Silence Of The Wolf Page 13

She nodded.

’’Always let them go. More wrist injuries occur when skiers hang on to their poles during a fall.’’

’’Your camera,’’ Minx said, sliding on the icier sections as she tried to reach them.

Anthony grabbed her arm before she fell.

Tom and Kemp lifted Elizabeth onto the toboggan. Tom wrapped the blanket around her and strapped her in, while Radcliff went back up for her skis. Once Tom had retrieved her ski poles from Cody and the skis from Radcliff and strapped them on the toboggan, Minx set the camera on Elizabeth\s stomach.

’’Here,’’ Tom said to Elizabeth. ’’Let me secure your camera.’’ He hoped it hadn\ been ruined in the fall. Jake might loan her one of his so she could complete her story, if she could still ski later before she had to return home, but Jake was possessive about his photographic equipment. He might offer to take pictures for her instead.

Tom turned to everyone standing there. ’’So tell me, what happened? Anyone know? Who reported her injury?’’

Anthony poked the tips of his ski poles into the mogul. ’’She was taking a picture at the top of the trail, I guess. We saw someone speeding across the connecting trail in front of us. He skied really fast and sliced the turn too short. I thought maybe the guy was out of control and accidentally hit her. I figured we\d see him in a heap down the slope somewhere, too. When we reached the trailhead, he had zipped down to the bottom as fast as humanly possible, and she had tumbled down the hill. Her arm flew out, and she cried out. She looked like she tried to stop her fall, but she hurt her wrist instead. She rolled until she stopped at the mogul.’’

’’She was unconscious?’’ Tom asked.

’’She appeared that way,’’ Cody said. ’’She looked like she was asleep and didn\ move. Then her arm jerked and it appeared she\d come to. Anthony called the emergency in.’’

’’Is that what all of you saw?’’ Tom asked.

’’Yeah, I guess.’’ Cody dusted snow off his black ski bib. He wore his trademark rainbow-colored jester hat, the bells ringing on the four tassels every time he moved.

’’You didn\ really see what happened?’’ Tom asked.

’’No, just like Anthony said. It appeared the same to me.’’

’’What about the guy? Did you recognize him? See what he wore?’’

’’Who cared about him?’’ Anthony asked. ’’We were too concerned about the lady.’’

Tom looked at the girl. ’’Minx?’’

She made a face, her cheeks red, her blond hair hanging half-loose from her knit hat. ’’Well, I mean, I guess. If that\s what they saw, that\s what happened.’’

’’You don\ think so?’’

Their expressions skeptical, chins tilted down, eyebrows raised, the boys looked at her as though they didn\ believe she had seen anything different.

She shrugged. ’’Yeah, sure.’’

Tom hated when kids caved in to peer pressure. ’’What do you think happened, Minx?’’

’’The guy hit her on purpose.’’

***

That\s what Elizabeth had thought, too. At first, when she fell down the mountain, she was too shocked and too anxious about stopping her fall before she smacked into a tree and fractured her skull to focus on what had occurred.

She eyed Tom. His hair was ruffled by the wind, his cheeks red, his sunglasses too dark to reveal his eyes. Wolves liked to see a person\s eyes. They could gather a wealth of information from them. He gave her a dimpled smile despite her scowling at him.

’’You\ e sure the guy pushed you? Didn\ just lose control and shove into you?’’ Tom asked.

’’Okay, possibly, yes, he was out of control, reached his hand up, and shoved at me to get his balance. It\s possible. Sure.’’

Tom said, ’’But not likely.’’

’’No.’’

’’Come on down to the hut so we can get your statements in writing,’’ Tom said to the teens.

Elizabeth tried to remember what had happened right before the skier shoved her. She\d taken a picture of the man who had acted so hostile toward her on the chairlift. He\d taken off from the lift and headed for the slope. By the time she had reached it, he was already skiing down it. He\d stopped and peered up at her, as if checking to see if she was photographing him. How would he know she had followed him?

Maybe the guy in the chair behind them was this guy\s friend, and the man had looked back to see if his ski buddy was joining him. That would make more sense. But if they were ski buddies, why hadn\ the two men ridden the lift together?

’’Let\s get you to the base of the mountain and our first-aid hut,’’ Tom said to her.

She took a deep breath, feeling warm, wrapped snug in the blanket.

She had to admit that despite being annoyed they\d make such a fuss over her, the guys were all cute. The ski patrollers, the teens, the sheriff. And as wiped out as she felt, she would have had a really tough time making it down the slope on her own and very likely would have taken another spill.

’’Do you suspect that the man targeted you specifically?’’ Tom asked.

She frowned at him. He couldn\ know anything about her uncle, could he?

Tom looked at her questioningly, then smiled a little. ’’All right. We\ll discuss it more after we get you to the hut.’’

’’I thought you were working until sunset,’’ Peter said. ’’I can follow her to the hospital.’’

’’I\ve got it covered. Jake\s coming to relieve me,’’ Tom said.


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