Tall and thin, with wavy dark hair, the stranger didn’t exactly look like Keegan. But the way she stood, all languid long limbs and a certain sense of amusement, screamed Keegan.
Bright red strawberries of embarrassment stained the pale cream of the girl’s cheeks. “Well, um. That is my aunt and uncle in Seattle knew you from… My cousins told me you’d be out here.”
“And who the hell are you and your family?” Chelsea found her hand on her ax.
Chelsea leaned against the wall of the haunt, Bentley at her feet, ears pricked and legs rigid; both stood ready to bolt.
It was hard to feel claustrophobic in Seattle, with its wide-open spaces and the saltwater wind in the air. Being trapped in a hunt by a hedge doctor managed to make this clean city with its artwork and parks feel tiny and airless.
Trees and cloud cover made a velvet darkness that hemmed in her flashlight. She couldn’t see much beyond her toes. But that didn’t matter in this well-kept wilderness with it distinctly defined paths.
At first, her brain rejected what she saw, but it was too obvious to dismiss. Tree roots were weaving through the undergrowth.
“Okay, Bent. Unless a cool monster comes up, we’re taking off. The damp is killing me.”
The dog whuffed from behind, sounding more preoccupied with whatever animal had pissed on the towering pine trees the night before.
“Don’t patronize me.”
Pale morning light barely brightened the tiny camper, but it was enough for Chelsea. She found her underwear quickly. The bright-white cotton glowed on the kitchen table. But her bra eluded detection.
She swore under her breath, not wanting to wake Carla. She didn’t exactly regret sleeping with the other monster hunter, but…
*Oh no, I exactly regret this.*
The cold spray tasted of salt. Despite the chill in the air, Chelsea leaned over the side of the boat, letting her tumble in the wind. She had thought the prairie to be endless, but watching the ocean merge with the horizon reordered her perception and her soul.
*I had forgotten what the true edge of forever looked like.*
It wasn’t a beach you swam at, even if the weather co-operated. And if the wind, rain, and fog ever did let up, the water would shock the breath from you no matter the time of year. Chelsea wasn’t there to swim though.