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Part FIFTEEN – continued from last week’s episode –


Sally exhaled and released her grasp… Rusty was yanked into the 4’ X 2’ spearing hole and disappeared below the blazing cold surface of the ice.


With the intensity inside the shack, neither Sally nor her recently departed partner had heard the approaching snowmobile. The perp was dressed in snow camo and wore a Canadian toque pulled low over a face mask that resembled a tiger trout.


Motioning Sally toward the door with the point of the gun, they exited the shack and entered the darkness of the frozen tundra. Winter greeted them with blustery gusts of white sandblasting pellets, arriving sideways from the horizon, and piercing their eyeballs.


This prompted her memory of leading Rusty (by hand) down the saltwater flats of Seychelles in a midsummer windstorm. They were on a fly fishing adventure halfway around the globe (her dime) when straight-line winds pushed in off the coast and raised a violent stream of beach on the return route to their glamping location.


With a compass in one hand and Rusty in tow with the other, she successfully navigated their return to the basecamp.   Only now… Sally was not in charge of the situation, and God help her kept man who was predictably less than stellar in situations concerning life and demise.


 “Let’s go” announced the voice and strong armed her to the saddle of the snow machine. Then a bandana covered her eyes… A helmet was slapped on… And hand cuffs were clamped on each wrist attached to the side rails.


The throttle revved and a thunderous hole shot launched the sled from the scene. Leaning ahead to balance her blindfolded forward motion… A distinct scent arose under the helmet shield.


It was a long-ago fragrance from her sometimes-rebellious youth. Canadian cigarettes… Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Specifically, in her case, on late night rendezvous along moonlit lakefront shorelines.


The silence of death had overtaken the inside of the fish house. Somewhere below the surface of the ice was Rusty Flathers.


 To be continued —