The Calling Page 49

I zipped my jeans and pulled on my discarded socks and shoes. “Later. Right now, I need to tell you what I heard.”

I gave him the amended version. Very amended, because I couldn’t tell him about seeing Nicole or he might want to return for her. I was still determined that he’d never find out that Nicole went after Serena. And he’d certainly never find out why. No one deserves that kind of burden. Especially Daniel.

I told him I’d found the camp and overheard that Kenjii had escaped and Hayley had failed to trap us, so they’d shipped her off and were looking for other ways to find us. That was all he needed to know for now.

It was still morning when we found a paved road. Actual vehicles traveling that road would be even better, but apparently, too much to hope for.

We walked about fifteen minutes before we heard an oncoming car. Corey stepped into the middle of the road. A pickup whipped around the curve. Corey waved his arms. The guy in the pickup laid on his horn and veered past, sending Corey stumbling as his bad knee gave way.

Daniel and I helped him up.

“Oww … ,” he said.

“There’d have been a bigger oww if he hadn’t swerved,” I said. “That would not look good on your obituary. Survived a helicopter crash, armed kidnappers, and three days in the woods, only to get mowed down by a passing redneck.”

“From now on, we’ll flag down cars from the shoulder.” Daniel looked at Corey, who was rubbing his sore butt. “Or maybe the ditch.”

The next vehicle didn’t come for a long time. It was a car full of guys not much older than us.

“Quick, girls,” Corey said. “Give them some incentive. Take off your—” He glanced at Sam. “Maya, take off your shirt.”

Sam clubbed him in the arm, hard enough to make him yelp.

We waved and yelled. They waved back and kept going. Idiots.

“Eventually someone’s going to pick us up,” I said. “We’ve spent three days hiking through the forest, and we look like it. Someone’s going to stop.”

Finally, we found someone who had stopped. It wasn’t for us, but only because he hadn’t made it that far. We rounded a bend to see a gray-haired guy getting out of his van, having pulled to the side to take a piss. He was still about fifty meters away. We picked up speed and yelled, but he was already heading into the woods.

“Must have a shy bladder,” Corey said.

True. With these back roads, most guys settled for walking around their vehicle for privacy. Some didn’t even do that.

“He left the van running,” Corey said.

“No,” Daniel said.

“Yes, we shouldn’t take his ride,” Corey said. “But we’re exhausted, out of food, nearly out of water, and that van isour best chance. Do you really want to just trust he’ll help us?”

“No, I want to make sure he will. I’ll try using my powers. If that fails, we’ll have to resort to … other incentives.” Daniel flexed his arms. “We can’t take his ride, though. We don’t know how far he might need to walk to the nearest town. You two hang back,” he said to Corey and Sam. “Maya, make Kenjii stay with them.”

“Excuse me?” Corey said. “Sam and I aren’t going to scare—”

“Four teenagers and a dog will scare any old guy,” Daniel said. “So will two guys. So will…” He glanced at Sam.

“Thanks,” she said.

“You know what I mean. Maya’s friendly. And she can keep her cool.”

“I’m not sure that’s any less insulting,” Sam muttered. But she waved us ahead.

Corey took Kenjii’s collar and led her into the ditch, where they hid behind bushes.

“Hello!” I called as we approached, far enough away that I hoped I wouldn’t startle the man. He still came stumbling out, zipping up his pants.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But we’re from Nanaimo. We were on a school hike yesterday and we got lost. I’m sure they’re looking for us. It was probably in the paper…?”

“Don’t read the paper.” The man inched toward his vehicle, gaze locked on Daniel. “You kids stay away from my van.”

“We’re not going to steal it, sir.” Daniel moved forward carefully, his voice taking on his persuasive tone. “We just need help. Like my friend said—”

“Town’s that way.” He pointed south. “About twenty kilometers.”

“Which is a very long hike, sir.” Daniel met the old man’s gaze as he kept walking forward. “We’re really tired and we don’t have any food or water. If we could just ride in the back—”

The man pulled a switchblade from his pocket. “Don’t come any closer, boy. Not you either, girlie. I got robbed on this road once. Not going to happen again.”

“Please, sir,” Daniel said. “We aren’t—”

The man darted to the driver’s side and leaped in as Daniel raced around the van. The man slammed it into gear. The van lurched forward. I grabbed Daniel and yanked him out of the way as the van swerved onto the road.

Corey came out from behind the bushes as we walked back. “Next time, we consider my plan?”

“I think so,” Daniel mumbled.

“At least he told us there’s a town along this road,” I said. “Same way we’re heading.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies