Day Six Writing Challenge

Howdy,

We are taking today as day six of our writing challenge. I’ve been busy with writing deadlines, which is a good problem. So here goes.

Day 6:
Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.

No Safe Haven by Kim & Kayla Woodhouse, Ch 14 and Ch 29

They’d made good progress today, but Cole wanted to make it back to the crash site.

If they didn’t they might not know what had caused the plane to burst into flames and fall into the side of the mountain. So many reporters, so many treasure-hunters and wanna-be detectives taking souvenirs from the plane meant that critical evidence would soon disappear.

The problem was getting to the crash site. A storm had blown into the area in the last couple of hours, and all helicopters were grounded. She could hike in, but that would take hours. She could take a snowmobile, but apparently all the snowmachines had been rented by the newshounds.

Cole sighed. Seemed the only option was that obnoxious Mr. Carmichael who owned the dog team. She’d have to grovel and apologize, no doubt, for suggesting his team of mutts shouldn’t eat dog food, they should be dog food. Oh, she hated having to say she was sorry.

Well, there was nothing to be done about the situation. So grovel she would.

She stomped to Carmichael’s shack and pounded on the door. He seemed to take a lot of pleasure in treating her like a delicate porcelain vase, but she would not act like one. She was a strong woman who knew her own mind and could make her own way. And she would let him know.

The door swung inward, and Carmichael filled the doorway, casting a ten-foot shadow across the yard. “Ah, Miss Adams.”

“Cole.”

His brow drew down. Apparently he was easily confused. “Miss Cole?”

She sighed. “No. I don’t like effeminate titles that minimize a person. Call me Cole.”

His brow relaxed and he gestured her in. “Come in, Cole.”

She tapped the snow from her boots before stepping inside the cabin. Glancing around, she noted the plaid curtains, the homemade quilt on the single bed, and the order in the small space. Everything in its place, and a place for everything. She decided the guy wasn’t all bad.

“Have a seat, Miss—uh, Cole.”

She shook her head. “Haven’t got time. Need to get to the crash site. Need a dog team.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded gruff and demanding. She attempted to soften her words. “Please.”

Carmichael smiled, his eyes sparkling in the light from the fire. He stared at her for several long minutes before nodding. “We can do that.”

“You can send a bill to the NTSB.”

He shook his head and sat down. “No can do. Cash on the barrel head. Payment in full before I harness the team.”

“That’s not how—”

“The government works.” He finished her sentence for her.

She hated when men did that.

But he wasn’t done. “Not how I work.” He held out a hand, palm up. “Cash.”

“How much?”

“Two hundred.”

She sucked in a breath. She didn’t have that kind of cash. And he knew she didn’t. What game was he playing? She’d call his bluff. “Thank you for your time. I’ll get someone else.”

“There isn’t anyone else. You know it, and I know it. So what’s the problem?”

Next to apologizing, she also hated looking inept. “I don’t have the money.”

He stood, looming over her, filling every spare inch of the small room. “Maybe we can make a trade.”

Bile and anger rose in her throat, and she clenched her fists at her side. “I’ve shot men for less.”

He stepped back, blinking, nostrils flaring. “I didn’t mean what you thought I mean.”

“Then what did you mean?” Now she felt foolish. Number three on her hate list.

“I need your help. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

The idea of scratching what was undoubtedly a broad, well-muscled back, probably covered in fine, silky hair, had its appeal, but not here, and not now. She swallowed, pushing those crazy thoughts down. “Such as?”

“My sister, Jenna, needs a doctor. She’s sick. If I take you to the crash site, you’ve got to agree to fly her out to the coastal hospital.”

Cole considered the barter then nodded. Seemed like the least she could do. “What’s she sick with?”

He shrugged. “Don’t know for sure. Fever, cough.”

“Where is she?”

He quirked his head toward a door Cole hadn’t noticed before. “In there.”

Cole crossed the room and opened the door. A woman lay in a cot, a quilt pulled to her chin. She entered the dim room, and an odor hit her nose immediately. Like a hunk of moose meat left out in the sun. Or a raccoon that died beneath a cabin.

Rotting flesh.

She studied the outline of the woman’s body under the covers. One leg was markedly shorter than the other. Cole walked to Jenna’s side. “What is this about, Mr. Carmichael?”

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