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. Missed a few chapters? Email me to catch up. 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 and Dillon both turned as the man just above them appeared in the trees. He was waving at them, motioning them to join him. Dillon stood and offered Shelley a hand. When she took it, her eyes met his and he smiled. He may have pulled a little harder than necessary when he helped her up, but she didn’t complain when she stumbled against his chest.
Neither did he, she noticed.
The second guy came running from up below the trail and just kept running past. Shelley frowned.
“Come on.” Dillon took a step back, but still kept her hand in his. “Let’s go see what they found.”
Shelley followed him up through the underbrush and tried not to think about what they might find. It was almost anticlimatic when they reached the other two, and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
“What are we looking at, John?” Dillon asked. The man held out his hand, palm up, to reveal a heart-shaped locket Shelley had never seen before.
“That’s not Tabby’s,” she said, a glimmer of relief easing the tighteness in her chest. “It’s not hers. Someone else must have lost it.”
She glanced at Dillon, and saw the tightness in his jaw as he reached out to pick up the locket.
“It’s Mike’s. He keeps a picture of his mother and his daughter in there, and carries it in his pocket.” He put it in his own pocket. “He was definitely up here then. Any signs of where they might have blazed a trail?”
John nodded. “Broken branches and scuffed dirt all over the place. I hiked a little ways back and found blood, but it looks like they’re covering it as they go. Probably trying to confuse any prey animals who might be after a meal.”
“Would that work?” Shelley asked, earning three rather dubious stares.
“Probably not,” John answered. “But won’t hurt either. Just makes it a little harder to tell when the bleeding started and stops. But we’ll be able to follow the trail. Are you ready?”
Dillon looked at Shelley. “Are you sure you want to do this? I think we’re getting close, and no one would blame you if you wanted to wait back at camp….”
“I should smack you for that,” she replied, moving past him. “I’m going. Come on.”
John took the lead again and Dillon fell into step by Shelley. “I didn’t mean to insult you,” he said as they walked, watching the path appear almost magially as John cleared broken branches and dirt piles out of the way.
It wasn’t long before they saw the smoke. Practically running, they made it over the next rise just to see an impromptu campsite at the bottom and two people laying motionless beside a dying fire.
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 18!
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