This story started here.
I heard the man take the box into the other cabin. There were no windows on that side of my cabin, so I couldn’t see him, but he couldn’t see me either.
I quickly made sure I had everything packed up and ready to go. When he moved, I wanted to be ready to follow him, if at all possible.
Then I sat at the table in the middle of the room and considered four questions.
1. Was this going to break the case?
2. If this was going to break the case, is that why my employer had sent me here? Was this all part of her master plan?
3. If this was a coincidence, and it broke the case anyway, was she going to pretend that it had all been part of her master plan?
4. Was this guy armed? I couldn’t be sure but I thought about how his wet clothes had clung to him as he’d waded ashore and pulled his boat onto the beach. I thought I would have seen the shape of a gun, the way I’d seen evidence of a wallet, keys, and some other small items. And I knew there wasn’t a gun in or around the cabin he was in.
There was no sound from the other cabin and I wondered what he was doing in there. Had I left any evidence of my search?
Then, somewhat belatedly, I realized what he was probably doing. He was waiting, as I was. I was waiting for him, and he, not aware of me (I hoped), was waiting for it to get darker.
If, as seemed likely, he was making himself up to look like Manfred’s ghost, that apparition would have a lot more impact after dark.
Why he was doing this (if he was) was beyond me to figure out. Manfred had wanted spooky events to happen so he could make money by making them stop. That didn’t seem to be a viable scheme anymore.
Then, I heard something from the other cabin. It sounded like the front door opening and then closing again.
I glanced out the glass door to the beach and I didn’t see anything. The sailboat was still there. I went to the front door, opened it a little, and looked out. I wanted to be cautious, but all the caution in the world wouldn’t be much consolation if I let him get away.
I saw nothing moving. I stepped outside and looked toward the other cabin. The door was closed, and my eye was not being drawn to any motion anywhere.
Okay, this was a potential disaster. I would literally never hear the end of it if he got away from me.
I stepped away from the cabin, and I saw a dark-clad figure vanish around a bluff, walking along the beach.
I couldn’t follow him that way — there was no cover, and if he’d turned around for any reason he’d have seen me. I decided to assume that he was on his way to Heron House, and I quickly trotted up the dirt road in that direction, moving as quietly as I could.