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
“What did the sheriff’s office say?”
Dillon’s hushed voice was the first thing Shelley heard when she came to, and she instinctively turned her head toward him. He was pacing in front of a large window, cell phone to his ear and worry lines creasing his face.
Her throat was dry. She swallowed hard, and then reached for a cup on the bedside table, but only managed to knock it off. Dillon turned, and he smiled, though the worry lines didn’t quite go away.
“Hey — Shelley’s up. I gotta run. I should be back in a few hours though. Have everyone stick close to camp until I get there, okay?”
“What’s wrong?” Shelley managed. Dillon got her cup from the floor, washed it in the sink and filled it with water from a nearby pitcher.
“Let’s start with the good news instead.” He grinned. “The docs say you’re perfectly fine, just took a hard hit to the noggin and a few other parts of your body. They want you to rest for awhile, but the good thing is, you can do that at home. They’ll discharge you in an hour or two, or so they say. I can set up a ride to take you home when you’re done, if you want.”
Shelley took a long pull on her water, and set the cup down. “What’s the bad news? Who were you just talking to?”
“That was Jerry — our foreman at the ranch. He oversees day to day operations when Mike and I aren’t there.”
Her heart nearly stopped right then and there. “Why isn’t Mike there? Did he find Tabby? Are they on their way home? Why isn’t that good news? What aren’t you telling me?”
Dillon sighed deep and crossed his arms over his chest. Leaning one hip against the side of her bed.
“I’m sorry, but they haven’t found her yet. Mike found her trail and went after her, but neither of them have come back.”
He reached out to lay a hand on her arm, but she pulled away.
“We have to go — we have to get out there and find them. They could be hurt or stuck somewhere! How fast can you get us to your camp?” She reached over and was about to pull the IV out when there was a knock on the door.
Not waiting for an answer, a tall, young guy in a white coat and full beard approached her bed. She thought he was smiling, but it was hard to tell with all that hair around his lips.
“Hi Shelley — I’m Doctor Grant. And you are one lucky lady to have survived that crash without any real injuries as a result. You’re going to be sore for a few days, but there’s nothing major to worry about.”
Shelley nodded, impatient. “So can I go then, Doc? How long does it take to get out of here, because we have a long drive ahead.”
The doctor looked at her strangely. “I didn’t know you were from out of town. Where do you live?”
It was Shelley’s turn to look confused. “What? No, I live here. If ‘here’ is Billings, anyway. So I can go, right?”
“Yes, but you need to wait for the nurse to get the paperwork done. She’ll be by to remove that IV line too — don’t pull that out yourself. But I’m releasing you to go home and rest, not to travel. Wherever you think you need to go really needs to wait.”
“They train you to put IVs in, right Doc?” She held the arm with the IV line out to him.
“So either you take this out, or I will. I appreciate you guys checking me over, but since I’m okay, we need to get going.” She grinned, hoping it would take him off balance. “Come on. You know you want to. Cut through the red tape for once. We won’t tell.”
Dillon chuckled from a few feet away. “You may as well give in, Doc. I don’t know her that well, but she seems pretty stubborn. Do you really want to risk her pulling it out herself?”
Shaking his head, Doctor Grant put his clipboard down and grabbed a pair of gloves.
“So what’s so important, if you don’t mind my asking?” He got a piece of gauze and some bandage tape from a cupboard and pulled out the IV, putting gauze and pressure on the hole and tying it off with tape.
“My friend got herself lost on a mountain at his — “ Shelley gestured to Dillon “- camp.
“And my friend went to find her, and didn’t come back. Now we need to go find both of them.”
Doctor Grant lifted his eyebrows. “Wow. That sounds pretty serious. Are you sure you shouldn’t just call in the authorities?”
Dillon nodded. “Yep — just had my foreman do that. But the more people looking for them, the better. It’s pretty wild country — just hills and meadows and forest all over. Beautiful, but it can be dangerous at times.”
“Well then, you’d better get going. But do me a favor and drop Shelley off at home on your way out of town. She — “ he looked straight at Shelley — “ need to rest. You’re in no shape to be climbing around in forests or on mountains, much less trying to help bring other people out.”
Shelley sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed.
“Doc, I only have one question for you before you can leave and not worry about us one minute more.”
He nodded. “What’s that?”
“Where are my clothes?”
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 11!
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