I finally reached that point where the characters are starting to do things I don’t expect them to. I’m not sure if this means I’ve reached a new writing zen or if it’s just another sign that the monkeys now run the circus. Check back next time to see if I’ve figured it out, or if I’ve just gotten more confused!
“Tann. You want to stop for the night?”
I stopped walking and waited for my brother to do the same. I hadn’t noticed it while my legs were still moving, but a weary tingling throbbed in my calves and thighs. It was probably going to turn to a dull ache before the night was through, though if I admitted that to myself or anyone else, I’d also have to admit that I’d been taking it too easy and relying too much on mechanized transportation for the last few months. Somehow, it hurt even more than yesterday, which I had hoped wasn’t going to be possible.
“Tann,” I said again when it looked like he hadn’t heard me. “We’re not going to find them tonight. And I’m tired.”
He took a few more steps but his pace had slowed, and he turned a moment later. “Yeah,” he said. “We can stop.” He sounded tired.
“You okay?” I asked.
He shrugged once and nodded. “Yeah. Just tired.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Just tired and also annoyed that this isn’t as easy as you thought it would be?”
“Really?” I asked. “Because I’m pretty sure you thought this was going to go quicker than it is. You were going all white knight and everything.”
“I wasn’t. Come on, Miranda. I’ve been doing this for years. I know how search and rescue jobs go. Probably better than you do, honestly.”
“Yeah,” I said. “You do. And even I know that this is par for the course. So what’s eating you?” I waved my arms more expressively than I needed to. “This is normal!”
“How so?” He was shouting. I was yelling. Our voices echoed off the canyon walls, and any plans we’d had for being subtle were straight up gone.
“The trail is wrong. Too obvious, not natural enough, too old.”
“Seriously, Tanner? They’re a couple of lost treasure hunters, not mob triggermen.”
“We don’t know that.”
I glared at him. “You’re kidding me. Did you drink enough today? Because right now it sounds like you got a little too much sun.”
“I’m fine. And I mean it. This doesn’t make sense. The whole trail is too cold. We should be gaining on them, not just barely keeping pace. It’s like they tried to leave the tracks we expected to see, but they’re moving just as fast as we are. It doesn’t make sense. Tell me I’m wrong.”