Tuesday 18 – Wednesday 19 August 2015
It had taken two shots to bring down the kid who owned the SUV in Jim’s garage. He was a runner, and had darted in and out of the trees around the edge of the clearing. The other male was a simple shot to the back of his right leg. It brought him down instantaneously. Thankfully, a rifle butt to the head stopped both men from screaming.
The women had taken some work. Like the kid who owned the SUV, they had run. It made little difference with the rifles and sights that Claymore had set up. As an experienced hunter, and undoubtedly the best in the state, he’d taken them out quickly, and with little effort. The trick was going to be getting the bodies into his 4×4, and moving them to his hunting cabin without being seen. One body was simple enough; he could move it undercover of darkness. Four bodies, two of which were male, with the potential of them waking during transportation was a different story.
He worked on the men first, gagging them to prevent screaming, and then binding their hands and feet as tightly as he could without cutting off their circulation. The women were second bound and gagged, but first into the tray of the 4×4. He roped their feet, and dragged them the short distance from Potter’s Clearing to his truck. When they were safely stashed away, he returned to the clearing for the men. A rifle butt to the head of the kid he brought down with one shot rendered him unconscious again. Although they were wounded, he’d learned from experience that these college kids could still pack a mighty punch when they were scared.
* * * * *
‘Tom, what do you expect to find this time? The body’s gone, the sites been cleared, there’s nothing here for us.’
Passmore ignored her for a moment. He lay on the ground near the spot where the latest body had been dumped.
‘What the hell are you doing, Tom?’ Matilda asked.
‘Just wanted to get an insight, perspective if you like . . . what our last victim might have seen. Maybe there’s something that we’re missing about this that might just help us get the guy who’s doing it.’
‘So lying where the corpse was discovered is gonna help you with that? You’re a freakin’ weirdo, Tom.’
‘Give me a couple of minutes, Matty. I know we’re missing something . . . I know it, I know it, I know – holy shit, I think I’ve just found it.’
He rolled his body to the left, and pointed beyond towards an odd grouping of trees. Matty looked in the direction her partner was pointing.
‘I don’t see a shitting thing, Tom, other than freakin’ trees.’
‘Yep, that’s exactly right. Look detective. There’s a bunch of trees that seem nice and symmetrically grouped over there.’
She struggled to see what Tom had set his eyes upon. ‘The fuck are you looking at, Tom?’
He groaned, and struggled to get to his feet. ‘Help me up, Renner. My knees aren’t what they used to be.’
Matty grasped his outstretched hand, and yanked Tom to his feet. He sighed in relief, brushed his clothing down, and strode towards the trees.
‘Come on then. Follow me, partner.’
Twigs and leaves crunched under their feet as they made their way to the grouping of trees.
‘This, my dear Matty, is completely and utterly out of place,’ he said.
‘How are trees out of place in the woods?’ she asked.
‘Have you ever seen an almost perfectly symmetrical grouping of trees in a forest?’ replied Tom. Matty shrugged. She neither knew the answer nor did she care.
‘Matty, think about it,’ Tom said. ‘Every other tree, or group of trees, that we’ve come across in these woods has been randomly growing, haphazardly sprouting up here and there, but right here in this very spot, where we have perfect line of sight to the location of the body dump, we have a symmetrically growing grouping of trees. Coincidence? I think not.’
‘So what the hell is this supposed to be, Tom?’
‘If I’m right, it’s a hide. Hunting season, hunter’s need a hide.’
Tom only took two more steps before a loud snap, and a searing pain shot up through his right ankle to his calf. He screamed in agony, grabbed hold of his calf, and fell to the ground narrowly missing the bear trap’s twin sister.
‘Oh Jesus fucking Christ. What the fuck? Get this thing off me, Renner. Holy shit.’ His screaming alerted Andy Jarvis to the position of the latest catch.
‘Claymore was right. Got us a couple of pigs,’ Jarvis called to Willie Hogan, the motel restaurant’s chef.
‘Better go see which one we caught, and which one we need to smack around,’ Hogan replied.
. . . To be continued . . .