The sun rose slowly and majestically over the mountains with the regal bearing of an aging Opera House diva. Warm bands of russet and orange stretched out over the peaks, wrapping the back country in early morning finery. Crystal tipped up her straight-backed wooden chair and hooked her slippered feet on the bottom porch slat. She drank in the sunrise with a slight smile on her face and both hands wrapped around a large mug of tea.
It had taken five years, but this finally felt like home. The tall, scrubby pine trees. The curious wildlife. The brutal winters and languid summers. She finally had a home and was finally starting to heal. Something had begun to bloom in her heart that she was suspicious might be hope but it was too soon to tell. More summer mornings spent absorbing the nature that surrounded her, perhaps another long winter spent in quiet reflection. Then she would know.
Her mind flitted through stray thoughts and settled on one she didn’t like. The police officer that had called last week. She so rarely got phone calls anymore from anyone other than the general store that she hadn't thought anything of picking it up rather than screening it through her answering machine. And it had been an officer. She had known that he would be trouble from the first word he had spoken.