An Unexpected Stop

Zari A wanted to stop outside Seattle.  She kept getting a hit from something east of the road. I followed the highway east only to find that she wanted to keep going.  Zari A knows about nature spirits and she was sure this one was awake.  She is an ever curious companion.  Normally she’s smart but sometimes I think her curiosity overrules that.

Still, the town we found, Whisper Washington is lovely.  In fact, the whole are is lovely.  I drove through a small place called Duvall, noticing the antique markets, signs for quilt shows and plenty of dog walkers.  I considered going for a short walk down one of the trails but the sun was high, the dogs were out and Zari is a cat so she can’t stay in the car.

Okay, I admit it.  I talk to my cat.  Except the bigger secret is that she’s not really a cat. She’s an alien in a cat’s body and that’s a long story. Believe me, I get to hear about it whenever she rises to complain.  However, cats create limits on what I can do, so I passed on stretching my legs and drove through the town.

Zari directed me farther south and then east again. We drove up past Lake Joy and into the foothills east of the Snoqualmie Valley.  Too many hills blocked the view, until the road started to climb again.  Then I was in a town.  It was larger than Duvall, but not so big as Redmond.  I passed through what looked like the new commercial area into an older area, quaint like Duvall had been.  Neither town had any artifice.  These really were old buildings, well kept and refurbished, but old all the same.  Once in the older town, Zari assured me that this is where we wanted to be.

That meant I got to look for a place to stay.  I have an updated GPS and while I didn’t hold out much hope for its assistance, I was in luck.  The Old Whisper Inn was listed just about a mile down the road.  I left behind the buildings, with more people out walking about along with their dogs to drive around a bend and into a forest only to come out on the other side to see a gorgeously quaint building ahead.  It looked off to the north when I pulled around.  There wasn’t a huge view, as low mountains blocked much of that, but the horizon was gorgeous and dotted with the trees not far from the vantage.  Below it was a small valley between the foothills.

Getting out of the car, I found myself smelling the air, something I didn’t do often.  I turned around to go in, when a man was suddenly walking over to me.  He wasn’t threatening at all.  His hair was the deep brown color of mud and his eyes the hazel green of autumn leaves.  He stood only a little taller than I, perhaps five foot eight.  I’m only five one but compared to most men, that’s not much taller!

“You’re new here?” he said.  I was thinking he was the inn keeper.  What a quaintly friendly town.

“But he’s not,” Zari A purred to me excitedly.  “He’s the spirit I’ve sensed!”

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