MACKENZIE'S COTTAGE: Part 3 (for parts 1 & 2 scroll down)
We'd been sitting on the riverbank for maybe two hours, not so much fishing as drowning worms, and smoking a handful of Bensons that Johnny had managed to liberate from his old man's work bag, when Marty happened to glance at the sky.
"Shit," he said. "Where'd that come from?"
"Huh?" I lifted my head.
"Oh great," said Johnny. "Looks like we're in for a soaking."
On the far side of the river the sky had taken on an ugly bruised appearance. As we watched lightning zig-zagged to the ground and the sound of thunder rumbled to us. I was suddenly aware of how still the afternoon had become. The light playful breeze that had been blowing across the water had gone, leaving the air heavy and opressive. Not a bird sang. Not a blade of grass moved. The gathering thunderheads were drifting our way.
Johnny leapt to his feet, grabbed up his fishing rod and began reeling in the line. Me and Marty did likewise.
Lightning flashed again, instantly followed by a loud crack of thunder.
Johnny tossed his rod over his shoulder and snatched up our plastic container of bait. He looked at me, his eyes dark beneath the brim of his cap.
"If we go through the woods," he said, "we could be home in twenty minutes...if we run."
My heart missed a beat then kick-started faster than ever. "I don't know Johnny..."
"We'll be soaked if we go by the road." Johnny turned to Marty. "What do you say? We'll be soaked if we go by the road."
Marty raked a hand through his hair, making it stand up in crazy ginger spikes. He flicked a glance in my direction. Shrugged.
I looked up at the sky.
The thunderclouds were a lot closer and already big fat drops of rain were beginning to fall on the far side of the river, plopping as they hit the water.
Johnny was right. I knew it and he knew it, and if we ran fast enough it would only take twenty minutes.
At the most.
Twenty minutes in Mackenzies Wood.
Another flash of lightning lit up the darkening afternoon and the stillness broke with a loud clap of thunder. The wind came from nowhere, whipping towards us across the river, bringing with it the metallic smell of burning ozone. Trees, silent only minutes before, rustled above our heads. Dust blew up from the sun-baked ground, stinging our eyes.
That decided me.
"Come on, " I shouted above the wind. "What are you waiting for?"
Without giving myself time to think I charged headlong into Mackenzie's Wood.
Johnny and Marty not far behind.
TO BE CONTINUED....