XVII - A Place to Hide

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Devil's Drop
Whitetail Mountains
Later That Night...

She couldn't wait.

They kept on arguing that she needed rest, a hot bath, something to wind down from the events of the evening, but she refused to treat herself to anything rewarding until she knew the truth. Pratt was full of revelations that night, but the small piece of red ribbon she fetched from his cold, callused hands, made her realize one thing. She needed to find this place he talked about.

"Find the d-dead at the d-drop. Wh-where they all g-go to d-die."

There was only one place this could be, she thought.

She'd vaguely remembered stumbling out of here one day, surrounded by lifeless corpses, mangled and broken, parts separated from bodies at the foot of the cliff. "Devil's Drop" they called it, a place she never thought she'd see again. A place she thought was only made in her worst nightmares.

When the truck stopped at the path, she launched herself from the vehicle. A voice called to her to wait, telling her to stop and not have a go at it alone.

But she didn't.

She couldn't.

Foot before foot, she ran, her steps thudding into the earth leaving an imprint of her trail behind.

She didn't care.

Diana desperately wanted to reach this place, without thinking of the gruesome scene that would greet her at the mouth of the Devil's Drop. A surreal mural of bones and blood were found here. Ominous green fog trailed through from an overturned barrel of Bliss that she kicked away, sending it tumbling down the path. All that remained of the unburied bodies here led all the way to the wall of the mountain. There were several piles of dirt here too, telling her she was close.

She stopped when she found a small grave marked with a worn wooden cross. It was staked in a mound of dirt, now overgrown with grass covered the earth where a body was buried. Stones circled outlined the grave, and a piece of tattered red cloth indicated that this was what she was looking for...

This is it, she told herself. The place Pratt revealed with one of his last breaths.

Diana's stomach roiled, her heart breaking at the sight. She fell to her knees. Her eyes filled with tears as she wept over the grave, the small droplets sinking into the packed earth. It was bad enough she knew her brother was here beneath the ground on which she stood—but she even recognized the dirty, sopping wet sweater worn by an old colleague in the grave beside his. Walker...

Fucking hell...

Jacob reached for her shoulder, hesitating for a moment before deciding to touch her.

Disgust flowed through her when his rough fingertips brushed her scarred skin. She rolled her shoulder, knocking off his hand. She didn't want to be touched. If she were a wild horse, she would have kicked him right in the teeth.

Jacob frowned, sighing heavily as he stepped back. "Di..." His voice was something she always cherished, and in the matter of seconds, a turning point of Pratt's undoing, became something she despised. "If I would have known..."

"You knew..." She breathed out, stifling her sobs with her hand.

"What?"

"All this time, you did know."

"I didn't. I swear to you, I-I didn't know he was your brother, I—" It was a feeble defense, but Jacob stood his ground for his decisions, knowing that every choice led him to Diana and every choice thereafter was made with her guidance.

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