Instead of following me to the site, I get to ride shotgun (literally) in Ranger Rick’s pristine 1989 Jeep Cherokee.
“How do you keep this thing so clean?”
He seems surprised.
“What, the Jeep? I take good care of her, so she takes good care of me.”
“You could just requisition a new one, so this one must be special.”
“We’ve been through a lot.”
“Couldn’t tell by looking at it, er, her.”
We reach the trailhead.
“So, how far in are they?”
“The bodies? Pretty near the claim. They must have been checking it out when. . .”
“Right. Let’s go take care of them.”
Fortunately, it is still early afternoon.
Plenty of light.
“Um, shouldn’t we have a CSI team or something?”
He finishes repacking a “Go Bag” of supplies.
“We’ll call forensics for extraction once I verify the find.”
Verify? Ok, now I’m feeling my proper self.
He catches my drift.
“Oh, I believe you saw something. I just have to see it myself and verify it isn’t something else.”
Arms folded, eyes squinted in disbelief.
“It’s not personal Ms. Kwan. It’s standard procedure.”
All right, fair enough. I have used that same line plenty of times.
At least this time I remember the Apiary of bees.
The bee keeper is nowhere to be found.
“Chan is not here. It’s harvest day.”
Oops. I couldn’t help myself.
“You said honey. . .”
At least now I know the bee keeper’s name.
I can still see my footprints in the mud from my earlier trek as we close in on the site.
I prepare myself for the smell.
“Are we close?”
“Um, yes, we should be right on top of them.”
“I don’t see anything. Are they obscured by debris or. . .”
I don’t even see blood.
Or the bodies.
“I don’t understand. They were right here. I even moved the branches and leaves that covered them, and I don’t even see that stuff.”
“And there was a lot of blood. WHAT THE HELL!?”