27th — Capricorn:
Work will be tiresome
today. Do not allow yourself to become over stressed. The news is not all bad,
though. A new romantic interest will come into your life. Your careful nature
will try to deny the attraction.
loud crack shattered the tranquility.
Shaughnessy leaped up, frantically searching for its origin. A second shot
split the air, followed by the sound of running feet, branches breaking, and
dark silhouettes of shadowy figures raced through the trees. “Get down!! Get
threw herself to the ground.
or something heavy crashed to the ground only a few feet away from her. The
sound of twigs breaking underfoot crackled and echoed before fading into the
silence of the forest.
Riley lifted her head. When she saw nothing unusual, she eased herself up into
a sitting position, holding her breath. Fighting to still her hammering heart,
she belly-crawled over to where she had heard the crash.
the glow of dusk she could make out the figure of a person. A man. He lay very
still on his back on the forest floor. She listened for a while, thoughts
tumbling through her mind. What’s going
on? Am I in danger here? ‘She
hoped the person who fell wasn’t dead.
forest was quiet. An owl hooted and another answered from a distance. She
lifted herself onto her knees and elbows and crawled to him.
she reached out, but drew her hand back before touching him. What she could see
of his face showed a mass of short, untidy brown hair over a broad forehead.
His eyes were closed. She reached out toward him again and touched his face.
Traces of new beard growth on his cheek prickled her fingers. He didn’t move.
She noticed her hand was trembling when she slid it down to his neck to feel
for a pulse. There it was—stronger than she thought it would be.
. . . are you okay?” She kneeled by his side. “Can you hear me? Oh crap.” She
glanced around her, trying to decide what to do next. “Okay. Okay, I’m gonna
try to find out where you’re hurt.”
squinted at his face in the shadows and touched the dark patch on his forehead.
Warm and sticky. Blood. She wiped it off her hand onto his shirt.
“Need to get you into the light so I can see how badly you’re hurt, but there’s
no way in hell I could lift you. I’ll have to go get help. But what if whoever
shot you comes back?” Riley whispered.
stood, trying to decide what to do next. The light was fading fast, the forest
dark and brooding. They’d have to be real familiar with this place to
find their way back here.
crouched down beside him again. A musky man-smell radiated from his sweating
body. She wrapped her fingers around his upper arm to shake him. It was warm
and solid with muscle. “Men always feel so hard,” she said aloud. “I wonder how
the rest of him feels . . .” She smiled at the pure audacity of her thoughts as
she slid her hand across his chest and down his stomach to feel for wounds. Two
shots had been fired. “Big muscles, hard abs. Pity his belt is done up so
tight.” She paused, shocked at her words. “I can’t believe I’m having such
wicked thoughts. Tara would be proud of me. She’s always telling me I need to
get laid.” Heat and a tingling feeling rushed through her with such intensity
she gasped. “Maybe she’s right. It’s been a long time since I felt any part of
a man’s body, but I didn’t expect . . .”
caught the gleam of his eyes in the grayness and jerked her hand away hastily.
“Shit, I suppose you heard that?”
He killed me,” he said in a hoarse voice. The silhouette of his lips curved
upward. “Don’t know how I made it to Heaven, but there are virgins wanting to
get laid here. Or are you an angel? And you can feel down there any time you
want. You won’t be disappointed.”
lurched up onto her feet and backed away, her face burning.
you . . . are you okay?”
shit, that was dumb. Why do I always talk to myself out loud like that? He didn't respond. She bent over him and touched
his arm again. "Can you move?" He still didn't answer. She exhaled loudly and wiped her sweaty hand across her forehead.
If I only had my phone with me . . .” She never brought her cell phone to her
special space in the forest, nor did she allow her dog to come with her.
Meditation was supposed to be undisturbed and uninterrupted.
I’m going to get help. Just . . . hang in there.” She turned, and then ran. She
did not need a flashlight. Her frequent visits had worn only a faint pathway
but she knew it like the back of her hand. She leaped across the
stepping-stones on Lazy Creek, followed the wavering trail through the short
grass, clambered through the fence, and raced to her cottage. She found the
cell phone in her purse and punched in a number.
Riley, what’s going on?”
there’s a man . . .” she panted. “Been shot. In the forest.”
"Say what? Say that again."
took a deep breath and described what she had seen. Jim agreed to meet her at
the edge of the forest in a few minutes...