Maybe it’s just because the older you get time seems to go faster, but here we’re already starting March!
We had a very wet 2018, but at least this Winter has been warmer than some past years. I’m already looking forward to Spring. How about you?
Wanted to share another story with you that takes place in the Smoky Mountains. I find it fascinating when I’ve already written stories that include something that will be on the cutting edge before too long. This is such a story. I hope you enjoy Part 1 of Rosebud Lane while you make the most of March.
Melissa just couldn’t wait any longer. She had to pee and the rhododendron bushes off the trail gave her needed seclusion. She shivered in the chilly morning air. Back on the trail, Melissa stopped behind a bush twenty feet short of a clearing when she heard men’s voices.
“Rosebud,” a voice called quietly from bushes past the clearing.
“The eagle flies at nine,” was the response to her left.
Two men, faces shaded by floppy hats, emerged from the trees thirty feet in front of her. She quickly crouched down and breathed a sigh of relief, hoping they didn’t see her.
“The plans have changed,” the taller bearded man spoke. “We’re ramping things up for tonight. The plane and birds must be ready.”
The portly man took off his hat, stuffed it in the front of his red plaid shirt, and shook his head. “What’s the hurry? I thought we still had time.”
“People are talking and cops are asking questions.”
They nodded to each other than quickly disappeared back into the forest.
Melissa peered out from behind the flowering bush and waited awhile to make sure they had left, and then checked the trail for anyone else. Her mind raced when her imagination suggested several scenarios…guerrilla warfare, pranksters, or even maybe spies. She laughed at herself realizing she’d seen too many movies, but she still wondered who or what Rosebud was. She jumped when a noisy squirrel snapped several branches behind her before it hightailed it to the nearest tree. Melissa reached her car and quickly got in. She could still get to work on time at the coffee shop before the lunch folks arrived, and she definitely had to tell Mitch about this.
Melissa took the alternative dirt road from the parking area to the junction of the county highway. There were several summer cabins but only one, year-round resident along the three-mile stretch of Rosebud Lane. No one usually ventured on foot down the overgrown, nearly deserted road unless they had business with Mac Phenson.
A hawk circling above squawked his objection to a deer eating its favorite berries at the edge of Mac’s property. The deer bolted back up the hill next to the road and Melissa nearly hit it when the deer ran in front of her car.
Melissa briefly glanced at one of the sheds on Mac’s property as she drove down the mountain. She wondered if Mac Phenson knew anything about what she had heard. She didn’t see him by his barn but knew everyone considered him a recluse.
From the shed, Mac heard Melissa’s car drive by. He looked up. He didn’t want any visitors today. Especially not today.
He was moving some boxes when his cell phone vibrated in his pocket. “Hello?”
“Mac, this is Barney. Some cop was at the coffee shop a little while ago asking if anyone knew anything about Rosebud.”
“Thanks for the information.” Mac hung up and glanced at his faithful German Shepherd. “Well Dodger, looks like we’ll be moving things today.”
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“Hey, Mitch,” Melissa called as she walked into the Mountain Side Café thirty minutes later. “Sorry I’m a little late. I had the strangest hike this morning.” She quickly stuffed her purse and sweater under the counter. “You’ll never guess what I overheard.”
Mitch pushed the kitchen door open with his foot while balancing a stack of clean plates. “Oh, hey, Melissa. Didn’t hear you come in. Boy, you missed all the excitement this morning.”
“What excitement?” she asked while wrapping individual silverware in napkins.
“Cops came looking for some men wanted for building spy equipment, like birds and planes.” He carefully slid the clean plates onto the shelf. “Can you imagine that; here in our little neck of the woods. Barney was sitting at his usual spot when they came in. They asked us if anyone had been asking for Rosebud.”
Melissa dropped the stack of spoons.
“Rosebud?” Melissa’s heart beat faster. “Wait ’til I tell you ….”
“But, wait, Melissa. They don’t know if the men are dangerous.”
“Oh, that’s a comforting thought, Mitch,” Melissa shuddered and bent down to pick up the spoons.
“Well, keep your eyes and ears open.”
“Well, Mitch, I….”
The bell rang over the front door announcing a customer. Melissa quickly grabbed the menu and promptly seated a couple when the Coffee Club and senior quilters arrived. The next three hours kept Melissa and Mitch totally swamped but conversations overheard often mentioned “Rosebud”.
Finally, during a lull in business, Melissa got Mitch’s attention.
“Mitch, let me tell you what I heard this morning on my hike,” she said motioning toward the cooking area away from customers.
Mitch mixed a fresh batch of brownies while she told about hearing two men talking about eagles on Rosebud Lane.
“Mitch, that’s where Mac Phenson lives, right?
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Part 2 Continues Next Month…stay tuned