Tension built as Mardi Gras approached. This would be the third year anniversary. Would there be another disappearance? Another body? Or would things remain quiet?
Michael was unsure how this third year would begin or end. All he knew was that they had to keep ever vigilant. If they even let their guard down once, they could end up with more dead bodies than they had ever had. And that would not be a good thing.
“God,” he whispered, “please let us have as good a year as we did last year.”
Justin sat down across from him. “Ready fo’ de year t’ start?”
Michael shook his head. “Not really. I just hope this year is as quiet as the last two years.”
“You ‘n me both,” the Cajun returned, “We don’ need any more disappearances. Jus’ straight homicides. An’ we don’ need any o’ dem surprise doubles dat started at the end o’ de Jane Doe case.”
Reilly appeared. “No shit. that case has been nothing but a big headache. Nothin’ makes any sense.”
Michael chuckled. “Justin, I find it kind of funny that you call it the Jane Doe Case, even though she hasn’t been proven to be the murderer. Yes, she is involved. Yes, she has changed her name every time. But those two things a murder does not make. It just means that she was the last person seen with the victims. Even if we asked, she would not be able to tell us anything. Remember, she has a case of amnesia.”
“She gives me the willies,” Reilly remarked, “There’s just something about her. Something strange. I can’t put a finger on it, but I know it’s there.”
“I agree,” Danforth piped up, “She is definitely not someone I would leave a party with. I don’t care how seductive the servers at the clubs and pubs say she was.”
Michael grinned at them all. “You know, if the killings start back up, one of you are going to have to go undercover. We need to rule her out.”
“What if she be de killer?” Justin asked. “What den?”
“I should hope that whoever goes in,” Michael looked at him, “Is aware enough to make the arrest. don’t worry, I will have at least one in there with you to watch your back…whichever one of you goes undercover.”
“I be undercover material,” Justin tempted, “I jus’ love danger. It be my middle name.”
Michael rolled his eyes. “As is reckless and foolhardy.”
Justin laughed. “You’re right, ami. I am all t’ree. As well as damn good at e’rythin’ I do.”
Reilly stifled a laugh. “Now you’re just bragging.”
Danforth nodded. “Just keep your fingers crossed. We don’t need to have this discussion later as a serious thing. I would just as soon it remain jokingly discussed.”
Michael nodded. “I second that.”
Reilly smiled. “I third it.”
Justin looked away. “Why didn’ ya jus’ say dat we all agree? did ya really have t’ be juvenile wit’ dat las’ bit?”
Reilly patted the Cajun on the shoulder. “Let’s just say that I knew it would annoy you, Bro. And I am in an annoying mood today.”
Torkelsen reemerged from hiding. His last attempt at revenge had gone south with the successful disarming of his fine work. His intended victim had been whisked away into federal protective custody. Now, he was at a quandary.
He dared not target anyone on the force. Even though he had a few scores to settle with some within the rank and file, he dared not. They all knew his handiwork. He would figure out how to deal with them another time.
At the moment, he wanted to find someone who was less desirable. Maybe a pimp. Or a mobster. Or maybe a two-bit thief.
He opened the newspaper and began to read. His eye fell upon a report about a drug dealer. He smiled. He had found his next target. Who would miss a drug dealer?
He slipped into his workshop. Soon, he would begin his surveillance. But first, he needed to get the bombs ready. He wanted to give his target a big send-off.
Morgan had planned another trip. It was an anniversary gift to Misty. Three years, they had been married. Three years they had been in paradise. Life had been a huge adventure for both of them and now he wanted to thank her for three wonderful years. He only hoped they would have more.
The week of Mardi Gras would be spent trekking through the mountains of Peru. Cuzco. Machu Picchu. The sacred Hidden City. Lima.
From there, they would extend the journey into Central America and Mexico to explore the Mayan and Aztec ruins. In all, He had planned for a three week celebration of their love that would end back in the western United States at the cliff dwellings. He waned to help her have memories that she could hold tight.
As he packed, he remembered the look on her face when he told her that they were going to go on another trip. The surprise and joy had been evident. He would never forget it as long as he lived. It had made him smile proudly.
She packed, across from him. Every now and then, she would steal a glance when she thought he wasn’t looking. Her face was lit like a Roman Candle, her excitement almost like that of a child unwrapping a present at Christmas. There was an innocence to her joy and excitement.
He had to smile at her child-like approach to their adventures. Hell. She had that same approach to their marriage. There was a sense of awe and wonder that kept it all so new.
He had decided to have the same approach. Perhaps it would keep their love new for as long as they were both alive. He only hoped so. Anything was worth trying to see that this lasted until death do us part. He didn’t want to see it end. He didn’t think he could survive it if it did.