“So, you are stealing our artifacts,” said Charles, “out here we shoot thieves.” “You are stealing them too,” I said, “so we did not figure you would miss a few.” He laughed. “You are brave, I like that,” he said, “where are the rest of your friends?” “Still out on the desert,” I said, referring of course to our rescue team, but I did not say that, “we just came in to check around first and see what was going on. Our plane crashed a couple days ago and we were hoping you could help us get out of this sand trap.”
He laughed again. “You really expect me to believe all that?”, he asked, “okay, let me see now, I will send you back with my men and if you are telling the truth, fine, you can come here and we can make a deal. But, if we do not find your friends, then my men will kill you and leave your body on that sand trap.” “Okay with me,” I said, “we can help you dig these artifacts out of here a lot faster.” “True,” said Charles. Then he gave instructions to his men and off we went.
He kept Jennifer behind, I figured he would. Charles took Jennifer down the tunnel to where Jessica was working. “You have a helper,” he said to Jessica and tossed Jennifer to the floor. Jenny wanted to teach him some manners but knew this was not the right time. She was worried about me though. “Anyone down here besides you?”, asked Jennifer. “No, only when Henry brings me some food, which is not often,” said Jessica, “you do not have to worry, they do not listen or watch.”
“Good, I work with Steve, we are here to get you out of this place,” said Jennifer, “we got your message.” Jessica looked, “it really did make it through?” “Yes, it did,” answered Jenny, “but right now Steve is in trouble and I cannot call anyone to let them know.” Jennifer was careful not to tell Jessica how many of us were there, just in case this was just another trap for us.
Out onto the desert again I lead these guys. “Hmm, they should be around here somewhere,” I said. “I think you are stalling for time,” said the head man, “but there are more of us guarding the ruins, so your friends would fail if they attacked. Now maybe it is time to kill you.” “That would not be a good idea,” I said and pointed onto a nearby dune.
Rock was standing there with his big gun, the other 3 were in position around us. I grabbed the man’s gun, the other men were about to open fire, but Rock and the others shot first this time. None of my captors survived. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was very happy to see Chung.
Meanwhile, back at the chateau…One of the guards came inside holding a young woman. Annelie had her gun on the woman too. Baldwin dismissed the guard and brought the woman in and told her to sit on the couch. He waved his hand to Annelie who put her gun on the table beside her. “Now, tell us who you are and why you are here,” he said to the woman.
“My name is Camille Archambeau,” she said, “I saw this chateau as I was walking past on the road and wanted to stop and see if I could get a meal and a place to sleep and clean up. But I do not look for a hand out, I cannot pay, but I am willing to work, if you give me a chance.” Right then Shirley came in with a plate of donuts and offered one to Camille. She took it and began to eat, then quickly devoured it. “Oh my dear, you must have been hungry,” said Shirley, “when did you last have a good meal?”
Camille put her head down. “Four days ago,” she said quietly, “I am looking for work, but no one will give me a chance, once, once…” And she put her head down again. “Once they find out you have been in jail,” said Annelie softly. “How, how did you know?”, asked Camille. “Annelie can find out a person’s life history very quickly,” said Shirley, “it is part of her job.” “We are a company of private investigators,” explained Baldwin, “we make enemies so need to be careful and check anyone that comes along, just to make sure they are not trying to harm us in any way.”
“I was messed up before and was caught selling drugs, that is why I was in jail,” she said, “but I have changed, I do not want that anymore, I want a real life. My old friends, they call, wanting me to come back to them, but I say no, that is not me anymore.” Then she starts to cry. “I think maybe you would feel better if you get cleaned up,” said Shirley, “Annelie will show you where to go.” First Candace gets shot, now a mysterious woman shows up. Are the two related, or just coincidence…
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.