Paul pulled the black SUV off State Route 3 and wound into the dark heart of the Oregonian forest. After several twisting miles he stopped and adjusted his sunglasses, surreptitiously looking over to his partner’s scowling angular face.
“You ready for this Martha?”
There was a delicate jingle as she turned to regard Paul, her eyelids fluttering briefly as she visibly controlled her temper, “If you ask me that fucking question one more god damn time I’m going to yank your teeth out and feed them to your stupid ox!”
Paul raised his hands defensively, “I’m just saying, after the Mulligan case and that drill gang you might just want to sit this one out?”
The door slammed as Martha stormed out of the car, her tiny insect wings bent back and sticking through the slits in her bright blue windbreaker, the FCU logo and its bright white labeling clearly visible between them.
Paul sighed heavily and got out of the car, a few stray droplets of afternoon mist collecting on the lenses of his shades. He pulled in a deep breath, smelling the forest, sensing the pine resin as it slowly pulsed through the trees. There had been a time when he would have spit in his hands, rolled up his sleeves, and chopped the whole damn place to toothpicks in an afternoon.
That was before the troubles, before the wilderness got dark, before banality set its claws into his tanned and leathery flesh. He walked to the back of the vehicle, opened the rear door, and pulled out his ax. It felt good in his hands, comforting, the weight proper and balanced. He swung it gently up and down, taking practice swipes at invisible trees as he closed the rear door. He hoped that he wouldn't need to chop anything with the blade but knew that without the Fetter he might not be able to hold it together given what was probably waiting for them through the tightly packed wooden sentinels.
Martha was waiting for him, tapping her foot impatiently, as the cloud choked morning sky opened up, drenching cold reality onto their heads. They felt it then, an emptiness tugging at their chests, a loss of something vital, a violation hunched in the shadows past the next hill.
Paul shivered, pulled his own windbreaker tighter, and wondered, not for the first time, if the Folkloric Control Unit could really keep any of them around for much longer.
They entered the forest and the smell of fresh blood, spun sugar, and burned plastic floated up from the damp earth to greet them.
Notes: This was from a writing prompt where we had to write a Crime Drama in 15 minutes that somehow used Lunberjack, Flutter, and Label in it.