A vacation away from in all
Sarah stood out on the sundeck awestruck by the view. For almost two weeks the group muddled around to clean up the Malstros decrepit mansion’s façade as her friends gauged a monetary value in doing so, Sarah fell in love with the place. Sarah had just gotten off her cell with her mysterious benefactor. Then she turned to view the apartments. She couldn’t help loving the landscape and admired row after row of hotel rooms, one room directly against the other the rooms shared an interior wall. She walked up the steps to a stilted porch and her desired room and walked in. Sarah smiled at the quaint, square-shaped accommodations. Featuring kitchenettes of quality crafted cabinetry and a sunny, comfortable openness, she finally opened the backdoor and come out to the extended decks, and swimming piers. She could see her and her friends staying in relative comfort forever with the benefactor’s sizable weekly allowance.
Desiree had walked the length of the beautiful property, just as Sarah opened the room door to come outside.
“It is a lovely place.” Desiree said, “Thinking about moving here?” referring to Sarah’s inherited property.
Sarah shyly smiled and nodded, confessing, “Yes, I have been thinking about it.”
Four adjacent screen doors opened from cabins and Roxy, A.J., Garrett, Tequila and Tommy stepped out in to the adjoining covered deck. Except for Tina and Jac, the love birds, who were sleeping in together oblivious to the group.
As Lance did every day while Aticus dealt with more pressing matters, the red wolf lay concealed, lying on his forearms in mud and thickets, his red colored fur camouflaged against the crimson clay of the river bank, snooping on Sarah and the group. The wind turned, suddenly filling his moist snout with Sarah’s intoxicating and seductive scent. He knew the orders were only observe, but the sweet fragrance that Sarah unwittingly gave off was too much for Lance to endure.
Salivating uncontrollably, Lance’s curved fangs glinting in the sun, his tongue protruded out of his muzzle in expectation. His massive lupine head turned from side to side all the while eyes fixated tracking his target, Sarah. His paws splashed in the mud and puddles as he locked onto the aroma of the other women. He steadily picked up his pace galloping the five-hundred yards towards where Sarah, Desiree, Roxy, Tequila, Tommy, AJ, and Garrett stood on the porch. The red Wolf progressed no further, fearing that the soft recently mowed and manicured lawn offered him no concealment, and he waited, biding his time until Sarah would be by herself… an opportune time to strike.
Looking out over False River Lake, once a part of the powerful Mississippi, but cut off from the river long ago, the fish were plentiful. AJ gripped one of the fishing poles he had gotten out of the back of the van and remarked, “Well, I’m sure not going to waste this day fixing up real estate when there is plenty of fishin’ to be had!”
AJ’s lips were thin and his teeth were nicotine stained but his constant boyish smile infectious. His wiry build and shaggy brown hair matched a scruffy complexion. He pretended to be preoccupied by a lure and fishing pole while sneaking a peek at the females of the group as they proceeded to change into their bathing suits. He almost shuddered when Roxy grabbed the neck of her bulky college T-shirt with her hands, lifting up her shirt to reveal a skimpy swimsuit that complemented her caramel colored and flawless skin.
“Sarah come fishing with me. It’s a great way to avoid, hum mm, you know…” AJ’s voice trailed off to a whisper, “oh, hell, I’ll just say it; you can hide from Tommy for a while.”
Lance stood on his haunches, forelegs wound tight like a spring, ears perking up on guard as the group of individuals spread out. The women, with the exception of Sarah who borrowed a fishing pole from her friend AJ, scattered off in their separate directions. Tequila and Desiree laid claim to the apartments as Roxy made her way to the lake. The employees and the group could have seen a Crimson colored Wolf, if they were not occupied with the mundane tasks at hand, watching their every movement on the edges of the sparse trees hidden by overgrown weeds. The shimmering lakefront precariously close to the lupine, his paws sunk into the mud up to the ankles. The swiftly moving, heavy silver clouds playing shadow puppets against the trees, masking the wolf’s intentions and obscuring his silhouette as he watched.
Roxy happily flung her shoes off in the grass and headed toward the lake. Desiree, Tequila and Garrett failed to notice the sleek-lined Wolf on his belly, motionless watching, biding his time until AJ and Sarah were out of site. Lance’s Wolf kept an excruciatingly slow pace. He crept along so slowly that even the birds and squirrels failed to see the imminent danger.
AJ released the hook on his pole releasing the line. Lost in conversation and their eyes trained at the lake they were still oblivious to the predator trailing them. AJ skewered the worm that he had gotten out of a white Styrofoam container he had bought in the office. The worm squirmed on the hook as it was cast into the water.
“Tommy is mad at me, but,” she went about baiting her hook then casting her line out too.
“But,” A.J. Interrupted, “the South has this old world charm to it, doesn’t it?”
Sarah looked over to the red and white floater as it splashed into the clear waters. AJ smiled his boyish carefree grin. The floater rocking to and fro like a sailboat on a rough sea, the first signs that the fish were taking the bait and nibbling had begun.
“Yeah,” she confessed, “It’s not just that,” she answered as she continued, “Even with its imperfections, like for instance there is no running water or electricity and obvious work to get it habitable again…” Sarah abruptly stopped, struggling with her fishing pole and tussling with the encumbered line.
Sarah reeled in the line prematurely the result a gleaming empty copper hook but no fish to show for it. “I told Desiree already because she has family out here in the area and she’s my best friend, but nobody else so far… Tommy is going to be furious, but my mind is made up, I want to keep the house.”
AJ just silently listened. He had given up fishing since the fourth cast and nothing to show for it. His fishing pole, hook and line sat empty submerged in the water.
“I don’t know,” Sarah said quietly, “it’s just that I founded the place of my biological ancestors, I felt alive for the first time. I heard wonderful music again. So inspiring and I am hesitant to give it all up.”
Sarah went on to say that when she stepped into the foyer she was instantly transported back in time. She had found an upright piano. Sarah could envision her ancestor Alicia and she could imagine her hauntingly beautiful voice as she sung. The piano renewed a hidden passion in her, a desire to compose music.
“Well, it’s a good thing my lawyer for the estate decried that it would not be eligible to be sold on the market for three months.” Sarah flashed him an innocent smile.
AJ broke his longing gaze on Sarah when he saw the bobber move. He quickly wound in the line while comforting Sarah, “that is devious, if you thought about selling the place you had to wait three months so you had the opportunity to change your mind. If you think about it you beat the lawyer to the punch, if it helps you at all!”
Sarah Spontaneously laughed and hugged AJ with one free hand while holding her fishing pole with the other, “I love you! Why did I break up with you again?”
“Because, my dear, I AM a whore.” AJ chuckled matter-of-factly. His eyes alive with excitement partially from the sudden warm closeness and sweet fragrance of his ex-girlfriend the other more important part the bigmouth Bass he had finally snagged out of the lake.
Sarah loosened her grip realizing she broke up with AJ for that exact reason. His slim tall figure dressed in varying shades of black. His proud high cheekbones, rugged chin. Always brushing back his dusty dark Brown hair that concealed his pouty brooding blue eyes, the eyes of a poet or struggling artist made it hard for the women to resist him and he made good use of this she realized just a little too late. However, for all his faults and affairs, his honesty and loyalty to who he considered his friends touched on the chivalrous.
“You know I can convince Garrett and some of the others to stay and help for a couple weeks more if you decide to stay and fix the house up.”
Sarah smiled; of course AJ is right she thought. She looked at Roxy sunning herself upon a beach towel on the deck. Only a blur in the distance, but Sarah imagined Roxy’s hands were resting under her head, red rimmed bug-eyed sunglasses over her closed eyes, oblivious to those around her even when the deck rocked up and down with people.
Roxy may have been a blur to Sarah but not to the red Wolf called Lance, whose eyes zoomed in on Roxy like a sensitive telescope. Lance could even see Roxy’s intricate tattoo with its curved lines that complemented her hips that her skimpy bikini revealed until he finally turned his attention back to Sarah who had her back to him.
Lance’s ears swiveled honing in on the couple, his forepaws twitched, preparing to strike out and sink his fangs into AJ’s unsuspecting jugular and abduct Sarah before she had a chance to react. The eager wolf pounced out from the camouflage of thick brush, shrubbery, vines, and dense prickly ash.
The fern-like leaves rustled a cluster of angelica trees with their extremely low hanging branches parted to reveal pearl white long curved fangs. Lance’s lupine tongue whipping back and forth like it had a life of its own. Glowing red eyes locked on AJ still having a conversation with his self. Sarah lost in thought and daydreams of yesteryear. She fantasized about a man who lived in the forest and an unrequited love. Unaware of the large beast that just burst forth threatening their lives.
As Lance’s wolf had pounced out of the brush preparing to attack the couple the white wolf burst from the undergrowth and thwarted the imminent attack. The white wolf with its lean strong torso and forepaws transfigured into two well-built human arms in an instant and subdued the red Wolf in a stifling bear hug. It yelped but the strong hands of the wolf man muffled his cries. The white wolf leaned backwards with his hominid-like body. The red wolf tumbled backward, gravity and the weight of the red wolf doing all the work until they hit the unforgiving Earth together with a muffled thud.
AJ heard a swish prompting him to finally turn around to see only swaying branches. The water seeped into the paw prints in the mud. The white wolf-thing deliberately tumbled away from AJ and Sarah as Lance’s Wolf scratched and clawed, trying to free itself from the white wolf-hominoid’s clutches.