Elena slapped a tree trunk for balance as she skidded past and flung herself down the faded trail to the lower stream. Her breath sobbed in her throat and hot tears threatened her vision.
They were close behind, but near the jackfruit tree she forced herself to a walk. She took small steps, rolling heel to toe, and counted the meter of “Rock-a-bye, Baby” as she stepped. She hesitated as she neared the rotting log and then veered to the right. Even in her haste—especially in her haste—Queenie was a safer bet than Elvis.
She glanced at the nearby mound and saw a telltale strip of olive-brown among the decomposing leaves. Nothing more. Her familiar tempo had bought her passage.
She veered left again, safely past the leaves and log, and reached the jackfruit tree. Its foliage was thin but with luck, she might go unnoticed among its enormous fruit. She hooked a leg over the lowest limb and wriggled as high as she trusted it.
She touched her phone, secure in its belt clip. It had no signal here, but she had to keep it close, for Dr. Morrison and Dr. Laghari.
She had been away when the poachers came.
"Protector" by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Works by Laura VanArendonk Baugh:
The Songweaver's Vow
Reviews by Peter Christian Fiction Reviews by Peter Younghusband