Shadows in the Forest

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Jack(s)
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Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:24 am

Hey everybody,

so, currently, I am working on two FF. One is on ice right now as I just don't have any ideas on how to continue and the other one I will start posting here. It's not finished and not published on any other side. JK you can't have read that one yet :lol:
I hope you enjoy it and leave me some comments on what you think about it. As always over the period of the FF, it will contain some Jack whump. That's just what I do. Have fun...

xxx
Shadows in the Forest

Today was the day. The sun was warming mother earth with her beams and no clouds could be seen on the blue sky. Jack had his duffle bag ready to go and while checking his watch for the numerous time he sipped on a cup of hot steaming coffee.

He had promised he would take Cassandra on a camping trip while her Mother Janet would go on a conference meeting on the west coast. His view into his garden lightened his heart. The flowers blossomed and in his little birdbath which Cass had made him as a school project, he witnessed how a little robin followed through with his morning hygiene. A smile crossed his face and he checked his watch again. Rolling his eyes, he noticed that only a minute has passed. He was excited as he could be to go out into the wilderness. He loved the fresh smell of the forest and the loneliness that came with it.

Rinsing out his cup, he checked again if he had everything. Matches, marshmallows, tins of food, sleeping bag, tent, flashlight and what else he needed to have a nice week out in the woods with his favourite smaller person.

Jack picked up the phone and punched in the speed dial from Carter. She knew what he was doing and already wished him a great time. Jack just wanted to make sure that she still knew where both were going just in case something happened and they needed him earlier back at the SGC. He knew that deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado the reception would be zero.

“Carter,” a female voice answered.

“Hey Carter, it's me. Just wanted to let you know that I will set off now to pick up Cassie. You still know where we are going?” Jack did not have any doubts about the competence of his friend. It was more like he loved to hear her voice.

“Yes Sir. All noted and on my fridge door. And remember when you come back to give me a ring. Otherwise, I will send a search party out to look for you.” She laughed about her own joke and could practically see Jack’s smiling face before her inner eye.

“Sure thing. Friday night before 8 pm. After that, you come looking for me if Cassie tangled me up somewhere.” He laughed and wished his friend all the best. He knew she would work in her lab deep under the mountain on some alien stuff which other teams or even they themselves brought back from distant planets all over the Galaxy.

Xxx

A few minutes later he arrived at Janet’s house. Checking his watch again he realised he was right on the minute. Knocking on the heavy dark wooden door and stepping back after he waited. Behind the door, he could hear some noises and a female voice telling her daughter to listen to the older man.

“You do exactly what the Colonel tells you. It was nice of him to take some time off so do not embarrass me. Maybe you will learn something from him. I am sure he will teach you some tricks he knows if you ask him nicely.” Janet reminded her daughter.

“Yes, mum. You told me that for the last three days. I will be nice to Jack. You do know that right?” not even waiting for an answer she opened the door.

“Hey, Uncle Jack. How are things today? I am ready to go. My bag is packed, and I put all the stuff in you told me to and not more.” She beamed while telling him proudly of her achievement.

“Well done Cass. You want me to take you back to the Truck?” he offered while grinning all over his face.

“Nah, I can do it myself. I am 13 you know.” She told him and lifted her bag.

Jack could see how she struggled but let her do how she wanted it and greeted instead his friend who was standing behind her daughter the whole time.

“Thank you, Colonel, for taking care of her. She was so excited she told me every day numerous times about what she wanted to do in that week and how long it was still to go and so on. I hope she will behave and is not too much trouble for you.” Janet smiled towards the still grinning face of her friend.

“It will be fine. She will be home by 6 pm on Friday. I am sure we will have fun. So, if not done yet, pack your own stuff and enjoy the conference you will attend.” He waved Janet a silent goodbye and turned around to see Cassi still struggling to get her bag on the loading area of the green Truck.

“Can I help you now young lady?” he offered while stepping next to her.

“Hulk is higher than I had in my memory” the teenager confessed.

“Hulk?” Jack looked at her confused.

“I watched a marvel movie the other day with a friend and there was a big green monster called Hulk. Your truck is big and green and roars like a monster. Just the green is not as light as the original Hulk. But that’s what I call your big green monster from now on.” She stated with a facial expression which called him out on why he did not know who Hulk was.

“Ah, never watched a Marvel movie but I do know who Hulk is.” He took her bag and placed it next to his bag and all the other necessities they would need over the week.

Cassie ran back to the door and wished her mum goodbye and a good time. With that, she was buckled up on the passenger seat in no time and waited for the adventure with her best adult friend to begin.

Xxx

Over two hours had passed, and the radio gave some country music away quietly. Cassie told Jack all about her school, her friends and what else she discovered on earth.

“Did you have breakfast?” Jack asked casually to make her take a break from babbling.

“A bowl of cereal.” She stated and saw the sign of a Diner. It was just after 11 am and she felt hungry now that she thought about it.

“You hungry? That will be the last proper meal for a week.” Jack reminded her while watching her face light up out of the corner of his eye.

“I could eat some fries with a burger” the girl blurted out in excitement.

“Ok, Burger and fries it is.” Jack acknowledged and stirred the truck in the car park.

The Diner at the side of the street was small but upon entering the building it looked very cosy from the inside. Cassie picked a booth in the corner where it was quiet.

A red counter took over the whole Diner. It spread from one end to the other. Behind it had been the typical items anyone could find in a restaurant: an Ice cream machine followed by a milkshake machine and a hot dog stand.

A young waitress came over straight away and her long blond hair had the style back from the 70s.

“Hey folks, what can I get ya?” she asks while taking her paper book and pen ready.

“Two burgers with fries and two cokes please” Jack replied with a shy smile.

“Coming up straight away.” The waitress turned, gave the order to the kitchen, and served the ice-cold drinks as promised.

A light conversation speeded up some time until the food arrived. Jack sat at the wall side and could watch the door opening while Cassie who sat opposite only saw out the window behind Jack.

The older man noticed two shabby-looking men entering the establishment. He tried to mind his own business. He was here with a child in his care and should not interfere in other people’s work. Still, he kept an eye on the two men who now had been seated themselves at the counter.

Cassie enjoyed her Burger enormously. Jack stared more in the direction of the counter and then he would eat. After Cassie was finished with her plate, he did not realise that the girl nipped some of his fries.

The conversation at the counter grew louder and the waitress behind became more and more distressed.

Jack was fighting with himself what to do. His sense of honour and justice told him that he had to do something. On the other hand, he was here to have a good time with his teenage friend.

“Cassie, would you mind taking the food and go outside in the truck? Here is the key. Please don’t ask questions just go.” He looked at her and gave her his car keys.

“Ok.” She knew what was about to happen. After the noises became louder, she had seen the body language change in the Colonel and knew what was about to come. She took the keys, her food, the drinks and hurried outside. As she was safe in the car, Jack got up and came closer to the counter.

Casually he leaned with his right arm on top the counter and looked at the young woman behind it. She was scared and anxious and did not know what to do. Jack smiled at her reassuringly.

“Can I help you fellas?” he asked.

“No, mind your own business.” One of the scruffy men replied

“Sorry, no can do.” He smiled slyly, still leaning on the counter

“You should, otherwise it will not end well for you.” The second one interrupted now.

“Who says that?” Jack tried to get the whole attention towards him to get the woman out of harm’s way.

“I say that.” the man in question got up from his barstool and built himself up in full size in front of Jack “Who are you anyway?” He looked in Jack’s brown eyes.

“Nobody, just someone passing through. But what you guys do here is not right and I think you both know it. So, my suggestion would be. Leave the lady alone. Have something to eat and to drink and leave.” He stood now as well and looked his opponent straight in his dull, grey eyes.

“What, if not?” the first, still seated guy asked now.

“You two really want to find out?” Jack looked briefly through the window where Cassie was waiting in his car.

“Yes, because we are two and you are only one. What will you do?” now both men had been standing in front of Jack. Curious about what comes next.

“Guys, you do not want to have a fight with me, and I do not want to have one with you. All I asked is that you leave the girl alone. Not more or less.” He tried to go a fight out of its way for Cassie’s sake. She was far too young to see so much violence. Especially after what she has seen on her own planet.

“I could do with a bit of sparring practice. What do you think bro?” The two guys turned to each other. They nodded their heads in agreement and both swung their left and right fist sat the same time.

Jack had seen that coming and stepped a bit back. The fists did not find their target and let their owners lose their balance. Falling over each other, Jack looked to his feet were two grown-up men laid on the floor winching and whining.

He turned to the waitress and asked, “You got duct tape or cable binder?”

While she was busy searching for the items he wanted, Jack made sure the two scoundrels could not get up. After receiving the tape, he made sure that the hands had been tied up securely behind their backs.

“Ma`am, I would advise you to phone the police to pick up some stray dogs.” He checked on Cassie again who was still eating some fries in the car.

“Would you like me to stay and talk to the police afterwards? Or will you manage?”

“Thank you, Mister. I think I will manage. The chief is a friend of mine so it will not take very long till he will come. Just in case he has any questions, you got a number where he could reach you?” she asked him with her warm blue eyes.

“I am on a week’s vacation in the mountains, but after Friday you can reach me under that number.” He wrote his name and his mobile number on a napkin.

“Thank you and safe travels.” She took the napkin and picked up the phone. After a short period of ringing, her friend was on the phone and promised to come by immediately.

Jack went out to his truck and as he sat behind the steering wheel, he felt lucky in so many ways. Lucky that Cass had listened to him the first time, lucky that there was no real fight, lucky that he did not have to wait for the sheriff to come and the very important bit, he was lucky that from his burger and fries was still something there.

“Here is your Colonel speaking, please fasten your seatbelt, the onward journey is continuing towards the destination.” He smiled towards his passenger and started the engine.

“Uncle Jack, how long do we still have to drive?” Cassie spoke up first after a while.

So far it was very quiet. None of the friends found the urgency to speak. Mother nature in its glory was so fascinating by itself.

“I reckon still for another hour. I found a nice place near a lake with lots of forests around. I have been there once, and it was beautiful. No human soul around and if we are lucky and patient, I think we can see some wild animals. We can make a fire at night and cook the fish you will catch during the day. How does that sound?” Jack was still concentrating on the road while painting her a picture of what was waiting for her.

“Uncle Jack, can I ask a question?” Cassie started after she thought about it a bit.

“Sure, but you asked the question already,” came the reply with a slight chuckle.

A puzzled look came on the teenager’s face and Jack nearly lost it. “Cass, you asked if you could ask a question, and with that, you already asked a question.” His grinning face said it all. “And also, I told you not to ask if you can ask a question. You are always allowed to ask questions and I will try to answer them correctly.” He added.

The puzzled face changed into a smile and she slapped him in a friendly way on his right arm. “Were you scared earlier in the diner with the two men coming after you?” She was all serious now.

He looked at her before answering that question. He was wondering how it had affected her, but he knew that pressuring a teenager is never going to work. So, he waited till she started with it.

“I was scared for your safety. Your mum is a very good friend of mine and she has trusted me with the most precious thing on this wonderful planet. Hence, on all planets.” He looked at her and saw her confused look “She trusted me with your life. So, I was scared for you but never for me”. He looked sideways out the window for a second and continued. “I have tried to make it as harmless as possible. After you went out to the Truck, I told them I do not want a fight, but I will if they are not stopping the harassment of the waitress. The reaction you have seen I assume. I had it under control. The two guys had already too much to drink so early in the morning to do any serious damage. I just hope the diner girl is safe now.”

“When I am all grown up, I would like to be like you, Uncle Jack: fearless and always knowing what to do. Helping other people is so great. You are my idol.” She beamed and stared on the street ahead.

“I am sure no idol Cass. I think it's brilliant that you like to help people who need assistance. I am not fearless. I am often scared, I just learned not to show it. That’s what the military does to you.” Suddenly, he needed fresh air. The truck could become so small from one second to another.

The window opened and the fresh air streamed through it, giving both passengers a shiver.

The sign to an entrance which led to the lakeside came into view. Cassie read it out loud “Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park”. The teenager struggled to sit quietly while she burst with excitement.

“Cass, we are not there. We park the car here and have another mile hike in front of us. But I promise that the view at the end will be a reward well worth it.” He smirked and pulled into a parking lot.

“That’s why you told me to just pack the absolutely necessary items, so I don’t have to carry too much because I guess you won’t help me.” She grinned and before Jack could say something, she jumped out of his truck.

TBC
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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bftlovesRDA
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by bftlovesRDA » Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:50 pm

Ooooo - this looks like it is going to be really really good. Loving it so far! Know there is lots more good stuff to come!

Thanks for posting this new ff here!
B

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:46 pm

my pleasure B. Makes me happy that you like the first section already. You are right, there is lots more to come. Have fun on that journey
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
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Monika
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Monika » Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:28 pm

Hi Jacky,
yes, it will be exciting and makes you curiousnabout a lot more. :D :D :D :D :D

I look forward to continuing. Please

From Monika with love
"As long as I always think of you and wish me somethings which I think is unattainable, there is no reason to be hurt by others."

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:26 pm

hey Monika,

I am glad that you are excited about the FF. have fun reading and I am looking forward to your thoughts.

Jacky
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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JackGywer
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by JackGywer » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:08 pm

When I saw the title, I knew, I didn't know the story. I have a good memory :lol: :lol:
What should I say?
Can't wait for more!!!!!!
Great beginning and I think I know which way it will go :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Oh Jack...........you will suffer :lol:
Love it!!

In the next days. I will send you an email :P :D
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that does not have to know the mind.


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tvero80
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by tvero80 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:48 pm

JackGywer wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:08 pm
Great beginning and I think I know which way it will go :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Oh Jack...........you will suffer :lol:
Suffer ? Are you sure , J ? Oh , no ! Unlike you I don't like to see him suffer .
Great start , Jacky whatever happens ... :)
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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:29 am

JackGywer wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:08 pm
When I saw the title, I knew, I didn't know the story. I have a good memory :lol: :lol:
What should I say?
Can't wait for more!!!!!!
Great beginning and I think I know which way it will go :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Oh Jack...........you will suffer :lol:
Love it!!

In the next days. I will send you an email :P :D
you do know me quite well... I got about 48 pages as home, so will try to post regular every 2-3 days, but i am not finished by a long shot.
I would like to know how it develops further as well but have to wait till I can write again...

have fun while reading it, I hope you will not regret it 😊
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:30 am

tvero80 wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:48 pm
JackGywer wrote:
Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:08 pm
Great beginning and I think I know which way it will go :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Oh Jack...........you will suffer :lol:
Suffer ? Are you sure , J ? Oh , no ! Unlike you I don't like to see him suffer .
Great start , Jacky whatever happens ... :)
V, I am sorry to spoil your fun, but all my FF have some kind of Jack whump in it. I still hope you will continue reading and enjoying it... 😊
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:46 pm

and here is the next part, have fun everybody

xxx

“Sure, I am not a packhorse.” He took the backpack for Cassie out of the loading area, shouldered his pack and swung his duffel bag over his shoulder. After he made sure his beloved vehicle was secure, he went looking for where the trail would begin.
The girl looked at him and with a wide grin, she acknowledged that he still looked like a packhorse to her with the two items around his torso. She shouldered her pack and followed the older man.

“Uncle Jack, how did you get the idea of the lake?” Cassie asked after a while. Her thoughts went wild in this beautiful landscape and she just wondered how her friend came up with it.

“I stumbled across it while googling” he confessed. “It`s been a while since your mum asked me to take care of you for this week so I was looking for something nice to do. I wanted to show you a bit more about this area and how beautiful it is.” He slowed down a bit so the girl could catch up to him. Sometimes it took him a bit to remember that he had longer legs and therefore was faster, not to mention his training as a soldier.

“You have done a good job with your stumbling.” Cassie smiled and took nature into her body with a deep long breath.
Silent solitude was their companion for the next two hours. Till they came up to a clearing which offered a breath-taking view. Jack put his bags down on the forest floor and took a few deep breaths. This was his habitat where he felt at home. Trees, water, and nothing else. He listened to the birds singing and shouting. He observed a dragonfly hovering over the water, waiting for her partner till both flew away.

Cassie stood next to him and needed a few minutes to catch her breath. The hike was good but for her little legs stressful as well. But she had to admit to herself, Jack was right when he said that the view would be a worthy reward.

“Cassie, wait here. I will check the area and find a place where we can build our tent. Do not go anywhere. We are in a national park. That means there is wildlife around here. We don’t want to disturb them.” He looked deep into her eyes.

“I know Uncle Jack like the saying goes: take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints.” She smiled shyly and waved him a goodbye. Even though she was only 13 and not very long on that planet, she knew how to take care of herself.

The minutes passed by and from the grey-haired man, there was still no sign. Cassie had seated herself on a trunk and waited. The water in front of her was so still. To her, it appeared as the earth would stay still. Time lost all meaning and she got the feeling if a slight breeze would come off now, it could sweep her away.

The waiting ended a few minutes later as Jack came back. Friendly and smiling, he explained to her where he had found a suitable place to make camp for a week. Taking their packs again the last little hike was on their way.

Jack led the way up to a little plateau. From here it was an astonishing perspective over the lake itself. The water was so crystal-clear they could see the stones at the bottom of the lake.

“This is beautiful. I did not know that there was such a magnificent spot so near where we live. I mean it's charming where we live, do not get me wrong. But this is just amazing. I just do not know what to say,” she stammered her conversation.

“Then do not say anything. Enjoy it and take it in. We have got time. There are another six hours of daylight left. This is plenty to build up the tent and go fishing so we have something to eat tonight.” He encouraged her while stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets.

Xxx

Meanwhile at the sheriff`s office

The Sheriff had arrived as soon as possible as he had given his promise to the young waitress. He had taken the two drunken men to his little office where there was a holding cell. By law, he could hold them for 24 hours. This would give them enough time to get rid of their alcohol level and maybe see the day a bit clearer.

As he checked his prisoners, both men been sleeping like babies while softly snoring. He smiled to himself and went back to get the paperwork done which brought this case with it.

In his hand, he had the telephone number of the witness who helped the waitress. He needed to contact him and was a bit confused as to why the man who had done such a heroic thing to a strange woman would just go. What was his reason? Did he have something to hide? What was his secret? The sheriff scolded himself for such thoughts as the man said he was available after Friday again and left his number. But that could mean nothing. He may lie. A little voice whispered in the sheriff`s head. The temptation was rising to just phone him.

Giving in, he picked up the phone and punched in the numbers. The phone connected but went straight to voicemail. It was just an automatic voice saying which connection was made but no indication about the man and who he was. He hung up and stared out of the window. Deep in thought, he remembered. The waitress had told him that he seemed in control the whole time and had given the drunken men even a fair warning that he did not want any trouble. So, did he have any training?

Overwhelmed by his curiosity, he typed the number into the search machine, but no result was found. That seemed strange to the sheriff but for now, there was nothing he could do apart from waiting another few days. He would have to contact him on Saturday morning and hoped that the guy was not too far away so he could stop by again for a witness statement. Otherwise per email must do.

Xxx

Campsite on Dream Lake

“Cassie, after you separated all the metal rods from each other and put them in order, I will guide you through how to put up the tent.” He announced.

“I am nearly done, so you better hurry with your fire pit. I am hungry already and can’t wait for something to eat.” She stated.

“How can you be hungry again. You just had lunch three hours ago. You eat your full portion and half of mine. I should be the one who is hungry,” he remarked with a mocking indignant face.

“I am a teenager. I am still growing. We have been hiking on and on in the fresh air. No wonder that I am hungry again.” With that, she put her hands on her hips and watched the older man very closely.

“Ok, ok. You won. The sooner you are finished with the tent, the sooner we can go fishing.” He finished the playful argument as he realised that his stomach was rumbling as well.

Another 30 minutes later and the tent was standing with its full glory. The firepit was ready and burning and the fishing rods ready to catch the evening meal.

“Cass, you ready? I got four rods. Two for you and two for me. Let us see who can catch more fish in, let’s say, 20 minutes.” He checked his watch while making her that offer.

“Sure, but you are way more experienced than I am. So, you have got an advantage. But nevertheless, I will take you up on that offer. What does the winner get?” she asked while taking her fishing poles.

Jack licked his fingers after he had eaten his second trout. The taste of fresh fish was outstanding in comparison to all that farmed stuff humans could buy in supermarkets.

“Well done Cassie, your mum would be proud. Your cooking skills are amazing. I am glad you offered to cook.” He declared appreciatively.

“Mum told me that you can’t cook and if I don’t want to starve to death, I have to do it myself. She told me that on missions you always got your ration packs. What did you call them again?” She struggled to remember the correct wording for it.

“They are called MRE’s. It stands for Meal, ready to eat.” He explained while looking a bit confused

“Exactly - that’s the word I was looking for!” she beamed and carried on. “So mum showed me how to cook as she said when you are at home you love to order pizza.”

“So, your mum thinks I am always eating pizza when I am in my house.” He repeated thoughtfully.
For a moment, a schooled eye would have seen that the Colonel was taken aback a bit by what he had just learned. He could cook. What was with his world-famous omelette with that oh so important secret ingredient? Not really anything for kids but still, he did not just like pizza. There were other things he could order as well.

“Uncle Jack, she did not say it like that. But she is right, far too often you do not cook. You have your MRE`s or the food on the base. But I know what you really can do is very good. You make a brilliant barbeque.” She smiled at him encouragingly.

“Ah well, at least I am able to cook something good then.” He grinned mischievously and threw a little towel at her. “It is still a bit of day light left. Would you like to look for dry wood or do the washing up?”

“I will do the washing up. You are faster with your long legs to cover more ground to find the right wood,” she stated which for her was obvious.

“Ok, Ma`am. I will be back in a maximum of ten minutes. Not that someone will come here but just for safety measures do not go with anyone. Scream as loud as you can if something is happening. There are bears up here but at least no rattlesnakes.” He drummed into her again just to make sure she would be safe.

“No rattlesnakes? Why? I was thinking they live in Colorado” Cassie was confused.

“There are rattlesnakes in Colorado, only two types through. The western and the massasauga rattlesnake. The western rattlesnake appears in most habitats throughout the state and comes up to around 7000 feet. The massasauga, however, is limited to the south-eastern grasslands. We are by around 9500 feet. So, no grassland and above 7000 feet means no rattlesnakes.” He explained his knowledge and left a teenager standing with an open mouth.

“Ok, so no poisoning snakes. That is good. Something less to care about. I will heat some water and do the washing up. There is not much wood left, so I hope you hurry up otherwise you will have to start a fire again.” She stated the obvious.

“Aye Ma`am.” He threw her a sloppy salute before setting off.

It was getting darker and with the darkness rising the cold crept up from the lake. The blissful view enveloped herself with a slight fog.
Jack was still not to be seen and Cassie grew concerned by the minute, sure the ten minutes he was talking about must have been over by now.
As if he could read her thoughts, he came back to the camp, his arms full of dry wood, large and little, driftwood and normal dead wood from the forest. Mother nature gave them plenty.

“Hey Cass, sorry I took a bit longer. It was not my intention and I do apologise to you. I have found something that we could do tomorrow if you are interested.” He arranged the wood all into a clean pile while speaking to her

“I was concerned. You are military. You of all of them should know what it means to let somebody wait.” She was disappointed in her friend and did not know how to handle it. She did not want to blame him, but that was easier said than done.

“I am sorry. I did not mean to scare you, Cassie.” His voice was soft now and the cheerfulness was gone. If he could, he would have bitten himself in his ass for so much stupidity. She was only thirteen. She was not one of his team members who can take care of themselves.

She saw how he changed, and the little boy went inside. Immediately she regraded what she had said. Up to now, they had such a good time. He lost a bit of track of time. And? He apologised twice by now and he said he found something that they both could do tomorrow. So, it was good after all. She considered her odds.

“Uncle Jack” she waited till he lifted his head and matched her eyes. That is when she took a little plastic syringe out of her pocket full of water and sprayed it into his face. “Now we are even,” she stated with a laugh.

A boyish evil grin flashed over his face as he stood up. He casually walked over to the girl and with a short strong swing, he took her in his arms and threw her in the air. This caused the girl to giggle and the good mood was back. Cassie and Jack had realised at that moment that there was more in that world to blame then looking for the guilty party. Forgiveness and peace, freedom, and patience, that was what it was all about.

The fire was still going deep into the night. As soft snoring was to be heard out of the tent, and nobody could tell what would happen in the future. The important thing was the enjoyment of the present, not to live in the past and not to guess what is in the future.

Xxx

Sheriff’s office

The next morning came and he knew he had to let them both go free. The sheriff was looking for an excuse to leave them both to rot in this little hell hole of his but could not find a solution. He had given them some food and water last night and all that they had for him been insults.
He unlocked the door and stepped to the side. “Boys you are free. You have a warning now in your registered file. If I see you again it will be longer than 24 hours that you don’t taste the freedom you should have.”

The dirty clothes have been hanging on the two men like old rags and the smell was so penetrating that the Sheriff was tempted to hold his nose closed with his fingers. A shower with some soap would do them good, that was for sure.
“Bye Sheriff, Thanks for your hospitality. We promise we will not go back to the lovely lady in the diner,” remarked the older of them to show that they learned the lesson.

The sheriff tipped his head and closed the door after he released them both onto the street.

Xxx

Dream Lake

Jack woke up with the first sign of the morning. He squinted from the tent and greeted Mother Nature in near silence as he crawled out of it. Stretching his limbs in all directions he looked around. Yes, he agreed with Cassie. What a beautiful patch of earth. He looked to his right and greeted the mountains who stood high over the water and kept watch on every single living soul. He looked to his left and greeted the trees who built the forest to provide all living beings with shelter and food. Right now, right here, life was good. He listened to the morning rituals of some birds higher up. The volume of the cries travelled over the water to his ears and a smile washed over his face.

He heard a noise behind him and as he turned around, he saw a little blond head looking out. The hair was standing up like the person wearing it had touched an electric socket.

“Morning sleepy head” he greeted her.

“Morning, what time is it?” Cassie came out of the tent by now and took the same view in as Jack had done a few minutes ago.

“Just after sunrise,” he stated.

“Sunrise is around seven in the morning. Why do you say, sleepyhead. Normally I sleep till ten or 11 in the morning,” she grumbled and tried to wake up a bit more.

“The view is breath-taking, like yesterday, just different.” The girl complemented the spot Jack had chosen.

“What would you like for breakfast Cassie. I was thinking while you get yourself ready for the day, I will cook something.” Jack offered.

“Ok, I take eggs.” With that Cassie was gone.

Jack turned around to the pan and mumbled to himself, “Ok, eggs it is.”

Around 15 minutes later, cassie reappeared and looked far more presentable. Her mood had changed, and her hair was in order as much as it would get out here.

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TBC
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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