(equivalent to approximately 3 paperback pages).
Part One - Chapter Six
(Saga began with original story post one / chapter one - on May 23rd- see archives on this blog)
We left Keaton Hakes’ house and headed back to the cruiser. I was confused. I knew Rory had strong judgments about Hakes, but I was out of the loop as to why.
“What the hell was that all about?” I asked.
He shook his head and shrugged, but didn’t answer me. I was still bewildered. I felt my brows wrinkle as I thought about Rory, and what was happening to him. I noticed his stance was strong, and combative, and he looked like he was ready for a war. He needed to find this killer, not just because it was his case, but because he had a deep belief in right and wrong, and justice. That was one of the qualities about Rory that I held dear. Rory also knew something about this guy that he wasn’t sharing with me. The not knowing was driving me batty.
“Where are we headed now?” I asked.
“Back to your place.”
I must have reacted with a surprised look because he instantly corrected himself.
“Your office. I need your help looking up these names. It seems you have the knack for working social media that I lack. I hope you don’t mind if I use your talents? It will help the case, which I know you are dying to solve.” he said. “I’m sorry, bad choice of words.”
“No problem. And yes you’re right, I want to help.”
We got into the car and drove off in silence again. My nerves were jumping and I felt butterflies in my stomach. Spending all this time with Rory was bringing back feelings that I thought I had pushed away. Rory drove like he wanted to get away from Glen Falls as fast as possible. The streets were getting dark already, so there wasn’t much to see out of the window. I got lost in thought, wondering how Jennifer got there in the middle of nowhere. What she must have felt and thought, and the fear she must have experienced. Jennifer had scrapes on her hands, maybe some forensic evidence will give answers to the pile of questions. The crime was senseless, heart breaking, and needed to get solved.
It was complete darkness by the time we reached the cabin. Adrenalin was pumping in my veins full force. I was ready to get to work. The sky was pitch black, so I walked cautiously to the door and unlocked the cabin. Once inside, I switched on the lights and zoomed straight to the computer and started keying in the names from the document Keaton Hakes supplied. The people listed seemed to have nothing in common. Some were kids, like Jennifer our victim, others were business people and even a Senator.
The chair scrapped against the floor, as Rory pulled it up to sit next to me, and he read the information over my shoulder, as it was being pulled from cyberspace. Rippled with a wave of excitement, I was surprised when I saw the name of Mr. Simpson, the owner of Sal’s General, displayed mid sheet.
“Look here. Why do you suppose Simpson is listed?” I said.
“Why would an old guy like him be playing role playing games? Maybe he was one of the people in on it, you know, along for the hoax? Maybe they pay people to go along with whatever live game they have going on? Lord knows he needs the money.” he said.
“Money. Hmm. Most crimes are about money, right? Why does he need the money, what’s going on with him?” I said.
“I will check into things and ask the questions tomorrow.” he said.
There was a finality to his words, so I moved on to the next name. Exasperation filled my every move. I had hoped we would get some answers but the list had much to be desired. It didn’t reveal the roles played, or if the people listed were an actor or a participant in the game. I knew that we needed to go back and ask Keaton more questions. I hope Rory can keep his temper checked. Maybe after looking up these people’s profiles, it will help zero in on the right questions for Rory to ask Keaton Hakes. Interrogation 101, know what to ask.
We had stopped at a Chinese food place on the way back to the office, and cartons of take out littered the desk. I felt deflated. We had spent a few hours Googling names, and pulling up some basic info. Nothing jumped out at us as being suspicious. Rory gathered all the notes I took, and filed them into his bag. He stretched out his long arms and yawned, squinting his big dark eyes as he covered his mouth. His sculpted facial features stood out like fine lines on an etching. Rory was a handsome man, there was no denying that fact.
“Well, I think we had enough for today.” I said.
I needed to get my thoughts off of him. I was flustered. This was bad, I knew it, and I did not plan on getting hurt again. Keep things professional, I said to myself. I turned the computer off, and cleared the food cartons, stood up and walked over to the waste basket, and tossed the garbage.
I turned around and saw that Rory had been watching me. My face flushed, I could feel the heat fill my cheeks, and then more so, when I felt the embarrassment of my reaction. He kept watching me, and smiled. The sparkle found its way back into his eyes, and I was reminded of all the wonderful times we had together. All those years we were so close, how could I just forget I knew this man so well. I wanted to forget, but couldn’t. I smiled back, and felt like I had just gotten over a hurdle.
“Friends?” he said.
He looked so comfortable. The tension was gone from his face and the old Rory I had known for years was there waiting for my answer.
“Yes, friends. We have so many good memories, and I don’t want to lose them.” I said. Internally I was panicking. My stomach was flip flopping. Keep your cool, I thought.
He shook his head, then got up from his chair. I was suddenly in the Sahara. My entire body was a flame, from anticipation, embarrassment, and guilty flash thoughts. For a moment I thought he was going to come over and kiss me, but he didn’t. Instead he headed for the door.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll be here early with fresh eyes.” he said.
It took a moment for his words to reach my brain, the meaning was lost, floating in the air somewhere. A twinge of regret shot through me when I realized he was leaving. I shook my head, got my faculties back, and then followed him out, locking the door behind us. He watched as I got in my truck, then he followed me out of the reserve area.
I headed west, and he headed east. Exhaustion filled my mind and body. I went home, took a long cool shower and crashed, cursing myself for being such a romantic jerk. After tossing awhile I must have fallen asleep, because next thing I knew, I was being assaulted by my alarm clock.