“Well, I’m thinking by this point we’ve probably lost the element of surprise.” Herb reached over and took the bag from Casey as he tried to put the snacks away one handed, finished loading it and handed it back.

“Thanks Herb. We’ve also lost Nathan, but I’m not sure when.”

Cassandra turned in a circle, trying to see into the shadows around them.
“Oh my gosh, do you think he’s been captured? Or killed? Is he going to pick us off one by one? How was he so quiet? Wait a minute, maybe the dog was a distraction?”

Casey held up his hand.
“Well that was one heck of a distraction. I really hope that dog has all his shots.”

Kirk rested his hand on Casey’s shoulder and lied to his face.
“I’m sure he does, buddy.”

Casey smiled in response and slung the backpack over his shoulder. He picked up the flashlight he’d dropped and looked at the others.
“Well? Let’s find Nathan and Tommy’s killer and get out of here, shall we?”

“Just that easy, hey?”

“Probably not, but the alternative involves a lot of panic, running, and screaming, and I’m awfully tired. It’s been a really long day.”

“Well then let’s get on with it.”

Kirk and Casey turned to the other two just as a rubber ball bounced in between them, rolling to a stop near Kirk. Cassandra stifled a scream as Herb shone his light in the direction it had come from.

The light flashed off the dog’s eyes, turning them green briefly.

“Oh hell no!” Casey immediately jumped behind Kirk, who picked up the ball and threw it as hard as he could in the opposite direction. The dog bounded after it. They could hear him crashing through the underbrush in search of it.

“Seems like he’s a fan of your charcuterie, or maybe the finger sandwiches.” Kirk teased Casey to distract him from his rising panic.

“Well the kitchen is closed, let’s get out of here before he comes in search of more scooby snacks.”

Photo by Martin Neuhold on Unsplash