I stared at the woman flying through the trees. Her head was forward, chin raised, arms flung backward like the tiny chrome goddess on the hood of a Rolls Royce. But the tree lady was naked, and her body ended at the waist. Blood-coated leaves and branches imprisoned her lifeless torso.
Lowering my eyes, I looked around. Except for the narrow gravel road on which I was parked, there was nothing but dense forest. The trees were mostly pine, the few hardwoods like wreaths marking the death of summer, their foliage every shade of red, orange, and yellow.
Though it was hot in Charlotte, at this elevation the early...