Pine Ridge is a town nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains of Northern California; it had been founded by a combination of people looking for the riches of gold and the riches of fur trapping around the year 1846. Since then it has grown; although one wouldn't think this by simply passing through as they would only see the main shop which doubled as a gas station and the old church upon the hill. What they wouldn't see was the spaced out houses and the rather nice sized town with more stores down an unpaved road.
The locals had decided they didn't want tourists in their town long ago so they didn't want a paved road in which strangers could use to come into the main town. It didn't matter much to the current residents as they liked their privacy and the town stores used trucks to get supplies from the gas station where the owner ordered supplies brought there for the shops in town. Out of necessity just about everyone in town owned a truck to come and go, some of the younger generations have jeeps.
In fact most of the population is over forty, most end up staying to take care of their parents and those that leave to the cities usually come back finding the tranquil mountain life preferable to the bustling city life. Many of whom using their "big city" money have re-built and updated some of the shops such as the old Trading post slash gas station and supply shop. In fact the little town didn't even have electricity until the 1960's and television until the 1970's.
However it's not this town's history or its isolation directly, but rather the town store's tri-monthly visitor that makes this town worth noting. As long as any one can remember every three months a woman would visit the town store. Now to listen to the old folk of the town you would think it was the same woman.
"but can that be?" the stranger asks.
"well" replies the over weight attendant of the gas station "it can't be the same woman, there are stories going back to when this was only a trading post about the grey haired woman who would come down once every three months to buy lots of meat and supplies, so I would guess their must be a family up in the mountain there"
The stranger observes the northwardly direction the attendant is pointing "from the north then?"
"Yep" he replies with a turning of his stubble covered double chin and scratching it. "I guess she comes from the north, though I never seen a trail, my brother thinks their part Indian or something.
Anyway once every three months for as long as anyone can remember a woman with long grey hair comes here to this station which is where the old trading post used to be by the way."
After a pause and more scratching oh his apparently itchy five o clock shadow, "Well any way some of the old folk think it's the same woman but I say it's got to be her daughter or grand daughter, right? Yeah well I would swear she looks exactly like the woman that came here when I was little but like I said it's got to be her daughter."
The stranger in the dark trench coat notices he seems a little doubtful.
"Or maybe her grand-daughter." He continues with a little chuckle, "it seems kind-a funny to me that all any one sees is a woman. Guess they, them people in the mountain or what-ever figure shopping is a woman's job"
*Hah-ho-hah hah ha!*
The stranger thinks this loud laugh is rather un-necessary as he doesn't get the joke, all the while sipped at his cup of milk.
Across the room another stranger wearing a brown down coat, blue jeans and a brown fedora hat with a rough beard and mean eyes is listening in. This man seems to be listening more intently to the story than the stranger wearing the black trench coat and long black pony tail; both of which are out of place for someone in this part of the wilderness so far from civilization.
The brown coated stranger walks up to the counter and sits down next to the other stranger who glares at him for an instant before going back to his drink.
The new stranger asks the attendant, "so when do you expect this mystery woman to return here?"
"I think tonight maybe, why do you ask?"
"Oh nothing just wanted to ask her a few questions."
To any one observant enough they would have noticed the trench coat wearing stranger shift his head just slightly to pay closer attention to this conversation.
"What would you want to ask a recluse like her about?" the attendant asks while eyeing him suspiciously.
"I know how it sounds but I am what you would call a monster hunter?"
The dark stranger shifts slightly and tilts his head slightly in the direction of the this odd man.
"A what?" asks the attendant.
"Sorry" he says, "that didn't come out right. What I mean by that is that I am one of those city folk who comes out into the Rocky Mountains looking for Big Foot."
*heh, eh, heh, eh*
The attendant chuckles a bit "And what makes you think that a woman like that would know anything about that."
*heh, eh, heh, eh*
He chuckled a bit more, a somewhat forced sound, patting his oversized gut as the man continues, "well I figured since you say she…and her family live way out there away from civilization they may have had sightings of…big foot"
after a pause he adds, "or big foot like creatures perhaps."
"So when do you expect her by," he asks the attendant again, "you said tonight perhaps."
The attendant stares blankly forward for a few seconds then speaks in a monotone voice, "Oh I am sorry I was mistaken… I was wrong… I have the day wrong… I believe she will come here… in seven days from now."
The dark stranger can't help but smile to him self hiding it behind his cup. The man in the coat with all the curious questions gives the attendant a funny look, "okay, but I would really like to talk with her, is there a place I can stay in the mean time?"
The attendant shakes him self as though he were shaking him self awake, "A place to stay?" he says, "Well the nearest place would be the Brooksville Lodge in Brooksville about twenty miles up the road here."
The odd man in the brown down coat says his thanks pays for his meal and gas then heads out into the dimly lit parking and gas fueling area of the gas station. He looks up to the star lit sky and thinks, "Hmm I must have been in there longer than I thought."
Looking down at his watch he notices it is already past nine o'clock. As he hops into his green pick up truck and heads up north to the lodge he is completely oblivious to the female figure hidden in the shadows eyeing him as he drives away.
Back in the shop the attendant stops for a moment looking at the wall clock and down to the strange fellow in the black trench coat sipping his milk.
"Strange fellow that was just in here wouldn't you say stranger?"
The dark stranger looks up and simply answers, "Yep".
"Big Foot, heh can you imagine someone wasting their life looking for something like that, heh waste of time wouldn't you say friend?"
"We're to far south for sasquatch" answers the stranger.
"Nothing" he says, "no monsters".
"Yeah" states the attendant with a concerned look out the corner of his eye while wiping a glass clean "strange fellow, though I thought he wanted to talk to the lady coming in tonight guess he changed his mind."
Before he could continue she walks in, a beauty separated from time its self with features that could be described as flawless, a smooth chinned face with high cheek bones and large blue eyes, her nose seems a bit larger than most would think such a face would have however her extended jaw masked that merging the features back to perfect dimensions. Her ears are hidden under long flowing grey hair. She has a slim yet muscular frame clearly feminine yet toned in a way that suggests strength, a woman of the mountains yet as beautiful as any girl of the valleys.
She walks in the front door like she had come out from the shadows themselves. At the doorway she stops and glances at the stranger seated at the bar for a moment, who for the first time since he has sat down looks up and looks back; tilting his head as he does so in what the attendant guessed was a polite bow, although he had never seen such a thing.
"Weird" he thinks if he didn't know better he would have thought these two knew each other from somewhere from the way they looked at each other. But he had never seen any one like this guy before in all his years, however he had seen the woman all his life or her and her mom or something he wasn't sure but he didn't have time to think of such things.
His thoughts are cut short as she walks up to the counter. He looks down; the stranger had gone back to his drink and the woman is looking straight at him asking for her supplies as though the two had never glanced at each other behaving instead like total strangers. He doesn't linger on it he just figures he was mistaken. He needs to stop thinking silly thoughts and write down what she is asking for; but by now after all these years he has the list down by heart anyway, several packs of this several pounds of that, mostly jerky and non-perishables.
"As far out as she must live they couldn't possibly have electricity" he thinks with an inner chuckle scribbling away her order on his pad.
He calls out his assistant from the back, a little skinny kid named Nick who is back from college.
"Yes what can I do for you Mr. Jones?"
"First" says the attendant, "stop being so city, this is the country even if we are in California we are miles from the nearest city not counting the town, and second I'm your uncle Paul so call me Paul got it."
"Yes Mr. Jo.. I mean Paul".
"Now what did I call you out here for? Oh yeah wrap the lady's purchases while I tally up the charges and make sure to bind them tightly you don't want her dropping any thing, and also make sure to wrap them up separately then bind them together that way they wont drop."
Paul rolls his eyes and huffs as he turns back to the woman "Kids. Well miss that comes to seven hundred and thirty dollars."
She reaches into the pocket on her hand made deer skin pants and pulls out a small chunk of gold. Nick was about to say something when Paul put his hand up stopping him, and pulling out a magnifying glass looks at the gold as he had been taught by his dad on how to estimate the value of gold just by looking at it and weighing it on a small scale he had under the desk.
"This gold is a bit over the cost by two grams." He says
She simply shrugs and takes the nugget back and with her strangely sharp black painted finger nails scrapes off the excess amount. Paul notices Nick has a shocked look on his face and he even takes a step back. Paul gives him a quick look causing Nick to go back to finishing tying the parcels. Paul weighs the gold again and it is exactly right.
"They must teach their kids pretty thoroughly about measuring the value of gold out there in that family" he thinks.
He puts the gold away in the register drawer to the side with a note reminding him how much it is worth so he wouldn't have to re-weigh it later when he went to turn it in for its cash value. Nick drags the large bounded parcel from behind the counter to the grey haired woman who to Nick's astonishment picks up the bound parcels with one hand flinging them over her shoulder. With a quick nod goodbye she heads out the wide double doors of the shop.
Nick turns to Paul who is just waving him away saying, "when people live off the land and work out there they get a lot stronger than what you city kids would think possible, now get back to cleaning up the back room."
The stranger who has been sitting there the whole time stands setting down his now empty cup and asks calmly, "How much?"
Paul turns to him, a bit confused, for some reason he had forgotten the man was even there, "The…the drinks only came to ten dollars in all and now which pump did you use?"
He turns to the fancy pump reader his nephew had bought for the station.
"Ten dollars then," says the stranger, "and as for the gas I walked here."
He gestures to indicate that there are no vehicles out side. Even with the dim light from the sign it is clear that there are no cars, trucks or any thing out by the pumps or parked near by, the pump reader indicates also that no one other than the other stranger had bought any gas with in the last few hours. The stranger pulls out a ten dollar bill and sets it down.
Turning towards the door he stops, smoothly looks back and says, "I would pay you gold but I prefer to carry cash when traveling its much lighter." He chuckles to himself and heads out the door.
"Strange folks I got tonight" Paul thinks.
He squints his eyes as he sees a most unusual sight; he notices the stranger had stopped out side, and the grey haired woman had set down the bound parcels and was standing by the pumps with her arms crossed. She walks towards the stranger with her arms crossed, who then starts walking towards her in turn. Paul thought for a moment he would have to call the police as something didn't look right about this.
The two of them turn around each other in a way Paul thinks is very peculiar like two animals sizing each other up. They then stop and face each other about five feet apart. Paul could swear he thinks he saw their eyes glowing like little blue flash lights, he figures it must just be the dim light reflecting off their blue eyes, although he could have sworn human eyes didn't reflect light like that.
"hmm learn something new every day" he says aloud turning his back for a second to look around the shop. When he looks back out the door they had both vanished into the dark.
"Strange" was all he could think to say taking one last look around before locking up.