Legend of the Spiralling Cedars: Episode 3


It took five minutes to reach the start of Beaver Trail. Hikers loved the narrow path running through the lush depth of the park ending at a waterfall. When Rachel stopped the truck, Garret jumped out to investigate a red Volkswagen and a Nissan Pathfinder parked at the end of the road. She watched as he placed his hand on each hood.
“They’re cold.”
“They’re walk-ins. No one is supposed to camp outside of the sites. I don’t come down heavy this time of year because the risk of forest fire is low.” She muscled the backpack onto her shoulders. “We walk from here.”
Garrett nodded, but his eyes scanned the landscape before joining her. “Guess you don’t have a GPS position of the old man’s cabin?”
“I do. Why?”
“I could check on him, and you could head back to headquarters.”
“I’m going. Old man Conch doesn’t trust strangers. It took two years before he’d talk to me. He’s made friends with some of the Squamish Nation band members. Other than that, he lives a solitary life.”
Garrett joined her on the beaten down trail leading into the forest. “What’s his story?
“Archibald Conch came to Canada in the early seventies. Fell in love, but something happened to his wife and child, and he withdrew from society.Conch isn’t a big talker when it comes to his past. He spends his time hunting and surviving. During winter, he carves miniature native masks from yellow cedar. They’re beautiful. The local band members sell his work and bring him a few supplies.”
“Does he ever come out of the forest?”
“Not that I know of.” Rachel adjusted the pack on her back. “I’ve never seen him in town. Mary Charlie visits him. She’s a tribal healer from the local band.”
Rachel stopped. The absence of bird song quickened her pulse. The sun, long past high noon, filtered through the trees, setting a golden glow on the forest floor, igniting the drops of rain on the leaves.
Garrett listened as well. “Do we leave the trail?” he asked, as if in tune with her thoughts.
She patted a large boulder jutting from the hillside. To their right, tangled growth and spiralling cedars grew from the rich earth. Green moss clung to sharp contours of rock embedded in the ground. “Yes, we head east for two miles. The path is barely distinguishable. It’ll be soft in places. We just had three weeks of straight rain. Watch your step.”
Garrett reached up and slowly drew a strand of hair away from her cheek. “It’s okay to be scared, Rachel. I won’t leave your side. No matter what we go up against.”

Read this installment of our brand new Suspense serial thriller in the October 2017 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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