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Rescued by the Ranger (Camp Hardwood 2) Alexa Riley 2022/8/5 16:51:20

“Damn it,” I mumble, knowing she’s not coming. I should just forget it, but I want to go looking. The sun is still high in the sky and I could venture a little way out to take a peek. There’s a trail and it’s not as though I can get lost on a trail. All I have to do is follow it, which is easy enough.

“If I’m not back in an hour you better tell someone I’m missing.” She nods her head up and down. “I’m serious. If I’m not back for dinner that means something is wrong,” I add and she keeps on nodding as her eyes widen in disbelief.

I climb over the rope and Tessa take another step away as if I’m going to grab her and yank her to come with me. I roll my eyes at her and summon my courage.

“There’s no one out there,” I tell her as I turn to face the path.

I straighten my shoulders and try to put on a brave face. I follow the path as I head off on what I tell myself is going to be an adventure.

I wasn’t prepared for how big of an adventure this ends up being.

I’ve always liked the peace and quiet of the woods. Out there in the real world things are a mess. I’ve done things in my past that I’ve never told anyone, but they were for the greater good. I took out evil people and did everything I could to keep my hands clean. I find it’s best to stay busy and keep my mind clear so I don’t dwell on the past.

I grew up near Camp Hardwood and even came here a few summers as a kid. I never dreamed in my race to join the military and leave town that I’d end up wishing for this place again one day.

I worked my way up the ranks until the government saw the need to pluck me from the service and have me do their dirty work. I can’t say I didn’t understand it. I was the best at what I did and although my size is a pretty big giveaway, I was able to get in and out of places without being detected.

Now I spend my days in the mountains and life is good. I think some might call it lonely if they were looking in from the outside, but I don’t mind the solitude. I spend a few hours every day checking things over at camp and doing what they ask me to do, then I get to go back to my cabin in the woods.

I’m ranger of the woods around Camp Hardwood and explore as much as I can to make sure the area is secure. I don’t envision a real threat to the campers here, but I like to keep an eye on the den of bears that’s north of the property and watch for signs of mountain lions. It’s basically just me and my hiking boots and I’m fine with this life.

Summer is in full swing at the camp, but I’m always staying ahead of the game. Today I’m chopping some wood outside my cabin to stockpile for the winter. A tree came down in the storm last month and it’s finally dry enough to cut.

It’s late in the day with the sun beginning to set, but it’s hot and muggy out. I take my shirt off and wipe the sweat off my face with it. I look down at the dark hair on my chest and wipe that off too. I’m not chiseled or cut like I’ve been in the gym, but I’m strong and solid like the tree I’m slicing into. My beard gets itchy in the heat so I had to shave it down a bit, but once the cold weather snaps back I’ll let it grow like a bear.

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I got asked by a camper why they call me Moose and I told her the truth. I said I once ate an entire gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream, but I don’t think the kid believed me. Hey, what can I say? I’m a big guy with a big sweet tooth.

It’s the one indulgence I don’t mind being around civilization for. Sweets are my weakness and sometimes it gets out of hand.

I place the wood on the chopping block and swing my axe down on it. The blade splits the stump and I stack it up next to the others.

When I bend down to pick up another piece of wood I hear my radio go off. I toss down my axe and go over to it and hit the button on the side.

“Moose,” I say and wait until I hear the click and then Ford comes on.

“We’ve got a problem.”

“I assumed that’s why you’re calling.” I take a drink of water and wonder what’s going on. He only uses this for emergencies when I’m at my cabin.