Chapter 32b


Shepherds’ Tomb.


They crashed downward.  Ivan’s every instinct was to run uphill.  On high ground it was easier to hide and easier to keep moving, and in Florida down only leads to swamp.  But the upslope was cut off by the road, which was in enemy hands. 


Frantically they doubled and traversed, but they could hear the pursuit inexorably bearing down on them.


“Shit, how are they following us,” asked Jon.


Tracy said, “Oh.  Just a second.”  She squatted briefly behind a tree and then came out saying, “I was bugged.  They hid it up my butt.  Don’t even ask, Reverend.  Maybe they were planning to let me escape all along.”


“Doesn’t sound like it,” said Ivan.  “But let’s use it.”  They reversed again and then turned straight down hill.  At the bottom they reached a stream and started scurrying upstream along the bank.


The dodge had worked.  It would take the pursuers a little time to find the stool, and a merry while digging through it to verify the little transmitter.  Meanwhile at least they were traveling upward again.


For about an hour they pressed on, heedless of scrapes and bruises.  At last they reached a little level area and stopped to gasp for breath.  Then they noticed a familiar picnic table.  They had stumbled back onto the spring.  


By this time there were no more sounds behind them. It was more dangerous to keep moving than to hold up.  Besides they were all giddy with exhaustion.  Ivan flipped the table over for shelter against the wind and made them lie down behind it, front to back like spoons in a drawer.  Then he covered them all as best he could with dried leaves and curled up with them. 


There was no sleep that night.  They shivered violently in the sudden cold snap.  It was all they could do to keep their teeth from chattering audibly.  But daylight might bring new ideas.


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