loomed large over hers.
“You’re pretty,” he said, definitely slurring now.
She felt the weight of his chest collide with hers and then his face planted itself in the blanket next to her head. Scrambling, she frantically rolled enough to free one arm and pushed him off her. His slack body was even heavier than when he was conscious. Eventually though, she managed to slide sideways and clear of him.
Breathing hard, she sat up, buttoned her blouse and looked down at him.
“Never say die,” she breathed.
• • • • •
Logan crashed through the undergrowth. Noise was not the issue. Visibility was not the issue. He wanted to be tracked. At this moment, distance was the issue. Up ahead was the best choke point he’d seen but he had to be quick.
He leaped over small boulders and roots and flew past the cedars and hemlocks as his vision narrowed on what he was seeing.
Up ahead was a rock outcropping to the left, a tightly grouped stand of trees to the right, and the terrain sloping down toward the gap between the two. He barreled through and came to a skidding stop in the loose leaves and slick ground cover.
Except he needed some foliage–branches a couple feet in length that had plenty of leaves. He dashed to the nearest shrub as he withdrew the axe and unlocked the plastic shield around its head. After several swings into the center of it, he’d detached three good branches. Back at the choke point, he pivoted to see the way he’d come and knelt. This had to be quick and it had to be right. He’d only have one chance. With short sideways chops, he dug into the earth. It didn’t have to be deep but the deeper the better. He glanced back up slope. No sign of the man with the handgun but Logan knew he’d be coming. First, Logan had dropped the dollar bill and then he’d hacked some fabric from the side of his pants and thrust it onto a bush as he’d run by. The man probably thought he was actually tracking someone. If it hadn’t been for the ravine and the two pursuers having split up, Logan and Jules might have evaded them.
As the dirt flew, Jules’ face flashed into his mind yet again. He pictured her as she’d been in his arms, lit by firelight. He’d see that face again.
As he chopped, he angled inward and down. All four sides of the pitfall had to be sloped. No matter where the man’s foot landed, it had to be forced to the bottom. Logan chopped at a furious rate. It wouldn’t be long now. He glanced up to check the trees. Still nothing.
This depth was going to have to do. Though deeper would have made a broken ankle more likely, he had to move on. Now to make room for the handle. As the blade cut into the moist black ground, Logan judged the length of the short trough he cut in the center of the pit, chopping back toward himself, between his knees. He didn’t need it to be wide–just the thickness of the handle.
Quickly, he reversed the blade as though he’d use it for a hammer and swung with all his might at the center of the pit. The axe head buried itself a couple inches in the chopped soil, the blade protruding upward, slightly angled away from him.
Logan frantically shoved dirt over the handle. The yellow, rubber grip of it was going to be a liability. He heard something and looked up, holding his breath. Though there was no sign of the man, he heard the footfalls, heavy and plodding in the silence.
Time is up.
Using the branches, he brushed away all the excess dirt and then laid them carefully over the pit. The footfalls were getting louder. As he got up, he snatched the axe cover from the ground, reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew his sunglasses. He tossed them to the ground, a few feet beyond the pit and ran to the cover of the trees. Though his heart hammered in his chest, Logan slowed his breathing. It was time to be quiet.
The rifle was gone.
“Damn,” Frank muttered. “ Damn .”