Copyright © 2011 C.L. Exline
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
When Sheryl spotted Dot, she stopped so fast that Brian bumped into her. “Dot, sweetie, open your eyes.”
“No. Shoot him.”
“I’m not sure, but I think tree season is over,” Brian said.
“Huh?” Dot opened her eyes and frowned.
“Your hood is caught on a branch.” Sheryl hurried to get Dot loose. “No one has you. You’re safe.”
“You’re kidding?” Dot tried to turn around, but the branch held her firm in its grasp. “I was so sure that mountain man had me.”
“I thought Lucas had you.” Sheryl put her gun away and freed Dot.
“Speaking of Lucas, where is he?” Brian looked around. “He should have been with you.”
Dot pointed toward a pile of brush. “He went over there to check something out, and I waited here.”
They heard a moan, and Lucas staggered toward them.
“Lucas! Were you attacked?” Dot rushed to him.
“No. I was picking some flowers and tripped over a stump. When I heard you yell, I jumped to my feet and whirled around so fast I ran into a tree or into something. Hit hard enough it knocked me to the ground.” Lucas had a big knot on his forehead. Leaves and debris clung to his hair, shirt, and pants.
“You’re a sight.” Sheryl laughed.
“What were you doing picking flowers?” Brian asked.
Lucas’ face turned crimson. “Well, uh, I... uh, it seemed the right thing to do.”
Dot brushed off Lucas’ back.
“Let him alone, and we’ll get back to canvassing the area.” Sheryl grabbed Brian’s arm, and they returned to their starting point.
“Don’t rush me, woman.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you’d walk faster.”
By the time Sheryl and Brian met up with Dot and Lucas again, Dot was wearing flowers in her hair. The four searched for over two hours, but found nothing. Not even a cigarette butt.
“Well, I’m disappointed,” Sheryl said.
“Does this mean Cindy is a suspect?” Dot asked.
“She’s moved to the top of the list.”