I stopped at the edge of the field of long grass.
He turned. “Problem?”
“So what? Afraid you might step on a dead body?” He grinned.
“Lyme’s disease, asshole.”
He rolled his eyes. “Uh-huh. Well, if it makes you feel better, I’ll personally inspect every inch of you when we get to the lake. Which is across this field and through that last bit of woods.” When I still hesitated, he laughed. “Want me to carry you?”
Right. I was three inches taller than him and twenty pounds heavier. I’d had Lyme’s once already. I didn’t want to get it again. Then there was the time I’d stepped in something dead. Yes, in, not on. I’d been so grossed out, I puked. I was ten at the time, but still. You never forget something like that.
He was moving away. “Going now. Come along or don’t. Up to you.”
Well shit, okay then. I trotted to catch up with him, and the heady scent of summer rose around me as I crushed grass and delicate blooms. This wasn’t so bad, and the woods were right there. He gave me an encouraging look, and I smiled… and tripped headlong into a stand of goldenrod.
He reached down to help me up. “What the hell, hit a hole?”
I sat up. “Tripped by something.” Running a hand down my leg, I felt small rocks. I unwrapped it from my ankle and held it up. It was a necklace of chunky stones.
“What are the odds, eh? It was hanging from a plant just so, and you must have put your foot right through it.”
Something sparked in my memory, and I handed it to him. “Hold this so I can get a picture of it.”
“Just do it. Against your white tee, so the detail is clear.” After I snapped a photo with my phone, I did a Google picture search. Several possible matches appeared, but it was the third one that sent chills down my back on a ninety-degree day. “This belongs to that girl who disappeared a couple months ago.”
I called the police, and we waited. Never did get to the lake that day.
Word count: 371