Table of Contents [Report This]
by Mel Lane
Jarod sat outside a small cafe, sipping coffee and looking in a red notebook. Across the street, he was watching a woman with blonde hair getting into car. A man walked up to her, but she just shook her head and got into the car. Jarod could hear faint words to the short argument. Finally, the woman shouted "NO!" and drove away.
Jarod looked down at his notebook. He skimmed the headlines. "Cave in Kills 8 yr. Old Boy," "Cave in No Accident ," "Father Suspected in Son's Killing, Family Break-up Expected." The picture under the third headline was of the man from across the street. There was also a picture of a young boy, who would of had brown hair and brown eyes, if the picture hadn't been in black and white.
A woman with black hair and brown eyes in a waitressing outfit approached Jarod. She was carrying a pitcher of coffee. "More coffee, Jarod?" she asked.
"No thanks, Lynn, I'm fine," Jarod replied. He placed a dollar and some change on the table as he got up. Lynn shook his hand and slipped a piece of paper into it. He smiled and walked away.
Jarod walked around the corner reading the note. "317 Charity St. Ask for Jack." Jarod looked up just as he bumped into a woman causing both of them to drop their items. The woman had on jeans and a white shirt. Her hair was a straight but wavy reddish brown that went just past her shoulders.
"Oh, I am so sorry," Jarod exclaimed, bending down to help her gather her things. He picked up her books, most of which were about Arctic Biology. She picked up his red notebook and they exchanged as they stood up. "Are you all right?"
"Oh, I'm okay," she said, looking up. She was about Jarod's height and had blue-gray eyes and a face Jarod knew all too well.
"Miss Parker!" Jarod exclaimed, very surprised.
The woman looked puzzled. "What?"
"How did you find me so soon?" Jarod asked.
"I haven't been looking for you. And my name is Malorie Howard and not whatever you think it is," the woman replied.
"Oh, come now, Miss Parker, I would know you anywhere." Jarod answered. "I must admit I thought you would be at the Centre investigating SL-27."
"SL-what? I don't have time for this. Good-bye." The woman walked away. Jarod looked at her intensely puzzled as she got into a car and drove away. If she wasn't Miss Parker, then how could she look just like her?
* * * * *
There are Pretenders among us.
Geniuses with the ability to become anyone they want to be.
In 1963 a corporation known as the Centre isolated a young Pretender, named Jarod, and exploited his genius for their research.
Then one day, their Pretender ran away....
* *THE PRETENDER* *
* * * * *
"Syd, this will only take a second," Miss Parker assured Sydney. She shined her flashlight around the charred room.
"What are you looking for, Miss Parker?" Sydney asked. She tapped a wall.
"I'm guessing there are more secrets down here than we thought," Miss Parker replied. "I wonder if my father really did know about this place. I'm looking for proof that he did, so I can ask him some pointed questions." She tapped a wall. "And find out why he's been lying to me."
"Miss Parker, you could get yourself killed," Sydney exclaimed. Miss Parker glared at him.
"Let me worry about that, Syd," she replied. She shined her flashlight on a wall. She tapped it. Finally, she pulled it back to reveal a well furnished room. One that wasn't charred at all.
It was baige like a sim-lab but was set up like an office. There was a desk in the middle of the room and along the walls there were couches. There was a projector and one wall was a fresh white.
On the desk was a computer, a telephone, papers and DSAs. "Raines' secret office perhaps," Sydney suggested.
Miss Parker examined the desk. She looked through the papers. "These papers are all dated recently. Raines had still been using SL-27 when we first discovered it," Miss Parker explained. Sydney began looking at the papers.
"These are progress reports on Pretenders and other projects that the Centre supposedly dropped," Sydney explained, as Miss Parker searched the desks drawers. "Kyle, wasn't the only one kept past his release date."
Most of the drawers were filled with folders, disks and DSAs. Miss Parker opened the bottom drawer and found a framed picture of a young Mr. Raines, a woman and a baby. She took it out of the frame and read the back. "William, Marsha and Brian Raines," she read aloud.
Sydney looked at the picture and then at the back. He pointed to the date in the corner. "In 1957, Raines had a family," Sydney whispered.
"Who would marry, Mr. Raines?" Miss Parker asked.
"I don't know," Sydney replied.
* * *
Tanana River Valley
A man with a clipboard walked out in front of a row of men in mining clothes. Jarod followed. In the distance, the twin peaks of Mount Mckinley could be seen.
"Listen up!" the man yelled. "This is Jarod Cole, Sawyer's temporary replacement."
The men laughed. "Reese, you know Sawyer ain't coming back," said one man.
"Well, if you're so sure, Patterson, then you had better show Jarod the ropes. He'll need to be a very good replacement." All the men laughed and Jarod smiled. "And don't forget, a few journalists from the University will be dropping by this afternoon." "This way, Jarod," said Patterson. He conducted him over to the power tools and a couple of pick axes. He handed Jarod a yellow hard-hat which Jarod immediately put on. They picked up the equipment and headed into the mine shaft. "My name is Mark. We're behind because we were shut down after the accident."
"Accident?" Jarod asked, as they headed down a tunnel.
"Cave in that killed Sawyer's boy, Chris," Mark Patterson replied.
"I'm surprised that production has resumed so quickly," Jarod admitted.
"It wasn't easy," Mark replied.
"I'm sure it wasn't," Jarod said, with a smile. They turned down another tunnel where all the power tools could be heard. Jarod glanced at the tunnel that had been closed off. Near the end fallen rocks and beams could be seen.
* * *
Raines' Secret Office
Broots entered the office. "I got your message," he said. "What's happened?"
Miss Parker held up the photo. "Raines, had a family," she explained. Broots looked at the picture. He was so surprised, he was silent a moment.
"Well, where are they? What happened to them?" Broots asked.
"We don't know," Sydney replied.
"Wait!" Miss Parker exclaimed, snatching the picture. She pointed to a clump of trees and a sign in the faint background. "Can you blow this up so we could read that sign?" she asked.
"I suppose I could try but," Broots looked nervous a second. "If anyone figures out we've been down here...."
"Just do it!" Miss Parker ordered. Broots took the picture and exited.
Miss Parker turned on the computer. She looked at list of files. Most of them were marked as Pretender. However, one was labeled CParker and another Mr. Parker. She clicked on CParker. "THIS FILE WAS DELETED" flashed on the screen. Miss Parker tried the file labeled Mr. Parker. "ENTER PASSWORD," flashed on the screen. Miss Parker sighed. Lastly, she tried a Pretender file but it also said "ENTER PASSWORD."
"We had better go, Miss Parker," Sydney suggested. She nodded and turned off the computer. They arranged the desk back the way it had been. Then, they left the office.
* * *
Tanana River Valley
The miners were all finishing up a lunch break, when the journalists from the university arrived. Jarod was sitting by the creek when he was approached by one of the journalists. "Are you Jarod Cole? Paul Sawyer's replacement?" the journalist asked him.
Jarod looked up to see a familiar face. "Hello," Jarod greeted.
"Oh, it's you," she said.
Jarod looked at her, still quite amazed by how much this woman looked like Miss Parker. He stood up. "I'd really like to apologize," Jarod said. "You just remind me so much of someone I know."
"Well, maybe we should start over then. My name is Malorie Howard," the woman said.
"I'm Jarod," Jarod answered. They shook hands.
"Now, maybe I can get this interview done," Malorie laughed. "How do you feel about being the replacement of a man who is accused of killing his son?" She got her pencil and notepad ready for Jarod's response.
"I don't think Sawyer did it. The police released him on lack evidence anyway," Jarod replied.
"Yes, but if Sawyer didn't do it, then who did? Why would a boy be in a coal mine anyway?" Malorie replied. Jarod looked intrigued.
"Parents often let their children visit them at work. Chris Sawyer knew the mines," Jarod answered.
"And children play. But the police reports said dynamite was what caused the cave in. Someone set it," Malorie countered.
"But who?" Jarod asked. "Who had something to gain from killing an 8 year old boy?" Malorie glanced at Jarod as she scribbled down what he had said.
"Jarod, time to get back to work!" yelled Mark Patterson, tossing Jarod a hard-hat. Jarod nodded as he got up.
"I'd really like to continue this discussion. You have some interesting theories," Malorie told Jarod. "How about dinner at Belle's Cafe, at six tonight?"
Jarod grinned. "Alright," he replied. "There some things I'd like to ask you also." Malorie smiled as Jarod headed back towards the mine shaft.
Mark Patterson glanced back at Malorie. "I'll bet she had some questions," he said to Jarod. Jarod only smiled and put on his hard-hat. Then, they went into the mine.
* * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker and Sydney waited as Broots tried to clear up the sign in the background of the picture. "Well, this is as clear as I can get it," Broots said. Miss Parker moved closer and stared at the screen. Her eyes narrowed.
"Shen..Shenadoah...National...Park," she read. "Where is that?"
"That's in Virginia," Sydney answered.
"Broots, check for a Marsha or Brian Raines living in Virginia," Miss Parker ordered.
Broots hit a few computer keys and started a search. "There is not single Raines located in Virginia," he answered. "They might be going under different names."
"It was 40 years ago, Miss Parker. They may not even live in Virginia anymore." Sydney added.
"Raines couldn't of just forgot about them. Raines is not the kind of person to forget anything," Miss Parker replied. "Come on Broots, there must be something more on his computer."
Broots gulped but took the photo and followed Miss Parker in the direction of Sub-Level 27. They entered Raines' secret office cautiously. They headed straight for the computer. Broots turned it on. "MAIL WAITING!" flashed on the screen.
"Open Raines' mail," Miss Parker ordered. Broots was about to protest when Miss Parker gave him a killer look. He clicked on "Read Mail." The mail read:
Raines, everything has been taken care of. All tracers installed and ready for activation. Sub-level 27 can be secured on your command.
$5,000 expected for this favor.
"Obviously, this Falkner guy doesn't know Raines, is in the hospital," Broots stated.
"Alright, how good are you at hacking into files?" Miss Parker asked.
"We'll be traced immediately," Broots replied. Miss Parker glared at him. "I could get a status check on all files."
"Do it," Miss Parker replied. Broots loaded the list of files.
Miss Parker looked at the files and what was next to them. By Cparker were the words: DELETED 4/20/70. The file had been deleted only a week after Catherine Parker's death. Beside a file labeled JAROD was the word PARKER. "What does that mean?" Miss Parker asked, pointing to the Jarod file.
"It's either a password or a path into a hidden file," Broots answered. "I'll try it as a password." He typed it in as a password.
"This is a file all about Jarod. Tracking reports and possible places," Miss Parker noticed. "Mr. Raines has been trying to catch Jarod. That's my job!"
Next, they tried Parker as a path. It led to file about Miss Parker. Miss Parker read it over. Mr. Raines thought it had been poor judgment appointing her to catch Jarod. He had begun his own search, finding it more reliable. One line that stood out in her file was: Catching Jarod would be much easier if my sweepers didn't have to sneak around Miss Parker to avoid her suspicion.
Lastly, they checked the Pretender Files getting in with the password Falkner. There were 9 Pretenders that were secretly being held in a hidden area of SL-27.
Broots and Miss Parker looked up. That meant there were people still using SL-27 and they could easily be caught. Broots erased all records of their actions and was about to shut down the computer when Miss Parker made him stop.
Broots had gone to "Old Mail" to place the letter from Falkner back with the new mail. While trying to find the letter they came across a lot of mail going to a Marsha Taylor. Several letters had been sent to her in 1970. "Open that letter," Miss Parker ordered. Broots, did as he was told.
There was no letter. Just the file CParker had been sent. It had been sent 4/18/70. Five days after Catherine Parker had been killed but two days before the file had been deleted. They checked an older letter. It was one line that read:
Store all information sent.
"Broots, check for an address for Marsha Taylor," Miss Parker directed.
"There was one living in Alexandria, Virginia," Broots answered. Then Broots, finished erasing all record of their actions and shut down the computer. They left SL-27. Miss Parker arranged a flight to Virginia for her and Sydney.
"Miss Parker, what will we do when we get there?" Sydney asked.
"Raines sent copies of files to his wife. He sent one about my mother. I want to know what was in that file," Miss Parker replied.
* * *
Jarod and Malorie sat at the corner booth of the cafe. Malorie's notepad was on the table beside her. Both of their plates still had a little food on them but they were much more into talking than eating. "My mother and I were very close but she died ten years ago in a car accident," Malorie explained.
"I never knew my parents. I was separated from them when I was very young," Jarod said. "What was your mother's name?"
"Carolyn Howard. Her maiden name was Jameson which is my middle name," Malorie replied. Jarod looked up. The connection he'd been looking for. Miss Parker's mother's maiden name had been Jameson.
"Did your mother have a sister?" Jarod asked.
"No, I don't think..." Malorie thought a second. "...Wait! Yes, she did. A twin. I met her once when I was ten. I called her Aunt Cathy. But that was over 20 years ago. I think she died. She had a daughter but I'm not sure if I met her."
"You have a cousin that looks exactly like you," Jarod explained. It was possible. Miss Parker looked exactly like her mother and Malorie looked exactly like her mother. Being that they're mothers' were twins they looked exactly alike. Their families had very strong genetic traits.
"I do?" Malorie asked. "Is that who you thought I was?"
"Yes. Her name is Miss Parker," Jarod answered. He took a picture out of his pocket. He'd gotten it by hacking into the Centre's security cameras. It was a picture of Miss Parker. He handed the picture to Malorie.
"Amazing!" exclaimed Malorie. "I have to meet her."
"She should arrive here a day or so after I leave," Jarod replied.
Malorie stared at the picture a while. "Can I keep this?" she asked. Her blue-gray eyes only glanced at Jarod as she asked the question.
"Sure," Jarod replied.
Malorie studied the picture. "She looks so sad," Malorie told Jarod.
"May I take a picture to send to her?" Jarod asked. Malorie nodded. He had the waitress take a picture of the two of them. Then, they paid the bill and went for a walk.
"So who do you think killed Chris Sawyer?" Malorie asked.
"I'm not sure yet," Jarod replied.
"Whoever did must of had a lot to gain from it," Malorie guessed. "I mean, killing a child?"
"What do the Sawyer's own?" Jarod asked.
"Hayley, their oldest daughter, goes to the university. She's in my Arctic Biology class. That's my main reason for going to The University of Alaska. I'm interested in the environment. My father is in the oil business, and he is ruining the environment." Malorie was silent a while. They stopped walking. "Anyway, the Sawyers have a small claim in the Tanana River Valley."
"Is there gold in it?" Jarod asked.
"Sawyer's mined it off and on in the last five years, but he's never claimed to have found anything," Malorie explained. "There's a cabin on it. That's where Sawyer has been staying. The entire town thinks he did it and refuses to have anything to do with him, even his wife." Malorie stopped walking. "It's getting late Jarod, I'm going to go on home. See you tomorrow."
"Good night," Jarod replied. Malorie turned back towards the cafe and Jarod headed for a motel.
Alone in his motel room, Jarod placed a DSA in the computer. On the screen, in black and white, was a young Jarod. He looked about ten or eleven. In the corner of the screen was the date: 9/8/69 and below it the words For Centre Use Only.
On the screen an iceberg appeared. There was a loud crashing noise and the screen went blank. Jarod turns towards Sydney. "Why did it happen? Why did all those people have to die?"
"It was an accident, Jarod. Accidents happen," Sydney replies. "Why didn't Captain Smith anticipate the iceberg?"
"He couldn't Sydney, he didn't listen to the warnings," Jarod explains. "And, no one can anticipate everything!"
* * *
Miss Parker and Sydney got out of the cab. Sydney paid the driver. Miss Parker took off her dark sunglasses to get a better look at the blue house her and Sydney stood in front of. "Is this the right address?" Miss Parker asked.
"3421 Chamber Road," Sydney assured Miss Parker. They started up the front walk and rang the doorbell.
A man came to the door. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes. "Yes?" he asked.
"We're looking for a Marsha Taylor," Miss Parker asked.
"I'm her son Brian. She died yesterday. She was 63," the man replied.
"Maybe you can help us. Did your mother keep any sealed files that she'd received in the mail?" Miss Parker asked.
"For a while, but that was when I was very young," Brian answered. "We moved in 1971 and I haven't seen them since."
"Why'd you move?" Miss Parker asked.
"Our old house burnt down," Brian replied.
"If you don't mind my asking, how did she die?" Sydney asked.
Brian hesitated. "Heart attack," he finally said. "Excuse me, but I'd rather not discuss it any further." Brain closed the door.
Miss Parker and Sydney were about to leave when the door opened again. Brian came out again. "Wait!" he called. They stopped and turned to look at him. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I have a family. I can't fool around about this."
"What do you mean?" Sydney asked, using a low voice.
"My mother did not die of a natural heart attack," Brian whispered. "I don't care what the coroner says. Don't say a word of this to anyone."
"Why are you telling us this?" Sydney asked.
"I remember you," Brian told Sydney. Then, Brian went inside the house. He left Sydney and Miss Parker, both looking puzzled.
* * *
Tanana River Valley
Jarod knocked on the cabin door. "Paul Sawyer!" he called out. There was no answer. Jarod peered inside the cabin window. It was dark but Jarod didn't see any movement. "Sawyer!" he yelled again.
A man walked from behind the house. He looked like he needed to shave. He had blond hair and light brown eyes. He wore jeans and a red and white plaid shirt over a plain white shirt. "What?" he asked. He held a pan full of water and gravel.
"My name is Jarod Cole. I'd like to talk to you," Jarod replied.
"I didn't kill my son," Sawyer replied.
"I believe you," Jarod replied. "Do you know who did?"
"No. There was a parade and we all went to watch it. Chris said he didn't want to and left. We thought he went home. He must have gone to the mine," Sawyer paused. "It was after work hours on Friday. We searched a long time. We didn't find Chris until Monday. The shaft had caved and he was caught under one of the rocks. He had run out of air."
"And an investigation showed someone had blown up Mine Shaft 7," Jarod added.
"Someone twisted it around. They decided that since I was a miner that I had put Chris in there and then blown it shut," Sawyer continued. "I always had worked in Mine Shaft 7 but I didn't do it." Jarod nodded.
"Who took care of the explosives?" Jarod asked.
"Reese," Sawyer answered.
"Who knew you worked Shaft 7?" Jarod questioned.
"Patterson, Mitchell, Landers. We were the main workers in there," Sawyer replied.
"Who knew you'd found gold?" Jarod asked. Sawyer looked up. He seemed puzzled and amazed.
"How did you know?" Sawyer asked. "I haven't worked it much and I only found some last month. A week before the cave-in."
"I knew there had to be a motive. The only one I could come up with was greed. That would mean you must have found gold," Jarod replied. "Who did you tell?"
"My family and a few miners," Sawyer replied.
Jarod passed the mine on his way back from Sawyer's. Jarod had used his lunch break to talk to Paul Sawyer. At least, now he knew one of the miners had killed Chris Sawyer.
Jarod put on a hard-hat and headed back into the mine. He stopped at Mine Shaft 7. It was where the cave in had happened. In the dust and debri he saw something. Even though it was partially blocked off Jarod went in anyway.
Jarod picked up a pocket-sized, burgundy, velvet, draw-string bag. Something clanked inside. Jarod opened the bag. It was a coal black marble and a milky white marble. They must have belong to Chris Sawyer.
"What are you doing in there, Jarod?" Patterson asked.
Jarod put the velvet bag in his pocket. "Just taking a closer look," Jarod replied coming out. "Just taking a closer look."
* * *
University of Alaska
Jarod entered the library. Malorie sat at one of desks reading a book. She looked up when Jarod entered. He sat down next to her. "I talked to Sawyer," Jarod whispered.
"What did you find out?" Malorie asked.
"He found gold," Jarod replied.
"So, what does that mean?" Malorie asked, keeping her voice low.
"It means whoever killed Chris Sawyer thought they would somehow gain from it," Jarod answered.
"We should find out more about Sawyer's claim. There should be records at the post office. There's no way they would let us see them, though," Malorie replied.
"I can go to the post office," Jarod answered.
"I'll do some research here. Check the newspapers, they have on microfilm. I'll search on the miners, the mine, and the Tanana River
Valley," Malorie replied. "You better hurry Jarod the post office closes in half an hour."
"We'll meet Belle's Cafe at six to compare notes," Jarod said.
"Okay," Malorie replied. "Bye Jarod."
"Bye Malorie, and thanks," Jarod replied as he exited the library.
Malorie gathered her things and went over to a librarian to ask for some help with the microfilm.
· * *
Jarod entered his motel room carrying a copy of a folder about Sawyer's claim. He dropped a Federal Claims Officer Badge on the bed and then took off his suit jacket. Then, he sat down and picked up Pez container. He looked over the folder. One line at the bottom of the page stood out. It read: Sawyer's claim previous owned by Albert Patterson. Jarod closed the folder and got up. He looked at his watch. It was five-eleven.
Jarod walked over to the desk in his hotel room and picked up a slip of paper. On it read: 317 Charity St. Ask for Jack. Finally Jarod put the paper in his pocket and left the hotel room.
* * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker and Sydney entered Sub-Level 5. Broots looked up as they entered. "Back so soon?" he asked.
Miss Parker glared at Broots as she lit up a cigarette. Broots held up an envelope. "What's this?" she asked snatching the envelope.
"It came for you while you were away," Broots replied. "The address is in Jarod's handwriting."
Miss Parker opened the envelope. She took out a photograph and a short letter. Miss Parker was perplexed by the photo of what looked like a photo of herself and Jarod.
She read the letter. It read: "Sometimes your past chases you. Meet Malorie, Jarod."
"Malorie?" she whispered. Miss Parker exited the room without a word to Sydney or Broots.
* * *
Jarod knocked on the front door of 317 Charity Street. There was a short silence before the door opened. "Yes?" the old woman asked.
"I'm looking for a Jack?" Jarod asked. The woman backed away from the door.
"Follow me," she said. Jarod followed her to a room. An old man was laying in a bed.
Jarod checked his pulse. "He's dead," Jarod replied.
"He died this morning. He was asking for a man named Jarod. He said he had a message for him," the woman answered.
"I'm Jarod, what was the message?" Jarod asked.
"He died before he could tell me," the woman replied. Jarod looked sad a second, thanked the woman for her time, and then left.
Jarod was walking back to the hotel but decided to stop and talk to Mrs. Sawyer. He knocked on the door. A woman, who looked about twenty came to the door. "May I please speak to Mrs. Sawyer?"
"I'm her daughter, Hayley. She doesn't want to talk to anyone," the woman said.
"Then, could you give her this for me?" Jarod handed Hayley the velvet bag he had found at the mine.
Hayley looked at it. She looked amazed and sad at the same time. "Wait here," she said. She left for a minute and then came back. "Please come in."
Jarod followed her through the house and into a boy's room. Mrs. Sawyer was there cradling the velvet bag. "Where did you get this?" Mrs. Sawyer asked.
"I found it in the mine. I thought you might want it back," Jarod replied. "My name is Jarod."
"It was Christopher's bag of favorite things. These two marbles were his favorites," Mrs. Sawyer explained.
"Marbles?" Jarod asked.
"That's what these are," Mrs. Sawyer replied, holding up the two marbles. "You've never seen marbles?"
"They didn't have them where I was growing up," Jarod replied. He looked at his watch. "I have an appointment so I'd better go."
"Jarod, I can't think you enough for finding these," Mrs. Sawyer replied.
"Good-bye, Mrs. Sawyer," Jarod answered.
* * *
Jarod entered carrying a folder and sat down next to Malorie at the corner booth. "Guess who used to own Sawyer's claim," Malorie said.
"Albert Patterson, Mark Patterson's father," Jarod replied.
"That must have been in the records. Anyway, Albert Patterson never found any gold and sold the claim to Paul Sawyer's father. Paul's father left it to him in his will," Malorie looked up from her notes. "This article was written in the same newspaper as Sawyer's father's obituary. "
"However Mark Patterson's father died working his claim. Mark must have really been angry about it," Jarod continued. "So when he heard Paul Sawyer had found gold..."
"...He devised a scheme to get back his father's claim," Malorie finished. "One thing I don't understand. Why would he kill Chris Sawyer?"
"That's a question for Mark Patterson," Jarod replied getting up.
"Where are we going?" Malorie asked. "To the police?"
"Not yet," Jarod answered. "We're going to the mine."
Mine Shaft 7 Jarod paced the shaft working on a pretend when he realized he couldn't do it. "Patterson, didn't mean to kill Chris Sawyer," Jarod told Malorie.
"What?" Malorie asked. "How do you know?"
"Not even Patterson could have known Chris Sawyer was going to be in the mine that night," Jarod explained. "He wouldn't have known until Chris got there." Jarod thought back the DSA.
"No one can anticipate everything!" Jarod had said. And he was right.
"Then, how did Patterson accidentally kill Chris?" Malorie asked.
"He's going to tell us that," Jarod replied.
"Huh?" Malorie queried.
Jarod got an intrigued but scheming smile. "Malorie, could you do me a favor?"
· * *
Jarod was in his motel room. It was covered in marbles. He took out a manila envelope. On the cover he began to write: Fairbanks Police Department.
Jarod and Malorie went to the mine. They moved a few rocks and boards around. Jarod pulled a thin cord. Boards and rocks fell. Malorie and Jarod rolled the cord all the way around the corner of the mine shaft. Malorie tossed Jarod what looked like dynamite. He taped it to the boards on the ceiling of the mine. In the back of Mine Shaft 7 they placed an oxygen tank in an area of rocks they'd dug out.
Back in his motel room, Jarod placed a folder and a newspaper the manila envelope. He ate a Pez and closed the envelope. Then, he shot a couple marbles out of a circle. After that, he picked up a pocket-sized tape recorder.
Malorie and Jarod smiled at each other in the mine. "We're ready!" Jarod told Malorie.
"Miss Parker, I found something in the picture," Broots said.
"What?" Miss Parker asked.
"Out the window behind Jarod is a sign. It says: Welcome to Fairbanks, Alaska," Broots replied.
"Tell Sam, to meet me at the airport," Miss Parker responded as she exited the room.
· * *
Tanana River Valley
Mark Patterson always spent Saturday at home. Patterson had a house about
3 miles from the mine. He was reading a book and drinking a beer when he
heard a banging on his door. He got up and opened it. "Yes?" he asked.
It was Malorie at the door. "There's been an accident at the mine.
Another cave-in. Jarod's caught in Mine Shaft 7!" she exclaimed.
"Well, what was he doing there?" Patterson asked.
"There's no time to ask questions. You have to help him!" Malorie yelled.
Patterson grabbed his hard-hat. "I'll see what I can do," he replied. They got into his car and drove to the mine.
Patterson turned on the light to his hard-hat and handed a hard-hat to Malorie. "Where is Jarod?" he asked.
"Mine Shaft 7," Malorie answered. Patterson frowned. He headed into shaft 7.
"Jarod!" Patterson called. Silence. "Jarod!" He looked back at Malorie. "How far back was he?"
"Pretty far," Malorie replied.
Patterson took a few more steps. Jarod peeked out from behind where Malorie was. He took out a lighter and lit the fuse.
"I don't see...hey who positioned charges in here," Patterson turned around just in time to see the fire reach the charges.
BOOM! Sparks flew everywhere. Boards and rocks closed off the area. "Help! Help!"
"How long do you think Chris Sawyer yelled for help? How many hours?" Jarod yelled. "Just so you could get back your father's claim!"
"What are you talking about?" Patterson yelled.
"Maybe we should leave so you can refresh your memory," Jarod answered.
"No! You've got to get me out of here!" Patterson shouted.
"Why? You left Chris Sawyer here to die," Jarod replied.
"I didn't mean to. It was an accident," Patterson's reply was muffled. "I didn't know he was in here."
"Confess Patterson!" Jarod taunted.
"I thought he was Paul Sawyer," Patterson cried. "I never meant for anyone to get hurt. I was just going to keep Sawyer there until he promised to give me the claim."
"Then, why did you leave?" Jarod asked. "You must of known it was Chris."
"I was scared. I went home to try and figure out what to do. Then, they asked me to be on the search party," Patterson replied. "By the time, they did find the boy it was too late."
"Why didn't you tell them where he was?" Malorie asked.
"I- I'm not sure," Patterson answered. "I made a mistake and I'm sorry!"
"Well, sorry isn't good enough!" Jarod yelled. Jarod and Malorie exited the mine.
"Shouldn't we tell him that he could just push those rocks out of the way and get out?" Malorie asked.
"Nah," Jarod replied. He took a taped recorder from his pocket and put it in the manila envelope. "Once we get this to the police, they'll go over to the mine."
"We can take my car back to Fairbanks," Malorie replied. Jarod nodded and they went over to where Malorie's car was parked. They stopped at Jarod's hotel, where he picked up his silver case.
Malorie and Jarod were just coming out of the police station when a black car pulled up to the curb. Miss Parker, and Sam, the sweeper leaped out. "Jarod!" Miss Parker yelled. Jarod took off down the sidewalk. "Sam! Get him!" Miss Parker yelled. She ran down the sidewalk after Jarod. Malorie jumped in her car and drove after them.
Jarod dashed around corners and ducked in alleys and dodged the people on the streets. However, Miss Parker stayed right behind him. Finally he dashed into a building. It was a clothing store. Miss Parker and Sam followed him in but couldn't find him. "Go that way!" Miss Parker told Sam pointing to the left. She took off in another direction.
Suddenly Miss Parker heard a train whistle. She dashed outside to see a train pulling away from the station. Malorie was waving good-bye. Jarod waved from a window in the first railroad car. "Bye Jarod!" Malorie yelled.
Miss Parker glared and pushed her hair away from her face. Miss Parker turned to Malorie and gasped. Her eyes widened.
"Glad to finally meet you, Miss Parker," Malorie replied, with a smile. Miss Parker looked confused. "I know it's a little mind boggling. Why don't you come over to my house and I'll explain it to you the way Jarod explained it to me." Miss Parker nodded. She was set on finding out why Malorie and her looked exactly alike.
* * *
Two Days Later
Jarod dialed from his cellular phone. "Hello Malorie," he said.
"Jarod, great to hear from you," Malorie replied. "I've really been wanting to thank you. It was nice to meet Miss Parker. How are you?"
"Great," Jarod replied. "How are the Sawyers?"
"Paul Sawyer has been cleared and welcomed back into the community and Patterson has been arrested," Malorie answered. "So, what have you been up to?" Malorie looked out the window to see Mount. McKinley.
"I've been keeping busy," Jarod replied. He shot a marble and knocked two out of the circle.
* * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker entered Sub-Level 5. "Miss Parker, your finally back," said Sydney.
"Yes. Broots, what did you want?" Miss Parker asked.
"Someone just filed a report for a breech of security on Sub-Level 27," Broots replied.
Miss Parker and Sydney glanced at Sydney. "Well, do they have any leads?" Miss Parker asked.
"No, not yet anyway," Broots replied.
"Good." Miss Parker was getting ready to leave when a man walked in with a package for her. Miss Parker set it on a desk and opened it. It was filled with marbles.
"Just thought you might enjoy these, Jarod," was written on a note inside. Miss Parker looked at the marbles, and for a split second, she smiled.
Please read the sequel: Nightmares