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Wolf Run

Chapter Text


"I sense there's something wrong

I'm not sure what it is

It grabs me and it's cold

I gaze into the sun I see myself

I've been bought and now I'm owned

surrounded by the madness"





Noah Wyle eased his lanky form back in the seat of his 4 year old cherry red Jeep. He had been driving since the La Quinta Inn near the border of Washington and California and he was tired but also very anxious to complete this last part of his journey. He had eaten a bowl of Lucky Charms with some lukewarm milk (pretty sure the place hadn't been inspected recently by the Department of Health) around 6 am and his stomach was letting him know that Noah was in complete denial of dinner. He pushed back his unruly dark hair from his sweaty forehead, eschewing the air conditioning in favour of the open side window, and thought once again that he should have gotten a hair cut before leaving the quiet confines of his suburban driven life in Berkeley California.

A battered paper map lay on the other seat where she used to sit said the voice in his head. She always loved it when you sang to her trying to match the words of the radio songs but now she's dead isn't she. She's dead and you are quite alive my fine friend. "Get out of my mind!" Noah said out loud and the voice retreated only to squat menacingly waiting for a return du force when Noah was trying to go to sleep. He didn't sleep much these days. In fact, looking back on the last year of his life, he would estimate an average of 3 to 4 hours nightly, before the nightmares woke him up and his hands shook until he popped an ativan. Noah shook his head and glanced at the map, one large hand holding on to the dog eared corner to keep it from the wind.

Winthrop was close. The heavy line he had drawn with a black Sharpie was starred at the end, by the name of the city where he was bound. It had been a long journey but maybe, he thought, worth it. Ahead of him, on the right hand side, he spied a dinor. The AL American Dinor, the second L somehow missing from a burned out light, Noah suspected. Still, a piece of pie and some caffiene might be what the stomach ordered so he cruised into the parking lot and hitched up the Jeep next to a nondescript looking Taurus that had seen better days. America. You had to love it.

A half hour later, Noah was glad to get out of the collection of motley misfits sitting in booths and along the low counter in the front. He had been stared at and scrutinised and sitting among them picking at a piece of unspectacular pie and sipping lukewarm coffee was not the high point of his self imposed California exile. He climbed back into the Jeep and turned back onto Route 20, heading for Winthrop and thinking about the house he had inherited from his great uncle. (house? cottage? cabin? a matter of semantics. The man who answered the phone assuring him that the electricity and water would be functional and running when he got there used both words interchangably.) He remembered his Gramma sitting beside him over turkey and stuffing in his Aunt's home at Thanksgiving. It was a horrific occasion not because of the dinner, although he ate very little, but because Hannah was missing. And where was she at that dinner and the Christmas and Easter festivities? You didn't even remember to put flowers on the grave in May, the anniversary of her death and here it was June. Forgetting your wife already, Noah, what kind of husband are you and here you are alive and she is so dead dead dead dead dead

Noah cursed and slammed his hand on to the steering wheel. His palm stung from the ridges of the plastic wheel cover and he momentarily brought his hand up to his mouth to nuzzle it. The sting made him normal again, righted his thinking, his Gramma called it. Gramma with her ever present Dunhill Red sticking out of her mouth, the smoke curling around her like tendrils of fog on a cold day. "Billy left us to go live with that woman. He moved up out of state. It was like she took what the best of us had to offer. Left us nothing." Noah had heard it before. It was angry, always angry, just like his own state of mind when he thought about the day in May when he had lost Hannah forever.

"Wolf Run is only 6 miles from Winthrop." Noah spoke out loud, partly because he was tired of not talking and partly because he missed the sound of his own voice. It hadn't always been like this. He had once been a successful professor of American History at Berkeley, shopping at Trader Joe and Whole Foods every Saturday, carting home juicy oranges and grapes and bottles of wine from local vineyards. He and his wife (EX wife) not really ex, Noah thought...more like deceased, like the little black square on his income tax form. Hannah Elizabeth Morgan Wyle. Dead but all that was left was a little penciled in square indicating status of marriage. yes, well, he and his wife, he began again hoping not to be interrupted as he drove into the small and defintely not modern village of Winthrop Washington (hello 400 people)used to be that couple people envied. She was always so beautiful, no matter what she wore or the time of day. Noah heard Gramma say 'left us nothing." So true Gramma. Salut and checkmate.

Noah parked the Jeep in one of the diagonal parking spaces facing the Winthrop Hotel. He had a 7 pm meeting with the man he had spoken to on the phone about getting the cottage/cabin ready, and he wanted to be a bit early to make sure he had the right spot. The hotel itself looked like a relic of a time gone by but the petunias in the porchboxes and the yellow waving bushes (Hannah would have known what they were called but she wasnt around was she?) gave an air of something more sophisticated. Noah wavered between getting in and finding a table or waiting to see who drove up. He opted for the latter and slouched in the seat, playing with the map and holding it up to blot out the early June sun that was surprisingly still warm enough to heat through the windshield. He checked his watch, a plain black digital from Target, his battered Citizen left behind on the dresser. She had given him the citizen for their tenth anniversary and just that thought made the tears prick the back of his eyes. Damn, he was going soft!

Sudden noise that was a cross between a washing machine on the prowl and a motor straight out of the MOPAR motor pit caught his attention. Noah glanced over to his right as a beat up old Chevy truck pulled in beside him and with a wheezing grind of the gears, shut down. Inside was a man around Noah's age, early forties, wearing a black cowboy hat that looked impossibly ridiculous with his shoulder length sandy coloured hair. The man yawned and looked over in Noah's direction, then nodded in a friendly way.

"Mr. Kane?" Noah said, sounding loud to his own ears.

The man tipped his hat back and grinned, showing even white teeth and dimples that were absolutely symmetrical. "Mr. Kane would be my Daddy. It's Christian. You must be Noah Wyle?" Christian jumped out of the truck at Noah's nod and came around to the side window. "Eden's Landing is a beautiful piece of property. Lucky guy to have inherited it. Of course, it has been empty for a long time. When I turned on the water and hydro, I also cleaned up a bit."

Noah leaned out the window, liking this man's affable nature. "I appreciate that, Mr.--" At the raise of an eyebrow, Noah nodded. "Christian. I do indeed. A long drive from Berkley."

"Indeed.: Christian acknowledged this and then half turned to point north down ROute 20. "Wolf Run is around 6 miles that way, although you'll be leaving the main pipe about a quarter mile before the split. One way goes to the river. The other way goes to a cluster of businesses, a grocery store among them. Might be good for you to know. I'll lead if you want to follow me. Can't get lost. You'll run out of road before that." Again that grin. Noah relaxed. If people were as friendly as this guy, perhaps this is what he would need in the coming days.


3 Hours later, Noah and Christian were sitting in lawn chairs in the back of the house. No, not house. Cabin. Cottage. Hell, it was small but snug and totally surprising with its neat walls and tidy carpet covering the wooden floors. The kitchen had defintely seen better days. Perhaps it was considered cool in the Eisenhower era, Noah thought, but not in this lifetime. The pink metal cupboards and the green counters were outdated at best. Outrageous at worst. But it would do, Noah thought. It would do for the summer. The summer of his discontent. The summer that he would spend without her. Without his wife, like last summer, but less raw. Or was it more raw? Eh the jury was out on that one.

"So tell me, Doc. How long did it take for you to come to the wilds of Washington?" Christian tipped his beer and took a swallow. Noah watched him, liking the affable silence between them but also amused at the way the man said his words. There was something there, a twang, that came through in his speech.

"3 Days. I stayed at La Quintas because I I had a card. Like a perks thing. Allowed me to stay um for free after a certain amount of days. Or nights rather." He was babbling. Hannah always said he babbled when he got wound up and maybe he was wound up now or maybe he was just trying to be a good conversationalist but his head hurt and his eyes burned and he had to wonder if he was doing the right thing at all. 

"I got a Holiday Express card. I go to Mexico. Work on the oil rigs. 6 months of sweat and I am home for 6 months. It all evens out." Christian leaned back in the deck chair and stared at the water. The river was surprisingly wide, Noah thought. Nothing like it in LA with the beaches and the surf and the bikinis. Here it was all salmon and dark currents and trees leaning out far over the bank as if to take a thirsty drink.

"Mexico. I like it there." Noah nodded. He was making conversation much like he did when he sat in the front room at the funeral home, refusing to go in to the main room where she was laying in some kind of wooden embrace of a mahogany iron maiden.

"Yep. Hey." Christian sat straight up, startling Noah into almost spilling his beer. "I need to take you round the Run tomorrow. Introduce you to some folk."

"Oh no, it's all good. I can--"

"Doc." Christian's voice was hard edged and Noah leaned in to listen. "Trust me. You need to be introduced. This ain't no debutante ball but people here, they are pretty tight. I'll show you around." Then he poked Noah in the arm and smiled, teeth showing white in the moonlight. "Even your great uncle Billy wasn't always totally accepted. He had to earn his stripes."

"Earn his...ok, well, what's a good time for you?"

"say eleven. That work?"

"Yep." Christian grabbed his hat off the nearby picnic table and put it on his head. "See ya then, Doc. Oh, hey, if I were you, I'd use that nightlight I left you. This is a whole new floor plan. YOU're gonna need something when you get up to beer pee."

"GOod advice. Thank you, Christian." Noah stuck out his hand and it was genuine. He was grateful to Christian for all the help.

"Count on me. I'll help get you through the summer. Who knows? Maybe you;ll like it here so much you'll settle down permanently." With that, the wanna be cowboy strode through the door and out to his truck. It wheezed and coughed to life as he put it into gear and with a jaunty wave out the window, he was gone in an oil smelling cloud.

 Surprisingly, Noah slept through the night. He had taken a fast shower, not bothering to shave his face, knowing that any day now the beard would start to itch and the razor would come out, but until then he had the luxury of not wasting the time standing in front of the mirror tearing the whiskers off his face with the whisker killing agent of death, in this case his mach 5. In the morning, he had made coffee in the little 8 cup coffee maker by the microwave, and cooked an egg in a buttered skillet to put over his toast. The house (cottage/cabin) was small, just a bedroom, a rather spacious bathroom, and a kitchen that bled into the living area. It was the deck that trumped all, though. It was wide and sturdy and extended out almost to the bank of the river and Noah loved it already. It reminded him of a simpler time when he would take his coffee on the deck at his home and she would drape herself over him and kiss his ear, making him giggle. A sharp stab of pain made him shudder. She wasn't here and things would never be the same.

11 o'clock neared so Noah slipped into a pair of worn jeans and a t shirt under a flannel shirt. He hoped he did not look too Pearl Jamish but he had always loved the red and black flannel shirt his step sister had given him when they were celebrating his 20th birthday. Madcap days, those were and if he had them to do over, perhaps he would never notice the red headed green eyed beauty in his Intro to Sociology class. He had tried, once, to analyse how many hours a day he spent regretting and wondering what things would be like had he not arranged for that picnic in the glade, but it was too exhausting and it made him sick, so he had stopped. Rough estimates though, and if he were a betting man like his friend Ed Grandy at Berkeley, he would bet the farm or the cottage or whatever it was called, that would put him at 20 hours a day out of a 24 hour day and if that wasn't pathetic then he didn't know what was.

Christian was right on time. He was wearing one of those pseudo cowboy shirts with the silver snaps instead of buttons but it looked good on him. The hat was back on his head and his jeans were, Noah supposed, appropriately tight in all the right places. 

"Ready to go, Doc?" christian opened the passenger side door and waved him inside. 

"We could um take my Jeep...if you want..." Noah offered.

"Oh hell no. Let me drive and you can gawk." Christian got into the truck and with a grin cranked the stuttering starter. "Wait til I show you the Run. I mean, full name Wolf Run but we call it the Run."

"Looking forward to it." Noah settled back into the seat. He looked for a seat belt and when Christian saw what he was doing began to laugh.

"I took the belts out. Hate feeling strapped in. Me, I like freedom while I drive."

"You...took the seat belts out?" Noah swallowed and gripped the window, which was rolled all the way down.

"Hell yeah. OK, ready for your tour?" Christian shifted and pulled out of Noah's driveway. 

"Yes. I guess so, yeah."

The 2 mile drive to The Run, or Wolf Run as it was known on the map that Noah had used to get there, was non specific. Noah thought that word summed it up fairly well. There were some less than noble structures--trailers that fit every known stereotype--and some run down two story frame houses. Cows grazed in fields. There were some pastures with horses and a bridge that spanned the river just before they reached the main street of town. 

"Church." Christian pointed to a white building with a huge steeple. Noah nodded more to himself since Christian was not really focused on him. "Beer distrib. The guy who runs that delivered me at home."

"Was he a doctor?" Noah asked. He might as well have shared a funny joke since the reaction to his question was unabashed laughter from his driver.

"A doctor? Hell, the nearest doc is 20 miles from here. My Momma was squeezing me out long before he could have made it."

"I see." Noah twisted his wedding ring around his finger. It was big, bigger even than last month. He should eat more, he supposed.

"Ah, to the left is the grocery. You're gonna want to meet Nora. She's a great gal. Moved here with her son to find love. Instead the bastard died when a tree fell on him in Olympia. Kind of glad to see him go. I heard stories where he used to beat her. Now there's just Nora and her son John. John goes to university in Seattle but he comes home every summer to help his Momma. Good kid." Christian wheeled in and parked then indicated the bar across the street. A lopsided sign hung on one chain. 

"The Nest." Noah turned back to Christian who was pinching the bridge of his nose. "You um don't recommend me going there for a nightcap?"

"John Pope runs that place. I would recommend you staying away from that place like you would the plague. Pope's not the friendly type especially not to strangers, which technically um you are. Sorry."

"No need to apologise. Good to know." Noah nodded but like Blackbeard's wife, the seeds of curiousity had been planted. Some time he decided, a visit to The Nest was in order. Noah focused his attention back on Christian who was babbling in that pleasing almost southern good old boy syntax. 

"Come on. You need supplies anyways so might as we'll get them today. I didn't stock the fridge all that well but my girlfriend thought you should have some essentials".

"I'm grateful." They were walking up the low steps to the grocery store doors. Noah reached into his pocket to find his wallet. "how much do I owe you?" 

Christian laughed again and clapped him on the back while holding the door open with his other. "Put that away, Doc. It's not a problem."

The second Noah entered the grocery store, he was struck by 2 things. The first was the smell. He breathed deeply without realizing he was doing so and the rich combination of wood, old flooring, spices, fresh onions and peaches, dust, bleach, and bread assailed his senses. Whole Foods had never smelled, or looked, like this. 

Christian seemed amused but paused, standing beside Noah and grinning.

"Yeah, I know exactly what you're thinking and it is absolutely true. Except on Fridays when Nora makes THE most fabulous molasses cookies you ever tasted!"

"kinda fond of those," Noah admitted with a shrug. He looled around for a cart and found  5 of them, all different colours and materials, pushed by the far wall. He pulled out a red plastic trimmed cart with a faded Tolliver's stamp on the side. Christian chuckled.

"Yeah we just hijacked whatever cart someone wasn't using and besides, that place burned down a couple years back."

in response, Noah nodded, but the words 'burned down' hit a bit close to home. He pushed the anxious down and re focused on the here and now.

"Guess I'll just take a look around." He squinted down the one aisle. Looked like there were some baskets of fresh fruits sitting out. Good as any place to start, he guessed. 

"Hey, while you do that,I'm going to walk down to the PO and get some stamps.

For some reason, Noah was flustered. He was able to grocery shop on his own. After all, it had been a year since--

"Yeah great. No, I'll be fine, sure." Perhaps it was Bc he had not broken in to his fresh supplies of Ativan or maybe it was because the man who knew this town so well was walking away and Noah had never been one for meet and greet. That was always Hannah's job. 

"Ya sure? " Christian was grinning at him. 

"Yes of course." Noah straightened up and grasped the plastic handles of the red cart. He could do this, and while he had never been a big eater, he realised he had to eat. One of the neccessities of life. A life Hannah did not have, and he tried to push that thought out of his head. There would never be any more crock pot chicken or chil spiced brownies, 2 of her specialities. She was DEAD gone and there was nothing he could do about that..

Ten minutes later, he had enough staples for a week, he thought. Eggs, bacon, coffee, cereal, bread, peanut butter, some homemade jam, bananas, potatoes and some butter. On a lark, he picked out a bag of neatly marked ground round (he guessed there must be a local butcher shop and though he knew the warnings about listeria and e coli thought that if he got sick it would be tit for tat.) and a whole chicken he could roast. Noah had sized up the kitchen that morning, ignoring the pink hue of the cupboards (metal...really?) and the green swash of the counters. There were utensils, pans, a roaster and basic table service.


"Aisle 6."

Noah jumped because did he say that out loud and who answered him? He whirled to find a young man behind the counter in the front, cleaning the black belt of the conveyor line on the one and only register.

"To your left. Got some other spices there too. Majoram is good with chicken. My mum makes it like that and people compliment her all the time." The young man had an accent. Not British, no, it was ...clipped and angled, much like Dr. Jokeben's accent had been and he was from New Zealand.

"Ok. thanks." Noah peered around the corner, grabbed a small tub of table salt, some peppercorns, and the marjoram. He added these to his bounty and then looked back at the young man, who was smiling, showing very nice even white teeth. People in Bev Hills would kill for those teeth, came a random thought, and Noah wondered if he was losing his mind. "You the owner here?" Might as well make small talk. Noah started to empty his groceries on to the now shiny black belt.

"Oh, my Mum is. I just help her out in summer time." He paused then extended his hand. "John Kim."

"Oh, uh," Noah fumbled with the bagged chicken and wiped his hand on his jeans. "Noah Wyle."

"You living in Eden's Landing." Statement not a question. "Oh, mate, everyone here knows everyone else's business. I saw you arrive with Kaner. He says he doesn't but the man is a magnet for repeating gossip." John grinned. "I am sure you heard about why my Mum and I came here. SO I won't bore you with the details. You have to make the best out of everything. So welcome."

"I...uh...he didn't.." John looked amused and cocked an eyebrow as he held a can of spaghetti sauce in his hand. "OK," Noah laughed, "Yes he did. He told me."

"I thought he probably would." John went back to packing the groceries in a slow deliberate manner. He was using a large sturdy box instead of a bag. "Next time you come in, just bring this with you. Doing our part to help the environment."

"Done deal." Noah reached for his wallet to pay and was suddenly choked with an emotion so large it threatened to well up and burst in his chest. Hannah. His wife. Laying in a field, shoes blown off. Her hair cascading behind her like she was riding a cycle, green eyes opened to the large rain drops that were swamping them. He realised he was frozen in place and tried to stop the pulse of sweat that was gaining ground on his brow. Dead. She was dead. Always liked to make crock pot chicken Noah do you think you could pass me the corkscrew I need to open the wine oh there you are happy birthday parties are for derelicts no matter you get one anyway on your fortieth

"Sir? Sir??"

Far away. He was far away and choking on the dead debris that was all over her grave. He couldn't breathe, couldn't see, he was having a heart attack that is what it was and he would be dead soon

"Breathe. Deep breaths. Come on, breathe for me, not through your mouth through your nose. There. That's it. You're ok. It's ok."

Noah was surfacing from a dream from a swim from somewhere black and dirty. He sat up and realised that he was in a chair and that John's arms were around his chest, holding him tightly against the wooden back. Noah did as he said, trying not to think about his dead wife and crock pots and birthday parties long since past. A furrow of sweat soaked his brow. What had happened?

"There, now, it's fine." John was in front of him now, kneeling between Noah's spread legs, legs that were long and lean from cycling up and down hills. "Panic attack is all. My friend Aaron gets them so I know what to do. Wait here. I'll be right back."

"I ...really need to go...I.."Noah felt the blush creep from his neck on to his face but John didn't notice. He simply patted Noah's leg and stood, then disappeared in the back behind the register. Noah could hear him messing around with something, then the blender going. He had a blender. Did it work? Did the toaster work? Was he ever going to work again? How about your marriage, said the voice. Obviously THAT didn't work out. He fumbled with his feet trying to get up, feeling the panic well in his gut again and threaten to spill out over his being.

"Stop." John's voice. Dragging hm from the brink. Strong but small hands stroking his hair. Noah leaned into the touch, breathing through his nose. "YOu're good. It's ok." Focusing on the hands caressing his scalp made Noah logey, almost sleepy. "You like that? YOU ok now?"

Noah jerked back and felt the blush start again. Why the hell was he sitting in the neighbourhood grocery store being massaged by some kid he didn't even know? He started to get up but in his line of vision was John with a glass of green frothy liquid. He held it out pointedly.

"Drink. It's good for you."

"When they say that," Noah said slowly, accepting the glass, "It usually means it tastes pretty bad."

"No, mate, this is def yum. Let's see...kale, ginger, kiwis, melon, oranges, a banana, some soy milk, and some vanilla powder to kick it up." He watched as Noah took a sip, then smiled when Noah gave him a thumbs up. Shit, it was really good, Noah thought. Like Orange Julius good.

"Thank you. I isn't every day that you must meet a stranger and that stranger has a panic attack in your grocery store." Noah wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his flannel. "God, I must look a wreck," he muttered.

"No worries. Just happy I was here to help you." John cheerfully returned to packing the groceries into the box while occasionally glancing up to see how Noah was doing. The man was tall, thin, and looked like he hadn't had a good night's sleep in years. Still, though, the good looks were there, even with the almost too sharp nose and the dark hair littered with cow licks. Noah seemed to notice that John was studying him. He drained the rest of the drink and set the glass down on the counter.

"Seriously, thank you. I....just need to..."

"Whatever you need, you take it." John nodded once to himself and then looked at the register receipt. "That's 42 dollars...Mr. Wyle."

"Oh, come on. You made me a drink. Gotta be on first name basis." Noah smiled. It was perhaps the first time he had smiled without thinking about it, or how it looked, or if the occasion was right for it.

"Noah." John accepted the money and gave change, then heaved up the box of groceries. Noah was about to protest but John was moving quickly through the store, obvious muscles through the worn white Portland Ducks shirt he was wearing. "I can put this in the back of Kaner's truck."

"Thanks. I really appreciate that." Noah watched as John heaved the box up and slammed the tailgate shut. "Really. I do." The words hung between them awkwardly until Christian loped up waving his mail.

"Got my new Gibson catalogue!" He grinned at both men and adjusted his cowboy hat. John laughed.

"More stuff you can't afford." He squeezed Noah's hand (did people really do that any more?) and turned to go back inside the store. "See ya."

Christian studied Noah, then clapped him on the back. "COme on before your chicken rots in the sun."


30 minutes later, Noah was putting his groceries away. His thoughts were kept at bay by the monotonous chores of choosing a place in the cupboard for the spices and cleaning the interior of the fridge with a baking soda cloth before putting his cold items away. The fridge was a model from the 50's, with its chubby sturdy rectangular outside and a Fridgedaire metal stamp proclaiming the model make. Still, it was serviceable and he thought not for the first time that his Great Uncle would probably not have seen fit to buy any new appliances. After all, if one worked why replace it? The stove was also old, with 4 gas burners operable by a pilot flame and matches. Noah had found it rather fascinating the hear the hiss of the gas and the pleasant smell of the match when lighted, and he could also get along using that for his cooking needs. he thought about Gramma and her obvious malice for her brother moving away and marryng some woman the family did not know. Noah wondered if they had a good life here, and if Billy ever thought that he should come home to make amends.

As he put the bread on the counter, Noah's hand brushed the ativan bottle. He had not taken one all day; perhaps that was the reason for his meltdown in the grocery store. He was just as glad that Kaner was not there to see it happen as he would prefer not to be the subject of gossip. Oh, he was sure that everyone in town knew who he was. But the what had happened part he would prefer not to spread around. Noah checked his watch and figured maybe he should eat something. Maybe take it out on the deck and enjoy the sunshiine and lazy flow of the water. And with that action in mind, he did just that, sprawling with legs in front of him, eating a sandwich and sipping some milk.

He wondered how deep the river was here. Not an outdoorsy type guy, Noah had no clue. Perhaps by the dark blue green of colours and the way the bank just dropped off he could surmise that it was deep. Maybe....10 to 12 feet deep? He should have asked Kaner, and thought that he should have done a lot of things. Checking the weather report last may was tops on the list. Shaking that away, Noah walked over to the edge of the deck and looked down at the water. He could tell there was a current here, the way the leaves swirled then darted downstream, but it was not quick. The water by its own definition was dark and was giving away no secrets. Noah bent at his knees and gently swept his hand past the surface. He was surprised at how cold it was, and he wondered again if it ever flooded enough to be worried during hard rainstorms. Still, the cabin/cottage showed no erosion.

"Humph." He stood back up and turned to go back to his chair but something caught his eye. A flash in the deep, a colour swirled, maybe a fish, scales glinting in the late afternoon sun? He paused then shrugged and went over to his chair. He should get out his computer but first he would have to ask Kaner (or John) if there was a Best Buy around there or even someplace he could hook up to the internet. He imagined Billy never would have wanted such modern inconveniences. And what if there was no internet access? Well, there had to be some place around here that had it. Maybe the library and Noah wondered if Winthrop even had a library. "Should have considered that. Now what?" Now, he would take a walk, he thought. Woods surrounded his cabin/cottage and he might as well get some fresh air and exercise. "I'm turning into Pru Desmond," he said to nobody. Pru had been their neighbour, and was well known for long walks on the trails. She had gotten lost once and went missing for 12 hours. Her husband said it was the best 12 hours of his life. 12 hours, Noah thought. What he wouldn't give to have 12 hours of his life back with Hannah.

Noah walked to the main road and saw that he had a mailbox. Something was sticking out of it so he fished inside and pulled out a paper, neatly rolled up and held with a rubberband. Amused now, he opened it and examined it, noting that the ink was black against the stark white of the newspaper itself. The Herald. Civilisation had come to Wolf Run, he mused. No more than 6 pages of busy type, it was colloquial and crowded. He saw an ad for John's mother's grocery store as well as an ad for Pope's Nest (finest fish fry around!). Deciding to save the paper for later, Noah stuck it in his back pocket and walked back to where he now lived, a far cry from the 5 bedroom house on the cul du sac in Berkely.