“All right, kids. This is our best vantage point.” A man’s deep voice echoed off the creek bank. “Get your equipment out and set up. Don’t forget to adjust your settings like we talked about on the way over. Let’s move, people. You don’t have long to get the shot. And stay out of the way of other photographers here.”
Rikki spared a glance over her shoulder to acknowledge the intruders. Ah, a class field trip by the looks of it. A high school photography club? The lone adult in the group scrambled up the embankment, followed lemming-like by a bunch of teenagers.
The man leading the group turned to look her direction. “Hello. I hope it’s okay to share this space. We’re on a school photo club field trip. Don’t mind us, I’ll try to keep these kids out of your way.”
The man’s smile, lit by the ethereal light bouncing off the clouds, stunned her. The urge to turn her camera his direction and snap away warred with her need to photograph nature’s heavenly playground. She resisted, barely, and waved her hand, gesturing around the peninsula. “Plenty of room. You might want to tell your kids to be careful. The ground is pretty treacherous.”
She stabilized the tripod on sandy earth and directed her gaze toward the horizon. A teen, built like a defensive linebacker, jostled her rig when he pushed past to grab a prime spot. Panic gripped her throat when her tripod wobbled. The expensive equipment tipped drunkenly toward the softly burbling creek. She grasped one of the shiny metal legs, steadying it, and jumped to the right to clear room for the big galoot to get by.
The small movement brought her to the edge of the unstable bank that bordered the creek bed. Soil shifted under her boots and crumbled away into the creek with a loud splash. Rikki struggled to maintain her balance; her stomach twisting a mere second after she realized a fall was inevitable. Instinct forced her to release the tripod to avoid pulling it with her. As it shimmied precariously, she flailed her arms, fighting to regain her footing and halt her backward momentum. A small scream escaped her lips as she plunged toward the water.
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