dillon shrugged. “Knowing the right people helps.” The corner of his mouth turned up in a slight smirk. “And you may not have been completely wrong in your assessment the other night. I dabbled in a little IT work right out of college. In the bigger cities, it pays better than anything we could find around here. Spent a few years socking money away, came home, bought the camp.”
She nodded. “So you always knew that’s what you wanted to do though. Run the camp, I mean.”
“Yep. I never wanted to be stuck working in an office building somewhere looking at other office buildings. I always wanted to be outside, be close to nature and away from lots of other people. So I did as much time as I had to, and escaped.”
“I take it you knew the people who owned it before?”
He nodded. “Josie and Daniel Humbart. The camp started out as their homestead, and I spent a few weeks every summer up here with them when I was a kid. They always said that’s what gave them the idea to turn the place into a camp. So they could take more derelicts like me off their parent’s hands for a week or two every summer.” He turned to grin at her, and she could see the mischievous boy he’d been in those eyes and that knowing smile.
“Well that seems like an incredibly nice thing to do. I’m sure they were happy to pass it along to someone who would take care of it and keep it going.”
He nodded, eyes back on the road. “They lived up there with me for the first two years, showing me the ropes and making sure I could do okay with it. It was a sad day when those two took off. But we all knew it was coming.”
Shelley frowned. “They just packed up and left? Where did they go?”
“No one knows. They didn’t take anything with ‘em, not even a vehicle. Just stole away in the middle of the night and no one ever saw ‘em again.”
“Wow.” Shelley shook her head, watching as the road finally flatted out, and a huge green meadow full of green grass and white, purple and yellow wildflowers spread out in front of them, more mountains framing three sides. It was like driving through a gate into heaven, she thought, momentarily speechless.
“It is pretty spectacular, isn’t it?” Dillon pointed at something to their left and off in the distance. “That’s the main building right out there. There are small cabins up where the mountain swells, a kitchen and dining hall, a chapel, and an activities shed where we keep equipment.”
They were almost to the turnoff, and Shelley saw emergency vehicles parked haphazardly between buildings. As Dillon turned in, a uniformed officer stepped out of a car sitting just off the road.
Dillon pulled his wallet out of his pocket and set it on the seat before he brought the truck to a stop.
“Here we go,” he said, rolling down the window.
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 13!
Like this post? Support your author (Amazon links):