Hanson Page 15
from hers.
    "Let's sit down," Beulah said softly.
    "All right."
    I took her hand and let her down gently on the bank, back among the ferns. I sat down and she lifted a hand and touched my forehead, looking at me, then whispered.
    "I don't even know you and I feel I've known you all my life--"
    She slipped her hand behind my neck, gently pulling me to her, and I leaned down at last to drink the blue flower's lost flavor--
    "Phil! You out there?"
    It was as if a hundred years had passed. I touched her hair. Like the river, it reflected starlight.

    "We better go," Beulah said.
    "I guess," I said, but I drew her closer among the dark ferns.

    Glad's voice sounded closer, echoing through the arch of aspen. I sat up, cradling Beulah's head. The river
moved with a loud hush over round stones, over the darkened alabaster statue--
    "Web Sloan Bull Lucinda Pete--"
    He was calling from the path through the ferns and then Beulah and I were dressed and hurrying hand-in-hand toward the cabin where tall Pete Willis stood by the chrome bumper of his taller 4 x 4--
    In the orange porchlight Glad wore his gun and held my holstered revolver in his outstretched hand--
    "Jim Sloan's on his way to Olson's."
    "You got the keys?" I hesitated halfway to the car where Glad stood by the open passenger door.
    "Got 'em!"
    "Phil, you be careful!"
    "I'll be back, Beulah. Wait," I said, gazing into her eyes