“Who might you be?” he called to them.
They ignored his question. “Get down here, right now!”
“Why? Who are you people?”
“Get down here now! We’re not going to wait forever!”
“Why? Are you the law? Where’s your ID? I’m on public property, I know, because this is a rest area, so I’m not trespassing. Who are you, and what do you want with me?”
The door on the Jeep opened and a man in a suit climbed slowly out. He looked around, his expression blank. Finally, he raised his head and stared silently up at Tom. Tom stared back. He had been a Marine for a long time, and recognized danger when he saw it.
Minji started to snap back at her but Harper stepped between the girls holding up a hand. His voice was high and strained. “Never mind adventures in Oz. Maybe we wound up in a Tolkien story. Those guys definitely look like orcs to me!” His raised hand pointed to the side of the clearing.
Everybody swung around as one old woman cried out. People screamed and everybody ran, except the pregnant girl still sitting by the fire, and the old man, who gripped his staff in shaking hands and stepped in front of the girl.
Four horsemen stared back at them. One pointed toward the deer carcass as he chattered excitedly in Spanish to his companions. They nodded, their mouths open and their eyes wide as they looked at the four teenagers.
Nita didn’t take her eyes off them as her hands slid to her knives still hidden in her jeans. “Apparently they’re upset we caught a deer. Sounds like we did a big no-no. They also think we look way too much like their bosses. I’d assume that means they’re the bad guys.”
“Not to mention the way the locals ran off screaming. Wonder if these are some of the guys who were here before?” Harper scratched his chin. “Maybe we should go hide somewhere, too?”
Minji stood straight, then marched, shoulders back to stand beside the old man. “I will not leave Dark Moon Rising and Singing Water to them. They are brave, but helpless.”
“Maybe I can scare them,” Luthor growled, and flexed his arms, waving the bloody knife in his hand.
Harper shuffled backward. “I’ll just stand behind the tree, okay? I wouldn’t want any of you to trip over me…” He trailed off as he reached the tree and darted around to crouch behind it.
“All of you shut up and let me talk to them and stay out of my way. I just killed a deer and four rabbits. These guys are no challenge.” Nita’s hands were in her pockets now.
Minji sniffed. “There is a large difference between hunting animals for food and killing a human,” she began, but suddenly all four horsemen drew sabers and charged, screaming and waving their weapons.