Tastes Like Pork, Chapter 6

New installments of this serial novel are posted every week. Need to catch up? Use these links:

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5

Chapter 5

The next night, Silas was looking at the moon as well. It was just after midnight, and the woods around his cabin were quiet, save for the rattling of a slight breeze through the fall canopy. He finished the cup of coffee he’d been working on, and rinsed it out in the sink, setting it on a rack on the counter to drain. Unhurried, he went to the front door and took one last look around the cozy cabin to make sure everything was in its place before he picked up the bag he’d packed earlier. He did hate to come back to a mess. Satisfied, he walked out into the moonlight, he felt like whistling with the chorus of crickets, but he remained quiet. Stowing the bag in his truck he got in and leisurely made the drive to the other side of the mountain. He parked at the edge of Magpie, since he’d probably end up there anyway, and then hiked the two miles around to the release spot. Rachel was standing on the ledge as he walked up, and he waved. She returned the gesture, a sort of figurative passing of responsibility for their ward from one to the other.

She wanted to join him, he knew. But it was not to be, and this little piece of waving him on at least allowed her to participate in a small way.

Turning away, he checked the ground. This trail wasn’t accessible to anyone who didn’t know that it was there, and the family had taken pains to keep it that way over the past century. A single set of footprints besides his own pointed away from the ledge, and he knew they could only belong to Wentworth. Adjusting his pack over his shoulders, he pointed the headlamp built into his cap at the ground, and started to follow the footsteps. If Wentworth had followed his sisters advice, then the farthest he would’ve gone was Magpie, the only town within twenty miles. If he hadn’t followed Rachel’s advice, then he could be anywhere, but Silas would find him.

Magpie Montana was a small farming town nestled deep within a nameless valley that didn’t show up on too many maps. It had been founded by Silas’ mother and her two closest friends in 1927, though his mother, Belle Dawson, had been born in the valley. There were many rumors about why the three women had formed the town by themselves, but the version he knew was the story his mother had told before she passed away several years ago.

His mother had been a healer, like all the women in her family before her. As she told it, her great, great grandmother Carrie Atwood had come to the mountain when fleeing from the Salem witch trials in 1693 with her husband, and they’d sought shelter in the caves from the zealots who chased them all the way across the continent. Gruesome Gully was originally created to trap those zealots, and had evolved from there into a criminal purgatory of sorts. To keep the constant stream of settlers to the region out, the valley had supposedly been protected by wards until Belle had inherited the valley. His mother had been lonely by herself, and when her two best friends, Ellie Jacobs and Madeline Henry needed to move out of Meadowlark, she’d figured out how to manipulate the wards placed by her ancestors, and the three had founded Magpie together.

Details were a little murky when it came to why her two best friends, which were less friends and more like family, had needed to leave Meadowlark. But no matter how it had happened, the three had formed a thriving community, and Belle had turned the shallower parts of the mountain into a popular tourist attraction, though she still provided natural healing services to those in the town and surrounding areas on a limited basis.

Magpie had remained small by design, but The Prairie Dog, originally a bordello that Ellie Jacobs had started when she moved to the valley was still there. Now a hotel and bar, it was run by her granddaughter, Vinnie Jacobs. Silas followed Wentworth’s tracks into town, pleased when he saw that the tracks led straight to The Dog, as the locals referred to Vinnie’s place.

It was always so much easier, when Gully releases took Rachel’s advice.

Opening door to the bar, he stood just inside for a moment, scanning the nearly empty space. It had taken him just under an hour to hike back as he hadn’t been in a hurry, but even though the bar was open until two, the only people there were a couple of regulars he recognized sitting at the bar, Vinnie herself, washing some glasses and chatting with the night owls, and Emily Burrows, one of Vinnie’s servers wiping down tables and putting chairs on top to prepare for closing. He waved at Vinnie, who nodded back and pointed to Emily.

“Got something for you.” Emily left her rag on a table and came over when she saw him, her dark hair pulled up in a pile on top her head, and her blue eyes sparkling and awake even at this late hour. She always had a smile for him when he came in, and though she was friendly and obviously interested, she wasn’t pushy or overly flirtatious. He’d always thought that if he was going to date someone, she’d be a possible candidate, and not just because her curvy body was easy on the eyes. But since he had no intention of getting entangled with anyone, he saw no reason to think about it. Though he did have to remind himself not to stare at the vee where the buttons of her crisp white shirt ended, giving him a tantalizing peek at something pink and lacy underneath.

She reached into the pocket of the black apron tied over her black and white checked skirt and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

“A man who came in yesterday said you’d be looking for him tonight. He asked me to give you this.”

Silas nodded and took the paper, unfolding it to read the brief message from Wentworth.

Rachel told me to get a meal, and do something I missed. I decided to take her advice. You’ll find me at the old homestead, if it’s still there. Join me.

“Shit.” Silas shook his head and shoved the paper into the pocket of his jeans. Emily looked concerned when he refocused on her. “Just a…complication. I have to run – thanks for the message.” He gave her a slight smile, and then nodded to Vinnie over her head before turning on his heel and heading straight for his truck. Normally, his prey was too preoccupied with being hunted down to cause trouble.

But it seemed that Wentworth was intent on one more kill before he went out, and Silas needed to keep that from happening if at all possible.

Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |
| Audible | iTunes

This entry was posted in Excerpts, Serial Novels and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.