Well, when I saw that the #1lineWed theme for today was **PINK**, I was sorely tempted to lift the “meet cute” (in a manner of speaking) between Wiz and Gen in NIGHT WISH. But I haven’t been writing new words and I have projects do, even if the flipping characters went on vacation and won’t take my calls. So, I decided to “free write” based on the word “pink” and these words tumbled out. Progress on the Christmas novella, which I think will be titled “Moonshine and Mistletoe.” Jack Riggs, from FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, his mate Justice, and her neice Brooke are on a Christmas vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They run into Crow, who is my first hero in the new FILO anthology series with several other authors. The Christmas anthology is a way to introduce the new series. Anway, here’ what happened to Brooke one snowy morning…
Aunt Jussie and Uncle Jack were still in bed. It had snowed overnight and I wanted to be out in it. Snow in south Texas is like a non-thing and even when I lived in Oklahoma with my mom and dad before they got killed, snow didn’t come often. I pulled on my boots and puffy coat, wrapped a scarf around my neck and found my gloves in my pockets. Yay. I yelled up that I was taking a walk and would be back for breakfast.
“Take yer phone, darlin’.”
I rolled my eyes at Uncle Jack’s orders. I was seventeen. Of course I’d take my phone. Like d’uh.
Outside, the air was crisp but not that cold. These mountains didn’t get wind like we did on the ranch. Wind chill factor. It’s a thing. I looked up and down the road. No traffic. I looked downhill. It was pretty steep. Looking across the road, the hill didn’t seem so bad and I thought I saw a path.
My boots crunched through the fresh layer of snow and knowing that my footprints were the first on the path gave me a happy that didn’t make a lot of sense but hey! Take the happy where you can get it, right? I’d been steadily climbing for about fifteen minutes, following the trail as it make switchback turns higher and higher.
Thats when I saw a flash of pink through the trees. Intrigued, I sped up. I found little footprints but no sign of who’d left them. Then I heard a soft yelp followed by a whine. Peering through the forest, I caught that hint of pink again. Was that a little girl? What was she doing out here alone? And what the heck was making that awful noise?
I crept forward and froze when I came up on a clearing. Right at the far treeline, a wolf snarled and thrashed, his back foot caught in a steel trap. What the everloving fuck? This was one time Aunt Jussie wouldn’t get on me for thinking or saying that word. A little girl crouched just out of reach of the animal, tears running down her face.
“Baby,” I called softly. “Come here.”
The little girl whirled, paled, and took off running like I was Freddie Krueger or something. The wolf snarled and snapped at me when I tried to go after the child. Again, WTF?
“Stop that,” I ordered firmly. Aunt Jussie ran a wildlife rehab center and I worked with her getting the animals healed so they could be released back into the wild. I was surprised when the wolf snapped his jaws shut. I saw the pink-stained snow his struggle had churned up.
“Easy, boy,” I soothed but I didn’t get any closer because every time I took a step, he got agitated. “I just want to help. That thing has to hurt like the dickens.”
I studied the trap. It looked old and strong. I probably couldn’t open it even if the wolf would let me get close enough. I need reinforcements. Easing my phone out, I called my aunt.
“Brooke?” She sounded breathless and I didn’t want to think about what I’d probably interrupted. “What’s wrong?”
“Sorry, Aunt Jussie. I know you and Uncle Jack…” I trailed off and took a breath, doing my best to shove the pictures out of my head. “I…there’s a wolf in a trap up here. He’s hurt. I need your help.”
“Where are you?” Uncle’s Jack’s voice was calm but commanding.
I gave them directions and then I sat down on a tree stump and stared at the wolf. The little girl had been standing very close to him. I blinked. Holy moley. My brain went straight there.
“Are you a real wolf?” The animal lifted his lip in a snarl. “Yeah, yeah. You’re a wolf right now so that makes you real but are you a…wolf?”
He watched me closely then and I was pretty sure this wasn’t a wild wolf, but a wolf shifter, like Uncle Jack. “My name is Brooke,” I explained. “I called my Aunt Justice and Uncle Jack to come help get you free. Uncle Jack is sorta special. He’s the county sheriff back home in Texas and Aunt Jussie takes care of wounded animals. We’ll get you out of that trap and fixed up, okay?”
The wolf snarled out loud this time.
“Don’t get snarly with me. And I should warn you, when I said Uncle Jack is special? I mean that he’s about three times your scrawny size when he shifts so I wouldn’t be giving him any shit.”
“Language, young lady,” Aunt Jussie corrected over Uncle Jack’s chuckle. I’d been so focused on the wolf, I hadn’t heard them coming.
The snippet’s a bit longer than usual but hey, NEW WORDS! And this is sort of a good hook to end on. Who’s the trapped wolf? Why is he in a trap? Who’s the little girl who ran away? PLOT, people! I have a plot! Writers, any pink words to share? Readers, where would you like to take a Christmas vacation?