FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 1965
WAKE-ROBIN RIDGE, NORTH CAROLINA
…Packing up his small knapsack with beef jerky and a couple of granola bars, he clipped a canteen of water to his belt, then selected two of his sharpest knives from his duffel bag. He tucked those inside the knapsack as well, and grabbed a deadly looking machete to carry along.
Might need this baby for hacking away vines … or limbs. Yeah, limbs. That’s a good one. Sniggering to himself, he hid everything else inside the little tent, then pulled on a warm pair of gloves. Just as the dim shapes of tall pines became faintly visible, he set off through the woods, following the same route he had checked out when he arrived at his hiding place late the day before.
A slow, cold mile later, he could see the faintest hint of dawn through the trees just ahead, and knew he was approaching the clearing. The trick was to get close enough to see without being seen. He found a spot behind some thick but low-growing bushes. It was a perfect place to hunker down and wait. In the gray light of early morning, he pulled out his favorite filleting knife and a small whetstone, spat on the stone, and began to slide the knife back and forth across the surface. Falling into a rhythm, eyes half closed, he continued to hone the knife, metal caressing stone again and again. His excitement rose as he thought about the damage the razor-sharp edge was going to do, slicing deep into tender flesh, and releasing spray after spray of coppery-scented blood into the air. He smiled, already hearing the terrified pleading and the screams that would follow.
The soft noise of blade on stone kept him company as time passed. At last, morning broke in full, and spilled pink and gold daylight into the world, but his thoughts were not on the beauty of the new day opening in front of him. Instead, his hatred morphed into a cold fury as he considered the full extent of the treachery committed against him, and the bloody revenge he planned to extract.
Lloyd crouched low in the bushes, peering at the little cabin in the clearing. This is what she chose to do with his money? Hide out on a deserted hillside in a stinkin’ little wooden shack that looked like it should have belonged to the Beverly Hillbillies, before they struck it rich? God, he could kill the bitch. “Oh, that’s right,” he said. “I’m going to.”
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