Kerri called Belinda. She didn’t know what else to do. James and Sally had left on vacation the morning after he’d come home. They’d be gone for a week and the office was closed. No one knew where David had gone. Miller and Dirk said to just sit it out, that David had gone a little off the deep end before, and always came back in about 24 hours. Kerri had waited 72 hours and had lost what little cool she had. Belinda said she’d check with her contacts and see if they knew anything. Kerri thanked her and tried to decide how to spend the time until Belinda called.
Belinda made the first of two calls. “Hello, this is Belinda. I need to speak to Lord Duncan,” she said into the phone. “Yes, I’ll wait.” Belinda decided that the hold music was insipid and whoever had chosen it should be hanged. She paced. The music stopped, and Lord Duncan’s voice replaced it. Belinda explained what had happened, listened to what Lord Duncan instructed and then hung up. She called Kerri five minutes later and told her that an investigation had started. She never mentioned who it was that was leading the investigation.
Fifteen hours later, Belinda met Lord Duncan at the airport. From there, they drove up into the mountains. In the resort town she rented another car. Lord Duncan pulled out a map and compared what she knew of David’s location with his information. She did not bother to ask him how he’d triangulated David’s cell phone signal. Nor did she question him in any manner. She simply answered questions. Once he had the information needed, he dismissed her. She had her instructions and she followed them to the letter. No matter the length of time that had passed, Lord Duncan was still her Dom. She drove home.
Lord Duncan checked his phone once more for the GPS location his contact in the SAS had provided him with on short notice. He could have gotten it a little more conventionally, but he didn’t want to waste time. As far as he knew, Boris had been in charge now for over a week. Cresting the hill, he caught sight of the cabin. Sunlight glinted off window glass. He crouched, pulled out his binoculars and swept the area. There was movement off to one side. Boris.
He watched as Boris worked methodically around the cabin. To the casual eye, he was enlarging the fire breaks. To the trained field op, he was clearing undergrowth that might hide the enemy. It amounted to the same thing. The chainsaw roared to life. Trees began to fall. The field of view between the cabin and the road didn’t change, but it did between the cabin and the lake. Duncan watched as Boris sectioned the trees, dealt with the branches and smaller sections of the trees and how he set the logs to cure. If Duncan didn’t know better, he might assume that he was in Russia and looking at a dacha out in the Taiga. Duncan put away the field glasses and headed for the far side of the lake.
Once there, Duncan prepared himself. The car was hidden and he fetched the gear bag from the trunk. Stripping off, he stuffed his clothing into a dry sack and sealed it tight. Then he began the slow scull to the rock. Once there, he began to feel around the base of the rock until he found what he expected. He pulled the sealed plastic bag with the 9mm out of the niche just below the water line. He put it on the backside of the rock with his dry sack and then sculled over to some half submerged logs. He grabbed double handfuls of decayed goo from under them and stuffed the niche full. When he was done, he rinsed off, and standing on the backside of the rock, dried off, dressed and climbed to the top to await Boris.
Boris had spent the afternoon building what looked like fence bases on the edges of the clearing around the cabin. He’d cleared brush, dug a shallow ditch and then pinned the first two logs of a fence in each section. He adjusted them with rocks. By the time the sun had nearly set, he was filthy and ready for a swim. He put away his tools and headed for the lake.
When he got to the lake, he threw off his clothes and swam out to the rock. As he breeched the surface, a scent hit his nose. Victorian Lime Cologne. From Taylors on Bond Street. He froze and his hand reached into the niche to grab the gun he’d hidden there, knowing there was only one person he knew that wore that scent. Lord Duncan.
Instead of finding his gun, his hand sunk into a sticky mass. Pulling his hand back, he found it covered with rotting vegetation, mud and decayed goo. He shot back a few feet to see Lord Duncan sitting calmly on top of the rock. His white hair was barely visible in the deepening twilight. His khaki trousers were dry as was his Oxford cloth shirt and the subdued tweed jacket. Boris noted with irritation that the button on the jacket was still hung cockeyed.
“Hello Boris, you never call. You don’t write, so I came to visit. What do I find, but that you are exhausted. Therefore, I expect you to go home and get some sleep. I will be at your quaint abode in the morning. I will arrive at 8am. I will bring breakfast. I expect you to be ready to talk,” said Lord Duncan.
Boris treaded water staring up in shock at the small man.
“Go on. Be a good lad. Get some rest,” Lord Duncan said.
Boris blinked, and swam back to shore.
After Boris had dressed and run up the hill, Duncan slowly descended the rock, undressed, and replaced his clothing in the dry sack. Then he cleared the niche he’d filled with lake goo, and replaced the 9mm in just the way it had been when he found it. Then he slowly sculled back to the other side of the lake. Once he reached the other side, he walked over to his rental car where he rinsed off in clean water, dried off, and dressed. He got in the car and drove close to the cabin. Duncan observed that the lights were out. He drove down the mountain to his hotel.
Boris lay on his bed. He heard the car drive off, and knew that Duncan had left. He lay there thinking. Thinking, because sleep was the last thing on his mind. At some point in the early hours, he drifted off into a fitful doze.