“It’s time, Steven.”
“No. I still need it.”
Yarrow rubbed the bridge of her nose. “We said seven years, no more.”
“Good luck finding it. Remember the fine print. It’s mine for another seven years if you don’t locate it in three days.” He hung up.
Yarrow shrugged as she closed her phone. “Anyone surprised?”
“And disillusion fills thy heart at all things human.” Thorn patted her shoulder reassuringly. “Any luck, Rose?”
Rose shook her head. “This one has issued a challenge, my sisters. I have found nothing on the artifact’s location anywhere on the Internet nor in his company’s files. I’m searching his personal computers now.”
“You assume he would record such information anywhere besides his head. We can’t see into their minds just yet,” Yarrow said.
“Something to work toward. In the meantime,” Thorn took her seat and motioned for Yarrow to return to her desk, “we hunt.”
Rose murmured, “And I can fade worlds in and out with my mixing patterns, letting the earth spin.”
Yarrow set to work spinning all known information on Steven, his movements for the last seven years, credit card transactions, and more. Rose gathered the threads and started weaving a tapestry while Thorn cut away extraneous information. A timeline translucent as spider web hung before them when they were through.
Thorn circled it. “He would have hidden it shortly after he was certain it worked. Overlay information on his company.”
Rose wove another layer. “There are a few points where the patterns form an interesting counterpoint. See here? Announcement of a new product followed by a mysterious vacation. Here is another one.”
“Here’s another,” added Yarrow. “Where do we start then?”
Thorn studied them. “Do they have anything in common?”
“He seems to have fallen off the grid for a few days each time. It will be hard to piece it together, but there is always a trace,” said Rose.
Yarrow nodded. “I’ll pull up video surveillance footage starting from last known location and spread out from there.” She set to spinning, pulling thread from data across private and public networks. “The oldest data will be spotty but, as Rose likes to say, nothing is ever completely removed from the Internet.”
Rose wove the new threads into a map layer. “I’ve traced his movements each time and connected the dots. We have three distinct journeys but they overlap in three places.”
Thorn studied the routes. “A bank, a gas station, and a state park.” She pulled forward the details on the locations. “The first time, the order is park, station, bank. The second and third trips were bank, station, park, station, bank.”
Yarrow said, “He appears to have a safety deposit box under an assumed name at a bank in Red Bluff, California. Security cameras picked up his visits. He’s carrying a bag with him but I can’t tell if it’s empty before or after he visits the vault.”
Rose said, “I’ll take a look. It’s amazing where a wee ant can go.”
“The gas station is in Medford, Oregon. Security cameras show him filling up his gas tank there – cash transaction,” continued Yarrow. “But he does visit the restroom each time.”
Thorn shrugged. “Probably coincidence. I’ll check it out, just in case.”
“Then that leaves me the Cape Arago State Park. I’ll have a chat with the locals.”
Yarrow is quoting from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Project Gutenberg Etext, Copyright 1990-1993, World Library, Inc.
Rose is quoting from The Seventh Octave : The Early Writings of Saul Williams, Moore Black Press, New York, New York, 1998′
Thorn quotes from Sappho : One Hundred Lyrics by Bliss Carman, Project Gutenberg EBook, May 2004
Copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved