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from Scathed Bones by Leah Lindeman

Copyright © 2020–2021 Leah Lindeman

Chapter 8

Twigs snap underfoot of not one, but two witnesses. The sun cannot reach nor illumine the macabre dealings being executed under the tainted woods’ canopy. Rich, dark blood drips down the rusted teeth of a saw held by soiled hands. Cold, lifeless eyes do not rest in peace under the sweet veil of closed lids. No, they are stranded open. There is no hand of mercy beside them. It is a blessing they can no longer see because of what will happen next…

***

It was mid afternoon the day after Rose and Dave had found answers within the Omineca’s walls. They walked down the main street arm in arm. Suddenly, a shudder violently gripped Rose.

Dave, who had been in the middle of recounting his going ons the earlier months after Rose’s departure, slowed her to a stop. “You all right?”

“I don’t know how to explain it. I feel…sick, a sense of foreboding. The longer this draws out, the closer I near this spider’s web in the making. Perhaps, we’re walking into a trap.”

Dave put his hands upon her shoulders and levelled his eyes with hers. “If you can’t do this, don’t…”

Rose interrupted, “No, I can. I must. I’ll be all right, you’ll see. Now, please continue your story.”

Dave straightened as he scrutinized her nonchalant expression.

Rose sighed in exasperation. “Well, if you won’t tell me your story, I’ll tell you one of my own!” She linked her arm in his and tittered the rest of their walk. There was no way she would let the tiny seed of fear growing in her gut destabilize their well constructed plan.

Once they returned to the hotel, she informed Dave she would be napping before enacting her grand scheme to follow in several hours. Although the drapes were drawn and the room was quiet, she couldn’t rid the parasitic anxiety clinging to her soul.

Having lost the battle to regain peace, a discouraged Rose dressed in her men’s getup once more and lumbered into Sean’s saloon. She threw a coin to the bartender at the bar and sipped her beer as Claire spotted her. 

Claire flirtatiously smiled and sidled up to her. “What are you doing here?” she asked as her eyes narrowed and her smile grew wider. Rose gave her a pointed look and tapped her lips before Claire answered her own question. “Of course, you’re here to see me. I took good care of you last night, and I’ll do it again tonight.”

Sean drew near and cast hooded eyes toward Rose. “Give good service, do we?”

Looking him straight in the eyes, she believed all her veiled tricks and plans were laid before him. She could imagine him squeezing the air from her windpipes, and she would fall limp to the ground, the light of her dreams and hopes wink out as her heart beat ceased.

She could barely manage to give him a solid nod, a mental shakedown of her insecurities.

Sean grunted and waved them off. A cold sweat trickled down Ros...






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