Look at Fall foliage takes a dark turn. Word count: 295
|A frigid blast of snow stung Carrie Wilson’s skin between her decorative neck scarf and glasses. Turning her back to the wind, she checked to see how her friend was doing. Beth Hawthorn was keeping up. Carrie’s shouts of encouragement were lost in the gale. It didn’t matter. They’d be safe in minutes. The dilapidated building she’d glimpsed a moment before was a step away. Once inside, Carrie apologized. “I’m sorry, Beth. This was a terrible idea.” What had started as a late autumn hike toward a ghost town in order to admire the mountain foliage was now a survival situation.
Gerald panicked. People were in the next room! He rushed from his rocking chair to peek through the wall chink. Two women had invaded his home. He had to flee. One woman pushed back her parka hood, relieving glory. Burning desire stopped him cold. Her hair reminded Gerald of a raven’s feathers. Oh, what was he to do? Flee or stay? It was difficult for Gerald to think clearly. For years he’d functioned mostly on instinct as a hermit. His desire claimed his actions. Gerald would wait until dark. Until they slept. Then he would claim his prize.
Carry awoke with a hand over her mouth. A sour breath whispered in her ear. “If you make a sound, I will kill you and your friend.” She nodded her understanding.
“Sit up,” he whispered.
Silent tears trickled as Carrie felt tugs from his knife cutting her hair.
The next morning, Beth woke up and froze. Why had Carrie butchered her hair? Carrie’s explanation frightened her more until Carrie assured her the weirdo was gone.
Carrie said, “Beth, this could have turned out so much worse. If he is happy with his souvenir; so am I.”