I hope you have been enjoying cooler temperatures and are ready to pull out those darker, warmer clothes. I sure am, only it hasn't been cool enough yet.
This week has been a whirlwind writing week for me. Since I'll be busy the next two weeks, I decided to try and finish writing Triple Creek Ranch - Book 2 this week. Well, I certainly have gotten a whole lot written, somewhere around 10,500 words. Yes, the book is almost done. I'm not sure how many parts I still have to write, but not many. I'm hoping to get them written today and tomorrow. If you think about it, you can pray that I'll be able to get them done.
Last night's Sheriff's Academy was lots of fun. Stay tuned next week for the report. (Oh, that means I need to get the report written today or tomorrow!)
Well, I know I don't have a whole lot to say this morning, but it's been a writing week with not much else going on. Since this is the last part of the Graham Quartet that I have written, I'm not sure what I'll post next week. I guess you'll have to come back and see. (Would anyone mind another part of Dr. Morgan?)
Graham Quartet - Part 13
Quietly and cautiously, yet without any show of hesitation, the quartet moved steadily forward towards the dark shape of the cabin.
Reaching the door, the siblings halted as Matt raised his hand and gave the signal knock. The door was opened almost immediately and Guy said softly from the dark room, “Come in quickly.”
“Is something wrong, Guy?” Elsa asked after the door was quickly shut and fastened behind them.
Only after the agent had turned on a dim light did he answer. “No, but this is the time of day when one must always be on the watch. When it is growing darker and the shadows are long, it makes it easier to slip through the trees.”
“You heard us coming, didn’t you?” Tim asked.
Guy smiled. “I heard the truck and watched from upstairs as you four headed this direction.”
“Could you tell it was us?” Selena inquired.
“Uh huh. Now, what brings you four out here? Sorry I’m using the fireplace sparingly because of the radio message, but I do have a small heater I discovered in the closet. This ought to warm you up somewhat.” As he spoke, Guy had carried from the bedroom a small electric heater which he plugged in and turned on.
“That’s right,” Matt said, “I had forgotten there was a little heater here. But it probably doesn’t keep the cabin too warm.”
Guy shrugged. “I’m used to the cold. Besides, it sure beats staying outside. Now tell me what’s going on.” He sat down and looked at the Quartet who were seated near the small heater.
After Elsa nodded at him, Matt spoke first. “I don’t think this really has anything to do with this case, but in social studies the teacher mentioned Hong Kong.”
“What is the teacher’s name? What did he say about it?” The questions were quick and Guy looked searchingly at Matt’s face.
“Mr. Tompkins. He said Hong Kong was a colony of the British crown and it had a free trade harbor, meaning they didn’t charge duties on things coming in. He also mentioned that their largest export was textiles.”
For a moment after Matt finished, Guy remained silent, his brows furrowed in thought. At last he said, “Can you write out a list of everyone who was in the room when he mentioned that?”
Matt looked surprised. “I think so. I don’t sit in the back of the room so I couldn’t tell you for sure if anyone else had come in or not.”
“Were there any assistant teachers there?”
Matt shook his head. “No, Mr. Tompkins does all the teaching himself. He’s never liked another adult in the classroom while he’s teaching.”
“Where is the door into your classroom?”
“On the side near the back.”
“Do you know if the door was open or shut?”
“I don’t know for certain, but I know it was shut when class started because Mr. Tompkins always shuts the door before we begin. But if you have a piece of paper I can write down the names of all my classmates. Everyone was there today.”
Nodding towards the table, Guy said, “There’s some paper over on the table.”
Matt nodded and rose. It wouldn’t take long to make out the list.
“Before we go on,” Guy said softly, “let’s make sure no one’s around.” He turned out the light. “Tim, take the loft, Selena, the west side, Elsa the east. I’ll check the north and Matt, here’s a pen light. You keep writing,” he added the last as Matt made a movement as though to rise.
After several minutes of careful checking from each of the covered windows in their assigned wall, all returned to their seats. Nothing had been seen to indicate anyone was about.
“Do you usually check the windows often when you are alone?” Tim wondered as Guy turned the dim light on once more and Matt joined them.
“Not usually. You see, if I’m alone I can hear so much more than when I’m having a conversation with others.” He turned to Matt. “This is everyone you know who was in the room?”
“Good. I’ll take a look at it later. What else do you have?”
Then Elsa told of her experience with the stranger inquiring about tours of the furniture factory.
“Hmm, and you say this man looked somewhat familiar, yet you don’t know who he was?”
Elsa shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before, but he resembles someone; I just can’t figure out who. Maybe it’s just a combination of several people and that is what has me mixed up.” She shook her head again.
For several minutes, Guy cross questioned her about everything the man had said, where he had gone after he left them, what he was wearing and other things that the quartet couldn’t see had anything to do with the encounter at all. At last he fell silent.
“Did we help at all?” Tim whispered.
“What?” Guy asked, looked up and blinking. It was obvious that his mind had wandered from the cabin. “Help at all? I can’t say for sure yet, but it’s more than I had to go on before. Keep your eyes and ears open and keep me informed. But remember, be careful.”
“We will,” the Quartet answered in a breath.
“Come on, you three,” Matt said, standing up. “Dad should be coming along soon and if we don’t want to have to walk all the way home, we’d better get out to the road.”
Quickly coats, hats and gloves were pulled on and the Quartet, after saying good-bye to their friend, stealthily slipped from the cabin and out into the darkening winter’s night.
Just before Matt, having snapped off the bedroom light, crawled into bed, Tim whispered, “I wonder what we’ll find out tomorrow!”
“Me too,” Matt replied quietly. “But let’s get some sleep first.” He yawned. “I’m tired.”
Help me out with questions!
Any ideas of what happens next?
Who do you think that stranger talking to Elsa was?
Do they learn anything the next day?
And if so, what?