I call in the fire and then I call Linc. The call goes to voicemail. There’s just no good way to tell a man that the home that has been in his family for generations is literally going up in smoke and it’s crap to do it on voicemail.
The fire is puzzling me though because it’s overkill, no pun intended. Two people against me? Surely they could have found a better way to get rid of me than a fire, which they didn’t even stick around for. I mean, if you were intending to literally smoke someone out, wouldn’t you stick around to make sure they were dead and didn’t run out of the house when you left? I would, you know, if I suddenly decided to go on a murder spree.
“Maybe they weren’t after me,” I say to Buffy. She tilts her head slightly. “They probably weren’t after you either. Maybe there was something in the house.”
She lowers herself to the stone porch and places her chin on her paws as if giving this consideration.
We don’t think too long about the situation because I hear the sound of a vehicle driving up the rocky drive behind the house. The nice thing about the country is that you have ample warning when a car approaches. I grab Buffy’s leash and dash toward the woods. Buffy, thinking this is a game, barks shrilly but then quiets down. I duck behind the cover of a mountain azalea and peer through its branches. Two people get out of a black SUV. I don’t recognize either of them. They are definitely not from around here. My heartbeat spikes when I see that they both have guns. I’m pretty sure that these are the guys who set Linc’s place on fire. They must have seen me up here, which is probably why they didn’t bother sticking around to see if I ran from the house. I’m cool, but I can’t be in two places at one time.
This is one of those instances that I decide not to wait to find out what happens next as what happens next could be me with a bullet between the eyes, a graphic I have no desire to explore. Considering that they look like pure city boys, I’m not too concerned about them tracking me down in the woods, not these woods that I know like the back of my hand. On the other hand, they did find me up here so they get points for that.
There are deer trails cut through the woods, which are nice paths to follow so I take one that links to the Old Smith farm. I figure it will take those two guys some time to scout around before looking towards the woods. A blast from behind and the splintering of bark from the scrub pine tell me quite impressively that I was wrong. Damn. Now I have to hope that I was right about them being city boys and not being able to find their way out of can of beans. Buffy and I start running for our lives.