Luther found himself staring down the business end of a shotgun, all too clear in the moonlight. He actually had to force himself to lift his gaze from the barrels and focus on the woman holding the weapon.
“Taking the scenic route?” she repeated, her tone calm.The angle made it impossible for him to see her face; she wore jeans and a warm jacket with a fur-trimmed hood pulled up.
"Ran into a little trouble hiking,” he said.
In the same calm tone, she said, “Yeah, people run into bullets all the time in these mountains. Especially miles off the hiking trails and on private land. Posted private land. Anybody comes way up here to live, they generally prefer to be left alone.”
“A simple ‘Go away’ would have been enough.”
“That’s what the NO TRESPASSING signs were for. Or did you manage to miss all of them?”
He decided, after backtracking a bit mentally, that he had missed the most important point. With his breathing labored by the pain in his leg, he managed to add, “How do you know it’s a bullet wound? I might have fallen. Or something like that.”
“Looks like you’re about to fall on your ass,” she said. Then added, “That gun come with a badge?”
He wondered how she could see his handgun, since it was in a shoulder holster inside his zipped jacket. “Sort of.”
The barrels of the shotgun lifted until they were pointed at his face. “Either you have a badge or you don’t.”