After surveying the surrounding area briefly, she decided to settle in for a bit. From her backpack she removed some twine and a small baggie of jingle bells. With these she quickly set a few lines around her encampment to warn her of approaching animals, or people for that matter. She had gotten the idea when she had missed a plane once while looking for Basil, who had disappeared the moment his carrier came out of the closet. She had attatched a collar with a bell on it and she discovered that just that little noise was enough for her sharp ears, and jingle bells were made with aluminum that was not detected in metal detectors, providing her with a quick, cheap and disposable method of nearly silent alarm. Once her trip wires were in place, she relaxed against a tree and dug about in her pack for her smokes and a bottle of diet coke. Have diet coke, will travel. It felt good to be out on her own. She could almost feel her senses slowing to normal. Felt as though she could trust herself again. She had always felt that it was better to do something yourself than involve others. Less clean up that way. You win or lose, but it's only you. This slipping had started when she came home and tried to relax. Allowed herself to be lulled by familiarity, and rememberance. It made her weak. Lily blamed herself for K's abduction. If she had not been so distracted...when did they get her? and how? What about the boys? She hoped Dog was okay. He'd been through enough already, and now by association, who knew? He could be dead. Although she set her face, as she set her determination, like stone, a few tears escaped, slowly tracing down her cheeks, like sediment in a cave. The tears, heavy with salt hung from her chin, creating stalactites on her shadow. She wiped them away with the back of her hand, took a long last drag on her ciggy before carefully crushing out and stripping it apart, both to prevent forest fires and future use for identification. One chapped lip, one cigarette butt, one big pile of DNA. Closing her eyes, she took several deep breaths and got herself together enough to get on her bike, feel her anger and resolve solidifying, fortifying her for the task ahead. She revved the engine, clutched hard and pealed out of her hiding hole, leaving a plume of smoke and the faint tinkling of bells in her wake as she resumed her journey toward K.


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