“You don’t need the rope to get back down the gully, do you?”
Mason shrugged. “Probably not. I also don’t want you stuck in here alone. I’d rather you were….”
“Were what?” Riece looked up at the opening when they heard movement, but Mason didn’t see a thing.
“Free,” Mason said in a soft voice.
“So I can run away?” Riece asked. Mason nodded, and Riece shook his head. “I wouldn’t run.”
Mason sighed. His argument was thin, and he knew it. Worse, so did Riece. It made more sense for Mason, who was much more capable in this territory, to go retrieve some rope. Getting up to where he’d tied the rope off and bringing it down wouldn’t take him long. That he was so hesitant to leave Riece for what would likely be no more than an hour made no sense.
Heaving another sigh Mason asked, “You think you can boost me high enough?”
Mason moved his hand to the back of Riece’s neck and squeezed, then pulled him in and gently kissed his forehead.
Dirt fell down the edge of the pit, and at the same time, Mason heard a male voice say, “Well don’t you boys look like you’ve gotten yourselves into a real pickle.”
Mason and Riece looked up. Almost immediately Riece’s gaze shifted to Mason, and he felt Riece tense.
Glancing around the pit, Mason snorted and used the back of one hand to nudge Riece back a step while he took a step forward. “That’s one way to put it,” Mason said. “Have any rope?”
The man stood there staring down at them, and for a few seconds, Mason worried he’d turn around and leave. Or worse, start firing the crossbow he held at them. Mason had the distinct impression he was being sized up the same way Mason was judging this man.
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