“Hells. They were going to get into trouble. I should’ve made the kids come with me. Or gone with them to the mountain trail shortcut. I’d just left them to trespass on their own.
Leaving Lucky, I crashed into the woods after them. Switched to stealth mode and picked my way through trees, brambles, and thick vines until I heard the high schoolers again. Talking about chickens.
“Carcasses would show…” Fred’s lecture was drowned in a gusted rattle of leaves.
“I’m not looking for a chicken burial mound,” said Mara. “That’s stupid.”
“What if they used the chicken mound to bury other…you know?” said Laci. “Like Chandler?”
“They didn’t have a graveyard for the chickens,” said Mara. “Besides he would’ve eaten everything.”
“You don’t think there would be a bone cache?” said Fred.
“Possibly. But not here. It’d be deeper in the woods.”
Were they looking for Chandler or chickens?
The teens stopped talking. I halted, fearing I was lost. Hugged a tree and talked myself out of a panic attack. Spotted the Physical Life building to my right. I scurried through the woods to the outside of Wellspring’s rear grounds. Behind the huge sports facility was a wooden privacy fence. It continued its run alongside the forest ending somewhere in the distance. The fence rose above my head, but I could see the far-off top of a greenhouse somewhere inside.
Likely, a vegetable garden. Dr. Trident had said Wellspring grew their own produce and herbs.
Stepping out of the forest, I scoped for the little delinquents. Spotted them about a football field away as they darted from the forest toward the fence. Fred leaned over. Laci helped Mara climb onto his back. Mara hoisted herself over the fence. Fred and Laci took off, running alongside the fence toward the far reaches of the property.I hollered, but they were too far away. Or ignoring me. I knew I couldn’t catch Fred and Laci. I also knew I wouldn’t get over that fence. But I might find a gate and Mara before she did whatever they were doing.
The passage between the garden fence and gym was a tighter fit than it looked from the woods. The fence has been built at the edge of the gym’s cement slab. Giving me about a one-foot gap. I slipped in sideways. Right arm. Right shoulder. Right leg. And felt the crush of the softer parts of my body between wood and wall. I sucked and straightened, then inched along with my back against the sports facility.
Getting stuck between a gym and vegan garden seemed an apropos fate.
I changed my mantra to one vowing exercise and healthy eating if I could squeeze out with all my parts intact and within the next hour. I scraped along, popping crystals from my Dries Van Noten Haidet T-shirt like a Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail.
I hoped my future mammograms would be more comfortable.”
Excerpt From: Larissa Reinhart. “NC-17, Maizie Albright Star Detective book 3.
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