The blue bus stopped in front of the only gas station in Dietz. I stumbled out into the dusty, leaf strewn shoulder. I counted my steps as I crossed the road to the gas station. 12 steps across the asphalt, 14 to the door. My heart beat harder the closer I came to the squat brick building. Maybe they knew something about me.
"Excuse me. Could you tell me how to get to Dietz Lake?" My voice sounded calmer than I really was. My heart was beating so fast it practically fluttered, my legs wanted to run, my palms were sweaty and adrenaline coursed through my body icily.
The man behind the counter frowned at me, and paused to size me up through his squinty eyes. He hadn't shaved and had on a filthy white t-shirt. I counted the seconds before he answered. One, two, three, four, five, six,..
"Go up the road that way about a half mile. You can't miss it." He then spit on the floor to his right behind the counter. One. One crazy old man with a nasty habit.
Two. My two feet were not happy with the long walk to the big brown sign that announced the lake. It was some sort of camping/wildreness resort place. I paid two dollars to get in. The lady in brown in the tiny cabin where they take admission was all smiles. She handed me a park map.
I unfolded it and searched for the cabins, then cabin number 43. I couldn't find it. There was a cabin 42 and a cabin 44 way up on a hill apart from the others.
I went back to the smiling lady. "Excuse me, Miss?"
"Is there a cabin 43?"
"Do you see one on the map?"
"Then there isn't." She smiled and turned her back to me.
I blinked. Once, Twice, Three times, and backed away from the tiny cabin with the overly cheery, and obviously lying, lady.
I decided to hike into the park and find out for myself. I headed toward cabin 42.