Casper? Silence. Casper, where are you? I can’t feel his presence, so either he’s blocking me, or he’ just too far away. I refuse to let myself think of any other possibilities. I push my consciousness out as far as I can but I still can’t feel him. I bite my lip as I crawl out of my hiding spot then blink when the sun stings my eyes. I wait for my eyes to adjust then I start walking, weaving my way between the trees. Every now and then I pause and project my thoughts, searching for Casper. Still nothing.

I have my hand on a wide tree trunk, preparing to turn around and see if Casper is back at the hiding spot when I hear myself break a twig. I look down just in time to see a loop of rope tighten around my ankle. Before this has time to register, my foot is yanked out from under me and I’m hanging upside down from the tree. I frown. I didn’t know this actually worked. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, I think. The blood is rushing to my head and the rope is already digging into my ankle. I reach up and try to loosen the rope around my ankle.

No, this was definitely not one of your better ideas. I can hear the laughter in the thought. I grin, despite my situation. “Casper.”

Casper walks out from behind a tree and stops in front of me. The amusement is plain to see in his eyes. “Hello, Angie. Glad to see you’re hanging in there.”

I groan at his bad joke. “So…” I say “Are you going to let me down anytime soon?”

He scratches his head, pretending to think about it. “Well, I am rather enjoying the sight of you hanging from a tree by your ankle, but… alright.”

I roll my eyes. Hurry, please. He grins in response then begins climbing the tree. My ankle is starting to throb. The branch I am hanging from starts to shake, letting me know that he’s reached it. I gasp when his hand grabs my ankle. Your hands are cold, I think reproachfully, which makes him chuckle. He tugs at the rope for a moment then with a noise like a snap he is back on the ground again with his arms outstretched. Before I have time to take any of that in, my foot slips through the rope and the wind is knocked out of me when I land in his arms. He grins at me again. “Hey.”

I glare back at him while I struggle to refill my lungs. “Put… put me… down…”

He laughs again then sets me on my feet. I grip a tree branch to steady myself then bend down to rub my ankle. Angie?

I glance at him out of the corner of my eye. Yeah?


I straiten back up to look him in the eye. I know he’s talking about more than just knocking the wind out of me. My thoughts are filled with questions but he shakes his head. Later.

I study his expression for a moment. I see a warning there so I nod. He gives a small sigh of relief then offers me his hand. I only hesitate for a second before taking it, and when I do, I instantly feel better. He gives my hand a small squeeze and we start back to our hiding place.

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