5 – Ashokan Falls – Crowe’s Point

By Sharon


John Biebe breathed a sigh of relief when he managed to find his two Brothers. They had yet to figure out a way for a GPS to work properly inside the borders of the Point, so it took a basic homing signal on their phones and him whirring around in the woods in his Kawasaki Mule to figure it all out. Cort made some quip about following the bouncing ghost light, but all John saw was thickets of trees and a terrain that got rougher by the slope. Fortunately, he did not have to travel far.  The preacher and captain stood over a bundle that turned out to be a someone fast asleep.

 

“Think we should call Anthony?” Cort asked him before he got out. The young gunfighter’s expression was calm, but John could see in his green eyes, the same green eyes he bore, that he was a bit perturbed. “I’d hate to move her if she’s hurt. Jack found a cut on her arm. We don’t know what else she’s been through.”

 

“Her?” John asked in surprise. Or not – guests getting lost in the wilderness of the Point was not uncommon, and the ratio of men to women who did so was surprisingly even. Still, there had been no recent registration of new guests to the Hotel or any planned forays of hikers that he was aware.

“Young woman, by herself. Don’t look as if she’d tried to do any camping,” Cort replied, as John exited the UTV.

 

“Looks like a campfire,” John said, pointing at the sodden remains of blackened wood.

 

“And yet no camping equipment,” Cort rejoined.

 

“The doctor or no, I’d not be favorable to carry her back,” Jack Aubrey interjected, gruffly. “Scarto behaves well enough for me, but I do not think he would take kindly to the extra passenger, no matter how slight.”

 

“He won’t let me sling her over my horse, either,” Cort said, with a slight grin. “Not dignified.”

 

“As many women as you’ve seen hauled in from situations like this, Jack?” John said. “Why is she so different?”

 

“I am sure the dignity of the young woman would hardly matter in this case,” Jack replied, slightly annoyed. “However, she is not dunnage to be slung about.  I suspect she did not mean to be here.”

 

John knelt beside the young woman and grasped her wrist. The pulse was faint, but persistent. He took a few moments to look over her face – something about her seemed familiar, in spite of the globs of poultice decorating her forehead.

 

“Jack’s got a point, John,” Cort said, and pointed to a spot just feet away. That was when John noticed the gaping drop. In awe, he stepped to the ridge and looked down.

 

“Holy Mother of…”

 

“That was our reaction,” Cort said.

 

“And that’s her truck?”

 

“We can only figure.”

 

“Then how did she…?”

 

“Who knows? For being flung from her car, she’s really lucky…”

 

“It appears someone assisted her,” Jack offered.

 

“The poultice and blankets,” John agreed with a nod.

 

“There are no roads nearby, John,” Cort said. “It looks as if she just showed up, in the middle of nowhere.”

 

“And you followed a bouncing ghost light to her?” John quipped.

 

“You heard that after all?” Cort asked with a rueful grimace.

 

“I’m not even going to ask. This is the Point. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough, but we gotta figure out a way to get her to Anthony.” John returned to the woman’s side, still sorting out the features. He’d seen that face before…

 

“I know who this is!” he exclaimed with a short laugh. He knelt down beside her again, and gently patted her arm.

 

As if on cue, the young woman bolted upright with an agonized yell.

 

“No, don’t!”

 

 

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