Raymundo breathed in the crisp air, glancing at the gray clouds the weather forecasts claimed would drop snow. The parking lot was nearly empty, with bird song louder than any human chatter. As he passed a park ranger, Raymundo nodded and popped his earbuds in.
He had become a regular at the park, hiking, jogging, disappearing for hours. It was large and easy to slip away without anyone noticing. Raymundo hadn’t taken up hiking for the fresh air and calming exercise, though it was nice for those things too. No, the edge of this state park was butt up against the land Raymundo had inherited, so it was easy to get to the barn.
His car was better disguised in the parking lot, than it was when he had parked it on the overlook off the highway.
Raymundo was patient, and careful. He didn’t take the same route twice in a row and he always made sure he was alone before slipping off the trail. Avoiding long grass, and muddy places, he did his best to leave no trace he left the trails on the map.
It was on a return trip from Star Surfer Raymundo almost messed up. Pushing a branch out of his way, he was startled to find a ranger on the path. He let go, but didn’t back away far enough, the branch whipped back at him, catching him across the face.
“Are you okay sir?” The ranger moved the branch again and pulled Raymundo back onto the path.
"Yeah. I'm fine." Ray rubbed his face, wincing as the palm of his hand moved across his cheekbone.
"Looks like you have a welt forming."
"Yeah." Ray sighed.
"You want an ice pack?"
"No thanks." Raymundo shrugged, thinking how Star Surfer could fix him up immediately, but he couldn't go back now.
"All right then." The ranger peered into the trees. "Best stay on the path now."
"Yeah." Ray chucked nervously. "Was just getting a picture."
The ranger rolled their eyes. "Just be careful, all sorts of stories about these woods."
"Plenty of strange noises, and lights, disappearances, reappearances."
"Ah, yeah, like uh, Bigfoot."
The ranger chuckled. "I mean, I thought Sasquatch was more of a western fellow, but it's either him or aliens so pick your horror."
"Definitely Sasquatch." Ray holes his thumb towards the parking lot. "I gotta go."
“Be safe.” The ranger raised a hand and turned away.
Raymundo hoped he didn’t run into that ranger again, because he didn’t want to have to test Sky Surfer’s memory eraser.
Word count: 427