Chelsea had dreamed of the prairie often since leaving. She had never imaged she’d return the same way she had arrived, exhausted and heart-sick.
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.
The camper was cramped and dark, a dry cave, covered in Jackson’s clothes. The hunter hurried ahead of Chelsea, grabbing shirts and pants as he went, apologizing over his shoulder. “Have a seat. Throw shit at me if it’s in your way. I’m just getting back on my feet and I wasn’t expecting company.”
“It’s healed.” She crossed her arms, with no pain or hesitation. She liked this hedge doctor, even though she knew damned well she shouldn’t. That contradiction meant it was more than time to be on the road. “I promise not to go nuts and attack any more elemental rock monsters. I will stick to small stuff and work with teams. But I am leaving tomorrow.”
The impossible blue of the Columbia River called Chelsea, despite the reddening sky. While she knew the cold of night was coming, right that moment, it was still hot as hell.
Chelsea watched the fire, ignoring the surrounding revelry. People laughed and drank, ate and flirted. These monster hunters could celebrate. They hadn’t seen Gene die. Torn apart by sea fairies.
*Neither did you. *
Keegan paced in front of her, long, thin legs eating up the distance between the dark headlights. The other monster hunters stood around in shifting groups of denim, flannel, and leather. Nobody talked much, and all the laughter was short and sharp in the ever-blowing prairie wind.
The only constant was a sense of belligerent purpose. They were a people who knew that they were lucky to be alive, and they intended to press that luck yet again.
… on Friday. Yes, this Friday begins my flash series: Here’s the kicker, though, it’s only available on my newsletter. Sign up and get monthly free stories.