The Sierra Escape, Part 1

 a note from the author

I wrote most of this a while ago for a creative writing class. I had fun writing this and thought, why not publish this series on my website? Subscribe to my newsletter to get notified when the next part is published.


          A lone vehicle pierced through the mountain fog. Albert Boyd had been driving all day and into the night. It had been ages since he’d seen another car. Twelve hours and 14 minutes until arrival, his GPS read. Albert sighed and squinted at the winding, narrow road ahead of him. He was overcome with another sense of drowsiness. Shivering, he shook himself awake. He had to be alert, his job was too important. Looking over his shoulder, Albert checked on his only passenger. Even though his limbs were chained to the back of the armored transport vehicle and a black bag covered his face, the prisoner appeared to be comfortably asleep. Albert shook his head in amusement and turned back to face the road. He’d been given no information about his passenger, who hadn’t said a word the entire drive. With only the instructions to keep a low profile while delivering the person of interest to the capital, Albert continued driving ahead, fighting fatigue and the temptation to stop. Hours passed like this. The road’s rhythmic turns were soothing. After battling sleep for the hundredth time, Albert gave in and slowly shut his eyes.

Chapter 1

          The gun shot rang loud and echoed through the mountains. Dusty Hunter lowered his rifle and observed the kill. The slain bison lay in the tall grass nearby the creek. Maneuvering over to the fallen prey, careful not to disturb any other animals, Dusty drew his trusty hunting knife. Arriving at the kill sight, he respectfully shut the bison’s eyes before skillfully carving out the precious meat and packing it in his bag. He repeated the process, working his way around and up the base of the mountain, toward his cabin. It was usually hard to find bison up by his cabin, so it was a special treat when Dusty made his way down the mountain. Dusty looked to the sky and the sun shined down on him. He took a deep breath of the morning air and smiled, satisfied with today’s hunt. He checked his watch and it wasn’t even 8AM yet. Dusty turned and headed up the mountain to his cabin to cook some breakfast.
          Every hunt, Dusty took the same trail back home. However, for whatever reason, whether it was his good mood or the crisp weather, Dusty decided to take the longer trail, the trail he would usually take on his scenic walks. It would pass by a tall cliff, which Dusty had always wanted to climb. For the eight or so months he had been living up here, he had yet to explore this particular cliff. The ledge on top intrigued him. Was there another trail up there? It would be a great spot to build another cabin. Dusty always took a few moments to ponder what was on the ledge every time he passed by, but he never took the time to scale the cliff. Dusty started on the trail, anticipating spotting the cliff, which was about a third of the way along the trail. As he crossed the brook with the thin stones, Dusty stopped in his tracks. In the distance, he saw a black cloud of smoke.
          The entire eight and a half months he had been living in these mountains, Dusty hadn’t seen a single person. The population scarcity was one of the key reasons he picked this area to build his cabin. Dusty preferred isolation; he liked to believe that it was just him up here in the mountains with nature, nobody else. Yet, the very human part of his brain that craved social interaction moved his legs forward to the distant smoke.
          As Dusty drew closer, he arrived at the clearing where the cliff was. Only this time, it wasn’t the cliff that captured his attention. At the base of the cliff was a damaged vehicle, front completely crushed, engine giving off the dark smoke he had seen before. Standing in the clearing, nearly in shock, Dusty traced the possible direction the large car could have come from. In these woods, there was only one possibility: the cliff. There must be a road up on the ledge. That’s it. That’s what it is.
          Before Dusty could feel any sense of triumph for discovering the secret of the ledge, he heard a crackle. A bush squashed under the damaged vehicle had begun to catch fire. Dusty acted quickly, dashing towards the wreckage, stomping out the flame, and cutting away any greenery that could catch flames from the smoldering engine. Relieved he alleviated the threat of fire to his precious woods, Dusty took a step back to inspect the damaged vehicle. Upon further inspection, he realized this was no ordinary vehicle. _This thing is armored._ Besides the crushed front, most of the vehicle remained intact, with a few ding marks here and there. As Dusty traversed to the front of the vehicle, a piece of black fabric caught his boot. He picked it up, noting it to be a hood of some sort, and tucked it into his back pocket.

To be continued...