‘Welcome to Betelgeuse’ part 3

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Welcome to Betelgeuse

I’m spending most of November pounding away at the keyboard for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share the first chapter of my 2018 NaNoWriMo attempt, “Welcome to Betelgeuse,” in installments. This is Part 3. Thanks for reading; feel free to comment below.

Continued from Part 2.

Other than the deer, which she still saw skittering by the sides of the road, she had little company. The black bears, which pestered campers and tourists during the summertime, were pulling back away from civilization and finding their dens for winter. Most other woodland animals, like the masked raccoons that raided the trash cans at the motel during her brief stay, were returning to the wilderness as the easy pickings dried up for the season.

The tourist traps — the Story Lands and the North Poles and Wild West towns and the like — would all be closed now, although it was strange that she didn’t see any as she rode down the road. They were everywhere in the mountains, where suburban families, fat and happy from a prosperous post-war peace, took their road trip vacations to “the country.” Dad got his fishing, Mom got her motel pool, the kids got their souvenirs from the gift shop. Is everybody happy?

But there were no tourist attractions along this route, not even the ski areas. In winter the Adirondacks become a skiers’ destination, not as quaint and cozy as the Green Mountains of Vermont, where Wallace and Davis still did their annual Christmas special from the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree. The Adirondacks weren’t green, except perhaps in summer; in winter they were gray and hard, sharp and competitive. Lake Placid was still coasting on its reputation from the 1932 Winter Olympics; even three decades later its buildings and ski jumps drew athletes from all over the world to train on its slopes.

None would be there for another month or two, though, when enough base snow fell and the ice was consistently thick for the skaters and fishermen. From the end of foliage season to the beginning of ski season, the North Country is in a state of perpetual suspense, waiting for Something To Happen. Anything.

Something had happened, to her, anyway, but she was putting that behind her. Or was it still in front? With no landmarks, a useless map, not even the moon to orient her, she could be going in circles. Or perhaps her wish was granted and she was already a hundred miles or more from the motor court’s ashes.

But in which direction?

To be continued …

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