The votes are in and once again the winner for “Scene of the Month” is The Wolf. We’re up to about page 24 of about 100, so there’s plenty of werewolf fun still available, but it’s starting to become clear that this will be the first book to be removed from the “Scene of the Month” list due to running out of material. And now, here it is, the next scene!
The kids thought it was pretty cool to ride in a police car; Michelle hoped they didn’t have a repeat of the experience, say, when they were teenagers.
The deputy, Miller, had offered to drive them up to the lodge. He had become superfluous at the accident scene; between the sheriff, the game warden, the fire department, the paramedics, and the road crew working to clean up the trailer, the stretch of road where they had won their argument with the pickup truck probably had the highest concentration of government employees in the state.
“Heck of a way to start a vacation, huh?” Miller said.
“Yeah,” she said. The kids had started singing the theme song from that reality cop show, getting the words mostly right, although they couldn’t seem to quite hit the reggae beat. “Do you get a lot of poachers up here?”
“Nah. Well, some. We’re really not sure. Most of them never get caught. There’s a lot of forest to cover, and Darwin is the only game warden in the county.”
Miller shrugged. “Budget cuts.”
“When I grow up, I’m gonna be a game warden too,” Robbie announced.
“Hey, that’s great,” Miller said. “We could use the help.”
“Don’t get your hopes up,” Michelle said. “Last week he wanted to be a garbageman.”
They passed a sign that said Knotty Pines Campground. The sign had a picture of a pine tree with arms, legs, and big round eyes; it looked like the tree was playing baseball or something. The deputy pointed at the dirt driveway. “That’s the park where the trailer was spotted.”
Michelle eyed the campground as they passed. She couldn’t really see anything; the road curved into the trees and vanished. But she could imagine the truck and its trailer trundling out of it, making a left onto the the gravelly road, bouncing down the mountain toward its rendezvous with their car.
A few miles past the campground, they reached the lodge. The smooth blacktop driveway was gated, probably to keep out people like the poacher. The gatekeeper came out of his little cabin when the police car pulled up, looking concerned; Miller waved him over to the passenger side, where Michelle explained about the accident and gave their reservation number, reading it off the crumpled printout in her purse. The attendant went back to his shack and buzzed them in; the gate rattled open, giving them access to the long, upward sloping driveway that led to the lodge itself.
Michael said: “Whoa.”
The kids were both on Robbie’s side, noses pressed up against the glass like puppies at the pet store. They had seen pictures of the lodge online, of course, but it was more impressive in person. The vast expanse of log walls looked like they had cut down an entire forest to make it. The grand entrance was three or four stories tall, with a carved overhang supported by massive milled columns. Beneath it was a flagstone patio dotted with potted ferns and Adirondack chairs. A few other guests were on the porch, and they eyed the patrol car as it pulled up to the massive steps. “We’re probably the first guests to arrive with a police escort,” Shells said.
“Maybe so,” Miller said, “but if I have to come back and get you, it won’t be the first time somebody left here with one. You need a hand with the bags?”
They had transferred all their luggage to the police car’s enormous trunk, moving aside a shotgun and leaving various other mysterious cop-trunk type items at the accident scene. After a moment, Michelle said: “Are you serious?”
“You don’t have to go investigate a crime or something?”
Miller seemed to think that was pretty funny. When he was done laughing, he said, “Your accident is the most excitement we’ve had in months. Nothing much ever happens up here, ma’am. It’s not like down below.”
“I guess not,” she said. “Well, if you’re sure, then yeah. I could use some help.”
“Sure I’m sure. You saw what it says on the car. To serve and protect.“
The poll has been reset, so voting for the December scene can now commence!