“Penny. Amber.” I walk next to my friends. “Why aren’t you guys worried? What if Trent’s lying? How did I end up in the forest? Please, someone, hear me.”
“What if she’s not shopping?” Penny drops her books on the big library table. At least she looks a little worried.
Thank you. Finally.
“Maybe she’s run away. She’s been threatening to do it for months.” Amber pulls out a chair. “Trent did say she was acting weird last night. Maybe when he dropped her off she collected her stuff and left?”
“What’s the bet some studly picked her up and they’re now getting married in Vegas.”
Everyone laughs at Matt’s joke.
“Maybe some trucker kidnapped her and she’s locked in the back with a trailer load of livestock.” Amber giggles.
“Why would that be funny?” My voice punches out in harsh syllables.
“Maybe she’s on a bus to New York. Hashtag, Nicole makes a break for it.” Penny smiles.
“Penny, not you too. I haven’t run away.” I throw my bag on the table. “You guys!”
“Maybe she’s dead.” The table goes silent at Lauren’s casual statement. They all look at her then at each other… then all start cracking up.
“Why are you guys laughing? I’m not dead. I’M NOT DEAD.” I scream.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a head pop up from a book and look around the room as if he just heard something.
“I’m not dead.” I yell across the room.
He flinches, lowers his book and looks straight at me.
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The Hunter’s Curse…
To the hunter who reaps his fill of kill
And nary none from need
Beware the beast who wakens to feast
On avarice and greed