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hs32150.jpgbuy prints of select halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 32

Tucky stepped into the garage. “That’s a whole lot of beer, son.” He tried his best to sound stern, but couldn’t erase the smile that turned the corners of his mouth. His eyes rolled over Raylene, then Nicole. “And who here are these little fillies?”

“We gotta go,” Nicole said.

Nicole and Raylene started toward the door. “You coming, Rebecca?”

Rebecca picked up her purse and hurried across the room. “Yeah. I gotta go too.”

“David! Whatever is the commotion?” Andrea Thompson’s voice cut through the room. She edged her way past the Sasquatch hunters, past Stew and Jeremy and past Tucky. She glared at her son. “What is this?” She pointed to an empty beer bottle. “And this?” She picked the blurred Polaroids of Rebecca off the freezer and tossed them to the ground. Jeremy, who was standing close by, squatted and fumbled with his shoelaces, snatching up the photos and tucking them inside his jacket as he stood.

Andrea Thompson padded towards the door. She was wearing terry cloth slippers and a maroon velour robe that zipped up the front. “And what is this? David? Girls?”

Jeremy inched closer to where Andrea was staring down the girls. Noticing this, Paula did the same.

“You.” She pointed at Rebecca. “I am unhappy with you, always getting my David into trouble.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Thompson. I didn’t mean—”

“And you two,” Andrea addressed Raylene and Nicole. “What do you want with my David?”

Raylene giggled, then Nicole. Soon Rebecca couldn’t help herself.

Andrea fumed. Her neck quivered and two deep grooves formed between her eyebrows. “Just go. All of you. Go!” She threw her hands up and leapt forward. She chased the girls out of the garage and into the wooded area behind the lodge, screeching insults in German. Jeremy followed, then Paula.

Raylene and Nicole darted through the trees, their breath laboured with laughter. Rebecca lagged behind, Andrea Thompson on her heels. A tangle of sharp branches snared her black sweater, pulling her back. She lost her balance and collapsed. Andrea stopped. She bent over and smacked the dirt off her slippers. She looked at Rebecca, who was struggling to twist free from the branches that poked into her sweater and scratched at her skin. “Stupid girl,” Andrea said, before turning back toward the lodge.

“Ouch!” Jeremy exclaimed as Andrea elbowed past him.

“You okay?” Paula came up behind him.

“I’m fine.”

“Oh my God! Rebecca!” Paula rushed to where Rebecca was fighting with the branches. “Here. Let me help.” Gently, Paula started to remove the skinny sticks from Rebecca’s sweater. Jeremy, too, scrambled to help, but his technique was not as refined and Rebecca yelped in pain.

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. Paula pushed him away. Jeremy clutched the offending branch. The sharpest point was tinged with blood. Short strands of yarn covered the branch in fuzz. Jeremy looked closer. A tuft of fine black hair was speared on its tip, anchored by a patch of freshly ripped skin. He snapped it off and held it carefully in the curl of his hand.

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke