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June woke at first light but not before Nigel. Between the heavenly scent of freshly perked coffee and the added aroma of a simmering breakfast, she couldn’t resist and peeked out at him. All thoughts of sleep fled. Rising from her sleeping bag, she smiled, “Good morning. Whatever your cooking smells heavenly.”

“There’s enough for two.”

Watching her pull herself from the sleeping bag and roll it up, Nigel couldn’t resist, “I thought the saying was ‘the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach’.”

“Don’t believe everything you hear,” June responded mirthfully.

“There’s enough for two.”

Watching her pull herself from the sleeping bag and roll it up, Nigel couldn’t resist, “I thought the saying was ‘the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach’.”

“Don’t believe everything you hear,” June responded mirthfully.

June’s mind was a whirl of thoughts while emotions swirled around her. While her concern at finding the two men she cared about preferably in one piece was uppermost in her mind, her second thought was the unexpected attraction she felt for this man. His diligence was unquestionable. Nigel knew what he was doing and his background as a former cop was an absolute asset. He never took any scenario at face value but quickly considered the incident from every possible angle. She liked that.

They ate in companionable silence and were nearly finished when Nigel suggested she tell him more about her brother and his friend. June looked questioningly across at him. He remained silent, sipping coffee, waiting.

June filled him in on their exploits highlighting a variety of hiking and trekking expeditions they’d undertaken followed by a more detailed explanation of their combined abilities and how important her brother’s photography was to him.  She left nothing out and when she’d finished,  Nigel was left in little doubt that both were as experienced as she’d indicated during their first meet.

With a nod of mutual consent, they agreed to pack up and carry on, heading out side by side.  Nigel had more questions, “Since both seasoned hikers, how would they get a message out?  If they were in trouble or danger?”

“Believe me, I’ve given this a great deal of thought;  it’s the reason I can’t help feeling something sinister has happened.  One of them would have made sure the injured party was well stocked with supplies blankets and gear then go for help.”  June outlined an incident that had transpired about a year or so previously in which a team member had broken their leg in a fall and they’d followed protocol to the letter since everyone’s safety was a priority on every hike.  

Another day whizzed by without finding any further clues and it was frustrating that due to the dense forest surrounding them, their time was shortened to too few hours before it became too dark to continue, not that it was unexpected, just annoying.  June reminded herself, it is what it is.   

Taking Roland’s notebook from her inside pocket, she handed it across to Nigel explaining where and when she’d found it before adding, “I was ecstatic when I discovered Roland’s notebook, really, it’s short of miraculous.  The additions don’t belong to either Roland or Jackson and that has me worried.    Someone took it and wrote it in whether in their presence or afterward I can’t say.  I can only surmise that somehow Roland managed to get it back and took care to hide it.  After all, it wouldn’t be in anyone else’s best interest.”  As an afterthought, she added, ” Maybe you’ll have more luck deciphering it,” noting the surprise reflected in his eyes as he took the book and began reading.

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Vivid

Sat Feb 8 , 2020
Macey’s crime scene photography was vivid and detailed.

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