By Carol Sandford


Chapter 06


Deanna didn’t have a clue where Will had gone but it was long enough for her to gather her scattered wits and her few belongings and slip out of the door quietly. Will had told her that they were only a couple of miles from the nearest village in the opposite direction that they had come.

Deliberately turning about face, Deanna began to walk in that direction after noticing a feint track that made itself known as soon as she’d stepped in amongst the dense foliage that surrounded Will’s home.

Foot by foot as she stomped her way through the heavy undergrowth, Deanna silently steamed, Of all the pig-headed, chauvinistic, arrogant, pathetic creatures that ever walked on this planet, why was it me that had to fall in love with him?

As she trudged on, so her thoughts got more and more testier, and more vulgar, Damn you, William Riker, how dare you do this to me. How dare you drag me all the way out here, make my life a walking misery, drag things up that should be forgotten. Damn you.

So intent on putting one foot in front of the other, avoiding the barbed snares that lie beneath the lush ferns, along with the words and the visions that her battered mind was trying to deal with, and failing, Deanna didn’t really notice just how deep into the woods she was getting into. The trail appeared to have all but disappeared, which brought on another trickle of profanities that Deanna thought she would never hear herself say.

On top of that, it had begun to drizzle with rain, lightly at first, just enough to barely notice, but now created large pools on the overhanging leaves, conveniently and strategically dumping their load on Deanna’s unsuspecting head, emitting a howl of protest from her as the freezing cold droplets woke her from her real-life walking nightmare.

Miserable, wet, lost and furious, Deanna emitted a howl to the blackness surrounding her, not caring if it were man, animal or alien hearing her, "Damn you, you bastard, William Riker!"

Seconds later, she regretted her violet outburst when she heard a movement in the not too distant undergrowth. Deanna watched, petrified to the spot and the low branches swayed and bobbed as the huge, menacing bulk neared her position, reminding Deanna just exactly where she was and what was likely to be out there.


Deanna screamed into the invading darkness.


When Will had rubbed down and feed the horses and calmed himself in the process and felt ready for the next confrontation with Deanna, he headed back towards the house. He kinda liked the thought that she was inside waiting for him, it made his heart race with pleasure, despite the circumstances and the impending talk about to happen.

This was what he wanted. This was what he had always wanted; Deanna in his home waiting for him with open arms. Well, he thought wryly to himself, maybe not with open arms, not yet. But one day, soon. The thought made his heart surge with hope and anticipation.

Once he’d stepped back in doors and saw no trace of Deanna, he automatically assumed that she had gone to look around his home. It pleased him no end that she was at least taking an interest in the house and everything that it represented, for both of them. But it soon become apparent that Deanna wasn’t there, or in the surrounding grounds. He kicked himself for being stupid enough to assume she was still there by making himself comfortable on the cedar porch swing, planning the sumptuous salmon meal they were going to have. The half hour he wasted there meant that Deanna was half an hour deeper into the woods, with nightfall rapidly falling and the promise of rain close on its heels.

With an heart-stopping sense of dread, Will stood on the verandah and stared into the pitch black woods that surrounded his home, knowing that the woman he loved was out there, alone, in the dark, now wet and fending off not only the elements, but the wildlife that habited the mountain. He also knew all she was armed with was her wit and even Will knew, that wasn’t going to keep her alive if she came face to face with the wood’s most unwelcome resident; the huge, almost 7 foot grizzly that he himself had come face to face with barely a month ago when he’d been out hunting for turkey.

With an overwhelming sense of dread, Will tried to clear his mind and call out with his mind to her, something that he’d not done for so long, he wasn’t even sure he could anymore. But as he called her name and waited, terror washed over him when she didn’t respond to his heart-felt call. Seconds later he was racing indoors to the emergency radio...

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