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They'd left the county road five minutes earlier. The land to either side of them was as wild a woodland as she'd seen. Yet the dirt road they navigated was smooth and unblocked.

He kept his eyes on the road. He'd said he did very little driving, these days.

"This isn't State land?"

He shook his head.

"Who looks after it?"

A slight smile. "Aha! The who-what-when-where at last. I make sure the road stays clear. Other than that? It looks after itself."

And I thought Mom and Dad were creatures of mystery.

He guided the truck up the thirty degree incline at a steady ten miles per hour. Despite the steep grade, he could have driven faster. There were few ruts, and no debris.

"How much further?"

"It's just ahead."

Two dozen yards later the trees fell back and the incline flattened out completely. Before them, at the center of a large clearing, stood a large, handsome log cabin. Its windows were dark. There was no sign of human presence.

He pulled to a stop in front of the cabin door, killed the engine and turned to her with his most enigmatic smile.

"You think you know the story. You think you know the players. But there's a lot you don't know, because you never asked the one man who did."

"What -- "

"And the one man," he interjected, "wasn't me."

She studied his face. According to her mother, Devin MacLachlan was well into his sixties, yet he still possessed a round, perfectly unlined face. His step was sprightly and his thick red-brown hair showed only a hint of gray. His boundless vitality was the wonder and consternation of their family. He liked to say that he stayed young on a diet of practical jokes and puns. He was well known for both.

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