Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 3

It was a thirty minute drive from the Tucker household to the edge of the woods where Travis Kinkaid's car had been found.  Gabe asked CC if the area had a history of weird happenings or strange rumors.  If it did, CC did not know about them.  CC's parents were slightly concerned about the nature of CC's visit, but were put at ease by her promise to be home before bedtime.  It was the promise she had made to them many times growing up and she had always abided by it.  Although now, she was not out with friends or on a date.
The scene at the clearing was a busy one.  There were many cars around and some of them were police vehicles.  Gabe had expected as much.  They pulled in with assorted civilian vehicles and got out of the car.  Gabe immediately went to the trunk.
"Keep an eye out." He said to CC as he opened the trunk. 
"Nobody's looking."  She told him as she took a quick look around.  Gabe took a Glock 9mm and holster out and slipped it onto his belt at his back.  His jacket easily concealed it.  "Do I get a gun too?'
"Do you know how to use one?"  He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Then no, you don't get a gun."  He pulled out a backpack and handed it to her.  "You get to take this."
"What's in here?"  She slid the backpack on.  It was a little heavy, but with all the books she had to carry around for her classes she was used to it.
"Couple of water bottles, a satellite phone, and an EMF detector."
"Those pick up supernatural activity, right?"
"That's what I'm told."  Gabe answered closing the trunk.
"Like that movie 'Ghostbusters'?"
"I don't know.  I just know that if I turn it on, and it makes noise, it’s usually bad."
"What's our next move?"
"Talk to the cops and see what they know."
"Really?" CC looked a bit surprised.  "Do you think they know about the ley line stuff?  Are you going to tell them?"
"Not really.  Just follow my lead."  Gabe and CC began working their way towards where the main crowd was forming up.  It was mostly men, and almost all of them looked like they were ready for a hunting trip.  The tone was one of concern.  A small group of those assembled were having a prayer circle hoping to find Travis soon.  Gabe spotted a deputy and led CC over to him.  "Evenin'.  Gabe Gunther from Lazlo University."  Gabe offered his hand and the deputy took it.  "Some guys at the university picked up some weird electromagnetic readings from the area and sent us out to investigate."
"Electromagnetic readings?"  The deputy raised an eyebrow.  “Let me take you to Sheriff Steward.”  Gabe gave CC a nod and the pair of them followed the deputy to the sheriff through the crowd.  Sheriff Steward was an older man in his mid-fifties.  He did not look very impressive.  He was a little heavyset and balding.  However, as he discussed the search with a few of his deputies and civilian liaisons it was obvious that he was the man in charge.  The deputy escorting the pair said a few words and the sheriff broke away from the group to talk.
“Alright Mister Gunther, what’s this about electromagnetic readings.” He asked.  His voice sounded a bit rough like he had been talking all day.
“There was a weird flash in a spectrometer and I was asked to see if anything weird happened that could account for it.  It happened last night.”  Gabe explained after giving the sheriff a firm handshake.
“That's when the Kinkaid boy’s car was left here.  This is the first I’ve heard of anything about electromagnetic stuff.”
“It could be entirely unrelated, but my assistant, Miss Tucker, here knows the young man who disappeared and we’d like to help look if that’s alright.”
The Sheriff looked Gabe over and tossed a glance at CC as if sizing the pair of them up.  He was silent a moment and finally nodded.
“An extra pair of eyes couldn’t hurt.  We’re going to be heading into those woods in that direction.”  He gestured towards the wooded area that was quite dense and hard to see very far into.  “We found a jacket out there that was identified by Kinkaid’s father as Travis’s.  We’re going to keep things tight.  While the jacket was intact there were some fresh scratches on some trees.  Most likely a bear getting ready for hibernation.  Best to stay safe.  We’ll be forming up to start the search soon.”  With a nod he excused himself and headed back to confer with his deputies again.
“What do you think?”  CC asked.
“He’s got a handle on this from the look of things.  If this was a normal missing persons case I’d let him handle it and head back home.”  Gabe had turned to her and spoke in a hushed voice.  He kept his eyes roaming around to make sure he was not heard.
“I don’t like what he said about those claw marks.”  CC responded following Gabe’s lead in staying quiet.
“Neither do I.  Sure it could be a bear.  And that ley line flux could have been a random thing.  And this guy disappearing at the same time could be a coincidence.”
“And I could win the Miss Lazlo U pageant.”  CC answered with a long sigh.  “I’m kinda scared here.”
“Good.  Go with that.  It’ll keep you sharp.”  Gabe stroked his tightly trimmed goatee.  “The problem we have now is if we head in with the rest of the search party we may find something we can’t explain.  It may put us in a tough spot if the EMF reader starts going bonkers.”
“Still, if we’re in the loop with the search party, they may spot something we don’t and we’ll know about it.”  CC offered with a shrug. 
“True.  I just don’t like the idea of heading in with a bunch of people who don’t know what could be in there.”
Their conversation was cut short as Sheriff Steward called everyone together to begin the search.

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