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13 November 2017 @ 07:29 am
_Stone_ part 6  
 

Chapter Nine

R-job hunt

Thursday

"And please stay in the yard!" Rachel walked back inside, carefully locking the sliding glass door to the patio. "Right. Wish me luck!"

She scooped up her pile of resumes, tucked them into a file folder.

Nicole grinned. "Good luck! I ought to be out there looking too . . . but a paralegal married to an FBI Agent . . . I don't want to cause a conflict . . . and we'd like to start a family."

"So you're stuck in the house and bored to tears?"

"Meh. I do some stuff online, and tutoring at the high school. But . . . "

"It's not a glamorous law office?"

"Definitely not. It's . . . My actual job wasn't glamorous . . . and . . . I dunno. What do you do when you've got that college degree and then you find the job is boring, poorly paid, and a dead end?"

"You marry a handsome FBI Agent and move halfway across the country. Do you still paint? I remember the messes you used to let me make with your paints. I never did figure out how you made them behave and make the pictures you wanted them to be."

Nicole laughed. "You were so funny, you'd get frustrated . . . I haven't painted in years. You know what? I'm going to dig out those boxes of my art stuff, and see what I still have."

Rachel trotted out to her car, still parked at the curb. Right. I'll start at those offices and then check out the . . . umm . . . retail opportunities.

She eyed the cute guy walking down the sidewalk. Purple shirt? Must work for Handyman Central. Gee. Maybe I should apply there. It can't be worse paid than receptionist and has the advantage of working with guys with muscles. Scenic. But first I'll try those professional buildings off Seventeen.

Thirty-nine resumes handed over, half as many applications filled out, and only three brief chats with HR types, she walked the length of the big strip center filling out applications for the four stores that were hiring.

Four in the afternoon. I should go home and see if Stone hung around this time. She pushed the button to send her info to Electronics Inc, and walked back to where she'd parked, and drove down to the other end.

Hardware store or Captain Freeze? Not that I have the faintest interest in a job in a fast food joint, but a milk shake right now sounds wonderful.

Rachel opted for straight chocolate. If this passes the chocolate test, I'll start trying their exotic flavors, one by one. The inside seating area was over flowing with noisy over active children. She walked outside where there were tables . . . all occupied. One guy, sitting alone caught her eye and waved a hand at the chair across the table.

"I've got to get back to work, so I'll be out of your way in a second." He was wearing a purple shirt . . .

"Thanks. So, what is Handyman Central like to work for? I'm job hunting."

He's kind of cute. Distinctive.

"Well, I like it so far, but I've only been working here four days, myself." He popped the last bite of a burger into his mouth and started gathering up his wrappings and napkins. He glanced at a bare wrist. "Drat, I hate not having a watch. Umm, Hi, I'm Leo . . ." His gaze froze, looking over her shoulder.

Rachel tossed a glance over her shoulder. Nothing alarming that she could see, but Leo was standing up and retreating.

"Good luck with the job hunt." And he was gone, down the sidewalk, nearly running.

Well . . . that was ego crushing. Not that I want to be movie start gorgeous, but I'm pretty good looking and made up for job interviews. he might have at least looked reluctant to go. Instead of terrified.

"Dear me. Have you been abandoned?"

Rachel looked back around. Blinked. If his hair was darker he could be Leo's twin.

She answered automatically. "No, we were just sharing a table. I guess I hit their busy time."

"The Elementary Schools let out half an hour ago. The next wave—teenagers—will strike anytime now." This one had a charming smile as he sat across from her. "I'm Devon Canis, I'm a regional manager for Fast Furniture."

"Rachel Ball, job hunter. Pleased to meet you." Rachel sucked down the last of her chocolate shake, smiled as she stood up and walked back through the zoo inside to her car.

She looked over toward Handyman Central, then shook her head. "Doubt they need me. I'll apply there if I get desperate." She started her car and headed home. "And I actually spoke to two men today. Even if the first guy sort of fled in terror. I wonder what set him off?"

She grinned as her imagination went to work. "Spotted his evil twin and ran for it? Hmm, or maybe he's the evil twin?"


Chapter Ten

L

Thursday

I plastered myself to the back wall of the restaurant and got my panic under control.

I had not seen one of them. I couldn't have.

I closed my eyes. The zigging high energy spots of children, the softer glows of adults. The bright clean glow of Rachel Ball . . . and the sickly greenish-yellow glow of one of them.

Walking up to Rachel.

I started feeling dizzy and cupped my hands over my mouth. Don't hyperventilate! Pay attention! Did he see me? Or did he approach Rachel because she's beautiful and sitting alone?

Oh God. It doesn't matter.

They claim to hunt and kill women.

I forced myself to calm down. To watch as Rachel left. Drove away. And the nasty glow followed her. I'd never looked so far away . . . reached out . . . stretched to see Rachel turn up the little cul-de-sac the Kovak's house was on . . . and I saw the Bad Glow pause, then drive past, turn and pass the mouth of the cul-de-sac, again pause and then drive on.

They know where she lives.

I swallowed and tried to watch the . . . my fellow . . . Hunters of Men, they called themselves.

He passed the far side of the strip center without turning and kept going north . . . turned left, west, and drove beyond my ability to "see" him.

I let it go and opened my eyes.

Time to get back to work. And figure out how I was going to keep an eye on Rachel, and how to find them.

Figure out what to do.

***

I worked frantically the rest of the afternoon, and stayed until they closed the store. Found a dark corner to go all doggish, hid my clothes there, and headed out to track down the enemy.

North and then west. Even trotting along steadily, with a few sprints to cross streets, I was slow. He could have driven past Phoenix's city limits, through Peoria and Sun City and kept going.

But in Albuquerque they'd taken me first to a big warehouse in an industrial area. And they'd been recognizable regulars at that restaurant . . . and like me they must need to work and earn money.

I stopped to catch my breath, and close my eyes and reach way out . . . Rachel's house was a mile and a half from Handyman Central. So . . . in theory I had mentally followed that Hunter out this way two miles. So if I was one more mile past that and tried to find him . . . and failed . . . It was time to get moving. I could check every mile or so, until I got to highway 60, then jog north a mile or so and work back a bit . . .

My third stop I felt something northwest and moved that direction.

Seven sickly glows from three houses.

I kept my distance and made sure my doggy eyes were reading the street signs and house numbers right. Not that I got that close, but the numbers were jumping by fours, so I had a pretty good idea of their addresses. I limped more slowly back to the Handyman Central, detouring only to soak myself in a, probably malfunctioning, sprinkler system.

Closest to a bath I was going to get today. I was dry by the time I got back to the landscaped corner where I'd left my clothes. I curled up and slept under the bushes.



 
 
 
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2017 11:58 pm (UTC)
Hey Pam

Silly Question. I think of you as a Baen author, just because. Have you bothered to kill Joe Buckley yet? Seems like you need a named victim ....

Darqref
matapampamuphoff on November 14th, 2017 02:12 am (UTC)
I have never killed Joe Buckley.

I shall have to name a horse that. He'll be spooky, like he constantly thinks something's going to kill him.