Excerpt from chapter one,
Justice on the Mountain, by Michael Giere
Tyler Martin was running as fast as his nine-year-old body could go. His lungs ached, and beads of sweat trickled off his nose and down his cheeks from their headwaters in his buzz-cut blond hair. It seemed to him that with nearly every stride he took, he could feel the sharp stab of rock or the hard nub of a root probing the bottom of his sneakers. It didn’t matter. He couldn’t stop until he was where he was told to be.
His rail-thin body was tilted forward, trying to avoid the over-growth on what was a rutted dirt-brown strip of deer path, sloping inward like a spoon and only several feet wide. Just ahead, he saw where the path intersected into the much wider dirt and gravel strip of a seldom used, unmarked trail.
Turning onto the trail, he saw he was close now.
Tyler didn’t know it, and he wouldn’t care if he had, but the old trails like this one had been cut out by the prospectors and miners who came to the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies beginning in the 1850s. The trails were the vital veins that carried both the hope and energy of a long-forgotten army of men who searched for nuggets of gold and seams of silver in the unforgiving mountains. More often than not, they left by the same trails that had sustained them, leaving their dreams behind. Down through the cascading decades, many of the old mining trails were largely reclaimed by nature and the weather and, like this one, only saw an occasional hunter or hiker who had wandered deep into the wilderness area bordering the White River National Forest.
Tyler saw his spot. He stopped heaving and panting with his hands on his knees, trying to grab hold of enough oxygen in the high altitude to calm his racing heart. The only notice to his arrival was a brief chorus of squawks from a number of angry blackbirds in a nearby pine tree, followed by a deathly stillness. Not a whisper of wind, not a flutter of a wing, not a rummaging squirrel. Nothing. It was as though everything in nature was conspiring together in secret...
A Short Story, Sebastian's Christmas Walk,
by Michael Giere
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