October 17, 2011
They had two choices.
Hike over a 14,000 foot peak or walk down the road. Jack might have preferred staying close to nature, but his two associates threatened to mutiny if he even brought up the subject of climbing over a mountain again.
He could have done with a few more days at the mining camp too. Sure the food left something to be desired, but he felt himself healing, growing calm. So naturally Ethan bugged him about once an hour to get them moving.
It took thirty minutes for them to reach the lonely mountain town ofOphir. The dirt road that ran through the place was as quiet as the houses that lined either side. It didn’t take long for Hannah to say, “Is it just me or does this place seem deserted?”
“I doubt anyone would abandon valuable homes like these,” I said.
“Well if they are, maybe we should poke around. There could be valuable stuff inside and…” Ethan’s voice trailed off under our glares.
“Just keep it tight. We’re well rested, but low on weapons. If someone gives us trouble, well… just be ready.”
We passed through the whole town without seeing a curtain move or hearing a dog bark. “Let’s just keep going,” Ethan said. “That place didn’t have as much as a soda machine anyway. How close is the nearest real town?”
“That would be Telluride and I think it’s another ten miles, but only the first two are uphill.”
Ethan just groaned.
The hike stretched out, eating into our daylight. Wild blew the yellowed aspen leaves across the road. Hannah picked up some of the prettier ones and wove them into her golden hair.
During one of our breaks, where we waited for a puffing Ethan to catch up, she said, “Doesn’t seem to be much traffic on the road today and the little there is, is mostly going north. Hardly any is heading south.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re-”
I never got to finish because, as if trying to prove her wrong, a huge suburban pulled off the ride of the road. The dust cloud hadn’t even been dispersed before a grizzled face stuck out the driver’s window.
“Are you folks okay?” Everything on the man’s face was an inch long. His hair, his scruffy beard, and even his eye brows were all the same length. “Did yer car break down or something?”
“Yeah, we lost a vehicle.” Hey, it wasn’t a lie.
He smiled, looked Hannah up and down and smiled again. “You just trying to make Telluride? They have a tow truck over there. My name is Hank by the way.”
Ethan had finally caught up to us. “We’ll take the ride,” he said between gasps.
“You know anything about the roads being so empty today,” I asked, while drawing closer. Hank appeared to have a woman with him.
“Nope, but I can’t say it’s bothering me. I’m heading up to Glenwood for business and brought my lady along. This is Fiona. What my boss doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” Hank said with a wink. “As long as you folks are okay riding in back, I’d be happy to drive you to Telluride.”
No cars had passed either way since Hank had stopped. The building storm began to pepper us with rain and before I could even answer Hannah and Ethan had already crawled in. Casting one last glance up at the darkening clouds I joined them.