An installment of Running to the Sun: Conjure Man #2

Luce hunted Rosa through the wild night. He could scent her as he sniffed the wind. He could see her steps glow by the burning cabin of his enemy. It was his time to find and search. It was his time to hunt.
He found a small path that led up into the darkness. He knew she had walked that path, but not soon enough, not fast enough to get away from him. It was good to feel absolute power over one person. Soon he would have absolute power over all. 
He wanted to kill Rosa. He felt the demons give him power to track this seed-bearer, a girl really. He wanted her. What he wanted more was power. The demons whispered in his ear that this girl could add more to his power. He held one seed-bearer, her tiny form huddled in his small trailer. Luce could feel the heart beat of both his victim and his prey.
He had left Maureen to watch his victim, Marie. Someone needed to watch her after the escape attempt. He marveled at how like a rat the child had become. She would have chewed off her hand to free herself. He didn’t understand such determination. He would have to kill her soon, but not until he had finished this. Power and money glittered brightly in his eyes. His heart felt like solid gold.
Luce had sent Allen, the bloodhound, after Tessa and Taylor. With Tessa, Marie, and Rosa, he would rule the world. For now, he needed to be alert. He heard the cries of the cougar. Someone else was hunting. He felt a kinship with the big cat. A small cloud covered the moon. Suddenly, the lapping fire couldn’t lighten his path. He stumbled on a rock. He kicked a rock and swore.
***
Rosa imagined Luce’s hot breath on the back of her neck. She didn’t know how many thralls he had at his command. She hoped he was short-handed. She peered in front of her, her eyes adjusting to the darkness. She also heard the cougar hunting, and she shivered. The darkness closed around her, her heart thumped, and her legs urged her to run, run like a panicked animal. Run like a deer, away from the hot pursuit of the predator.
“Rosa, Rosa.” Luce yelled into the night.
He was much closer than she thought. She stepped quietly. Soon she would have to run, but not yet. She didn’t want him to find her by sound. Make it hard for him. But now she knew it was only him and her. She knew this land. She had run on its brown back all her life. The wind would hold her up, and her ancestors would defend her.
A small nudge from the wind made her turn to a rarely used path. It was small and steep. At some point she would have to cling to the side of the mountain, possibly six to eight feet, looking down over hundreds of feet of air to the hard ground below. It would be dangerous. Only mountain sheep and goats took this path. She could feel the danger as she looked at it. But if she stayed on the path that led to Grandfather, she would be captured. She heard the echoes of Luce’s cries and she shuddered.
One step at a time. Quiet. Careful. She prayed as she turned to the path, feeling the hard rocks and cactus spines on her feet.
***
Luce reached the slight path, where Rosa had left the main path. He could feel through his demons that she was not in front of him, but not too far either. He pulled out a flashlight. He looked for a small path or footprints. Some clue. He saw only scrubs, cacti, and dirt. No footprints.
His inner demons urged him to look to his right, to look at the cliff, to look as she scrambled to a ledge hidden from his sight. But no, he was sure that she would be too scared to deviate. She would take the safe path.
He pressed on down the path until the sun rose in pinky shards of light. Then, he turned back. He had lost her. But, now he had her scent. He could find her anywhere, even the astral plain.
***
Rosa inched her way up the side of the cliff. It had looked straight up and down. But as she got closer, she could see places where she could put her hands and feet. Her eyes could see better in the gloom and she trusted her safety to the ancestors.
She could hear Luce, the monster, on the path. Something had helped him catch up to her. She could not believe that he was able to track her, not this way, unless he was being helped by something other than himself. He must be possessed.
She saw a tall gray shape. He stood on the path below, sniffing the air. She lay flat on the ledge, not moving. She closed her eyes. Nighttime predators hunted by movement.
Breathe in. Breathe out. When he turned towards her, looking for scent or movement, she held her breath. She let out her breath softly as he turned back to the main path and continued down it. She waited, counting the seconds and the minutes. About fifteen minutes later, she looked for a way off the ledge. She would have to climb higher. She couldn’t wait for the sun to show her the way. She trusted her instincts. This was not the time to worry about her grandfather even though she suspected that Luce did not extend mercy to the families of his enemies. At this time, she needed to think of herself and what she was doing now.
She placed another hand in a small hole and pressed her body against the side of the hill. She inched to the next ledge which led to the top of the hill. She rested on her stomach until the sun rose. Then, she looked for a way to climb down the mountain to her Grandfather’s hogan.
You can find the rest on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords under the author name Cyn Bagley. Happy reading.