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Copyright 2018 Anthony Izzo
Dan Harris staples the poster with Lindsay’s photo onto the telephone pole. It also has his number and a number for the state police. He’s in a small town called Slate Falls. It’s twenty miles from Iron Mountain, where Lindsay disappeared.
He looks at the photo. Her hair is tied back. The sun is shining on her face. She’s so damned beautiful. He chokes back the tightness in his throat and wipes his eyes. Tears feel like they’ll freeze out here.
A woman in a ski jacket stops. She’s sipping something from a cup labeled Java Joint.
“Fiancé,” Dan says.
“She was abducted on a camping trip at Iron Mountain. I had proposed the night before,” Dan says.
“Aw,” she says, and clucks her tongue. “I hope you find her.”
“Don’t suppose she looks familiar?”
“I’m sorry. She’s very pretty though.”
The woman goes on her way, sipping her beverage. Dan has a website set up dedicated to Lindsay’s disappearance. He regularly posts photos of her on social media and asks people to share. Lindsay’s disappearance was in the news for a bit, then the story faded. The cops searched, said there were thousands of acres of wilderness. No luck.
He’s going back to the mountain to look for her. Back in Buffalo, he’d made a promise to Lindsay’s father. The old bastard doesn’t like Dan, but the guy is dying from pancreatic cancer. Has months left. He hopes to see his daughter again before the end.
He’s shivering. The temperature is hovering around twenty and the wind whips up snow in mini-cyclones.
He decides to head back to the hotel.
The hotel lobby has a fireplace that would heat the great hall of a castle. It’s a giant stone thing with a beam for a mantle. Dan stands in front of it, rubs his hands together. A couple in matching ski sweaters are sipping wine on a nearby couch.
He feels a pang of bitterness. That should be Lindsay and him.
Once his hands are warm, he goes back to his room. Takes off his coat and sets it on a chair.
His pack is ready to go, with enough supplies for a week. He’s got a tent and sleeping bag. In a case under the bed he has a Remington twelve gauge and a .45 semiautomatic.
Dan will have to be careful. There’s some reality ghost hunting show being shot on the mountain. He doesn’t want too many questions from people.
He picks up the phone receiver and dials. Sheila, his future mother-in-law, answers.
“It’s Dan. How’s Howard?”
“About the same. Pain’s a little worse.”
“Tell him I’m heading up to the mountain in the morning,” Dan says.
“Do you think you’ll find anything?” she says.
“I promised I’d try. And I have to know.”
“She’s gone Dan. I’ve accepted it. Why can’t you?” Sheila says.
“I guess that’s what makes me different,” Dan says.
“She didn’t want to go,” she says.
A stab of guilt hits him. “I know. I’m going to make this right.”
“She’s gone,” Sheila says, and begins sobbing. Dan waits a moment.
“Will you tell Howard I’m heading out to search?”
“He’s groggy from the pain meds, but I’ll tell him,” Sheila says.
“Appreciate it. Thanks,” Dan says, and hangs up the phone.
He considers ordering something from room service, or maybe heading to the hotel bar for a beer. Instead, he settles for a protein bar from his stash and plops on the bed.
Big day tomorrow.