The Witch of the Narrows

The Witch of the Narrows

by

Phillip McCollum

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was all hearsay and legend. But I know you, Pat, and you’re gonna be stuck in one of your funks, unable to let it go, completely useless to me as a client and a friend.

So, I may as well tell you what I know.

Head east out of this town of swindlers and backstabbers and once you hit the I-15 in Victorville, exit Bear Valley until you come to Ridgecrest Road. Make a left and cruise a few miles past the nice homes on the man-made lake until you’re stopped by the ranger shack. Pay the entrance fee and park your car.

Here, I drew you a map for the rest. You’re on foot for the next mile-and-a-half through the trees and rattlesnakes.

Don’t shout, don’t whistle, don’t do any stupid shit like that. You’ll probably get eaten by a mountain lion.

They say that if she wants to see you, she’ll let you find her.

#

Pat Falcon performed a few jumping jacks and stretched his legs beneath the August stars, shaking out the seventy-mile trip from Hollywood. There were three campers in the lot around him, all Winnebago knockoffs, all plugged into rattling generators so they could run the air conditioning and ameliorate the hot desert air.

He ran his hand along the front of his truck. A crack in the headlight’s plastic cover was the worst of it. He’d left in the black of night which had grown progressively blacker as the city lights popped out of existence behind him, bulb by bulb. When he arrived here, the entrance had been closed and no one was in the guard shack, so he accelerated his Mercedes SUV through the flimsy gate arm which snapped clean off.

California’s High Desert was familiar. Besides driving through here on the occasional spendcrazy visit to Las Vegas, Pat had been up this way several times over his career. Most memorable was filming Tough Break almost twenty years ago out on a dry lake in the early nineties. He’d performed his own stunts in that one, playing the slick-haired antagonist to Sylvester Stallone. Sly hadn’t returned his calls for several years.

The last two trips had been for direct-to-DVD movies filled with pathetic CGI-aliens and scripts that could only have been written by the producer’s teenage son. But there was alimony, several house and car payments to make, and the increasing number of collection letters.

The Witch of the Narrows seemed to be Pat’s only hope.

If you’d like to finish reading this story, along with many others, I’d be ecstatic if you’d consider purchasing one of my books.

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