Leave No Trace


A whoosh and then…a bang.

Tony was up in a flash of fur. His blue eyes pierced the darkness. Pete believed in safety first. This was the wood, and there were larger animals outside. 

He quickly found the Beretta 70 hidden under a loose floorboard. 

J. and Sue were already waiting in the main room. Tony lifted a paw signaling them to be quiet. His tail pointed straight up, ears folded back, he turned the doorknob and opened the front door. 

The wood was silent. The sun had started its ascent, the bright light fingering through the trees exposing nothing.  Dirty J. was behind him and then Sue and Gina. The shadows lengthened and shortened, but nothing that looked like a large animal moved. 

Gina was rattled. She knew she’d seen something but whatever it was had vanished. Tony and J. conducted a methodical search until they were satisfied; it was all clear. 

“Probably chasing a rabbit.” It’s long gone.”

Tony exhaled loudly, put the safety back on the Beretta releasing the trigger. He was clearly in his element. 

“Gina, you are going to have to learn how to use one of these.”

The two couples decided to take a walk down by the creek. It was cold but beautiful like a picture postcard. Gina pricked her ears listening to the water rushing by half expecting to see a bear coming out from behind a tree when a barren limb cracked splintering overhead. It was so close. She sprang sideways as it crashed into the water bobbed for a few minutes and slowly sank disappearing beneath the icy current. 

Gina kept looking up as they continued their walk. Cumulus clouds had gathered overhead to form a rumbling gray column. More snow in the forecast and a sudden chill in the air prompted them to cut their trek short.

Later Tony, and J. observed tracks on the roof of the cabin. At first, they thought it was a mountain lion, but there was something more. 

“Now that’s unusual, said Tony. 

“What do you see?” J. replied.

“You see the tracks up there? Now look down where that lion should’ve landed. What do you see?”

“Man, that is strange. Nothing, no tracks.” Either that cat out jumped any cat I’ve ever seen, or it disappeared into thin air.”

This news unsettled the girls. The two couples kicked the snow from their boots and quickly opened the door to the cabin shutting it firmly behind them.

The cupboard had been stocked with coffee, jelly, a can of liverwurst and a pint of Jameson’s. Tony said that Pete had called it sleep for your coffee. 

“That settles it,” said J. If we stay here, we will need to head out to the country store to pick up supplies.”

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