Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving! I’ve been crazy busy with the October issue of Bread ‘n Molasses, which if I don’t get it up and running soon will be the November issue. 🙂 Just kidding. It’s going to up really soon and there will be another in November, no worries about that.

Once again it’s time to head back to the good ole Laughing Bear Lodge and check in with those nutty guests. Andrea wrote Chapter 5 of our Novel Collaboration and the plot has indeed thickened.

If you’d like to write Chapter 6, send me an email and let me know you’re doing it. That way we won’t end up with several different Chapter 6’s. If you need to refresh your memory as to where we are now, stroll on over to The Collaboration page and read the story from the beginning. And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for . . . (drumroll please)

Chapter 5

Posted by Andrea Tuesday, October 14th 2003

“Oh double crap,” muttered Dallan under his breath for what seemed like the fifteenth time that morning. He bent over once again to retrieve the hook on the spongy ground. And again he found it unerringly by the sharp end jabbing his tender fingers.

“And holy crap! OW!” He shook his hand and sucked the drop of blood off the end. The fishing doctor closest to him turned and glared.

“Do you think it is possible for you to make any more noise?” he hissed. A frustrated sigh followed as he shook his head and turned back to his line.

Dallan sat down and pouted among the grass and rushes at the edge of the water. This wasn’t turning out anything like he’d planned. They actually expected him to not only do everything they said to do, but also gross disgusting things, like cut into a live squirming slippery fish. Ick. It made his stomach churn once more just thinking about it. Then thinking about why his stomach was prone to feeling so awful made him groan almost out loud.

He had sent the greater part of his first evening at the lodge trying to impress the beautiful blonde model. Dallan had no idea such a thin, lithe body like hers could drink so much alcohol and not seem as affected as he had been. His head pounded. Somehow, a fuzzy memory of Rakel throwing her head back in laughter came back, and he had the feeling that maybe she had been laughing at him and not with him. He remembered as well the look on Annie’s face as she had checked on the bar before retiring. His cheeks burned at the memory of her look of disappointment as she took in the scene of Dallan and Rakel leaning close to one another and laughing, empty bottles on the table in front of them.

“Hey, are you still with us?” A deep, slightly amused voice interrupted his thoughts. Dallan glanced up into the sun and couldn’t make out the shadow blocking some of the glare. He stood and brushed himself off, finally recognizing the speaker as pediatrician Adam Richards, the only doctor in this group, it seemed, that didn’t view Dallan as some sort of costly irritation.

“No, Doctor, sir, I mean.. yes, I’m uh…” Dallan floundered to find his voice and collect his thoughts. “Yeah I guess I’m not going far without you guys, huh?” he finished with a lopsided grin of embarrassment.

Dr. Richards face split in a wide grin showing even white teeth, and he stifled a chuckle. “I guess next time,. we’ll check for our guide’s credentials a little better, won’t we?” They laughed a little at the memory of Dallan trying to guide them through the early morning mist and with a full blown hangover in woods he’d quite clearly never been in. The group of doctors had amused themselves by letting Dallan wander a full hour longer than the five minutes it took for them to realize he was a novice at pretty much everything.

“And I said call me Adam, Dallan. No need for formalities out here among the men, right?” He lightly tapped Dallan’s shoulder with his fist. He seemed like a great kid, Adam thought, even if spoiled and prone to making bad decisions, which is why Adam felt the need to take him under his wing a little.

“Now how about we clean these fish I caught?” Adam held up the line in his hand and grinned as Dallan face went a little green. “Ah, don’t worry, we’ll go slow and I can go over some of the things I showed you earlier. I’ll help so you don’t have to do them all yourself. At least not until I think you have a handle on it.” Adam winked.

Dallan blushed a little. He was glad he had at least one friend who understood where he was coming from. “Sure, I just have to go have a little leak. I’ll be right back.” Dallan turned from the riverbank and wandered into the trees behidn him for a few paces.

As he was tending to business, his gaze wandered to the foliage on the ground around him. Odd, that looked like a piece of fabric just over there. He zipped up and stepped over to give the fabric a little tug. It was stuck so he pulled harder.

It lifted and it was only then he noticed the fabric was a pantleg with a very discolored leg inside.

“Adam?” He called as he dropped the leg. “Guys? Hey doctors!” He backed up and started running and yelling.

Dallan wasn’t a doctor, but even he knew the person who was attached to the leg was beyond any help he or the group of doctors could give them.

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