“Really,” Strange Brew said.
“Really,” Ken said.
“Okay, okay,” Luna said. “We’ll check it out.”
“I’ll come along,” Dan said.
“Yeah,” Sal said. “Me, too. I want to see what’s gotten everybody spooked.”
The five of them headed out the door and slowly trudged through the snow toward the wooded section of the commune..
“You’ll see,” said Ken.
“Maybe,” Sal said. “I’ll have to see.”
“Well, what I see,” Luna said, “is some type of shelter in there.”
“Where?” Dan asked.
“Look over to the left, just beyond where all the tents used to be. If you look carefully, there’s something rising by the tree.”
“It’s camouflaged!” Sal said, surprised.
When the five of them got there they found a lean-to covered with snow with a makeshift cabin built around an insulated tent. It looked cozy and comfortable and very well hidden. And there was nobody there.
“See,” Ken said. “Harry was trying to let us know that someone was living here.”
“See,” Strange Brew said. “I told you there was something out here.”
“Yeah,” Luna said. “Well, now we’ll have to tell the others.”
That afternoon everyone assembled out in the wood. Or almost everyone. Marge and Zelda stayed back to tend to the houses and prepare dinner.
“Who could have put this there?” Cat asked.
“Hobos?” wondered Will, who was now walking on crutches. He was barely balanced on them in the snow.
Blue Sky turned to Grace. “Didn’t I say there was something out here?”
Grace looked at Blue Sky and then looked at Strange Brew, who was on the other side of her. “Okay, okay, okay,” she said. “I was wrong. There was something out here. So sue me.”
“Wait,” Luna said. “Let’s not get into an argument now. This is important. This doesn’t look like something a hobo or homeless person would have. Those insulated tents are quite expensive.”
“I agree,” said Sal. “Someone was hiding out here.”
“I’ll bet they were up to no good,” said Darren.
“A fugitive from the law?” suggested Sowbug.
“Probably,” said Viv. “But I think the bigger question is where they are now.”
“Miles away, I hope,” said Lois. “It looks abandoned to me.”
Earthworm and Dandelion and Mo were examining the construction of the lean-to and cabin.
“It’s odd,” Dandelion said. “This was made with really good materials, but whoever made it didn’t have much construction skills.”
“Wait a minute,” Chuck said. “Expensive tent, really good materials, no handy skills, and possible fugitives from the law. I have a very scary idea about this.”
“Yes,” Nancy said. “It sounds only too familiar. I think several of us are probably thinking the very same thing.”
“Maybe you were thinking of us,” a male voice said from behind the group.
Everyone slowly turned. Standing behind the group was Alec Reagon and his mother, Hillary. And Alec was pointing his semi-automatic sniper rifle directly at Luna.