Redmayne

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Following the Bread Crumbs

Submitted: June 17, 2018

Reads: 46

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Submitted: June 17, 2018

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Just over half way through the witching hour, Trevor was walking with Jason, both towing their luggage through the airport lobby at Jackson Hole when a call came for Jason over the tannoy. It said there was a message for Jason at the reception desk.

“I'll wait for you out the front,” said Trevor, wanting to give Jason a bit of privacy.

Jason nodded and headed for the desk, while Trevor carried on towards the front entrance.

As Trevor was standing outside the front of the building, he felt something poke him in the middle of the back.

“Don’t move!” said a man harshly in a Texan accent.

Trevor hardly reacted. “Well I’m glad someone is pleased to see me.”

“I’m always glad to see a client.”

Trevor turned towards the man and said “You got my message then?”

The man was the tall figure who had been watching the airport from the distant high point. He smiled and said “I sure did, though I was mighty surprised. I thought they'd retired you.”

“Well, they tried, but I keep popping up.”

The man turned and looked out away from the airport. Without looking Trevor in the eye, he said “Something tells me this ain't an official investigation by your Special Branch.”

Trevor tried to sound nonchalant. “Oh, and what makes you say that?”

“The method of payment didn’t come through the usual channels.”

“Ah well...” said Trevor, his voice trailing off as he failed to come up with a plausible story.

“I'm a Private Investigator; that's exactly the kind of thing I notice.”

“Yeh; you're one of the best, that’s why I always used you. I take it you still did the job even though you worked out it was a private.”

“Hell yeh, private is in the job title; besides I need the money.”

Both men stood in silence for a while, until Trevor turned to him and said “Did you find out anything useful?”

“Well, since you told me not to get too close, I had to go for electronic surveillance. I set up a camera along the airport road. Now your suspect was picked up by a car with the licence plate number 347BE and they headed north from Jackson.”

“Well it’s not much, but it’s a start.”

“Now hold on a minute, that’s what I thought; but then I heard from the local Sheriff's department that they are looking for that car.”

Trevor became more interested at the thought of a lead. “For a traffic offence?”

The PI shook his head. “No, a murder.” On seeing the baffled look on Trevor's face, Frank continued. “There’s been a murder north of here on the Lost Creek Ranch Road, and the murderer got away in that car.”

“It must be connected somehow; have you been able to find out much about it?”

“Not yet, but it must’ve been quite a murder judging by the way the Sheriff’s department is jumping.”

“Did you give them the evidence you got from your surveillance here?”

“Yeh, but I got a copy, and I kept our anonymity. I know a guy in the force, so I passed it through him.”

“Good; I can do without the added attention.”

Just then Trevor was aware that Jason had come out of the airport and was walking up to them.

Trevor introduced Jason and Frank to each other.

As they shook hands Frank said “Be careful of this guy, trouble follows him.”

Jason gave a wry smile. “I think it’s probably the other way round this time.”

As they walked along, following Frank's lead, Trevor spoke to Jason. “Frank is a Private Investigator. I hired him to find out what our friend was doing, and it seems as though he has been busy. It also seems that the murders haven’t stopped.”

“You didn't tell me I'd be looking out for a murderer,” said Frank.

“We thought the murders had come to an end,” said Trevor “but it seems they might have started again here in the States.”

Jason nodded and said “I wonder if that’s what my sister was worried about then? That message she left me is a riddle, she always liked riddles so she’s left me one. It seems an odd time to do it now, so I assume she wasn’t completely sure about the person she was meeting.”

As they reached Frank's car, Trevor asked “What does the message say?”

Frank unlocked his car. “C'mon boys, let's discuss it in the car.”

They all got in; Trevor in the front and Jason in the back.

Once in the car they got settled and Frank drove off; the subject of the message was dropped for the moment.

“Where are we going?” asked Jason as he looked out at the darkness.

Frank spoke over his shoulder without taking his eyes off the road ahead. “I’m taking you to the hotel that I’m staying in. There is a room booked for you there.”

“We can set off first thing in the morning,” said Trevor.

Jason sat up and leant forward. “Set off to where?”

Trevor turned so that he was almost sideways on so that he could talk to both Frank and Jason. “That’s the problem. We know that Ryan has been involved in a murder north of here and we know that the murderer has fled in a car which is no doubt being tracked down as we speak. The chances are that Ryan is hiding, or he will soon be apprehended.”

Jason just said “I need to meet up with my sister.”

Trevor nodded, “Once we've found...”

Jason jumped in “No; I have to meet her before we do anything else.”

Trevor was stunned by the force of Jason's resolve. Frank just looked at the road ahead, and made no attempt to get involved in the argument.

“Where does she say to meet?” asked Trevor.

“Well that’s just it,” said Jason, “I don’t understand the message, it’s a riddle. I expect she thought I would solve it easily. This would be a simple one for her, but I was never that good at them.”

“How are we supposed to meet her if you don’t know where she is?”

“I don’t know but I have to try, we have to meet her.”

“We came here to find Ryan.”

“That’s what you came here for; I came to help my sister.”

Silence hung in the air, with the Jason and Trevor staring into each other's eyes.

Frank glanced briefly at the two of them before his eyes went back to the road. “I must say you boys must've had a long flight. Tiredness has sure made you ornery.”

The silence persisted for a while, and Trevor’s training would normally win out in such situations, but not this time. He could only assume that Jason was drawing on his need to help his sister and he realised he would have to break first. “I’ll tell you what,” he said; “you've got two professional investigators here, so perhaps we can help with the riddle. If we can find out where your sister is we'll go and see her first.”

“Yeh come on,” said Frank. “I’m liable to fall asleep unless you give me something to think about.”

Jason got a torch out of his pocket and pointed it at the note. “It says: you've always been a reliable cockney man; no-one short of a drug could pick me up on time.”

They sat thinking, but none of them had any immediate answers. They each mused over it individually and occasionally suggested answers to each other. It was not all constant thought on the subject either. Frank and Trevor would from time to time talk about their past, leaving Jason alone with his thoughts.

After much thinking and no results, Trevor suggested the method that always worked for him when looking into a crime. “Right; let’s break it down. A reliable cockney man. What would a cockney call a man?”

“Chap? Fellow? I know, sparrow,” said Jason.

Trevor turned toward Frank. “Reliable cockney sparrow? Ring any bells Frank?”

Frank shook his head. “I couldn’t say there was even a dull thud.”

Jason continued to think aloud. “Reliable chap? Reliable bloke? Reliable Geezer?”

Frank broke in. “They certainly have a reliable geyser in these parts.”

Trevor knew his friend was on to something. “You what?”

Frank looked at him and smiled. “Old Faithful, it's a reliable Geyser.”

Trevor beat his fist in his hand. “That must be it; she wants you to meet at Old Faithful and I think she means at noon. She says pick her up on time and she mentions no one. It seems so close to noon. I’ve been thinking that must be what she means but I can’t quite place why.”

They all continued to think, and again they lapsed into sporadic silence.

One such silence when Jason mused. “No-one without an e.”

“E is a drug,” said Trevor.

Jason looked at the two detectives in the car. “I couldn’t possibly comment, under the circumstances.”

“No-one short of an e is noon,” said Trevor.

Jason sat forward again. “That’s it then, I have to pick her up at old faithful at noon tomorrow.”

Trevor sat back in the seat facing forward and relaxed. “All right then we’ll be heading that way in any case, so we might as well go and get her, but we need to keep our eyes open on the way.”

Frank said “Well I’m glad you won’t have to be worrying about that all night. You boys sure could use the sleep.”

“That's true enough,” said Trevor closing his eyes. “We’d best set off as soon as we can get a car.”

“Well I’d sure like to offer you boys a lift but my work here is done,” said Frank.

Without opening his eyes Trevor said “I understand, and I know you're a busy man, but I appreciate your help on this.”

Frank nodded. “Yeh well we've been through quite a few scrapes together.” He added “You should be able to get a car around eight in the morning.”

Trevor smiled and nodded.

Frank looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that Jason's eyes were now closing, and he drove on into the night.

*****

It was dark inside the cheap Pinedale Hotel Room; the only light coming in was from the slight gap in the curtain. That small gap was Ryan's only view of the outside world; he didn't dare open it any farther. He looked out at the car park and road beyond. He couldn't see the reception building; his cabin was one of a row of single storey rooms in a row alongside the separate reception. After looking as far as he could all around, he went over to the bed and turned on the lamp, having put his shirt over it to dull the light. His hand waivered over the phone in the room, until at last he grabbed it, picked it up and dialled.

As soon as the phone was answered, he spoke as loud as he dared. “Hi Stan.” He rocked backwards and forwards as the voice on the other end spoke. “Yes, I know it’s a hell of time to call; that’s because I’m having a hell of a time. I’m in big trouble, so I am, and I need your help.” He stood up and fidgeted. “I’m in Pinedale.” There was a pause and then he said “Pinedale, Wyoming; I think the police are closing in on me.” He looked around at the floor. “That’s just it so; I don’t know what I’ve done. I found myself driving along at speed, in a car I didn’t recognise, in the middle of nowhere. Last thing I remember; I was in London.” He looked towards the window trying to see out, but to no avail. “Yeh, I must be. I’ve ditched the car, but it’ll be only a matter of time before they trace it to me here. Listen can you get someone to pick me up and get me the hell out of here? I’ll be in the library with a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in front of me.” He sat back down on the bed. “I don’t care; plane, helicopter, car, whatever gets me away from here quickest.” He sat back on the bed, leant against the headboard and nodded. “Ah, great, you’re a life saver, so you are.” He put the phone down and looked at the door. He was exhausted but he was unable to relax. The walls and even the darkness of the room seemed to be closing in on him.

*****

Valerie was settling down for the night, in one of the larger campsites. She had been chatting to a family, and had told them of her work. Not that she could now recall anything she had done for the Evil One, just that she was carrying on her research into the geology of the area.

She still knew that she had to return the trailer, and she remembered where it was parked, but for now she knew that she must not return. It was all perfectly natural, there was no question in her mind as to why she should have a trailer and yet not return to it, but to camp out in the Jeep. She did not even have any concerns about leaving the trailer unattended, having now lost any memory of sharing it with anyone. She did not even feel as though she was following orders; what she was doing was what she wanted to do, and she was happy to do it.

*****

The fire was keeping the nip out of the morning air as Talbot sat by it cooking breakfast. The door to Patricia's trailer opened and she came out looking ready to head off into the wilderness. Her hair was still slightly damp from the shower she’d had before dressing. There was style to the jeans and the shirt she wore over her T-shirt, but the lightweight hiking boots showed practicality as well.

Out of courtesy Talbot stood. “Good Morning. You have a keen sense of smell. Breakfast is almost ready.”

Patricia walked up. “I thought I could see you out here cooking on an open fire. I could’ve cooked breakfast for us, inside, on the cooker in the trailer.”

As Talbot sat back down and flipped over the eggs he said “It tastes much better cooked this way. In any case I thought you might want to rest after your run.”

Patricia hadn’t realised her early morning regime had been seen. She’d been easy on herself though, as this was no time for a twisted ankle or more serious injury. She sat opposite Talbot, near the fire. Smiling, she said “I think it’s just any excuse for a man to build a fire; it must be something primitive in his make up.”

“There is nothing wrong with a fire.”

“You can tell that by the way men gather around barbecues. I swear if they put fire pits in the middle of houses women would never have to cook again.”

Talbot put the food out on plates. “Do you want breakfast, or do you not?”

“Yes, yes please. I didn’t mean to seem ungrateful.”

Talbot handed a plate to Patricia and took one himself. They both ate in silence until Patricia decided to try and start the conversation again. She thought it was her fault for offending Talbot when he was good enough to cook her breakfast.

“Is Jim not joining us?” said Patricia.

“He’s having his breakfast in the tepee. It is hard to drag him away from the computer.”

“Good job; we’re still not sure what this all means.” Patricia ate more of her breakfast and then she said “Hey, you were right, it does taste much better cooked this way.”

Talbot stopped eating, just long enough to say “We must keep our strength up for the fight to come.”

Patricia nodded and then silently went back to eating.

*****

Jason spread out the map on the passenger's side of the car and was studying it as Trevor came out of the car hire office. Trevor put the papers in his pocket and got the keys ready to unlock the door as he headed for the driver's door.

Jason folded the map so that the bit he was looking at was uppermost. “I’ve found the Lost Creek Ranch Road; we pass right by it on the way to Old Faithful.”

Trevor unlocked the doors. “Great, then let’s get up there and see what we can find.”

Jason nodded and they both got in the car and drove off with Jason studying the map.

*****

Patricia had eaten all her breakfast and was just coming to the end of her coffee. She looked across the camp fire to Talbot and said “That was lovely thanks. Now you must let me do the washing up.”

Talbot took one last swig of his coffee and threw the dregs on the fire, causing it to fizz and steam. “Thank you, I am grateful. Washing up is something best done in a trailer.” Talbot smiled.

Patricia smiled back and started to collect up the plates and mugs.

Talbot got up and as he was walking away he said “While you are doing that I must get some firewood for later.”

“Okay, I'll see you in a bit then,” said Patricia as she carried the breakfast things back to her trailer.

Momentarily the campsite was quiet, the embers of the campfire giving warmth to nobody. The door to Patricia's trailer opened slightly, then a bit more and then wide enough for Patricia to come out. She walked stealthily across the camp to the tepee. Carefully she looked in and, having seen that Jim was staring at his screen, she slowly backed off. She walked up to the jeep, unlocked and jumped in, driving off as soon as the engine had fired up.

At the sound of the car driving off, Jim came out of the tepee, and Talbot ran back from the woods.

Jim looked at his brother. “She’s gone.”

“We must hope she returns.”

“Yes we must.”

Talbot turned to look at Jim. “She was going to do the washing up.”

Jim shook his head and went back into the tepee.

*****

Jason was still studying the map while Trevor was driving on the road north from Jackson.

Without looking up from the map Jason said “It's definitely up this way. I think we should see it fairly soon.” He felt from the lack of response, that Trevor was only half listening, but it was only as he felt the car pulling up on the side of the road, he started to look up from the map.

“Keep looking at the map,” barked Trevor. “Something's happening up there.”

Jason continued to look down, but he could not fight the urge to covertly look at what was happening as best he could. There was a police car parked just behind a grey battered looking van. Two officers were walking back to their car when they both stopped and went back to the driver’s car door. One of the officers opened the door and made the occupant get out at gunpoint. There was an exchange of words happening, but it was too distant to be able to tell much of what was going on. The young man that had been forced to get out of the van was long haired and unshaven which contrasted starkly with the appearance of the police officers. It was clear from the exchange that the difference in philosophy was also very marked.

Eventually, after several minutes of shouting from the police while the young man stood with his hands up he saw the young man nod several times. It appeared that this satisfied the police, or at least they didn’t want to continue with potential witnesses to the incident, because they went back to their car. The police got into their car, turned it around and drove off back the way they had come.

Jason looked down when he saw the police officers getting back into the car.

Trevor was also now staring at the map with Jason, and he said “We’re just two holiday makers checking our route. We’ll give them a bit of time to drive off.”

Jason realised that Trevor must have considered enough time had elapsed when he looked up and checked that no police car was in sight. Trevor then drove up and pulled in, just in front of the van.

The young man was still standing next to his van, and he looked up the road where the police car had gone, and then back at his van. He did not move from the spot on which he had been left standing. He was somewhat apprehensive as Trevor and Jason got out of the car.

“Wo, who are you two?”

Trevor walked up and making calming gestures, he said “All right, we’re not after anything, we’ll go if you want us to. We just wanted to check you were okay.”

The young man stared; mentally weighing them up. “I guess so. Hey, you two aren’t cops are you?”

Jason stepped forward and indicated towards Trevor with his eyes. “He is; but you don't need to worry, he’s an English cop.”

“Yeah right,” said the young man.

“What was that all about then?” asked Jason.

“They caught me trying to sneak up on the landing site,” replied the young man.

“Landing site?” queried Trevor.

The young man pointed across the open ground in the direction of Lost Creek Ranch Road. “Yes, they're keeping everyone away, but from the activity on their radio channels there was something big here. I think it was probably a landing by a UFO.”

Trevor shook his head. “I’d heard it was just a murder.”

The young man tried the back doors of his van and couldn't open them. “Could be a cover story, or it could be true. Even if it is a murder we still don’t know where the murderer came from, or how he got there.”

“Couldn’t it have been by car?” said Jason.

The young man turned to face the two of them. “That’s what they want us to think. They’ve even been talking about finding one south of Jackson; but I’m not so easily fooled.”

“You seem pretty convinced,” said Trevor, “do you have any evidence?”

“I have,” said the young man, “solid evidence; that’s what’s got them so scared.”

“Are you willing to share it with us?” asked Jason.

The young man was about to speak, but then he stopped himself. For a seemingly long couple of minutes he just stood in silent thought, and then he asked “Why are you guys so interested?”

Jason stepped forward and said “We've been tracking this same man and we’re also convinced this is more than a straight forward murder.”

“This evidence could be my meal ticket, so why would I want to share it with you?” said the young man.

Jason said “You can share it with us;” he pointed at Trevor as he continued; “he’s a British Bobby. He’s bound by the Official Secrets Act; he can’t divulge any information to anyone.”

“Then how come you're telling me this?” asked the young man.

Trevor joined in. “Because we know that you can’t tell anyone without giving away the fact that you were up here fishing for evidence.”

The young man thought to himself for a moment. “All right: I took some equipment up there with me to test for things.”

“What sort of things?” asked Jason.

The young man gave a Gallic shrug. “I looked for scorch marks, DNA evidence, radiation and things like that. This time, the police confiscated my equipment because of what I found.”

“And what did you find?” said Trevor.

The young man pointed towards Lost Creek Ranch Road. “There is a radiation trace up there; higher than background levels.”

“Why do you think that proves that there has been an alien craft?” said Jason.

The young man was adamant. “There must be some reason they don’t want anyone going up there.”

“In that case there is probably no point in us trying to get up there for a look then,” said Jason.

The young man nodded “I've tried five different ways.”

“No wonder they're getting a bit frustrated with you,” said Jason.

“Shouldn’t you stay away if there is radiation up there?” asked Trevor.

The young man got a bit tetchy. “I’m not an idiot you know; I can tell when it gets to unsafe levels.”

“Okay,” said Trevor, “perhaps it’s time we were on our way.”

“Thanks for your help though,” said Jason.

Trevor looked at the tatty old van. “Is your van okay? Do you need a lift anywhere?”

“The van’s fine,” said the young man. “I’m going to stay around here anyway, so that I can see the UFO if it comes back tonight.”

“Good luck then, but keep your head down,” said Trevor making his way back to the car.

“Will do,” said the young man as he watched them both get in and drive away.

Jason waved out of the window as they drove off, then he smiled as he turned to Trevor. “UFO’s; whatever next?”

“I don’t know; how about a great evil being, that’s coming to drag all of mankind into darkness?”

Jason knew it was a fair point and the smile left his face.

Trevor said “Well we did learn something very important from that young man. We learnt that the police are serious about keeping people away.”

“What do we do next then?”

“We hope we've deciphered your sister’s code correctly.”

“What about finding this Ryan character?”

“The trail has gone cold and the police are already looking for him. I need time to think and to plan my next move. Whilst I’m doing that we might as well pick up your sister. You never know she might have picked up on something while she has been up here.”

“I’m touched by your devotion to her wellbeing, but whatever the reason I’m glad you agree with me that we should find her as soon as we can.”

Trevor smiled as he turned to Jason. “Well, we can’t hang about, if she is all you say she is, the aliens might come and abduct her.”

*****

Valerie’s hand rested on the keys of the laptop, but for the moment they applied no pressure. She was looking at her notes and then back again at her calculations on the screen. As she did so she turned the screen around so that the midday sun did not cause the text on the screen to disappear in the glare. She knew that back at the trailer, in its spot that was well shielded from the sun by the rocky outcrop and the trees, it would be much easier.  

Three times a day she drove back to the track on which the trailer was parked but she never went back. She got close enough for the Evil One to touch her mind and then she turned back. She sometimes noticed other people turning and driving away at the same place but she never questioned it. Neither did she question why she made a call on her mobile phone instead of driving back to the trailer she had rented. There was no reason to question such behaviour, it was to her as natural as breathing.

*****

Martin picked up the call, and was not happy to hear it was Valerie. His jealousy of her had been continually growing. He had freed the Evil One and yet he was tormented. Valerie had no idea why she was doing what she was doing, she'd made no choice to help the Evil One and yet she was better treated. In the logical part of his brain he was beginning to realise that no one would be treated well by the Evil One, and that Valerie would fare no better once she was no longer of use. Still the thought of the injustice festered within him.

“Hello,” he said sharply.

Valerie seemed to take no notice of the tone in his voice, nor whether he was pleased to get the message or not, she just said “The device we received is not as powerful as I had hoped, and the calculations are borderline. I’m not sure it will work so I’m having to try some other locations to see whether it increases the chance of success.”

Martin’s said “I thought you said you had found the perfect spot where you could get the van down in to the fissure?”

“I did; I also said if the explosive force was sufficient.”

“You mean it won’t work?”

“I mean it might not work which is why I have to make sure it has the best chance. Other places along the fissure might be better, but it would be harder to deploy the bomb. It’s too sensitive to just drop and hope it goes off so we might need to crane it into place.”

“But you’ve been at it all of last night and again today.”

“And I will continue until I’m sure.”

With venom in his words Martin said “I don’t think you want it to work.”

“Silence!” rang out the voice of the Evil One.

While his puppet sat silently, he appeared before him; staff in hand. “Much as I enjoy your jealousy filled animosity; I need her to concentrate on her task,” he said, pointing at the phone. “How long until she is ready?”

“Two days, possibly three,” said Valerie having heard the Evil Voice over the phone.

Martin did not need to repeat the answer to the Evil One who was able to hear Martin’s thoughts as easily as Martin could hear the voice on the phone.

“Then you’d better get on,” said Martin who did not need to be told. He could see in the Evil One’s eyes that it was time to terminate the call. He put the phone down on the table; he couldn't bare the gaze of the Evil One, full of menace and all the time threatening pain.

“You question my choice of servant?” said the Evil One.

Desperate to say something and distract attention from himself, he blurted out a question that he had been dwelling on. “What about Ryan?”

The Evil One just laughed. “He will not be back, but he still has his part to play. I gave him one last task and then let him be free to do the rest of his task. He has to set himself up as the hunted criminal. Now his desire for self-preservation will ensure he keeps the hunter’s attention away from us.”

Martin stood rigid as the Evil One looked down at him.

“What about you? What use could I possibly have for you now?” The Evil One reached out to the paralysed figure of Martin and grabbed his throat.

Martin could feel his airway restricting but he could not lift a finger to fight back. He just stood listening to his breathing turn from a raspy breath to a whistle. His head was beginning to swim and he could feel the life receding from his body. In the twilight of his life he could see everything; his own stupidity and the futility of feeling envy towards Valerie who was working toward her own destruction. He knew that evil was more than just a word and he saw it all in a moment of true clarity. It was the same moment that the Evil One suddenly loosened his grip on his throat and let his limp body fall to the floor. Martin could move again, but he had no strength, so he just stayed on the floor, coughing as he took in precious air.

The Evil One stood over his victim. “I am now strong enough to hold a physical form, but I cannot stray from the crystal for long.” The Evil One looked down at Martin. “Well I will just have to amuse myself while I wait for the calculations to be made.” He used his staff to poke and beat Martin, but he soon tired of it. He then held his staff so that it touched gently on Martin's shoulder. A blue energy came from the staff which caused Martin to writhe and moan in agony. Martin now knew the purpose he had to the Evil One, and why his life had been spared. The thought did not last long, as his cognitive abilities were obliterated by the pain.

*****

Patricia stood at the public viewing area looking towards the hole where Old Faithful would appear. She sensed someone walking up behind her and she smiled even before she heard the familiar voice.

“Hi Sis,” said Jason.

Patricia turned and the two siblings fell into an immediate embrace.

As they released the hug, Patricia looked Jason up and down taking in the sight of him. “You're looking well.”

“You too.”

They just stood, looking at each other. Words weren't necessary, they were just glad to see each other.

“You got my message then?” said Patricia.

“Yes I did; but why did you have to be so cryptic?”

As they turned and walked slowly away from the public area Patricia said “I was with that man I was telling you about, so I had to be careful.”

“Sounds like you still don't trust him then?”

“Well not at the time; he seemed okay, but... well it's hard to know who to trust.”

“Yeh I know.”

Patricia playfully punched Jason and said “Anyway, I don't know what you're complaining about; you worked what my message was all about.”

Jason smiled and fended her off. “Not without help, I didn't.” Then he looked around and said “Where is this nutter who shot at you then?”

Patricia could sense her brother preparing for action like a coiled spring, “Oh, he’s not here; he's back up at the campsite. I’ll take you there; he has his brother with him, and they have a pretty good base of operations.”

“So you're happy to go back there?”

“Yes; I was wary at first, but they've been good to me, and I'm sure they'd have tried something before now, if they'd meant me harm.”

Jason looked straight at her. “You don't totally believe that do you?”

“No, not completely, but the more time I've spent with them the easier it is to trust them. All the same, it will be nice to have an equal number of people on my side.”

Jason looked and Patricia with the look of a card sharp with a royal flush. “We’ll have more than that, because I still have Trevor the detective with me.”

Just then Trevor walked up to them. The two siblings looked at the slightly overweight detective with the ruddy complexion and then at each other. Patricia felt that their hand might not be as strong as her brother thought it was.

“Talk of the Devil,” said Jason.

“A poor choice of phrase under the circumstances,” said Trevor. “You've been holding out on me,” he continued as he turned to address Patricia. “He never told me how stunningly attractive his sister is.”

Patricia rolled her eyes. “And he never told me what a smooth talker you are.”

Trevor was undaunted. “It’s an old habit of an old detective: I have to honestly evaluate the evidence.”

Jason cut in. “When you’ve finished trying to chat up my sister.”

Trevor just shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. “I’m just paying a compliment, there doesn’t always have to be an ulterior motive.”

Patricia looked stony at first, but then a smile spread over her face. “Then I should apologise for my retort.”

Trevor smiled in return. “Well, let’s not get into all that; what’s the plan of action?”

Jason took a protective stance between Trevor and Patricia, with his arms crossed. “We’ll go up to the camp with my sister and see what we can find out from this mysterious Indian who lured her out here.”

“Can we trust him?” asked Trevor.

“I think so,” said Patricia. “So far he and his brother have done me no harm and they seem to want the same thing we do.”

Jason shifted from foot to foot, and looked around him.

Trevor watched Jason's fidgeting, and he said “We don’t seem to have much choice at this point, not now that our lead has run cold.”

Jason nodded.

Trevor clapped his hands together. “Right then, we’ll go up there, but once we get near to the camp let me off early. I’ll have a snoop around and see if I can spot anything untoward.”

Jason turned to Patricia. “If that’s all right with you Sis?”

Patricia started walking and motioned the other two to follow her. “Come on, my car’s over here.”

Patricia noticed that while Jason followed hot on her heels, Trevor lagged behind looking behind him at the lack of activity from Old Faithful.


© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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