“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 why is he the only one leaving clues?”
“Very good questions, June.”
“Are we missing something, 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 much.”
“We’ve been thorough and lucky, June. Someone is making every effort at leaving clues, traces to show they’ve been here. We’re making headway,” he assured her.
“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.”
“Do you think they might have split up and we’re following one group? That 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?”
“If Jackson was the intended target, Roland’s presence might have caught them off guard. Maybe they didn’t know how to handle the situation and took him along too, or maybe they needed him.”
“To ensure Jackson’s cooperation for one, or perhaps Jackson is injured and Roland has placed himself in the thick to protect him.”
Though the conditions weren’t ideal, June was enjoying getting to know Nigel and he seemed to value her opinions and thoughts and it felt good. She hated it when men pretended her opinion mattered but when the shit hit the fan, backed away, her self-confidence too threatening.
As they trudged onward through the heavy bog, he waited until she was on secure footing before carrying on and was mindful of her progress. He seemed to sense when she was too tired to continue and thoughtfully offered a helping hand or suggested they take a break.
“Can you tell me more about Jackson?”
“Interests, hobbies, likes ‘n dislikes, associates, was he a party animal or into drugs or alcohol?
“I see where you’re going with this. You’re wondering if his actions or lifestyle resulted in something nefarious.” She paused a moment before continuing, “Jackson is Jackson. I haven’t spent a great deal of time one on one, just hanging with Roland and Jackson on occasion. He isn’t into drugs, he considered his body a temple and he doesn’t overdo alcohol either. He drinks occasionally, on special occasions, Christmas, New Year, sometimes for a special birthday party, a milestone for someone, but never more than a glass or two at most. His time was spent between cavorting around with Roland whenever they had a confirmed destination, or he worked. Jackson was determined to forward his father’s legacy.”
“Several months back, we were all together at my parent’s place. Roland came home angrier than I’d ever seen him. Getting information out of him was like pulling teeth but he did say Jackson was in a battle with a couple of board members that weren’t in agreement with the direction he was going to take the company and they were hotly contesting it.”
“Any idea who it was?”
“Roland didn’t say, but he was royally pissed off. He’d been doing some of the legwork and said he agreed with Jackson’s assessment, said it was a brilliant strategy that would put Jackson’s company in the technological forefront for generations.”
“Any idea what that meant?”
She shook her head, “No, he didn’t elaborate, just went for a run and he hadn’t returned by the time I left. I meant to ask him whether the situation had been resolved, and I never gave it another thought until now, why, do you think there could be a connection?”
“It’s highly possible. There are skeletons somewhere, and Jackson seems the most obvious. You suggested Jackson’s a straight shooter and if he went up against a couple of board members, they might have decided to take it one step further.” He paused thoughtfully then asked, “Any idea who would stand to gain if Jackson disappeared?”