Thursday, October 24, 2019
Poplar Mountain Part 42 by Dellani Oakes
Luke and Dollie share a hot makeout session, but are interrupted by someone at the door.
"I'm here," Patty said, pulling her robe on. "We'll lock the door after you."
Nodding, the men got a flashlight and headed out to the front doors. The banging had stopped, but they thought they saw someone moving around outside. Following his movement, they saw him heading for the open windows of their room. Racing down the hall, they were determined to get there first. The flimsy screen wouldn't keep anyone out.
They got to the room just as the man was fighting his way through the bushes. Roaring with anger, he tried to reach the windows but the heavy growth of mountain laurel kept him away. Furious, he hurled curses at the men and ran off.
"We need to catch him," Will said, heading to the front door.
"No!" Luke said. "We can't leave the girls. He could double back and break in. Or we could kill ourselves running around in the dark."
"That man probably killed our father," Will argued.
"Maybe so, but I'm not risking Dollie and Patty!"
Will groaned, stopping in his tracks. "Lucius, I hate when you're right."
Dollie screamed. Luke barreled down the hallway. The door was locked. Hammering on it with his good hand, he called out to the women. The only windows they hadn't checked were those in the girls' bedroom. Theirs weren't surrounded by bushes the way the others were.
Will hammered and yelled. "I'm going outside."
"He might have Patty!"
"And he might be waiting out there for you to open the door! Will!"
His brother tore out of his grasp, running to the front door. Unsure what to do, Luke hesitated before bracing himself to try to break the door down. Backing up a step or two, he put his shoulder down, lunging at it like a battering ram. The door shook, the impact knocking the breath out of him.
"Dollie!" he gasped.
Instead of using his shoulder, he decided to put his foot to use. He had powerful legs, strengthened from all the hard work he'd done his whole life. He braced himself, balancing on one leg, raising the other to the door lock. Three hard kicks knocked the latch loose. Pulling the door open, he saw devastation in the apartment. Chairs and the dining table were upended. Precious decorative items were scattered around the room.
A crumpled form lay on the floor of the bedroom, the broom nearby. The blonde curls told him it was Patty. Rushing to her side, he checked to make sure she wasn't bleeding. She looked like she'd fainted. There wasn't a mark on her. Taking her hand, he slapped it to wake her. With a start, she sat up.
"Dollie! He got Dollie!"
"Will went after her. Who was it?"
"I couldn't see. The flashlight went out when we were fighting him. Dollie screamed and I think I must have fainted."
"They can't be too far. Dollie will fight like a demon. Will's outside. He'll track her."
"You go too, Luke."
"I don't want to leave you!"
"I'm fine. He's got what he's after. Go! You get my sister back!"
Not wanting to argue, he ran into the rain filled night. He couldn't see any tracks. All signs were obscured by the rain. Standing still, he gathered his thoughts, waiting for the mountain to speak to him. Sending out a silent query, he waited.
"Help me," he begged.
Was that a scream? And a roaring curse. To his left. No, straight ahead. He followed, sending out the silent message to his love, "I'm coming, Dollie."
Will ran up to his side. "Where's Patty?"
"Back at the apartment."
"You left her?" He raised his fist to his his brother.
"He's got Dollie! Patty told me. I heard them, up ahead."
"Patty said!" he called over his shoulder.
Torn, Will ran after his brother. He couldn't let him confront the lunatic alone. He didn't want to leave Patty, but for the time being, she was safe. They found one of Dollie's shoes near the banks of the creek. A few feet later on, they found a scrap of robe, then another. It wasn't a coincidence.
If Dollie was marking the trail, she wasn't the one being chased. There was little likelihood that she'd mark her trail for someone to follow her. Since her markers were still in place, no one had followed her but them. Putting on a burst of speed, they continued.
The clues got further apart as if Dollie were moving more quickly for some reason. Moments later, they came upon a clearing. The trees and bushes were cut away from the bank in a semi-circle. It was a spot that the summer camp counselors came for cookouts. Blackened stones ringed the fire pit. Someone had taken the time to move a few of the smaller stones, making an arrow with them, pointing more or less toward their mother's home. Both men moved faster.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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