- Who do you think is behind all of this? Do you think it's the "mystery man" (from the first and third scenes), Ned, Pamela, Callie's brother, or someone else yet to be mentioned?
- What do you expect to happen in the final scene? What are the reasons behind this whole mystery?
E-mail entries will be accepted until midnight tonight. For a complete list of the rules, click HERE. Can't wait to read your responses! Remember that the prize is a three-book series!!!
The Nature Trail (Part Four)
By Amber Stokes
It was time to walk the trail. The rest of Callie’s dinner ended up in the garbage can she had righted outside, uneaten. For an hour or so, while the sky brightened with the sunset, Callie had cowered in her living room, paying little attention to the T.V. she had turned on. Instead, her mind had been consumed with doubts, and so now she decided she would go out on the nature trail and discover what she could. If anything, she would hopefully be able to relax.
Putting on her green University sweater and her comfortable sneakers, she walked outside and locked the front door behind her. Cynically, she wondered why she bothered. It probably wouldn’t be standing when she got back anyway, all because of an insignificant and unexplainable necklace.
Light still touched the edges of the sky, but once Callie entered the woods, the darkness spooked her. The familiar curves of the pathway as it wound uphill seemed to be hiding fearful future encounters from her view. She shivered and placed her hands in the one large pocket in the front of the sweater.
A branch snapped somewhere behind her then, but before she could scream a hand covered her mouth. Terror caused her to claw at her captor, and it took several moments for the sound her captor emitted to register in her mind. Why, he was laughing!
Wriggling out of his grasp, she came face to face with her brother. “Parker!"
Deep chuckles emanated from his mouth, seeming to increase in direct proportion to her frown. “I’m sorry, Callie. I couldn’t help it—you were always so jumpy. Can’t a brother have some fun?”
Apparently seeing the confusion on her face, Parker asked, “You did get my letter didn’t you? I told you I was coming to visit. Ned invited me to stay with him for a few days.”
It was then that Callie remembered the letter she had set on the passenger seat of her car. She was upset to think that it was still sitting there, unopened. When was the last time she had forgotten to open a letter from her brother?
“I’m sorry, Parker. I set it aside and never got around to opening it.”
Parker’s blonde hair flew about him as he shook his head in mock frustration. “I see how much I matter to you.” His bright blue eyes betrayed his amusement, though.
“You know I’m always glad to hear from you. I’ve just been…preoccupied…lately.”
Suddenly, Parker’s demeanor became serious. “Uh, would you like to take a walk with me? We could catch up on each other’s news.”
“I thought you didn’t like to go for walks.”
“I’ll make an exception for you. But you’ll owe me.” He smiled and set off down the path.
After reaching the summit of the trail, they began walking downhill through more redwoods. Callie found herself laughing at Parker’s stories of college life in Southern California. But she also found her mind wandering occasionally, flitting about from thoughts of the beauty of the trilliums on the trail in the springtime (which she was greatly anticipating, even though it was only the beginning of fall), to thoughts of the mystery she had become entrenched in. Now that Parker was here, though, she figured he would help make things right.
So she thought. But when they got closer to the view of the pastures and the bay at dusk, Callie’s favorite spot on the trail at Callie’s favorite time of day, she was startled to see a shadowy figure near the bench. And Parker was leading her straight for the silhouetted form, determination noticeable in his grip on her arm.
To Be Continued...