In The Valley.

It used to be the safest place on earth to me.

But not today.

Surrounded by tall mountains, secluded from the prying eyes of the curious and nefarious. In the valley homes dotted the steep hills. Strange narrow buildings, built from old box car lumber. The men working for the railroad would stripe an abandoned box car and repurpose the wood. That might be why most of the houses have a rusty-red look.

For now, this was home.

David Beyer stood in the opened door at the back of the mill. Having a smoke and relaxing on his ten minute break. His eyes were riveted on the man. He watched the tall man leave the coffee shop down the street, and was now walking toward the ancient covered bridge. He was in his sixties, with thinning salt-and-pepper hair parted on the side. It looked like a fresh-cut, with a bit of a cowlick standing up in the back. His suit was expensive and fit his frame and looked like a tailored hand created it.

It was late morning and the street was not as crowded as it would have been earlier. Still, there were a lot of pedestrians and this particular street hummed with activity filling the air with the thump and rattle of the boards as a few cars passed in and out of the bridge.

The bridge built-in 1874 with a one hundred and fifty foot span across the wide Juniata river had a sign posted in the top front, Five Dollars Fine For Riding Or Driving Over This Bridge Faster Than A Walk. The ripples of water running under the bridge echoed through the wooden structure.

The tall man picked up his pace a bit, his expensive wingtips striking the stained pavement with purpose. He started to whistle a tune. He seemed not to have a care in the world.

David continued to watch the man now twenty yards from the mouth of bridge. David was six-four and built like a football lineman. He had been on a diet for several months, after his wife hinted he should lose some weight. He was dressed in the standard work clothes the mill provided each worker.

David watched the tall man step around the barricade that had been set up on the sidewalk and stretched partway into the street. It had been set up to slow down cars entering the bridge. A squawking bird flew across in front of David, perched on the top of a lamppost, and looked down at the passersby. The air was chilly and David shivered a bit even in his thick jacket, pulling the collar up around the back of his neck.

The tall man slowed as he approached the front of the bridge. Then he stopped looked in all directions. Moments later he started to run into the bridge, then he vanished. David, dropped his smoke as his mouth gapped open. He rubbed his eyes, blinking, trying to take in what he just witnessed. He jumped down to the ground and ran toward the bridge. At the entrance he stopped and looked in. Then he stepped into the bridge and walked the length of it, turned around and rubbed his head. “Did I just see what I thought I saw.” He said out loud to himself.

To be continued.

Thank You For Traveling With Me.

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