Chapter 47

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Alex stood by the small cabin impressed with himself. The Liberty Trail was by no means the hardest hike in the state, but he had always had to take a few rests on his way up. Today he had ran the length of the trail strait up to the Liberty cabin without so much as a deep breath, in fact he wasn’t even sweating. Whatever had been happening to him was doing him wonders, even if it came at the price of a headache or passing out.

He looked down at his cell phone, he still had over an hour before school ended, and no telling how much time before Ethan made his way up here. He looked around the cabin for a good hiding spot. The cabin stood in a small clearing surrounded by stunted trees and small pines, but there were not enough of them to give adequate cover unless he went back downhill, and that was out of the question. Alex wanted to see everything Ethan did when he was up here without having his view blocked by boulders and branches. Looking around, his only real option was to keep going up the mountain and hide behind a boulder off the trail where he would have a good view of the cabin.

It took him nearly half an hour to find a spot he was happy with. Nearly halfway up the remainder of the trail and over about fifty feet or so, Alex found a crevice between two boulders wide enough to hide between. His efforts to make it to his spot drew more than a few looks from curious hikers. Alex just waved and held his up camera, but in truth he really didn’t think they would put much thought into what he was doing. Satisfied with his spot, he leaned against the bigger of the two boulders and pulled out the camera, snapping a few test shots of the cabin. The long lens he put on the camera was able to zoom in close enough to see the rust on the large chains that held the cabin down against high winds.

Looking at the cabin, Alex though about the fact that there had once been a three story hotel where the current cabin now stood and that it had been blown off the side of the mountain. He sat for a few minutes wondering what it would have taken to get a multiple story hotel built on the side of a mountain when his thoughts were interrupted by a couple of laughing hikers on their way down the mountain.

Alex watched them make their way down the path, weaving and disappearing between rocks and trees until they finally reached the cabin and stepped inside. Then a large boy with blonde hair came out of the woods and stood in front of the cabin, it was Ethan.

Quickly, Alex picked up the camera and used the long lens to watch. Ethan was standing still and looking up past Alex to the mountain’s summit, seemingly unable to look away. Alex focused on his face, every few seconds it looked like Ethan entered some kind of a trance, his jaw would relax and his eyes seemed to lose focus. After a moment of looking off into space Ethan would shake his head and blink a few times before looking back up to the top of the mountain.

Alex snapped a few pictures while Ethan was in his trance, then a few more when he would snap himself out of it. The longer he looked up at the mountain the more worried Ethan appeared. Alex couldn’t be sure, but it looked as if Ethan was trying to fight off some sort of powerful urge, he had seen the same look on Mark’s face when he lost a bet on a football game and he had to give up cigars and coffee for two weeks.

Movement caught Alex’s eye when the two hikers walked out of the cabin laughing. Alex focused on Ethan’s face as they came out, a strange expression, like an animal hunger, filled his face as he looked at the two girls walking over to him. When they started talking to Ethan, Alex couldn’t tell what they were saying but he was guessing at least one of them was flirting with Ethan. All girls flirt with him, Alex thought bitterly. It seemed for a moment like Ethan would go into his strange trance again and focus on the mountain, but one of the girls waved her hand in front of his face and snapped him out of it. Alex could tell by the way the other girl’s shoulders moved that she was giggling.

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