May 5, Saturday
Since his visit with Sara in the hospital over a week before, Charlie spent every day on an extended hike. The exertion felt good and hopefully the crisp air would clear his head. This particular day he headed for Eagles Peak. It wasn't one of Colorado's "fourteeners," but reigned over the region as last to lose its crown of snow when summer arrived. Most had melted at lower elevations, except patches that lingered in shade. A brief winter refrain could still show up until the end of the month.
The evergreen-shaded incline and snow's depth both increased beneath his feet, indicating he was nearing his destination. With every step he obsessed on what he needed to do.
As if in a crucible, the cold stone of grief transmuted to a seething mass of molten rage. It crept through every limb, even more so since seeing Sara struggling to overcome injuries inflicted by the same despicable individuals who stole his brother's life.
Finding out what Bryan said as he crossed over provided further confirmation of what Maheo revealed.
The truth he had wasn't enough. Why Bryan? Who would do such a thing? Did Sara know before the accident?
Maybe, maybe not.
Her injuries explained memory loss, but maybe Bryan hadn't told her. Having been involved with classified work in the Air Force—none of which he ever so much as hinted at to Charlie—Bryan knew how to keep a secret.
He also had an uncanny knack for finding them, the dirtier the better. If the situation were reversed, he would have identified the killer in no time at all.
What did he do?
His white brother never did anything halfway. His determination and perseverance were unmatched, the only possible exception Eaglefeathers—who never gave up on him, even in death.
And without whose help he'd never find out what his white brother had done that was deserving of death.
Increased brightness up ahead revealed he was approaching the treeline. A few steps later an expanse of white softened the crags and shelves of the rocky terrain. He brushed the snow off a large boulder and sat down to stretch his legs, relishing the magnificent vista that stretched to the horizon.
The lyrics of "God's Country" came to mind. One of Bryan's favorites.
His thoughts shifted to his fasting episode. No wonder his grandfather wanted him to have such an experience. He smiled that the answer came at the very end of the fourth day. As if Maheo were waiting for time to run out.
Or had a sense of humor.
Repressed anger at the answer he received, however, had prevented him from praying for days. Offending Maheo with another vicious rant was the last thing he wanted to do. Venting, however, was something else, the tension in his chest demanding release. It still ached, but fury smoldered within the grief-induced void.
He surveyed the terrain once more with different eyes. Somewhere out there was the person or persons responsible for murdering his brother.
He stood and closed his eyes, sensing which direction to face to unleash his wrath. Intuition nudged him from southeast toward due south. He sucked in a deep breath, filling his lungs.
"You will not get away with this!" he bellowed, voice amplified by the crusted snow. "I will hunt you down and I will find you. And when I do, you will pay!"
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish