Supernatural Science Fiction posted June 19, 2011 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 


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Surveillance rewards with alarming revelations,

A chapter in the book Weapon

Working The Labour Day Weekend

by SeLF

Talk about lucky. Henry and I thought we'd actually be able to sleep, day or night, in our motel unit at The Riverside Inn. It was located right at the end of the row, farthest away from the street and continuous traffic, with its bedroom next to the building's exterior wall. We parked the truck beside that wall. There was enough space left for Adam to park the big tech van next to the pickup. With his unit being right next to ours, it would be easy for the three of us to come and go about our business without disturbing other motel guests.

After checking in late Friday afternoon, we organized our tourists' outfits for scoping out Two Rivers during the day, either on foot, or driving around in the pickup. While becoming better acquainted with the layout of the town, and finding alternate routes to Sunset Vista, we would be scanning for "big black". Our patrolling clothing we tucked away in the bottom drawer of the bureau to be easily accessible.

Adam spent an hour or two checking over all the equipment in the van and making space for Henry and me to join him for nighttime surveillance. Even though most of the course participants would be in their motel or hotel rooms for the night, there could still be happenings at the mansion worth noting.

Whit had emailed us the names of Cadre members who had stayed at Melora's mansion during the past twelve months. There were six, three of which had not been there recently. Leland Stromann had been there, but now he was in the wind, and on the run. However, Chetwyn Spears and someone named Dean Kohl were currently in residence in the east wing. The name, Dean, kept bouncing around the edges of my memory. I knew I'd heard it before; I just couldn't remember in what context. I hoped either Garth or Arthur would catch sight of them over the next three days.

Lee had learned from Melora that, when the course was in session, cell phone conversations, texting, and tweeting were not allowed because of the distraction factor. Phones, laptops and Blackberrys could be used outside of class in a section of the main wing where the course was conducted, and on an outdoor patio adjacent to the main classroom. Pictures could be taken only of these two areas. The rest of the main wing was off limits to course participants, and the grounds were also cordoned off with the exception of the patio area, and a portion of the large, covered parking garage.

This was Melora's home and she had every right to maintain privacy in her personal space. Lee said she had politely turned down a request from a glossy, coffee table magazine specializing in photographing the architecture, and interior and landscaping designs of high-end homes to do a photo layout of the Sunset Vista mansion. Melora told Lee that her home, especially the main wing, was her sanctuary from all the craziness of the world. I wondered if she included the sometime occupants of the east wing and the constant presence of Still Water security guards within that description.

The three of us went out to dinner. It would have been nice to break bread with Arthur and Garth, but we needed to keep our distance so as not to arouse suspicion. After a wonderful, spicy meal at a Thai restaurant, we got in the pickup to cruise around the downtown area. I really enjoyed it because of the great layout and mixture of commercial shops and businesses with living areas like small apartment building's, or apartments located above the shops and businesses. It created a very vibrant and friendly ambience. I took many pictures; this was a place where I could thrive, even with the street traffic.

Then, towards dusk, we returned to our motel and dressed in our patrol gear. Still using the truck, we looked for different routes away from Sunset Vista. We needed to know that there were alternative getaways should we need them. It turns out that Sunset Vista proceeds a fair distance into property that has not yet been developed. Here, the street becomes a secondary road which loops through dry, sear, brush country before exiting onto the main highway which heads back south. We could use it to return to Haven Lake. Good to know. Our other way out was to go back the way we came, which involved driving south through town before accessing the main highway.

By this time, it was dark. We switched from the pickup to the tech van to do a night of surveillance with Adam. This was the first real chance for Henry and me to see our mobile command centre at work. However, this Friday night, all was quiet.

Adam was clever; farther down the street, he found a couple of large willow trees at the street's edge, close to a partially built home. He parked the van right under the long, leafy branches which helped screen it from view. Anyone who saw it would think it was private security watching over the site. A closer inspection with our binoculars revealed that what construction there was looked as though it had been done a while ago. We were right next to a fence with "NO TRESPASSING" signs that surrounded the property. A metal gate with a padlock at what would have been the driveway entrance had another sign stating the property was foreclosed by a bank. The place had a sad air of loss and abandonment about it. This would be our surveillance spot for Saturday and Sunday nights as well.

We stayed until the first, grey light of dawn appeared. Today, Saturday, would be the first full day for Arthur and Garth. When we got back to our motel, we phoned them to wish them a good one. Then the three of us had breakfast together at Tim Horton's before we retired to our respective units to get some sleep.

Later that day when I checked our emails, I found a message from Arthur. He and Garth had enjoyed meeting people from different parts of the province. Both were impressed with the insights, understanding, clarity and compassion that Melora Mulvey brought to the difficult matter of communicating successfully with people of different temperaments, personalities, and credos. It is no small task to get everyone on the same page at the same time to achieve a common goal.

I remembered some committee meetings I had been involved with where there were a couple of ambitious people hoping to use the groups as stepping stones for their political or business aspirations. Their jockeying for supremacy meant that meetings ran too long, were frustrating, and didn't always accomplish everything we hoped. These kinds of energy sucking power struggles were the reason I was so loath to attend meetings. Then Fate introduced me to these people and I discovered much could be accomplished in an atmosphere of courtesy, cooperation, and mutual respect.

Arthur's email said what he saw of her home was fabulous, that I would have loved the lunch she served with all the fresh fruit and vegetables, and he and Garth had all kinds of information sheets for us to look at after the weekend. They would return to their motel at 4:30 p.m. Security going in was standard; Melora's concern was people carrying concealed personal weapons like knives and handguns. All participants had signed legal documents stating they would not take any pictures except in the areas allowed. Then, he signed off to return to class.

We repeated our routine from yesterday -- eating, sleeping, then up and out to explore the town while keeping an eye peeled for "big black". After supper, we changed into our team gear and spent the night under the willows in the tech van with Adam. Whit called to let us know he had not found any records of Cadre members owning any other properties in Two Rivers. Whit and I were both cynical enough to believe that any other properties connected to the Cadre would be in other people's names.

There was more traffic on Sunset Vista Saturday night. Mostly it was people on their way to, and then returning from, a good night on the town, or a party at a friend's place. We were intermittently entertained by hearty laughter, loud music, and, in one instance, a rousing and surprisingly good rendition of Queen's "We will, we will rock you!" by a carload of people as they drove by. Probably members of a victorious sports team. The traffic was over by 1:00 a.m.

Nothing suspicious went on at 224610 Sunset Vista. No vehicles of any description appeared at the gate, either to get in or get out. However, as we were leaving early Sunday morning, a Mercedes Benz passed us. In the rear view mirror, Adam saw it stop at the main gate. An older man with receding white hair got out to punch in his code. We figured it had to be Chetwyn Spears.

After one of the class sessions Sunday afternoon, Garth sent an email saying there would be a large, informal farewell dinner Monday evening after the last class. He and Arthur thought it would be a good idea if we could do surveillance around dinner time just to see if any other "guests" appeared, like, maybe Cadre members. The two of them had seen Melora and an older guy, probably her father, arguing on the grounds by the east wing. They couldn't make out what was said, but they thought she yelled "your friend" at one point and it was obvious to them that Melora was annoyed. Garth speculated that they may have argued over his inviting himself and one or two of his cronies to the dinner. If Garth was right, it could be a great opportunity for us to get pictures of some of these people if they showed. It would be even better if we could get names, too.

At 10:30 Monday morning, during a class break, Arthur sent us a phone image of a local catering truck entering the estate grounds. It looked like the dinner was definitely a go.

After I informed Adam, we all slept for a few more hours to be sharp and focused for the evening's surveillance. It could turn out to be much ado about nothing. However, our past experiences had taught us when you're not expecting anything, interesting and adrenalin boosting stuff can happen.

We got into position early beneath the leaves of the weeping willows. Only two vehicles showed up. The first one was a Cadillac. We focused in with our telephoto cameras to try and get a good shot of the driver.

"Come on," Adam growled, "turn around so I can see your face."

Henry was looking closely, too. When the man had entered his code, I alone heard the acceptance beep of the security system, and then the hum of the gate opening. The well dressed, bespectacled gentleman was facing us as he got back into the Caddy.

"I know that face," exclaimed Henry. "'Tas, this is one of the two guys with Drusen that night at Haven's Haven. Remember? I went to the restroom so that I could get a good look at their faces when I was coming back to our table. Remember? I whispered to you that I thought I heard Drusen call him 'Dean'."

I did remember now. In his fifties, wiry build, full head of thick, curly, grey hair. He had been one of the men at Drusen's place, getting ready to partake of his "inventory", the young girls we rescued in a driving snow storm.

This was Dean Kohl, Cadre member, and human trafficker.

I turned to look at the second vehicle as it approached the security gate. My heart missed a beat when "big black", the predatory SUV that had stalked the streets of Haven Lake, was granted access to 224610 Sunset Vista.






Recognized


Doing surveillance is a little like that old military expression -- hours of boredom punctuated by moments of
high anxiety or pure fear.

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