Mountain Whispers, Days Without Sun
EXCERPT — CHAPTER 3
Ben Pierce walked between the tracks that snaked the curves and contours of the creek. Occasionally, he glanced up at the steely sky rimmed by mountains that had once stood tall as the Rockies.
Though worn smooth and covered in forest, the dark slopes rose high and pressed in on him like slumbering giants who might awaken at any moment. Judging by how his long, boney shadow was fading into the dusky ground, he’d soon need to call it a day and head home.
Suddenly, the sound of gunfire erupted, rolled down the mountains and echoed past him. Several shots were fired. It made him flinch slightly, but he knew the prey was up on the mountain, a far piece away. He figured someone had to be pretty desperate to be hunting on the Official Wild Lands. Desperate times. He’d regularly resorted to poaching on the Wild Lands himself though mostly with his crossbow. It didn’t draw near as much attention.
His throat felt dry and his tongue thick. He stopped to drink some spring water from his canteen. He swished and spit out the first mouthful, and then took some down. He listened hard. He hoped those shots had found their mark.