1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
I handed the chocolaty concoction to our stricken friend, whose voice, and redness of features still bore witness of his recent ordeal.
Lucas and I sat down and everyone was quiet for a bit. I could see several heads nodding as if they were about to fall into a dream. The hour was of course by now quite late. Maybe I should have chosen coffee over alcohol.
Eventually, Lucas looking at Jesse, spoke up, “Looks like Alan’s caught your mood.”
“I mean he’s seeing stuff too. Just said something about lights out on the lake.”
“You saw ‘em too!”
“I tell ya, they called them up, called them up right up out of the lake! I saw them with their gizmo out at da rocks about a mile from here. The look of ‘em, I nearly hollered, I nearly ran back home, and woulda too if it hadn’t been for that mut…”
“Hold on, hold on, Jesse. Let’s start things from the beginning. How did you end up out here? This area technically doesn’t exist.”
There was a pause as the rustic gathered his thoughts.
“Me n Jumper were trackin pigs. I almost was on top of em too but the dog was acting up, getting goofy in steps, like somethin had grabbeh a hold of his brains, anyway, I could hear em snorting just a few yards away, then suddenly he yelped and jetted off deep deep into the woods, headin west from what I remember.”
“Yeah, we’re more or less sixty miles west of Foley.”
“Sixty miles…! No, no way, I wasn’t a walkin’ for longer than an hour and had been trackin maybe since three in the afternoon.”
“Hmm…well did you drive up to Totten’s cabin like usual?”
“Well that’s twenty miles west of Foley.”
“There ain’t no way that I walked longer than a couple of miles before I saw em….”
“Maybe so, but what happened afterwards….”
I was getting annoyed.
“Ok, hold on! Like I was saying let’s keep things chronological…so, you were out pig hunting, your dog freaked out, and you saw them…”
The giant hunter paused again to find his place in the story.
“…yea so Jumper ran off, and that’s Totten’s favorite dog, and he’d have my hide if I lost him. So I gave up the pigs which were spooked by his antics anyhow and I chased that damned mut. It wasn’t hard cause he would pause every once in a while and turn in weird little circles like he was trying to make up his mind on somethin. But…whenever I was on top of him he shot off again, always headin west, I always keep my GPS and compass on me, direct beeline west.”
He sipped the cocoa for a while, obviously enjoying it, letting the steam soothe away the trace of CS. I grinned as he shot me a venomous look.
‘Hey, if you trespass on private land in Appalachian hills…tear gas is probably the best outcome…’ I thought to myself.
“It was pretty soon that I realized that this was the way to old Luckadoo’s lodge.”
“How do you know about Luckadoo? About this place?”
Pierce burst out in a chuckle. “That porch mason!”
“Deacon Mitchum…that’s the connection to spooky Doo. He was never well liked by the brothers here… and the Deacon aimed to find out what the hell that icy Brit was doin’ in Foley. Jesse’s dad is real good at ingratiating himself, he even broke down the batards classic English reserve… God, this must have been years ago though.”
“I was about six at the time that dad n me were invited out here for a turkey shoot.”
“God, William must have been ancient, if you were six, what’s that 2003, he must have been nearing eighty, hell ninety, no no, he was about the same age at the time as Lord Russel was when he passed, three years shy of a hundred.”
“Well, he didn’t look much older than Officer Fabre over there…” Jesse interjected.
“Really! I’ve been practicing here since ’78 and he was already getting grey then.”
“Well, there was a touch of grey in the hair.”
“A touch! The man you saw wasn’t Luckadoo!”
“Oh, yeah, now I remember that was Mr. Luckadoo’s son.”
“Ah! Of course, 2003 is when Luckadoo died and his slacker son took over the estate.”
“Yeah, he was talkin about plans of turning this into a huntin’ resort with discounts for the locals. He was real nice. But my dad kept on tellin’ me stories bout that whole clan, said they was no good, involved with some business havin to do with some kinda Dawn back in England or somethin, anyhow..”
“Discounts for the locals, old bastard musta turned in his grave twice.”
I recalled the man I’d met when Thornton was negotiating to have us sequestered here.
The land, the lake, and the lodge didn’t see the plans the squire imagined. There was a provision in the will which he found distasteful. But duty was duty, and the only protest Thorton recalled from the heir was a furrowed brow, as the land was publicly noted to have been placed in the care of ‘The Army Corps of Engineers.’
Classic DARPA shenanigans. But, that was the funny thing. There was no need for the son to know anything about the real intent of the land, the real reason for all the NDA’s.
I’d never thought about it. Why did Lucas and I have to meet Henry? Now that I thought about it, it was almost like we were reporting to him, Thorton too..I’d never seen a subservient side of him before. What was this…and NASA…?
“Ok, ok!” I said as annoyance broke me out of my reverie. “So, you knew about this place, had been here before, and ended up heading in this direction looking for a dog you’d borrowed, then you saw something…”
“Yea, yea, then I saw them…”
His eyes turned distant.