Sometimes life gets in the way of my writing, and I need something to give me a gentle push back to the keyboard. This is something I worked on several years ago, but could never quite get back to. So I've decided to post it here, forcing myself to write daily, or at least every other day. Currently, it's an untitled draft, and hopefully when finished I'll let my followers who have liked it enough to follow it, choose the title, with the winner getting mention not only in the final copy, but also winning a free copy of the finished book. Comments or suggestions welcome.
Over the rustling leaves, Catherine heard a whisper. “Please don’t leave me.”
A heavy mist began to develop over the river, drifting up the ravine into the creek where she knelt beside the water. Letting the cool water flow over her hand, feeling the gentle force as it pressed against the barrier, connecting with the emotions it contained. Her search for twenty-one-year-old Timothy Bond had led her to many ravines in the last two weeks. Her visions pieces of jigsaw puzzles that seemed to fit every creek area surrounding the Kentucky River.
“Catherine?” Hearing Cody’ voice she stood, turning to glance in his direction.
“He’s here, Cody, I can feel it.”
“The fog is rising fast. I need to call off the search, bring everyone in.” His voice held an edge of defeat. He’s followed her through snake-ridden ravines, shallow pools, and even into the river twice. Consciously ignoring the ridicule of his fellow officers. But he couldn’t ignore the rising wind, misty rain, and fog swirling into ghostly clouds. To not call of the search but everyone in danger.
Catherine turned back to the pool of water, staring deep into the murky depths. A vision of Mr. and Mrs. Bond appeared. Arms wound around each other, eyes swollen and red, beseeching her. Their voices echoed in her mind. “We know he’s dead, Ms. Mans, but we can’t sleep at night. Not ‘till our boy comes home.”
Mrs. Bond’s cry had touched her in a way she hadn’t expected. She fingered the silver key that she’d worn for as long as she could remember. Had her own mother felt that way? Had she looked that way? Catherine shook off the thoughts. Now wasn’t the time to think about her mother, or the past.
A steady rain began to fall as the whisper reached her ears again. “Please don’t leave me.”
“Did you hear that?” Catherine turned back to face Cody.
“Hear what? I didn’t hear anything.”
“It was a whisper. Just—" Of course Cody hadn’t heard it. She sometimes forgot people didn’t hear the things she heard, see the things she saw. Turning away from him she knelt again by the water.
“It was probably nothing, just the wind.” Catherine listened carefully, straining
to hear any whispers the wind might carry her way. A strange scent filled her nostrils. Perfume, but not just any perfume. It was the same flowery sweet perfume her mother had worn. The scene drifted around her, pulling her toward the pool of water. A familiar tiredness enveloped her as she stood, her body moving, water swirling around her ankles, rising higher until it reached her waist. The current was swift, pushing her downstream on unsteady feet. A thick layer of fog surrounded her until she could no longer see the opposite bank.
“Catherine, what the hell are you doing?”
Cody’s voice sounded distant. She heard the crackling of his radio as he called out to the search team. His muffled oath, “Shit, it’s cold,” as he splashed through the water, following her across the creek.
The water became shallower and her feet sank into the mushy sand. She continued to follow the flowery scent as she climbed the bank of the ravine, into an open field and toward the edge of the cliff overlooking the river. The fog dissipated, allowing her to see the edge of the cliff. A single oak tree stood outlined against the black clouds rolling across the sky. The jigsaw puzzle was coming together now. The pieces starting to fit. She could no longer smell the perfume, but her body continued to move, feet carrying her closer and closer to the edge of the cliff. She wanted to stop, but some unseen force kept her going. Strong arms closed around her, jerking her backwards just as her feet slipped over the edge.
“Catherine, what the hell are you doing?” Cody lay beside her, his breathing labored.
“I don’t know. I was. . .I was following a scent.” The perfume was completely gone now. Catherine glanced around, excitement surging through her body. The tree.
“Cody the tree. It’s the same tree I saw in my vision. He’s here. I know he’s here.”
“Okay. Okay. Hold on a second.” Some of her own excitement registered in his voice. The tree has been the one clue missing from all the other ravines.
Helping Catherine to her feet, the two crept slowly toward the edge of the cliff. A blanket of fog covered the earth thirty feet below them, but they didn’t need to see through the fog. Less than five feet down, on a jutted outcropping of rock lay the remains of Timothy Bond.
A strange feeling of piece settled over Catherine. She’d found him. She could hear Cody in the background, giving the search team directions to their location.
“Don’t get too close the edge, Catherine,” he yelled.
“It’s time to go home, Timmy,” she whispered.
The wind chose just that moment to switch direction. It whipped her long auburn curls away from her face and forced her back from the edge of the cliff. Perhaps it was just the wind, and the fact that she was wringing wet. Perhaps. Catherine shivered as icy fingers raced down her spine, and the whisper reached her ears. “Find me.”