It felt nice to be leaving someone and somewhere on good terms. “You owe me nothing.”
Chelsea fought to hide her worry. The pale-haired hedge doctor was young. Like maybe in high school young. The white-blonde hair and short stature didn’t do much to help him seem any older. Still, Jeff seemed quite competent as he cleaned and stitched Morgan’s arm.
Inside the cracked walls lay a sleeping bag and kerosene cook stove as well as three heavy duty sledge hammers. Bart lifted one and rested it on his shoulder,“Don’t know how much experience ya might got with these, but against a little rock monster it seemed like the best tool.”
Morgan hefted one. “Like a baseball bat right? Choke up on the bottom?”
“And swing from the hips.” Chelsea lifted the final hammer.
In honor of returning to one of my favorite story settings, I want to introduce readers to my main source of Steel City inspiration, Dave Dicello. Dave takes amazing photographs and has been hit hard by the pandemic. He had to close his gallery this spring. However, his prints are available online for purchase. I’ll be adding them to story-links for this chapter.
Eyes heavy, Chelsea rested her feet on Morgan’s chair.
“Excuse me?” The tone was playful and perky. Like they hadn’t stayed up all night and then spent most of the morning chasing a brain leech.
Chelsea rubbed at her crusty eyes. “Can you drive, cause I’m not sure I can.”
“Are you serious?” Morgan chuckled and shifted Chelsea’s foot. “You’ll let me drive the car?”
“Like you didn’t half panic when I offered to take a shift in Ohio.”
“That’s not exactly true. You were really upset, that’s why I didn’t let you drive.”
“Oh, bullshit.” Morgan snickered. “You had the same look when I picked up that coat.”
Chelsea laughed and shook the fringe on her arms. “Oh, you don’t touch the armor.”
Bart squatted by the fire, greasy grey hair tucked behind his ears. “The squonk should be sleeping now, but it’ll be up in a few hours. It ain’t afraid of people or smoke, so we won’t bother it none. They eat hemlock though, and this grove is the biggest in the area.”
Chelsea pulled out a chair. “Morgan?”
“So what are we hunting?”
Morgan sighed as big brown eyes studied the table. “Melon-heads.”
Chelsea stopped and blinked. “You serious?”
Another sigh started the answer. “Yes. They come out of the woods every ten years or so and they’re back now.”
The cop studied her license. “Chelsea Childling? Did your dad write comics?”
“No.” She wasn’t in the mood for banter over her name. She had driven for sixteen straight hours and wanted some sleep.
“Says here you’re from Georgia?”
She nodded and deliberately thickened her accent. “Yes, sir. Born a peach, die a peach.”