By Anita Louise

Part Fifteen

(c) copyright 1/02  

Anita's web site


Chapter Thirty Four

When Jeanne and Skylar entered the room, the first thing they saw was Belle sitting at the table arms folded across her chest, staring toward the door.   Skylar shut the door and stepped further into the room, gazed around then asked,  "Where's Bobie?"

Jeanne walked to the bed and sat, leaned back on the palms of her hands adding,  "We took longer than expected.  I see you brought the food."

"Yup.   It's cold now as for the drinks, warm and mixed with melted ice, no good.  Hope you all had a pleasant walk."

Jeanne stood and walked to the table, sit reached for a sandwich before saying,  "I don't mind cold.  And diluted soda sounds good.  Thanks."

Belle tipped her head to the side and watched the woman bite into the cold burger.  "You really don't have to do that.  I know how time slips away.  Did you two get anything settled in so far as the case?"

Sky walked past the two and stopped at the bathroom door, lightly tapping she called out,  "Parker, need to talk."

Belle called back,  "Not there."

Turning to gaze at the woman, Sky asked,  "What do you mean not there?  She sure isn't in here."

"I knew this was a bad idea,"  Belle half mumbled to herself.

"Come sit, try a sandwich, not half  bad, even if it is cold."

Sky opened the door and peeked into the bathroom before walking to the table and sitting.  "Not hungry, suddenly lost my appetite.  Where is she, Belle?"   Emerald eyes were fixed on the woman who was now squirming in the chair.

"I told her she should talk to the two of you but no, Bobie has a hard head sometimes and this is one of them.  While we were getting the order, someone told her that Sheriff Burgess was in the area looking for . . ."

Sky slammed her fist on the table, and growled,  "Damn!   Woman took off by herself, offering to lead him away, am I right?!"

Belle's eyes grew wide and darted from Sky to Jeanne then back to Sky.   "Y- Yes.  Tried to talk some sense in her."

Jeanne set the half-eaten sandwich on the table.  "Let's go find her."

Sky stood, replying,  "I'll go.  First I want Belle to tell us exactly what happened, and what was said."

The two women sat and stared in disbelief, from the look on their faces, it was apparent both were taken aback by Bobie Parker's actions.  Belle was the one that finally  stood and began to clear off the table.  "Said to meet up at my place.  I think we might as well.  Never find her, this is territory none of us are really familiar with.  Let the woman do what she feels is best.  No one knows the Sheriff as well as Bobie.  Perhaps she can talk some sense into the man."

"Get herself arrested you mean!  Woman has been through a lot and I haven't helped any.  You are right, finding her will be like finding a needle in a hay stack but I have to try.   You two go back.  Stay put.  I'll go find Bobie and we will meet up at your place Belle."

It was Jeanne that reached out to help Belle toss remnants of the cold meals and clear the table.  "Think you may have forgotten one thing Sky, we are in Belle's vehicle, how will you be able to search?"

"I'll get by.  You two don't worry.   I have skills that haven't been touched yet."

It didn't take Jeanne and Belle long to get ready to leave.  As they walked toward the door, Jeanne turned and hugged Sky.  "Take care of yourself, my friend.  We will be at Belle's don't forget."

"Won't,"  Sky whispered then turned to Belle adding,  "Take care of each other, I may not have shown it but I'm happy that you and Jeanne have become good friends.  Stay safe."

Standing in the doorway, Sky waved as the two women stepped into the pickup, soon turning it onto the roadway.   When they were out of sight, she walked to a pay phone, making a collect call.   The second she heard the familiar voice on the other end, she spoke,  "Ray, it's Sky, I need a favor."

Ray Stevens had been watching television when the phone rang and was surprised to hear the operator saying there was a collect call from Skylar Richmond.  He immediately  accepted.   Hearing the woman's voice, he ran the fingers of his right hand through his blond locks.  "Sky!  What in begeesus, you doing calling me collect and at this time?"

She grinned and unconsciously began to lightly tap her fingers against the pay phone.  "Happy to hear your voice too.  The time just happened to be now and I know you will come through for me."

"You always know how to get to me.  What is it you want?  And I don't guarantee anything.  By the way I have been getting a lot of calls from that Adonis you work for.   Seems you are very important in many ways."

Chewing at her lower lip, Sky took in the man's words before saying,  "Not sure I work for him any longer.  I take it, Bernie has told you about some of the things that have been taking place?"

He picked up on the woman's trepidation assuring,  "Seems you have a certain Sheriff upset, been in a lot of trouble and perhaps you are now under some sort of spell."   He laughed several times then added,  "The worldly Skylar Richmond under a spell, I think not."

"Might have known, for some reason Bern isn't thinking straight.  I assure you I'm not under a spell.  Don't have a lot of time, and I promise to tell you everything later.  But for now, I need you to make arrangements to get a vehicle to me."

There was silence then the man replied,  "Sure, I'll just snap my fingers.  Where would you like this to appear?"

It was obvious he was making fun but Sky ignored this.  "There is a diner on Main Street in Tupac, I will be there, waiting.  Don't let me down."

"Tupac?   I won't even go into why.   I'll do my best but . . ."

"No buts.  Do it, I know you can.  I will owe you."

"You sure will.  I take it you don't want anyone to know about this?"

"You take it right.  Do I have your word on this, can I count on you?"

"After all you have done for me, it is the least I can do.  Wish I was there, I would help you myself.  My lips are sealed, no one will get anything out of me.  But promise me one thing?"

"What?   I'm not in any position to haggle."

"Just promise you will be careful.  And Skylar, say these words to the contact,  "It's  a beautiful night for a sleigh ride, don't you think?"

Hearing the dial tone, Sky hung up the phone and began her walk to the diner.  With each step her heart was aching.   Bobie hadn't been gone all that long but to her, at that moment, it felt like eternity.

When she entered the diner there were several young people totally engrossed in conversation.   Walking to the counter, she ordered a cup of coffee.   The man that waited on her was very persistent in trying to sell her something else.  Finally giving in, she ordered the fries. He told her it wouldn't be long.  True to his word the fries and coffee came up next.  After paying the man she headed toward the back, hoping to be inconspicuous.

The coffee warmed her and the fries were actually good.  The time seemed to be passing way too slowly and she kept checking the time.  When she saw the pickup, pull up in front, and the man step from it, Sky knew this had to be her ride.  Quickly leaving a tip on the table, she tossed the cup and fries into the waste receptacle and headed out the door.

Approaching the pickup, Bobie eyed the man.  He was dressed in a business suit, and looked out of place, surely this had to be who she thought.  "Hello.  I couldn't help but notice you drive up.   It's a beautiful night for a sleigh ride, don't you think?"

The man gazed upward, then turned to stare at her.  "Your sleigh awaits, the tank is full, key is in the ignition.  Use it as long as you want.  When you are finished, just give Ray a call and he will have it picked up."  The man held the door open for her and as she stepped into the vehicle he added,   "It's a bit of a gas guzzler but will get you anywhere you want.  Have a good night."

Sky nodded and watched him walk into the diner.  Turning the key, she smiled as the engine turned over.  "All right Bobie Parker, you can run but you can't hide, here I come ready or not."

As she turned onto the road, Sheriff Burgess passed right by.  Sky grinned and was happy to be in a vehicle the man had no knowledge of.   It didn't take her long to find the park, but by the time she arrived, many of the cars had left the area.  There were a few stragglers but it seemed the game was over.  There was a lot of movement  near the pavilion.  Musical instruments, were being taken inside, it was plain to see that some sort of musical agenda would soon be starting.

Belle had mentioned Bobie might go to the park and so she drove around the area slowly, her eyes searching for any sign of the woman.  Finally giving up, she decided to take a chance and headed toward Diablo Rio.  There was little traffic on the road and this made travel easier and faster, even though she did stay within the posted speed limit.

Her back ached, her shoulders were talking to her in unfriendly terms as she shook off the cobwebs that kept trying to invade her sight.   Taking a look around the area, Sky did her best to find something that looked familiar.   It was the sign that led up to Savage Falls that caught her attention and at that moment she uttered,  "Redfeather."

When the pickup pulled up to the cabin, Sky heaved a sigh of relief.  Quickly stepping from the vehicle, she headed for the front door.  After several knocks, Redfeather opened it.   He had the appearance of a man that had been sleeping.   "Before you get upset with me, I apologize for waking you.  But I need to know if Bobie Parker has been back?"

He stared at the woman for sometime, never saying a word.  It was as his lips curled up into a smile Sky felt easer.  The man stepped back and invited,  "Come in, no need to stand out in the cold."

Once she was inside and he closed the door, Sky turned to the man asking,  "Is she here?"

He walked toward the fireplace and put another log on before answering,  "Been here and gone.   You two have some sort of fight?"

"No.   She . . . too much to talk about now.   Why  do you ask about a fight?"

"Bobie seemed off balance at times and had a bad mark on her forehead."

"You thought I did that to her?!"  Sky blurted in disbelief.

"Just asking if the two of you had fought that's all.  She could have gotten the head injury in many ways and knowing her as I do, she will run from things that seem to overwhelm her.  Come sit by the fire and tell me what has been going on."

"I need to find Bobie, things are coming together and we need to talk.  Where is she?"

He was standing by a rocking chair as he urged,  "Sit with me, we have all night.  Where Bobie is, could be anyone's guess but I think I might have an idea.  This will not do you any good until tomorrow anyway.  When you tire, there is an extra bedroom where you can rest."

The two talked into the wee hours of the morning until Redfeather drifted to sleep in the chair and Sky realized the time.  She placed a blanket on the man then sit back in a leather chair and closed her eyes.

The sun was high in the sky, the warmth of its rays sending up mystical unseen vapor.  The sound of an eagle flying nearby was the only evidence of any other life in the area.  Reaching down to pull the canteen from her belt, the woman took a long awaited drink, raising a hand to push any droplets onto her lips.  She had been walking for several days, eyes searching endlessly looking for some clue, any sign that Bobie Parker had come that way.

Securing the cap and hooking the canteen to her belt once more, the tall redhead began her trek up the steep path.  The compass she carried had quit working.  She now relied on the sun, the moon, and the stars to set her course.  Reaching up to brush her brow with her forearm, she heaved a sigh, wishing she could see shade trees, a stream, but most of all the woman that had left in such a hurry days ago.

Redfeather had given her directions scribbled out on a piece of paper.  He said the woman wanted to think, be alone with nature, a sort of Vision Quest.  He felt Bobie was not in very good shape to do this but could not talk her out of it.  Sky thought back to the man's words before she left.  "Many go on a Vision Quest lasting from one to four days, involving fasting and going to a quiet, lonely place.  Find her, make sure she is all right.  If I don't hear from you in some way within a week, I will form a search party."

Nearing the ledge, Sky gazed upward, hoping to find the woman, and that she was safe.  Fingers looked for places to hang onto as she made her way along the ledge to the vines that sheltered the opening to the cave.  Several times a foot would slip as rocks crumbled and fell.  "After all this Bobie Parker, you had best be in this cave,"   Sky mumbled.

Carefully pulling herself into the cave's opening, Sky breathed a sigh of happiness.  The journey to this place had not been easy.   She never thought a feeling of glee would be the first thing she felt when finally making it.  Breathing heavily she stared around the cavern, it was large enough, and looked like it would go further back if one wanted to attempt this.  There was  silence then the chanting began, reverberating  throughout the area.

Taking a few minutes to get used to the light change she grasped her flashlight, and  went further inside.  Didn't take long to find the smaller opening leading to the room from where the sounds were coming.

Sky didn't know whether to smile or get angry when she saw the woman.  Bobie was sitting in front of a small fire, legs crossed, the palms of her hands together as she slightly rocked back and forth.  The woman's eyes mirrors of blue fixed on something in her mind.  "Bobie,"  the woman spoke half aloud adding,  "I've been looking for you."

Bobie Parker stopped chanting, and turned to stare at Sky.  "Why are you looking for me?  I am not lost."

Quickly stepping toward her, Sky replied,  "When you left without telling me what was going on, I was worried."

"I asked Belle to tell you . . ."

"She did.  But you must have known I would be worried."   It was then she noticed the lump on the woman's forehead.   "You're hurt, what happened?"   Sky dropped to her knees, reached out to touch this at the same time Bobie pulled away.

"Just hit my head, no biggie.  How did you find me?"

"Redfeather drew me a map, said he thought this was where you were going.  He took me so far and I came the rest of the way myself.  Whatever possessed you to attempt something like this and at this time?"

"You were busy with Jeanne, I found out the Sheriff was in the area looking for us, just thought I could sidetrack him that's all."

Sky sit, leaned back against the cool wall.  "Feels good to stretch out.  I thought I was in good shape but that walk took a lot out of me.  This is not a Western Movie you know.  Sidetracking the Sheriff is a bad idea, especially by yourself."

Bobie sat back, looked at Sky and suppressed a smile.  "Well, I kinda wasn't."

"What do you mean?   Belle was with us.  Donald Antone?   He helped you?"

"Nope.   Haven't seen Don."

"Woman, you are filling my head with many questions and none I really want to know the answer to."

"Not like that.  Just someone I ran into along the way."

"That how you got the bump on the forehead?"

"Might say that.  I was looking for signs of  Sheriff Burgess  near the park and this man stepped out in front of me.  Thank goodness for brakes that work."

"Thank goodness for your rapid reflexes.  Tell me what else happened, I'm quite interested in this man that you still seem to recall vividly."

"Not much to tell, he helped me with a few problems.  Never mind him, back to you.  What are you doing way out here?   I needed time to be alone."

Sky reached out to touch Bobie's right hand but the woman pulled away.  "I care about you.  Just doesn't seem like you to take off like that."

"Face it Richmond, you hardly know me.   So don't go getting ideas that you do."

Sky stood and gazed down, eyes searching the woman for some sign of reflection, but all she saw was the coolness of an ice rink.  "I apologize if my coming out here has upset you.  Last thing I want to do.   Maybe I haven't been around you a great deal of time, but I know the woman I have been close to, sits before me.   It wouldn't make any difference where I was, I would know you.   I wish I could have known you, laughed with you, cried with you, shared things with you.  Some are fortunate to have this in life.   Now that I do, there isn't a day passes that I don't carry you with me."

Bobie gazed at the fire, mulling over the woman's words.   "You and Jeanne seem to have this type of bond.   I would take a guess and feel that the two of you have shared a lot."

"You're right, we are close friends.   I've known her for a long time.   There is love between us but not the kind you may be thinking.   Surely you are not going to hate the fact we have been friends and still are."

"No.  I admit I felt left out.   But I've had time to think about a lot of things while here.  I only mentioned it just now because you said, `some are fortunate to have this in life'.   I feel a warmth knowing you would have wished us to be friends earlier on."

"Don't you know by now I could be on the other side of the world, surrounded by people, work, it wouldn't make any difference what it was, you would be on my mind.   Since I came to Springfield, I realized my life would never be the same.  When I take a breath, it is because of you, when my heart beats, the music of my body is for you."

Bobie jumped up, grasping her head she shouted,  "Enough!   I'm not some person that you can wind up, someone that will fall at your feet, someone that thinks the day and night will not pass if I don't see your face!"

Tipping her head to the left, emerald eyes never leaving the woman, Sky bit at her lip, her jaw tensed.  "`Enough?'   There are not enough hours, minutes, seconds in this lifetime and beyond for me to ever have enough of knowing you Bobie Parker.   So if you think shouting at me, will scare me away, it won't."

Bobie was very aware of Sky's facial expression and the stance of her body.   She walked to the fire and put a small log on the dying flames.  "I have a bad headache, hoped it would go away but so far it is still beating out a grinding drumbeat."

"You should have let Redfeather get you some medical help.   I know, I can tell by the look on your face, keep my opinions to myself.  Can't.   If you will allow me, I would be happy to massage your neck, shoulders, carefully ease the tension you are feeling.  I promise on my honor, all I want to do is help."

Bobie reached into her pack and brought out a bag of herbs.  "There is an underground stream back in the cavern, if you get some water, I'll put on some herbal tea.  This has been helping."

"All right, hand me the canteen, I'll go fill it.  But promise you will still be here when I return?"

"I'll be here.   Promise."   Bobie sat and leaned back against the wall.  Through blurred vision she watched the woman until she was out of sight.

When Sky returned, Bobie was laying with her head resting on the pack.  "Too tired to make the tea, think I will sleep for a while."

To the woman's surprise, Sky reached down and picked her up.  "Nope, you need to walk around, how long you been going in and out of sleep?"

"For a while.  Thought it would go away.   Just let me rest, I'll be all right."

Sky held Bobie and let her slip down onto her feet then said,  "I need to get you to a doctor.  The way you are acting, the hit on the head, sounds like a concussion.  Just hope it is not worse."

"Fine.   I'm fine.   The Parker's have hard heads.  Takes more than a steering wheel. "

"Come sit by the fire and show me what you have in that pack of yours.  I would love to watch you make the tea."

"I'm not a child Richmond.   I guess you think this will keep me awake. Won't work.  If you were making mad passionate love to me at this moment, I would drift off."

"Gods Woman!   You surely know how to raise my spirits, give me confidence. Guess this doesn't say much for my attentions.  Still want you to show me how you make the tea.  It has been a long journey out here and not a pleasant one.  Met and tangled with a few critters, as you call them, that wanted me off their land.  But look, I'm here.  That is the weirdest thing though."

Bobie was going through the pack and turned to look at the woman.  "Weird?  What are you talking about?"

"The trip out here, so many things seemed like I had done them before.  Yet, I know this is the first time my feet have ever been in the area.  It took awhile to figure this out and now I believe when I was in that deep sleep, this happened."

Bobie fixed the water, adding the herbs then sit back.  "You have an active imagination for sure.  No way, you dreamed this, it's just not possible."

Sky sit beside her.  "So many things are unexplainable in the world, yet they happen.  I believe the dreams were warnings of a sort."

"You told me some of the dreams.  Are you now saying, we will find ourselves in a cave, with this Windigo, Jim Trenton and his men too?"

"I'm hoping if we put our heads together . . ."

Bobie frowned for an instant and said,   "No more hitting of heads please."

"Sorry, wasn't thinking.  Just meant begin to put this whole thing together hopefully we can avoid the cave and the others."

"And what do I do, come out here to a cave.  I need to have my head examined."

Sky grinned as Bobie realized what she just said and began to laugh.

While the tea was making, Sky excused herself to walk to the entrance of the cave.  Bobie was busy with the fire and wouldn't miss her, she hoped.

Sky was standing near the opening to the cave, the thing's Bobie told her, had run up the red flag and she was now trying to figure out the best way to talk to the woman.   Between Jeanne and herself, they had put together a lot of the puzzle.  One very large piece she was sure would devastate Bobie.  Finding the right words, the right time was going to be hard.  Things were now happening so fast.

"Penny for your thoughts?"   Bobie's soft voice reached out as the woman stepped close and placed a hand on Sky's right shoulder.

Turning she gazed into the soft warm eyes that always filled her with a feeling of euphoria.  "Not sure my thoughts are worth much anymore.  Redfeather said you came up here on some sort of Vision Quest, that you wanted to receive a vision that would tell you of your future.  Some sort of guiding spirit would reveal this to you in a dream.  Tell me, why do you think you needed to have some spirit foretell your future?"

"Come let's go sit by the fire.  I think it is time I tell you."

"Sounds like a plan.  I have used my cell and called for assistance.  In the morning a helicopter will touch down in the basin.  From there we go back to Springfield."

"But what about the Jeep and . . . ?"

"Redfeather will make sure the Jeep is driven to Belle's place as well as a pickup truck I now have."

Bobie reached out and grasped Sky's right hand, holding it tenderly.  "Sounds to me like you have a lot of splaining to do too, Skylar Richmond."

Sky chuckled as the two walked toward the fire and a chat they both needed to have for sometime.

Once they were sitting near the warmth of the small fire, Sky looked at Bobie as the woman poured them each a tin cup of tea.  When the woman reached out to hand a cup to her, she smiled.  "Thanks.   Now come sit, tell me about this vision."

Sitting nearby, Bobie blew several times hoping to cool the beverage in her cup.  "Pretty hot, be careful, don't want you burning your lips.  How stupid of me, you can feel the cup, of course you know it's hot."

Emerald eyes sparkled  as Sky replied,   "Never hurts to be on the safe side.  Thanks."

There was a few moments of silence before Bobie spoke,   "I didn't mean what I said earlier.  That `I'm not some person that you can wind up, someone that will fall at your feet, someone that thinks the day and night will not pass if I don't see your face.'"

"I know you are not feeling well.  The words were sharp but the woman that said them to me was in pain.  I don't expect you to fall at my feet, or to think a day or night will not pass if you don't see me.  You are a strong woman, a woman of love and deep caring.  To have your friendship, to know you, gives me happiness.  If you tell me, we will part tomorrow, I will walk away a better person for knowing you."

"Still it was heartless of me to say that.  You were laying your heart on your sleeve and I stomped on it."  The expression on her face was one of sadness, remorse as she turned away.  "I am so sorry."

"No need to apologize, sometimes I say things maybe better left unsaid.  I shouldn't have come out here looking for you.   Should have had the faith in you and known you would return when you were ready."

Turning to face the woman, her eyes were filled with tears as she reached up to brush them away.  "I might not have shown it, but seeing you was the best medicine I could have asked for.  I had visions, some nightmares, the head injury probably but one night, I heard my father's voice."

"Your father came to you?"

"Not exactly, I was floating in clouds, torn inside, so many things happening in my life, past and present."   Her expression had softened and for an instant she closed her eyes.  "It was a good feeling yet chilling.  A person may think they want to speak to a loved one that has departed but actually hearing them is unsettling."

Sky reached out placing her right hand over the woman's.  "It's all right, this is upsetting you.  We don't need to talk about it."

Instead of pulling away from the woman, Bobie gazed down and said,  "I need to.  If I don't now, I may never."

An anxious frown crossed Sky's forehead as the woman nodded.  "Only the two of us, whatever you say will not go any further."

"My father told me to believe what I felt.  That time is precious, in life one never knows  how long they have.  I think you know by now, we come from two different worlds.  I am merely a woman from a small town.  You are famous."

"Don't sell yourself short Bobie Parker."

"Not.  I know who I am, just not quite sure you do."

"Is this because I have been talking from my heart at times not my . . ."

"It is because I am not worldly, I know little about love, about expectations."

Sky pulled her hand away, stood and walked to the fire, turned to gaze at the woman.  Bobie Parker looked so vulnerable at that moment.  Swallowing, several times, Sky softly murmured,  "Is this what has you so disturbed?  You think I'm worldly and you are not.  That you have nothing to offer in so far as love.  If this is the case, think again."

"It's just, measuring up to you."

Sky stepped toward Bobie, dropped to her knees and said,   "Just for once, tell me, hate me, hit me, just tell me."

Bobie lowered her eyes, as she replied,  "I feel things for you, wondrous things.  And when you walk into a room sensations never experienced, touch me.  I have read fables as a child, seem movies but never felt anything like this.  Have been afraid to admit it to myself, guess I thought you would just evaporate into thin air."

Sky picked up Bobie's right hand, softly caressing she said,  "I promise, this is one person that will still be here."

"Lo . . .  I love you."

As Sky heard the words, for the first time on this journey she felt an overwhelming happiness.  Swallowing against the emotional lump in her throat she whispered,   "You are my heart."

Blue green eyes widened as a hint of blush splashed across her face.  Bobie did her best to hide the total joy she felt.  "What
do . . .   Wh . . ."

"Hush,"  Sky whispered, leaning forward  lips softly brushing, tracing lingering as she had done so many times in dreams.

Continued in Part Sixteen  

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