Examine

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/your-daily-word-prompt-examine-april-17-2019/

Several hours later, having hiked through dense mountainous terrain, the two sleuths stopped, taking a quick break before continuing on.  They’d examined every inch of the pathway since finding the boot print hoping to find another clue.  So far, nothing.  It irked Nigel.  Although he wasn’t given to second guessing himself, he wondered if the boot print were a plant.  He looked at the picture he’d taken with his cell.  Right depth for a man walking, which to him at least, indicated it had been worn at the time the impression was left.  It was altogether frustrating they hadn’t found anything since.  Roland undoubtedly left that print.  That there was only one, his alone, worried Nigel.

“Are you thinking about the boot print too?”  June asked watching him stare at his cell.

“Yes, as a matter of fact.”

“I keep wondering if Roland is wandering alone.  I mean, why else would we find only one print, his and only the left foot? Why else are we only finding clues he could have left?”

“Very good question, June.”

“It doesn’t make sense.  Are we missing something here, Nigel?”

“If we are, I’m not sure as yet, what!” 

“We’ll have to stop soon though, it’s getting too dark to find clues.”

“Yeah, I know.  I only wished we could move faster.”

“We’ve been very thorough, June, if there were some to find, we’d have found them, I’m sure of that.  Someone is making every effort to leave traces.”

“What they’re doing is very dangerous.  If their captor finds out, he could do away with either or both, couldn’t he?”

Nigel was never one to skirt the truth and replied, “It’s definitely a possibility.”

“Because we’re only finding clues that seem to come from Roland, I can’t help but wonder if they split up into two groups and we’re dealing with more than one man.”

“It is a consideration.”

“When were you going to mention it?”

“It’s only one possibility, June.  Perhaps Jackson is being monitored more closely or his restraints are tighter.  If he’s the target and the reason for the abduction, they’d want to make sure they have him secured.”

“That makes Roland expendable, doesn’t it?”

“Although that is feasible, they’ve taken him and kept him too, when they could have as easily left him out of this.  Too late now, he can identify them so they can’t take the risk of leaving him behind.  Perhaps they need him.”

“What for?”

“To ensure Jackson’s cooperation for one.”

“I know Jackson would do everything in his power to protect Roland.  I also thought you know, he could be hurt, and they need Roland to help keep Jackson moving.”

“As puzzle pieces go, they are interesting.  The question is, do they create a whole?”

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