Supernatural Science Fiction posted May 26, 2011 Chapters:  ...7 8 -9- 10... 

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A seminar & ominous presence on Sat. night.

A chapter in the book Weapon

Patrollers And Hunters

by SeLF

Monday night, Henry and I resumed training at the practise site. We didn't leave the loft until after 9:00 because daylight lingered until almost 10:00. With the longer summer days, there were more joggers and dog walkers using the pathway that went right by the stand of pines. As neither one of us wanted an audience, we simply blended in as walkers until total darkness sent everyone else home.

Each passing day brought both renewed energy and confidence in my abilities. Henry continued to teach me martial arts techniques which would temporarily immobilize an adversary. And my newest endeavour was trying to create forked lightning which could travel several feet. It will take time to master that skill. Let's just say observant dog walkers will notice several broken and singed or totally shattered boulders, the results from lightning strikes during late afternoon thunderstorms, caused by oppressive, humid heat rising to collide with higher, colder air. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

On Wednesday morning, I approached first Arthur, and then Lee, about the possibility of their attending Melora Mulvey's seminar. It was an introduction to the course she offered at the mansion in Two Rivers. There was no charge to attend, but it was necessary to phone and secure a seat in one of the meeting salons at the Haven Lake Community Centre, in the newer, ritzier part of town. The seminar was scheduled for this Saturday night. The course would happen over the Labour Day Weekend the following week.

After work, both Lee and Arthur dropped by the loft to discuss his participation as a way to scope out the Mulvey Mansion. We all agreed, even Arthur, that we shouldn't make any decisions until he and Lee attended the seminar. She, as Arthur's boss, would meet Melora Mulvey to assess her and the seminar material before deciding to cover the cost of the course. It wouldn't hurt that Lee, like Melora, came from old, established money. If Lee or Arthur got any bad vibes from the woman, it would end there.

Initially, he bristled at our concern and reminded us he was now of legal age and could make his own life decisions, and pay for his own courses, thank you. Lee gently reminded him that his attending the seminar, and the course, were his decisions to make. She wanted to cover the cost simply because he would be doing something potentially risky for our group that was outside of his job description as computer/security/technical support wizard. Within twenty-four hours of his declaration of independence, and after some reflection, he came around to understanding our point of view. We cared so much because he was our close friend, part of our extended family, and we loved him.

Lee Sterling contacted Melora Mulvey personally to secure two seats.

On Saturday evening, Adam and Garth in the smaller, less conspicuous, grey tech van, got to the Community Centre early enough to get a spot on the street at the edge of the complex's parking lot. They were well within reception range. Both Lee and Arthur had mini-cams, mini-mics disguised as buttons, and almost invisible ear pieces.

They stopped by the loft on their way to the seminar. Lee wore a smoke grey, slim, tailored suit with a knee length skirt and grey, two inch heels. Her cam brooch was the same colour as her deep red, silk blouse which accentuated her large, dark eyes and her black hair which she wore in a classic French twist. Lee always looked fabulous. What delighted us was Arthur in a charcoal grey business suit with a smart, baby blue shirt and blue-and-grey striped tie which matched both his shirt and suit. The tie was secured with an elegant, silver cam/tie pin. This was the kid who lived in jeans, sweatshirts or T-shirts, and running shoes when working at the Citadel. Now, he was the picture of a handsome and successful young man. I could tell he was excited about this evening because he couldn't sit still. He paced around the loft with Snugglebutt padding silently after him.

Henry whistled his appreciation for their sartorial sophistication.

Lee laughed. "Thank you. You two be careful patrolling tonight. We will talk to you tomorrow morning about the seminar and our first impressions of Miss Mulvey."

We waved as they left in Lee's ten year old Toyota Corolla. Because of her work in human rights and poverty law, she didn't think it appropriate to drive a vehicle that screamed affluence.

Frank worked the street that night, too. Because he finished just when we started, we arranged to meet at the diner where he told us about the night's events.

"It's been quiet for a summer Saturday night, which allowed me to mingle comfortably with the people out here. Most of them already know me and my work, anyway. One thing did stand out, though. While having coffee with a couple of drop-in regulars at one of the summer tables here, we noticed a large, black SUV glide by a couple of times. Very quiet engine, and all the windows are that dark, one-way glass. Big rear view side mirrors up front. Kinda creepy the way it sneaked around, especially considering its not so subtle size and colour. Predator was the word that came to mind. Like it was sizing things up. Or searching. Maybe hunting."

Frank let out a sigh of frustration. "Or, maybe it was just some insecure dude showing off his big, bad ride."

"We didn't see it on our walk down here, but we'll keep an eye out for it," said Henry.

"It's after 11:00. Have you heard from Lee about the seminar?" I asked.

"Not yet. It's probably just breaking up now, what with the signing up of interested participants, and dealing with any last minute questions. You're carrying your cell, aren't you, Henry?"

He nodded.

"You could call Adam in the van for an update."

"Lee said she'd call us in the morning," I said. "I'm just really curious about how it went."

"Look," said Frank, "I'm staying at my house this weekend because I'm catching up with paperwork regarding the shelter. I could drive you two by the Community Centre, see if the parking lot's cleared out. Adam and Garth wouldn't leave for the Citadel until the dust settled. They could give you an update and I'll drive you back here on my way home."

Frank was right. When we got to the Community Centre fifteen minutes later, there was still activity in the parking lot as the last of the seminar attendees started for home. We drove down the street which faced the back of the centre to check out any activity at the rear entrance. A couple of the centre's maintenance staff loaded boxes into the back of a white van. A man in a suit supervised. As they finished, another man in a suit and a smartly dressed woman emerged from the back exit. He escorted her to her vehicle; in the dark, it looked like a BMW. Then he and the other guy in the suit got into the van and followed the B'mer out of the parking lot. The two staff members returned to the centre and locked the doors.

Henry called Adam and Garth. "Did either of you notice a mysterious SUV around here tonight?"

"Funny you should ask," Adam replied. "A big, black one drove by a couple of times when people were arriving. Then it disappeared during the seminar. As things wrapped up, it reappeared again when we... Holy crap! It just went by us, coming your way."

The three of us ducked in our seats. Several seconds later, it cruised by.

"Thanks for the heads up," whispered Henry. "Do you have any idea of who it is?"

Garth answered. "I was able to get the plate number earlier. Whit ran it for us back at the Citadel. It belongs to a private security firm called Still Water that works for Chetwind Spears. Among their varied responsibilities to Mr Spears is providing personal protection for Miss Mulvey, and technical security for her home in Two Rivers."

"Well, I saw it scoping out 'Tas's and Henry's patrolling territory while working tonight," declared Frank.

"That would account for its disappearance for a few hours. Are they just learning the layout of Haven Lake, or are they searching for someone?"

"I wondered the same thing,"said Frank.

"Okay," said Garth, "before it comes around again, let me tell you a bit of what we overheard tonight. The two guys in the white van and Miss Mulvey are returning to the Haven Lake Resort and Casino. While Lee and she were talking, and getting along well, Melora Mulvey said she and her helpers, the two guys from Still Water, would stay overnight and return to Two Rivers tomorrow morning. Well, it is almost Saturday morning now. They probably won't get started until after nine or ten.

"By the way, the seminar, from what we could hear, was well received. Mulvey is an excellent public speaker. The skills and techniques she teaches are useful for life in general, not just in business, or your particular field of endeavour. Wouldn't mind taking it myself. Lee and Arthur will have more to tell you, I'm sure."

"Thanks, Garth," I said. "Frank's going to take us back for our patrol and then he'll head home."

"Yeah, I'm late for Shy Guy's bedtime walk."

"Okay. Henry, if we see the SUV on our way out of town, we'll call."

"Thanks, Adam. Drive carefully and we'll talk to you later."

Frank dropped us off a couple of blocks from the diner. We didn't see the SUV on our way back to this part of town and we didn't hear from Adam. We took over where Frank had left off. The homeless had become used to seeing Henry and me on patrol. Some of them even said they'd missed us while we were away. We stayed out until the bars and clubs had closed. We even helped break up a street quarrel between two inebriated bar patrons arguing over who was going to do the driving home.

Henry adroitly handled the situation. He offered to pay for a cab to take them home. The man and woman looked at Henry, and each other in surprise. They appeared to be in their late thirties and I was certain they worked hard physically for a living because they didn't have a sleek, polished look about themselves.

"You'd do that? Pay for a cab?" asked the woman, who was not as inebriated as the man. "What's the catch?"

"No catch. You're both beyond the legal limit. If either one of you gets caught driving, you'll spend the rest of the night in jail. Or worse; you could have an accident."

"We spent all our cash on a meal and drinks," the man said sheepishly.

"You're not the first to do that," I said. "What's your address?"

"Wait, how do we pay you back?" she asked.

"Just pay it forward," said Henry.

They looked pretty wasted, and tired. The man gave us their address and thanked us. Henry called a cab, gave the driver twenty dollars, and told him where to take them. The couple waved through the rear window as the car pulled away.

"Let's do one more perimeter check and call it a night," said Henry.

It was really quiet now that the downtown entertainment was closed. The diner, now a sanctuary for any insomniac customers, was the only place open. We stuck our heads in and said hello to Earl, and waved at a couple of people we recognized. Most of the homeless had retreated to their safe nooks behind buildings or in different alleys. As we walked away from the diner, the SUV cruised by us and turned right at the intersection. We turned left. We would have, anyway, because it was our route. Not a single car passed us, although there were a few that went through intesections in front of and behind us. When we reached the now permanently closed "Les Belles Femmes" strip club, the SUV glided by again. On our side of the street.

"Okay, 'Tas, follow me."

We had the advantage of being on foot. We made use of a one-way street and our knowledge of alley ways to get to the street that was two blocks from mine. We were a little winded from running and stopped to catch our breath by the side of a building. It was Henry, not I, who just happened to see the SUV turn the corner a couple of blocks ahead and start toward us. He used the fingers of one hand to touch his lips in the well known "shhhh!" signal and with the other, pulled me into the dark, recessed entrance of a barber shop. The van moved slowly and silently past us and turned left, away from the direction we were going.

My elevated heartrate told me this thing was definitely hunting.

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