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Secrets, Lies and Private Eyes

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oOo


Jake was beyond frustrated. His evening was rapidly going from bad to worse while the clock advanced relentlessly. The docks were fairly deserted at this time of night, but he had managed to run afoul of security personnel twice already and had narrowly escaped being bitten by a guard dog. Even for him, that qualified as a pretty bad night. And he didn't have much to show for his troubles either.

The few cargo ships whose departures he had been able to confirm all seemed unlikely places for Calvin to stow away on due to their unsuitable destinations. Nowhere had he come across any mention of the name Dixon, so in truth, he was nowhere. He didn't even know if Calvin was going to meet Dixon in St. John's. The ambush had taken place almost eight hours ago, which gave Calvin a good head start if he had indeed left town with Leslie.


Jake checked his watch. It was 9.27 p.m. - only thirteen minutes until Calvin and Leslie were to meet the mysterious Dixon. Jake was cold and very much exhausted, but he refused to give up, not while there was any hope left that he would find the missing clue in time. Pushing himself off the wall he had been leaning on for support, Jake resolved to keep going for as long as it took when his cell phone chirped, announcing a text message.


Jake frowned when he couldn't identify the number the message has been sent from. However when he read the short text, cold and exhaustion were instantly muted with the renewed rush of adrenaline at this unexpected development.


The text message read:


Meet me tonight at 9:45 p.m. at Hayworth shipping company behind warehouse 4. Come alone.
Leslie


Jake wasn't stupid, he knew that keeping the appointment meant walking into a certain trap. But it was also his only chance to catch Calvin once and for all. Only by handing him over to the police as living proof could he be sure that Leslie would be exonerated.


oOo


"You're insane!" Mal yelled into the phone. Rose, who hadn't been sure who was on the other end of the line until then was now fairly certain that it was Jake. Only he managed to provoke that kind of reaction on Mal's part that quickly.

"It's a trap and you know it," Mal went on, then listened for a few moments before speaking again.

"You can't know that for sure. What if Calvin isn't even there? What are you going to do then? You're going to get yourself killed that's what. You..." Mal broke off, pulling the phone away from his ear.

"Jake's hung up on me," he told Rose, sounding incredulous and angry at the same time.


"Come on," he said, grabbing his coat and tossing Rose hers. Rose caught the garment, somewhat surprised. "What's going on?" she asked as she followed her husband out the door.


"Jake's about to get himself killed," Mal replied cryptically.


oOo


The message purporting to be from Leslie had arrived so late that Jake barely made it to the meeting point on time. Any ideas he might have had to check the area out in advance were effectively worthless as there simply wasn't time. It was 9.40 p.m. when he pulled up to the property of the Hayworth shipping company. Ignoring the no parking sign next to where he'd stopped the car, he got out and approached the front gate. There was no security guard in sight, but the place was still locked up tight. Jake quickly considered his options. Normally, he would have scaled the fence enclosing the area fairly easily, but in his present condition, there was no way he could do so. At least not without help. Granted it had been him who had hung up on his father, but Mal hadn't been willing to help him out anyway.

Well, there was another option, he realized as he looked around. He got back in the car and brought it up all the way to the barbed wire fence. Grabbing a blanket from the car's boot, he climbed first into the car's roof and from there tossed the blanket onto the barbed wire of the fence, before, with considerable effort, climbing over the fence and dropping down on the other side. Cursing the precious minutes the maneuver had cost him, Jake broke into a run. He had yet to find the warehouse in question.


oOo


Mal drummed his fingers on the steering wheel of the van while they were waiting for a traffic light to turn green. He'd driven considerably faster than the speed limit dictated the entire way so far, but it wasn't going to be enough. They only had two minutes left until a quarter to ten.


"Give me your phone," Rose who had remained silent the entire time, suddenly said


"What for?" Mal asked, the words coming across sharper than he'd intended. Rose let it slide, knowing that it had been a long day for all of them and that he was worried about Jake, even if he wouldn't admit it.


"I'm going to call the police," she said.


"What are you going to tell them?" Mal asked, keeping his eyes on the traffic light ahead as he tossed Rose the mobile phone.


"I'm going to report a suspicion person near warehouse 4 of the Hayworth shipping company," Rose replied. "We'll probably get there first anyway, but just in case we need back-up later on," she added.


oOo


This time, Calvin was taking no chances, much to Leslie's chagrin and increasing desperation. They had returned to St. John's around 9 p.m. without incident. At this point, Leslie had been hoping that they would be stopped by the police, but Calvin obeyed the speed limit and nobody bothered them, leading her to believe that the police probably didn't have a description of Calvin's car. If they had, she doubted that they could have driven unhindered for half a day.

It was possible that they had just been lucky, but Calvin didn't seem the type to rely on luck alone. Still, he was probably improvising at this point and Leslie kept hoping that he would make a mistake and give her an opportunity to escape. She now cursed herself for not having tried to do so earlier at the farm when Calvin had been rattled by the death of the two men. It was possible that she would go to prison if she ran, but she would much rather take her chance at trial than spend the rest of her life with Calvin. Although, she considered morbidly that might not be such as long time after all as she had no intention of actually killing Jake. Failing this test of trust, she wasn't sure what Calvin would do to her. On some level, she suspected, he knew she wouldn't follow through with it and that was why he didn't trust her.


After their return to town, they made for the harbour district and soon stopped in front of a large iron gate. Calvin got out of the car, taking the key with him and locking Leslie inside. Leslie took the opportunity to rummage through the glove box, but found nothing that looked like it might be of the slightest use to her. She had just snapped the lid of the glove box shut when Calvin returned. Without a word, he got back into the driver's seat. The gate swung open a moment later, Leslie managed to catch the name, Hayworth Shipping in the side mirror as they drove onto the darkened property.


Calvin appeared to know where he was going as he expertly navigated the maze of warehouses and shipping containers that seemed to randomly litter the open spaces. After a minute or two, he stopped the car behind a shipping container. He climbed out of the car, walked around back and opened the boot. Without wasting an instant, Leslie jumped out of the car and, as fast as she could manage with her injured ankle, began running in the opposite direction.


oOo


Despite the fact that he was now technically out of time, Jake slowed down as he came within sight of warehouse 4. His body was letting him know that running really was not something he should be doing, judging by how much it hurt to breathe and by how his legs felt suspiciously like they were about to collapse under him at any moment.


While he didn't exactly have a plan yet, he didn't intend to walk straight into a certain trap. The maze of shipping containers provided ample cover as he approached the meeting place. Spots were starting to dance in front of his eyes as he was breathing in great gasping breaths of air. He braced himself against the edge of a shipping container, resting just for a moment when he saw a shadow appear seemingly out of nowhere and barrel straight into him. The impact was surprisingly solid, knocking Jake to the ground and leaving him pinned down by the weight of whatever had run into him.


The impact jarred his tender ribs and for a moment, all Jake was aware of was pain. Just about when he was sure that he was going to pass out, the pain receded slightly and his mind started to clear again. He tried to shove away the obstacle and get back on his feet, but it stubbornly clung to him.


"Jake!" The familiar voice reached his ears and Jake stopped struggling out of sheer surprise.


"Leslie?" he asked, not able to really believe his ears. It was dark, but he could just about make out Leslie's face.


There was no time for them to enjoy the reunion however as a gunshot suddenly sounded not far off.


"We've got to get out of here," Leslie urged, keeping her voice low.


"Agreed," Jake whispered just a second gunshot, closer this time, pierced the nightly silence.


Jake grabbed Leslie's hand and the two of them, more stumbling then running, made for the front gate.


TBC