Another excerpt for your sneak peek reading pleasure…. Today is June 7th and it looks like it will be another hot day, so let’s take a walk with the girls…..
From Chapter Two:The Secrets of Moonshine
Bronwyn half listened to Bethany and Lillian’s conversation as the three continued their trek into Moonshine. It was nearly one in the afternoon; the midday heat was beginning to take its toll. However, the heat wasn’t the reason Bronwyn was disengaged. Nor was it the fact that not one car had passed during the entire half hour they had been walking. It was the image Bronwyn was certain she could see following right long with them, masking itself in the gargantuan trees that provided a shaded tunnel over the winding road. Had to be the same-cloaked figure that had followed her in the storm. With every curve, Bronwyn desperately hoped to see some hint of a town ahead. However, every turn proved more of the same.
Bronwyn did not intend to alarm Bethany and Lillian of their stalker. She was certain that one word of impending danger would result in a wave of hysteria from Lillian and a barrage of questions from Bethany that she could not answer. Her best defense was to be aware of the person without them knowing. Bronwyn continued walking silently, blocking out the conversation and lending her ear to the woods on her right. Casually glancing over her shoulder, she could see that the dark cloaked figure was moving alongside, in rhythm to their steps, like a long shadow. Her mind traveled back to the bridge and the knife she saw gleaming in the moonlight, followed by the figure jumping into the river. A cold chill tickled her spine.
“Bronwyn!” Bethany’s exclamation interrupted her thoughts.
“You promised you’d be fun, but you haven’t said a word since we left.”
“Are you certain we’re going in the right direction?” Lillian’s voice was a whimper. “We’ve been walking forever and there’s no sign of a town anywhere.”
“Mavis said it was this way.” Bronwyn was beginning to wonder if there was indeed a town ahead.
“I’m wondering if there even is a town,” Bethany said, plucking the thought off Bronwyn’s tongue. She nudged Bronwyn slightly in the ribs, her secret way of informing her friend that she was planning on frightening Lillian.
“I mean think about it. We just trusted a couple of strangers. We know nothing about them. And, for that matter, why are there no other guests at the inn? In the height of summer? Only us?”
Bronwyn could see that Bethany’s words were taking their toll on Lillian, whose facial expressions of impending heatstroke changed to full fright.
Bethany used her foreboding voice to emphasize a certain mood. She had the uncanny ability to make the most mundane sentence sound thrilling or terrifying. “Do you realize no one knows where we are right now? No one. Not even us. We can’t call anyone because there is no cell reception and the phones at the inn are supposedly out because of the storm last night. We’ve all heard of people who just disappear never to be seen or heard from again.
I wonder if this is how it starts. We all saw our bus being towed away, but to where? They could have been removing evidence that we were ever here.”
Bethany’s last words fell hard on Lillian.
“Stop it! I refuse to be the victim of your outrageous stories.”
The three continued walking without conversation each thinking of the direst circumstance that could possibly befall them.
A rustling from the woods shattered their silence.
“What was that?” Lillian gasped.
Bronwyn decided it was time.
“I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m pretty sure we’re being followed.”
Bethany smiled smugly, believing Bronwyn to be playing along with her attempt to spook Lillian.
“We are?” Lillian nearly yelled. “How do you know?”
Bronwyn hushed her. “Don’t make a scene, Lillian, but something or someone has been following us the entire way.”
“How can you tell?”
“If you look over to your right, you can see it moving along with us, over in the trees.”
Lillian glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t see anything.”
“Keep looking” Bronwyn kept her eyes fixed on the road ahead.
“My God what are we going to do?”
“Just keep walking. Don’t run”
Lillian picked up the pace, turning the girls’ casual stroll into a brisk power walk.
“What if it’s a bear?” Bethany suggested.
“Or a mountain lion? I’ve heard about mountain lion attacks they’re horrible. My god, I don’t want to be mauled! What should we do?”
Bethany almost laughed. “Climb the nearest tree.”
Bronwyn knew it was not an animal following them. However, she decided to keep that bit of information to herself, to avoid frightening Lillian any more than she already was.
Too late. Lillian had broken into a full-on run. Bronwyn and Bethany were forced to keep pace with her.
“Slow down, Lil,” Bethany said. “Dang, I’ve never seen you move so fast! Don’t get too far ahead. There’s safety in numbers.”
The loud sound of a snapping tree branch met their ears. Bronwyn turned her head just in time to see a hooded figure move between two trees.