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Rated: E · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2284598
The meeting of the two main characters of the novel.

Chapter 3

Tina Lyles relaxed with her back against a large bare log. A paper back novel, lay half opened, across the crown of the downed tree. She could hear the hiker, coming up the trail, a good fifteen minutes before he approached her camp site. Her tent, set back in a small cul-de-sac, was not visible to anyone coming up from the Silver Lake trail, and she thought, if I sit quietly, he might just go by and not even know I am here.

She watched as he stopped, removed his backpack, and leaned it against the side of a large granite boulder. Then, with the ripping sound of Velcro, he removed a fanny pack from the top of the pack, and slipped it around his waist. He put his right foot on the edge of the boulder, then leaned toward the rock as he stretched the muscle in his leg. He then repeated the process for the left leg then walked to the middle of the ledge that circled around the cliff, resembling a pouted lip.

He rotated the fanny pack around to his front, then rested his arms across it. Stood for several minutes, just staring out over the forest below.

She watched him unzip the bag then struggle with a clear plastic bag. Her first thoughts were, he was pulling out a packet of drugs. It made her angry, to think, that anyone would come into her peaceful camp area to use drugs.

She couldn't believe it, he made a final jerk and then lunged for out for something, then went head first over the edge of the cliff. The plastic bag fluttered to the path where he had stood moments before.

Gary Lawrence pulled at the plastic bag and with a final jerk it came loose from his pack. Then saw his car keys arch out over the edge and dropped the plastic bag as he reached out to catch his key ring. He extended to far out and lost his balance plunged head long after his keys. I'm dead he thought as the green forest turned into blue sky. He landed with a heavy thud flat of his back on a ledge about six feet below the rim of the shelf where he had been standing.

He lay there, gasping for breath, when he opened his eyes he stared into a white-hot orb. Okay, I'm dead, he thought. He had always been told that when you die you go toward a great white light, although he didn't think it should hurt as much as it did.

A shadow floated over his face. He opened his eyes, surprised, this must be my angel, tiny purple dots floated where the white orb had been. He stared into the prettiest green eyes, a under a wrinkled, concerned, brow. A pert nose posted a slash of freckles, surrounded by a halo of sunlit curly blond hair. But why was she upside down?

"Are you okay?" the angel asked.

"I think so," Gary moved his arms and legs, "Everything seems to be still working."

"Close your eyes," the angle said.

As soon as Gary closed his eyes the shadow left, then returned a couple of minutes later. "Hold your hand up."

Gary complied and felt her place a cold damp cloth in his hand.

"Put that over your eyes."

The cold cloth felt refreshing on his face. It smelled of lavender. He felt around with his hands, finding enough room he turned over on his right side. He sat up, then leaned back against the granite wall he had just done a half gainer flop from. Removing the cloth, he looked around his perch. The ledge of rock about six feet wide and about twice that in width, like tongue stuck out between the pouting lips. Years of snow and rain had washed enough topsoil off the mountain above to grow a grass covering of six to eight inches thick. An impression of his body left in the grass reminded him of the snow angels made as kids.

He stood and held out his hand, "Hi, I'm Gary, thank you for rescuing me from an ugly attempt at a swan dive. By the way where did you come from?"

Tina nodded her head to the left and Gary looked that way. He didn't see anything at first but finally detected a small tent camouflaged behind a stand of fir trees.

"Very nice," he said as he put the cloth across his left shoulder and pulled his self-up to the ledge above. He spun around and sat with his legs hanging over the edge. He retrieved the cloth and mopped his brow, gave it another sniff and reluctantly handed it back to Tina.

Tina, bent down behind Gary and said, "Sit still I want to look at the back of you head." She gently moved her fingers around the top of his head. She stood up and said, "I don't see any abrasions, but you may have a bump there by tomorrow."

Gary turned, looked at her and asked, "Are you a doctor?"

"Yes, I am, just not the kind of doctor you are thinking of."

"Oh, I see you are a doctor for lady problems."

"No, I'm a Veterinarian."

"A vegetarn?"

"A Veterinarian!" She swung a playful foot to his back side, then let out a shriek as he slid off the edge to the ledge below.

"Oh!, I'm so sorry, are you okey?" she said peering over the edge.

Gary, on hands and knees, turned his head toward her and let out a bellowing, "Mooo!"

He kicked with his left leg, as if pawing the ground, then froze.

Both Gary and Tina heard the rattling sound. He, moving very slowly, crawled as far away from the spot of the sound as possible before hopping back up to the ledge above.

"Did you see anything," he asked, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt.

Tina, staring intently at the grass and weeds below, just shook her head, then asked, "What were you doing down there?"

"I still have to find my car keys. That is if they didn't go all the way to the bottom." Gary looked at the grass below bent down by his weight and right where his left foot had been something shinny gleamed through the grass.

He looked around, then seeing what he needed, trotted over near Tinas tent and picked up a dried out limb about four foot long. Laying down on the ledge he poked at the spot where his foot had been. As he moved the stick back and forth it struck something solid that rolled over in the thick turf, making a rattling sound. He looked up at Tina, and laid the stick back on the ledge, then slid off to the precipice below. He picked up a quart Masson jar, coated with grime and dirt from years of laying open to the elements.

He shook it and heard the rattle, then handed it to Tina, and said, "Might be filled with beans, could be our survival supper."

Then back on hands and knees began methodically searching the area. About halfway across the tongue of land he raised up, holding his arms up, as if his had just won some event in the Olympics, exclaimed, "Got e'm!"

Tina, turning her back so he could not see her smile, walked back to her camp, the Mason jar under her arm rattling with every step.

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