Cape Haven Challenge – Rules set by Alaidh. To summarize: Max and Logan go camping, Season One, and Logan is still using only the wheel chair for his mobility. I have set this before 'Art Attack'. Due: December 10, 2004. No word limit, for which I'm exceedingly grateful. ;) Note: 'Dark Angel' doesn't belong to me. Any characters you don't recognize, however, are mine.

Many, many thanks to Alaidh, the Almighty Beta, without whom this story would definitely be less 'Dark Angel' accurate! :)

Many, many thanks to all who have reviewed my previous stories. I greatly appreciate your feedback and am humbled by your praise. :)

Getting Away From It All

By Mouse :)

"Any man, in the right situation, is capable of murder. But not any man is capable of being a good camper. So, murder and camping are not as similar as you might think."
- Jack Handy


April 14, 2019, 11:47 PM
Olympic National Park, Washington

He could hear the Hamma Hamma River from where he stood pressed up against a dogwood tree that was just starting to bloom. The water thrashed along its course, swollen from the spring runoff and heedless of anything in its path. His breathing was harsh and loud in the dark forest and he damned the root that had tripped him on the trail, not yet cleared by the rangers after the winter had rearranged the landscape. He'd lost his flashlight on the way down and landed badly against a fir tree that broke his fall, but also might have taken a few of his ribs. Don't have punctured lungs, he thought, almost amused that it should matter at this point. His early medical training through a first aid course in high school had taught him that there was very little to be done if you punctured your lungs in the middle of nowhere.

And Peter Hurst was definitely in the middle of nowhere.

All I have to do is follow the river, he thought woozily, his right hand pressing harder against the wound in his right thigh, trying desperately to stop the bleeding. There wasn't time to dress the injury or immobilize his leg, wasn't time for proper attention. He smiled wryly. And not get shot again…

He listened carefully for the sound of movement, something that would indicate that his pursuer was approaching. The river drowned out everything but his breathing and the pounding of his heart.

If I can reach the campsite, he thought, blinking as his vision began to curl at the edges, then changed his mind. No, can't stop there. If I can reach the ranger's station…

Somewhere a branch snapped. Peter resisted the urge to laugh. After all the taunting and bragging his attacker had confidently shared with him, he was obviously not as silent as he liked to think. The forest was hindering him, too. Mighty hunter, I know where you are…

Hoping the river would cover his movements, and not having much choice if it didn't, he stepped around the tree trunk, hugging it with his back and set off as quickly and quietly as he could towards the ranger's station.

The light found him and the rifle sounded again, echoing through the forest. The bullet shattered a slender, young aspen tree to Peter's left. He ran through the dark, continuing an irregular pattern as his father had taught, hoping another root wouldn't surprise him. If he went down now, he didn't know if he'd be able to get back up again. Serpentine, serpentine…

Another shot, coming from a different direction, and Peter knew the hunter's secret, understood the confidence now: he was not alone. This bullet missed him, too, but he knew how difficult it was to hit a moving target under the best circumstances, never mind in a forest, at night, with uneven terrain. He'd watched his father during training exercises with his partner at the practise range…

"You've given us a good chase!" a voice growled in the dark.

His leg was faltering, which wasn't unexpected, but disappointing, nonetheless. He recognized the path he was taking and knew it wasn't much farther to the campsite - and the route to the ranger's station.

"Nowhere to run now, squirt!"

Who are these psychos, anyway? Peter thought, stopping behind another tree, trying to build enough anger to maintain consciousness. He was shaking and realized that shock was taking hold, as he'd known it would eventually. As an intern at a hospital in Seattle, he'd seen it enough in the ER.

The trees loomed over him as he gazed up at the forest canopy. If there was such a thing as Divine Intervention, he was willing to accept it anytime now.

Time. There wasn't any time; there wouldn't be anyone to help him…

The gunshot blazed near him and the world tilted violently to one side. All he could see was the huge silhouette of an elk and then everything tunnelled away to nothing.