Lucy had reasons she kept to herself and those reasons she kept to herself too, maybe even kept them from herself, most days anyway.
Mission was eagerly watching Lucy’s movements. Movements that indicated she was going to walk somewhere. Now if she just picked up my leash the day was be awesome. She’s close, closer, YES! Walk, Walk, Walk. Tail flippin good time a comin.
“Mission, I don’t have to ask you if your ready, do I. Shake yourself any harder you’re gonna lose your tie rods.” Lucy snapped the leash to Missions’ collar and they slipped out the back door. One of the reasons Lucy had bought this place was the escape route into state land to the west. She was still wearing the coveralls and tennis shoes from working on the siding. No sense in changing. The day was clear with a good breeze. The movement of the trees covered the sound of Lucy’s movements. She liked that. Mission was, well, on a mission. Once she cleared the area of homes and human presence she unhooked Mission and let him go. Free .
Lucy headed a general west, southwest direction. Today she wanted to cross the creek and go farther south than she had been before. No worry for backtracking with the creek as a guide. The two of them worked well together. She watched out for Mission and he did for her too. Lucy had to remind herself to relax. She let her shoulders down and knew she been holding herself tense. Shake it off kid, she thought. The woods had underbrush that could give you a run for your money but they weaved their way through without losing their pace. Her favorite place was a hill above the creek that was covered with white pine. The needles thick on the ground in an orange bed. The scent heady of pine. She tossed a pine cone and hit Mission in the butt. He looked back and looked at her. Seeing she looked ok he headed on. The whisper of wind in pines was special to her ears. A good place to sleep was her thought. Maybe the two of them would come back another day and stay the night. From the hilltop she watched the glint of sun off the creek water. The water wasn’t very high, hadn’t been much rain recently so crossing would be easy and would feel great on her toes. Lucy started to run down the hill and Mission took the challenge beating her to the creek by a lot. Lucy let out a whoop and tore off her tennis shoes. She grinned at the dog and jumped. Whoosh. Mission loved water and dove in no trouble. He crossed in a practical way and turned back to Lucy. Lucy however, stood in the middle looking at the bottom of the creek hoping to see a pretty rock or some other treasure. Nothing. Mission just looked at her like she was dumb or stuck. Lucy picked stones to step on and made the other side. She planted herself on the ground and worked on her shoes. Wet feet didn’t help. Mission took the moment to sit with his haunches against her hip. Lucy looped her arm around Missions’ neck as she put on her second shoe which caused her to fall over so she pulled Mission over too and wrestled with him. She laughed and he jumped and barked. “You’re a punk, ” Lucy said and rose to continue. They ambled on for a half hour or more. She passed one area that looked like an old homestead sight. There were lilac bushes and the trees looked a bit too orderly. Lucy imagined a cabin sitting there during settlement times. Dirt floor, wood pile, and a rain barrel. She made a mental note to come back here when lilacs were out and pick some for the house. Just the thought brought the smell to mind. Sweet and clean.
It was a few minutes later that the woods thinned out and Lucy came to a hillside that banked up and away from her quite high. There were occasional cedars amidst deep uncut field type grass. Off to her right it flattened out to a long opening of at least eighty acres. It was being maintained and there in the small stand of willow and birch was a small farmhouse. Nothing fancy. A dirt drive that left the house and continued away in the opposite direction from Lucy. She clicked her tongue. Missions’ signal to stop and look at her. He saw she was watching something so he stopped to and stood still. She pressed her right hand with palm down and Mission laid down.
Lucy was thinking about how to proceed and not step on any landowner toes. She didn’t want to go back exactly the way she had come. Too boring. She followed the land with her eye to the right until she saw what looked like a natural property boundary with a fence that had seen a better day. Lucy figured they could head out a little north of direct west and avoid the fence and hopefully stay within the state property. Everything past the fence looked like it returned to forest that hadn’t been disturbed. She had just completed the thought when a scream hit her like an engine backfire. Her eyes went back to the farm house. A man had a woman by the hair and was dragging her out of the house. Lucy froze. She heard deep male sounds. He was yelling. He let go of her hair and she stumbled but held her feet. She was just about standing straight her hair wasn’t even finished settling to her back when he hit her so hard she dropped.
Lucy felt vomit in her throat and then she was scrambling. Running, grabbing the air. The woods suddenly seemed so far away. Had she really wandered out in the open this far? Fuck. FUCK! Mission was ahead of her all ready to get going but Lucy was panicked. She stumbled in a very bad dream that had found her. There was nothing but get away from here, now, now, now, now, now. A root found her foot about ten feet into the edge of the trees and she fell. Scambled, fell. Scrambled. Ran. Mission was getting a reading that this was not a fun run. There was trouble so he ran forward and back to Lucy over and over. Lucy eyed a very large oak with a trunk that spread wide and would provide cover. She slid into second behind it and lay flat. still. Stay still. Mission was at her head in a second and she grabbed his collar and held him. “Wait”, she said out of habit and Mission knew to sit and wait for, whatever. Lucy knew she out of control. She knew her eyes were wide. Total panic. Her mind told her that man was right behind her but she knew that was crazy. Just get home was her next thought. Hide. Those fucking abusive guys. Were they everywhere? Wasn’t there one fucking safe mile anywhere in this fucking god forsaken, FUCKING WORLD! Ok, Ok, breathe. She had broken out in a sweat. “Mission, let’s go home, ok?” Lucy started to get up and kept herself behind the tree while she gathered herself. Go home. “He knocked her fucking head off. Fuck, is she ok? Fuck, oh fuck no I’m not going to check on her. Mission you go check on her.” Lucy muttered to herself. She still felt sick. Lucy cancelled her memories as they made for the door of her head. “Fuck you, you fucking fuck! she spit. “Fuck You!”
Lucy took Missions’ leash out of her coverall pocket and clicked it on his collar. “I need you to stay her a bit, Ok. I’ll be back in minute. You stay here and be quiet baby.” She rubbed his forehead and tied the leash to strong sapling. “stay”
Lucy slowly let her head lean to the left and looked past the tree. She couldn’t see anything from here. She’d have to go along the hillside and see if she could get a look.