Next morning, I had just gotten dressed  when Daniel called and wanted to know if I would like to join him and Jason on a trail 

“”Sure.” I agreed without much thought to the dreams and things.
“”Good, we’ll be there shortly then.”” I hung up the phone, then ran upstairs for my hiking boots. After putting them on, I went downstairs and  locked up the house. I wanted to wait outside because I knew it wouldn’t take them long to get here the way Daniel drove. Sure enough, Daniel’s Camaro.roared up into the driveway. When the black thing stopped about where I was standing, Jason swung the door open from the seat without getting out. I crawled in behind him into the backseat then turned around. Facing them, I noticed both were grinning from ear to ear about something.
“”What is so funny now?” I asked, chuckling with them.
“”We weren’t sure if we could get you out of the house today with all this stuff about a change.” Jason teased, “Know what I mean?””
I grabbed the front seat just as Daniel asked, “Are we ready?””
“Oh yeah,” I said, sliding toward the seat and leaned over the center console. Daniel put the thing in gear and we rolled out of the driveway toward our adventure for the day. We had decided on hiking the old mountain, but it didn’t matter to me as long as we went.      

     We finally pulled into a parking lot, where I watched people everywhere, I noticed some with
backpacks or duffle bags, with kids, or just alone. Daniel found a spot to park near the back row. I followed Jason out and stood there staring up the side of that mountain. It had to be the largest one I had ever seen before. But then again, I did leave Maine behind.        Jason nudged me with his forearm and asked, “What ya think?””                                                                                                             I looked over at him and asked, “How often do you two hike this thing?””                                                                                             Jason didn’t have the chance to reply before Daniel said, “Not often. That thing is high. We ain’t ever been all the way up at one setting.” He came around the rear of the car and stopped. I looked back up toward the top, only to see people on the trail that looked like ants crawling out of the mound. I was nudged by Jason as he went forward followed by Daniel.

    The path was wide and rocky as we headed up the steep climb. People from all walks of life were doing the same. We spent the day hiking and being boys where we ran off the trail and into the woods, deep away from the light of day as we sought out one
another. It was timeless while we were having fun.  And fun was what we needed. Not all that crappy other stuff, which would come later on. I leaped from the dark woods and noticed the sun going down on the opposite side so I yelled at Daniel to let’s
start back down. They both agreed and down we went quicker than we went up, of course. We piled into the car then made it down to the local town diner for dinner.

    Daniel pulled up in front of a small diner with a bright, neon sign that read: Cap’s Place. I gathered from the name if was a seafood place, I could handle that. The diner was small and off the beaten path, just out of the city lights. The place was a bit crowded,
but Daniel finally parked the car and we got out in front of the diner with three little steps leading up to two glass doors with low lighting.
“”Well, what you all think?”” I asked, putting a foot on the bottom step and looked back.
“ “I think we need to rid you of that slang you got.” Jason said as he looked off into the sky.
“ “You funny now or what?” I asked with a sneer.
“ “Let’s go,” Daniel said, passing both of us.
“ “I’m all for it.” Jason sighed. I followed Jason who followed Daniel up the steps and through the double doors inside.

    It was dark and my eyes had to adjust, but the place smelled of seafood and cigars. When my eyes became clear, I could see the place wasn’t fancy or anything. It was just a diner for the locals. It contained round tables in the center and
booths lined the walls. A salad bar sat near the back wall with carpet covering the floors and sword fish hung overhead with wires. A gator hung on the wall that had to be twelve-feet long with a missing eye. We waited by the sign for the hostess–an elderly black woman–to seat us immediately in a booth near the front.

    Jason sat with Daniel while I sat alone facing them. After the drink order was taken we talked small about the day but finally the wolf subject came up.
I leaned over the table to them just as Daniel asked, “Do we really believe what Whitecloud’s been telling us? I mean, so we truly are turning into a wolf?””
“”I agree. It’s unbelievable as hell. We should take time to visit the library soon.” I lowered my voice looking around.
“”Good idea.” Jason said as he bumped Daniel’s arm.
“”Exactly what would we look for?” Daniel asked. “You can find it on a laptop too.””
“”Yeah, I know but the library can have the local tribe folklore’s or state legends maybe. I don’t know yet. I guess I just need to settle my own curiosity.” We kept the conversation low so others didn’t hear.

    An older, short, stocky, dark woman, mid forties with blonde hair and brown eyes finally came to take our orders. Jason ordered the burger with fries and Coke, while Daniel took the Philly steak with hot peppers, onion rings, and tea. Me, I ordered a grilled ham and cheese on wheat with chips and a Pepsi. After the waitress left, we talked about the town where I came from.
“”What’s the place like where you came from?” Daniel asked inquisitively.
“”It”s a small two-lane, wooded place. My dad and I lived on the reservation there. Sitting Wolf was the chief. His son, Kenna, and I were buddies. Hell, we grew up as brothers.””
“”It’s got to be hell to come back to this.” Jason commented.
“”You got that right and I’m sorry for not being able to remember you two. You seem like such cool dudes.” I laughed.
“”Thanks.” They agreed. We spent the next fifteen minutes in conversation about Chief and Kenna until the orders arrived. After dinner, they took me home first, but I wanted to spend some time alone at the lake and the only way was to go at night.

    After they had gone, I slipped into the house for my car keys and headed out to the lake for a while hoping to be alone so I could ponder over the things that the old man had said. They kept playing in my head over and over. I  feared to think any of it was possible. When the dark lake’s entrance came into view, I hit the bright lights. Turning off the road onto a bridge that led to the parking lot I thought was vacant, until I saw Kimmi sitting on one of the picnic tables. From the headlights, I could see she was sitting on the tabletop.

    It was late night and I had looked forward to being alone for a while but what the hell, I was already there. I really hadn’t thought of her, but I felt an instant pulse when I drove past her and found a spot to park.I killed the engine as I opened the car door.          Getting out, I asked her, “What are you doing here?””                                                                                                                     Facing me startled, she said, “I usually like coming out here at night. Why are you here tonight?””                                                   “”Well, I just needed to get out for a spell, away from everything.” I slowly walked toward her feeling an inner tension until she stood up, surprising me.Stopping short of the table, I could see she wore a gold colored, full-length dress with a low-cut, ‘V’ shaped neck. The sheerness draped off her shoulders, down her arms, and around the waist. I stepped around the table to face her. sticking my hand out to help her from the bench she stood on.                                                                                                                                  Placing a cold hand in mine, she politely said, “Thank you, Luke.” Then stepped to the ground.                                                “Ma’am,”” I responded to her. With the other hand, she reached down and pulled off her shoes, burring her feet into the soft sand. She was so beautiful I was having a hard time keeping my eyes off her.                                                                                              She caught me staring when she said, “Shall we talk or go for a swim?”” Her sparkling blue eyes invited me in when she said, “You do swim, yes?””                                                                                                                                                                                 Surprised, I asked, “You feel you can trust me enough to go for a swim?”                                                                                               “”As a matter a fact, yes, I do. I believe you’ll not hurt me.” She was so damn profound. The urge in me wasn’t sure I could trust myself when her eyes met mine. It was all I could do to stay focused.

    With both of her hands into mine, I quietly followed her footsteps in the sand. She barely made a sound while mine crunched in the gritty stuff. I was so taken by her that I didn’t realize I hadn’t come prepared to swim.
“”Wait,” I said, coming to a sudden stop. “I don’t have trunks.””
Dropping my hands, she looked back over her shoulder, “Do you have anything on under those shorts?” She asked, looking up under her long lashes.
Feeling embarrassed, I answered, “Sure, boxers.” I grinned.
She winked and said, “That’s all you need then.” ”I didn’t know if I was being shy or not but I dropped the shorts, yanked the shirt over my head, and took off running.

    I ran past Kimmi who made to the water’s edge and dove into the icy cold, dark murky water, washing over me like a wave.
Placing my feet in the soft mud, I cam up yelling, “Man, that’s cold.”  I was standing in the cold water up  to my waist, watching Kimmi on the bank untie the belt around her waist. She knew I was watching when she let it slid from her
pale shoulders revealing a teal-blue full swimsuit that tied around her neck, revealing the ‘V’ running over her breasts down to the naval. When she turned around, dropping the gown, the low back dipped into a ‘V’ showing
partial buttocks with high hips. I thought the legs went all the way up. But to where, was the official cruel intentional thought. When she dove into the water, she left hardly any ripples in the stillness.

    She came up quietly behind me with little movement when I felt her soft breath on my back in a sigh.                                           “”This is nice, is it not? Would you mind if I touched your back?””                                                                                                           Before I could say, ““No, I think not.”” I felt her cold velvet hands run over my back in a circular motion around the left shoulder blade.   In a whisper that only I could hear, I said, “Damn.” Turning to her, she was standing in the water just under the breast. Breathless from the view, I wanted so much to kiss her when she placed a powerful cold hand on my arm, sending a striking sensation over me. I felt myself slipping into a place I didn’t wish to go but I didn’t want to stop either.

                TO BE CONTINUED.




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