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GLOBAL INVESTIGATIONS

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part three                                                                                                                                 Part four 

Part Five

Part Six

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part one and part two 

Vanishing
by
Anita Louise
April 2008
©

e-mail: spoonisle@yahoo.com

Sky Richmond and Bobie Parker are on a new          assignment,to search out an uncanny desert region and look for any signs of an ancient civilization. But what starts out as a routine assignment,soon may become a life and death struggle for them as well as the people in their party.

After the sea voyage, they were beginning to get back into things at Global. The feelings they share with one another run deep. It was also a time to explore and enjoy the time together in any way they could,because precious moments were few and far between.

Their ways excite Jim Dillon who is on board the dig but the man cannot help wonder if Bobie would look at him the way she looks at Sky.

If you are under 18 years of age do not read this story. It involves,adventure, mystery, romance and the love of two women.

Skylar Richmond, Bobie Parker and other characters in this story are the property of Anita Louise.  

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 She stood staring out at the vastness of the desert before her, covered by what seemed to be a soft layer of earth consisting from what she had gathered, mainly of mud sandstone and volcanic ash. Many different combinations contributed to the colors seen as one walked the land. At one time this was a regular haunt for the dinosaurs of olden time.  It was obvious many of the hills and peaks were dormant volcanoes. This truly was a land of many colors. Sky was filled with the awe that always presented itself when she journeyed to find new experiences. This was a majestic area and it was filled with all sorts of incredible information.

Dropping to her knees she took a small brush from her pack and began to remove, sand and debris that had accumulated for a long time on the figure she had spied.  She was so into what she was doing, the approaching footsteps went unheard.

"I see you found something that interests you."

Turning, Skylar Richmond gazed up at the blond blue eyed woman that watched intently. "Well, yes. But we both know what interests me most."  She reached up to brush several strands of hair off her forehead, then sat, and leaned back. 

Bobie Parker sit beside the woman, removed a water canteen from her belt and said, "Thought you might be thirsty. Jim and I set up camp about a mile back. Looks like a good place. He is radioing headquarters giving them the stats." 

Sky took the canteen and a long drink of the cool water before she handed it back to Bobie saying, "Hit the spot. I take it the small frig is still working?" 

Nodding, Bobie replied, "As long as the batteries hold, we will have cold water, even a beer or two.Tell me what-cha got there?"

Sky pointed to the dig she had begun when they first arrived. "For awhile nothing but sand and more, then sandstone and ash, really is a land filled with many things. Not sure what this is, almost  wrecked it with the shovel, even being careful. Looks to be an artifact of some kind."

Bobie crawled toward the dig, taking in the small area and spying the figure that Sky had been working on she said, "Can you imagine, being out here, all this time and from what I can see,still in fairly good condition."

Sky proffered, "The land protects but it can also destroy."  

Bobie pursed her lips, stared down at the khaki shorts she was wearing before she said,  "Sky, don't you get hot in those pants?"  

Glancing at the khaki cargo pants she was wearing, Sky replied, "No. Many pockets and I can carry a lot of things in them. At the same time, they protect my legs from ant bites, critter bites . . ." 

Chuckling Bobie cut in, "Now you are just trying to scare me."

"Nope, no scare tactic here. You did ask."

 "Well, I would much prefer you wear shorts.  Give those long sensual legs of yours a chance to breathe."

Shaking her head in disbelief but smiling at the same time, Sky said, "Love you. But when you talk like that, my mind travels to my own special wonderland and keep talking in this vein, soon I will have to take a long long break."

Bobie handed Sky the brush and said, "Come on, lets get this cleaned off labeled and bagged."

Following her Sky laughingly teased, "See how you are, I begin to talk about pleasant things and there you go, work on your mind."

Stopping, Bobie turned, eyes meeting eyes, noses almost touching as she said, "Just thought the sooner we got this done, the sooner we could take a break."  Quickly placing a soft kiss on Sky's lips she turned and crawled away.

Sky whispered to herself,  "Jim doesn't know what he was getting into when he volunteered to come."  

Three tents had been set up at the campsite, a fire pit had been placed in the center. Jim had placed lanterns around the area and actually had a nice meal prepared when the two women walked into camp.  He had been setting the makeshift table and smiled as they approached.  "Must have been some dig out there girls."

Both eyed each other then turned their attention to him.

Sky pulled up a fold out chair and sat, then said, "Why whatever do you mean Jim?"

He reached out and touched her nose with his right index finger.  "Looks like you two ate your share of dust."

It was then the two realized they must be a sight.  Bobie looked at Sky and asked, "Does my face look anything like yours?"

"Well, can't see mine but yours has its fair share of desert on it."

Bobie groaned then said,  "Good thing we brought the truck and the water."

"We do have water, but this is the desert and we should be a bit sparingly, don't you think."

"Jim,  I think it will be all right if Bobie cleans off.  The town of Puerto Springs is not that far, if we get low, you can drive in and get some or I can, or even Bobie can."

He raised an eyebrow and replied, "Town is weird if you ask me.  Not sure I want to go there but if I have to, guess I will as long as one of you goes as my back up."

Bobie thought for a second then said, "That would give you a back up but what about the one that stays here?"

Sky stood, raised her right hand and said, "We would never leave you alone Bobie, and before you say anything, I don't mind being alone for a bit."

Bobie nodded then said, "Me either but was just thinking if something were to happen out here and the person were alone, it might not be a good thing."

Shrugging his shoulders, Jim said, "Then go  dab the dirt off your face and come and eat."
  Sky walked over, placed an arm around the woman's waist and said, "Come on Parker, I'll clean up too. Be right back Jim."

He smiled watching the two walk toward the tent furthest from camp. Then he reached in the cooler and took out a beer muttering,  "Gonna be a long night Dillon."

That night after Sky showed Jim the artifact she so carefully took care of with Bobie's assistance. he smiled ear to ear.  "Looks like we are in the right spot. Looks pretty old."

"I think it is an artifact from the Triassic Era and that definitely is a long long time ago. Where there is one, there will be more."

"I will radio in tomorrow and tell them bout the find.  It will allow us to stay longer and put more effort into the dig."

Sky shook her head allowing flowing red hair to toss about before settling on her shoulders,and caressing her back. "You know Bern was not wanting this to take place. He kept saying, why go out there, nothing but desert and more desert. Had in mind to go a different direction.  Who knows this entire area could be a wealth of artifacts and knowledge."

Jim glanced toward the tent he had last seen Bobie walk into and asked, "Is she all right?"

Sky nodded. "Tired. It was a long trip out, setting up camp, helping at the dig, she is still trying to recuperate from her last ordeal. One thing about Bobie Parker, she will do her best to help  and is a big asset to this company too."

He nodded in agreement then said, "If it's all right with you, I think I will turn in also.  See you in the morn."  

Sky watched the young man walk away, he was about five four, sandy colored hair, blue eyes, skin tanned from time outdoors and a smile that would light up a dark room.  His face was sporting a new growth of follicles, she thought he was going for the rough it look. Still in all, Jim Dillon was a smart young man and fine tuned in the art of relic hunting. His computer skills were admirable and he was also active in self defense. The man was an arsenal of talent, one she was happy to have by her side.

Sky was in the third tent, making sure all the items were cataloged, checking and rechecking. It was during her last go round, Bobie Parker walked into the tent. She looked like she had been awakened, eyes looking sleepy and hair that took the blow of some toss and turning. A surprised look on her face, Sky asked,  "Something wake you?"

Rubbing her eyes, Bobie replied, "You."

Walking toward the woman, Sky tipped her head to the left  in a questioning manner and said,  "Me?  I have been in here."

"I know.  Kinda lonely out there."

Placing her hands on the woman's shoulder, Sky whispered, "Just finishing up. So many things to do.  Bern and a crew of men will be out here tomorrow, want to make sure things are ready. You should go back and try to get some sleep."

Reaching up and grasping Sky's wrists, Bobie held them for a second before she ran her hands slowly up Sky's arms. "Heard a noise out, and when you weren't there, I decided to see if you were all right."

"Probably a coyote, they do seem to take spells in traveling the land. More afraid of you than you are of them.  I am deeply touched you would worry about me."  Bobie's fingers caressing Sky's arms was turning the woman to jelly as she pulled away and walked toward the last artifact she had labeled. "We labeled it but I wanted to add a few things."

Within seconds, Bobie was pressed up against Sky's back, arms around her waist as she whispered, "What  will it take to pull you away from these?"

Turning in the woman's embrace, Sky gazed down at her and said, "When you look like that at me, and when you touch me, it lights a fire within. Woman, I am putty in your hands."

Smiling, Bobie asked, "Then you are through in here?"

"Yes. It has waited millions of years so one night will not make any difference. Let's go to bed."

Bobie grinned, "Sleeping bags are not much of a bed but they do. I really could have just laid on the ground. But you keep telling me about crawly things and I am not one to find some crawly thing on me, unless is you doing the crawling."

Taking in a deep breath and letting out a big sigh, Sky grabbed Bobie by the hand and said, "Then lets go see what moves in the night."  Both women hurried from the tent and were soon inside their own, as the lantern went off immediately.

The next morning when Sky walked from the tent, she was wearing a pair of khaki shorts, a light blue tank top and carrying a can of mosquito repellent in her left hand.   Jim was sitting by the campfire tending to a pot of coffee, wishing it to hurry up and brew. As she approached he looked up and said, "Morning, I trust you slept well."

 Gazing back toward the tent, Sky replied,  "Like a baby."

Holding back a grin but not succeeding, Jim said, "Perhaps a herd of rhinos."

At first Sky looked perplexed then recalled the times she and Bobie were non to quiet as she said, "Sorry about that.  I feel terrible, we probably messed up your night."

He poured a cup of coffee, handed it to her, then poured himself a cup. "Nope, it is nice to know someone is getting laid and enjoying it."

Turning red in the face, Sky stood, poured another cup of coffee and said,  "Taking Bobie a cup. Be right back."

Jim was drinking coffee, smiling and wishing he had someone in his life that make him look that happy.
 


When Sky entered the tent, Bobie was just pulling on her last shoe. She was sitting in a fold out chair, wearing brown shorts, blue T-shirt with the insignia of a horse on it, hair pulled back in a pony tail and looking like she just stepped out of the shower. "My you glisten this morning.  If I didn't know better, I might say you had a very good night."

Bobie scrunched up her face, stuck out her tongue and said, "Look who's is talking.  We both know exactly what a grand night it was indeed. Even the desert cannot stop one's libido."

Sky nodded in agreement then said, "Here, brought you a cup of coffee and also wanted you to know that Jim knows."

Taking the cup from Sky and a long drink which was hot, sputtering around the room she asked, "Knows what?"

His words,'"It is nice to know someone is getting laid and enjoying it."'

Bobie's face turned crimson for a second before she stuttered, Ho-- How did he know?"

Said, '"We sounded like a herd of Rhinos."'

Walking toward the chair Bobie sat, held the cup held the cup between the palms of her hands and visualized what Sky had just said. Finally replying, "I didn't realize we were that loud. I am a bit embarrassed, should I apologize to him?"

"No. Jim is a big boy. He knows about us, it just maybe surprised him with our exuberance. Besides what Jim thinks is a herd of Rhinos in this desolate area, could even be a swarm of Bees. He keeps going on and on about how weird Puerto Springs is. I am beginning to think he is getting the Heeby Jeebies. Perhaps we should just let things be. No harm, no foul. Besides, I totally enjoyed the many sides of you."

Crimson was creeping up Bobie's face again as she said, "Me too, enjoyed the many sides of you. What time did you say, Bern was going to be here?"

Sky glanced at her wrist watch and said, "Around eleven this morning. Why"

Standing, Bobie took the last sip of coffee from her cup, set it down and walked toward Sky. "Because, I need you right now."

Sky could not help but admire the look on Bobie's face as each step she took, also took Sky along for the ride.  "You know I love to be near you."

"Kiss me, my relic hunter."  Bobie replied standing on the tip of her toes.

Chuckling at the woman's words, Sky said, "Kiss you I will. I am so in love with you." With those words, Sky reached out and lifted Bobie into her arms placing a slow, gliding kiss upon her lips and when Bobie responded, her tongue gently made it past lips to dance with Bobie's tongue as the woman let out a  most enjoyable moan.

Jim was under one of the jeeps, when the two women finally came out of the tent. Sky was the first to see his legs poking from under the jeep. She walked toward the jeep and said, "Kinda got tied up.  Bobie and I are going up to the dig, if Bern arrives, tell him."

He scooted out from under the vehicle sat and said, "Will do." Noticing Bobie carrying a pack, he waved toward her then looked at Sky and asked, "How do you do it?"

She smiled, winked and replied, "Love, its all about love.  We will try to be more discreet."

He shook his head and said, "Don't, way out here in no mans land, kinda nice to know love exists. I'm fine.  When Bern gets here I will give him the message. Don't forget to take a walkie with you."

She nodded then said, "Thanks for understanding. Got mine and Bobie has hers on her hip, so we can call in if need be and you can contact us too."

Walking toward Bobie the two women turned to trudge up the sandy crest.

Bobie and Sky were joking with each other, laughing  enjoying the beautiful day as they walked and talked, each felt nothing could mess it up, that is, until they reached the site. The dig that Skylar had been so meticulously working on had been destroyed. It was no longer there, it had been covered up. Bobie looked at Sky and asked,  "Are you sure this is the spot?"

"You were here, you know it is. There is no way I could be off. I documented the find."  She reached into a pocket of her shorts and pulled out a folded paper.  It was a map to the spot.  Gazing around, she pointed to places on the map then said,  "Something or someone did this.  Let's look for fresh tracks."

The two scoured the area, but to their amazement, there were no tracks.  None but their own as they walked.  Sky radioed in to Jim who was as surprised as they were to hear the site was gone.  He said he was getting some equipment and would meet them.

Didn't take long for Jim to make it to the site area as Sky and Bobie greeted him with open arms.  He gazed around the area, scratched his head and said, "If I hadn't seen it for myself, I would be completely lost. However, I have and I know it was in this area. Whoever covered it up, used some real magic, I have to say."

Sky made a harrumph sound in her throat before she said, "Let's hope no magic was involved, since we have already had our share of shape shifters, the occult and so many others.  I was looking forward to a good dig, but no problems such as this."

Jim frowned then said, "When it comes to you, Skylar Richmond, trouble seems to follow.  I know you and I know Bobie, there is nothing like a good mystery to get your jui--"

Sky winked at Bobie as the two watched the man flounder like a fish out of water.  "We get you, Jim. You are right, we do love a good mystery.  But we are also looking for some relaxation."

He took out a piece of equipment and began to walk around the area. "This will detect any sub surface areas. We can pinpoint where you were and dig it up again."

"How about detecting what caused this?"   Bobie asked as she watched the young man comb the area.

 "Sorry, doesn't pick up unworldly things."

"Gee, this is not a Ghost Buster movie. Certainly hope not to see any unworldly things for a long time if ever."

Sky bit at her lower lip, kicked at the dirt with her right shoe and said, "I'll go along with that."   She watched Jim walk, then measure off by
square meters, then run a rope line to mark off the division.  When he had finished he said,  "I'll go get a shovel and come back to begin excavating this again."

Sky looked at Bobie and asked, "Up for some heavy work?"

"Sure, just hope whatever did this does not do it again."

"I think we can set some traps out here in certain places.  Whoever or whatever did this will not like finding themselves caught."

"I like your plan."  Bobie ran after Jim calling, "Wait up, I'll help you bring up the equipment."

Once back to camp, Jim set about getting his shovel and a few other things as well as a pack. It was at this time, he turned to Bobie and asked, "You wouldn't swing both ways would you?"

Totally taken aback by the man's words, Bobie stopped in her tracks and gave him a scathing look. "Really Jim, I didn't think you cared.  And before you put your foot any deeper, the answer is no."

He sighed then said, "I apologize if I caught you off guard, should have known better but just had to ask. I hope you will not tell Sky about this.  I will probably lose my job."  

Bobie tipped her head to the left and then to the right as she said, " I won't. Have you ever seen a Tiger on the loose?"

He nodded asking, "Why?"

Well, If Sky were to find out you asked me what you just did, it would not be your job that would be in jeopardy."

He gulped several times before saying, "Come on, let's go help Sky. Sorry for asking--knew better but it's the guy in me, couldn't resist."

Taping him on the right shoulder she said, "Then the guy in you had best retreat. come on,let's not dilly dally any longer, times a wasting."

He watched the beautiful blond step out ahead of him and found himself being swept away on the current of a warm ocean wave. He had to slap himself and whisper, "Taken Ol Boy, she is taken."

When they arrived at the site, Bobie was happy. Jim was glad to be there but both were suddenly frozen where they stood. His work was gone, the site was not marked any longer and worst of all Sky was nowhere to be seen.


part two

Bobie called the woman's name over and over as she ran along the sandy crest, the desert had not,changed but somehow the woman that was more important than her own life had vanished.  It was a hard thing to swallow, and she just could not believe her eyes. Stopping, then turning she surveyed the entire area,it looked the same. When she saw Jim Dillon drop to his knees and begin to work with machinery once more she called out, "Find anything?"

He looked up and shook his head but continued checking the area. "Nothing.  I think I may have pinpointed the dig.  Not sure excavating it again is a good idea, since it seems to keep disappearing. At least we know where it is."

Walking in the direction of the man, Bobie stopped reached down, picked up a small pebble, and tossed it toward him.  He turned his head to the side, eyes narrowed for a second before he said, "Throwing pebbles will not bring Skylar back."

"Well I missed. Wanted to make sure you were real, as it is, this could all be a mirage."

He stood and holding the
instrument in his right hand he replied, "Come over here, I'll give you a good pinch and if that doesn't satisfy you, we could try the seeker."

Immediately Bobbie’s eyes widened as did his. "That's it!" The two echoed as they grinned and both started running back toward camp.

Once they were in camp, Jim headed for the equipment tent, coming out with the Bronson Heat Seeker, the newest machine recently purchased for their team.  It was supposed to seek out body heat, it was even equipped to detect movement underground when excavating.  Bobie was anxiously waiting for him, and squealed in delight when she saw the machine in his right hand.

"Wow, Jim, I didn't know you were that strong. It has to weigh a lot."

Smiling he replied, "Does. If I get tired going back up, I'll let you carry it the rest of the way."

From the glint in his eyes and the smile on his face, Bobie knew the man was teasing. "I'll do it, if I need to. Come on times a wasting. We need to seek out--"

"Should be pretty easy with you near, woman lets off steam heat whenever you come close.”

Slapping him teasingly on his left shoulder, Bobie said, "Not funny. I just hope this machine is worth what it cost and will detect Sky's body heat for real."

The second they were back to the spot, where Sky was last seen, Jim went about working the Seeker. Bobie stood back and watched his meticulous work. Jim had walked the entire area leaving no place untouched. It was evident the man was getting tired, but he was never one to give up.

Bobie admired Jim; he was about her age, fearless when it came to playing Chess. She always wondered why Chess had been his forte.  Seemed something like Tennis, a more athletic sport would have been his for the taking.  

As Jim approached her he said, “Can’t get any type of signal.” The way he spoke, made it obvious the man felt beaten and out of breath.

Gazing toward him, Bobie looked as if she might cry any second; instead, she reached out to wipe several beads of perspiration from his forehead and said, “You have done your best. We should get back to camp. Bernie will be here soon and he will have a few  others with him. Might as well try to rest until then.”

“Can’t rest with Sky missing. I know it is tearing you up.”

“It is. But I don't want you to get sick. I hate when things happen that are unexplainable. Hoped this particular dig would be fairly normal, that is if one can ever be just that.”

He sit, looked up at her and said, “I need to catch my second breath. You were right about the machine, it is not light and the more a person holds it and walks, and it seems to get heavier. My arms ache.”

Sitting beside him, Bobie reached out and touched the machine then pulled back. “Hot, how in the world did you keep carrying this as hot as it is getting?”

Jim Dillon gazed into Bobie’s questioning eyes, and replied, “Didn’t want to see the look in your eyes.”

“What look in my eyes?”

“The hopelessness, the big question we both have, why?”

Stretching her legs and kicking out her feet, Bobie leaned back and said, “It doesn’t make any sense. We were only gone for a short time.  I have surveyed the area as well, there is no sign of Sky. If you were not with me, I might think I dreamed the whole thing.”

Jim reached up to wipe perspiration from his face and said, “Does seem like something one might read about in A Dark-Summer Night Dream.  Except this is not a dream.  When Bern gets here, we will figure it out and before you know it, Sky will be back.”

The two talked for a while, before they headed back down to the campsite.  Bobie went back to the tent to freshen up and Jim went to take care of some unfinished business.  After putting the machine back in the equipment tent, he went to radio Bernie Herbella. Could not contact the man so he gave up and went to see how Bobie was handling things.

When two jeeps pulled into the camp trailing dust behind them, Bobie and Jim stood watching and waiting for what they hoped would be help.

Bernie Herbella had seen the young woman and man standing side by side, eying the direction they were coming from. He smiled; it was always nice to see friendly faces especially in a strange environment.  

Since the moment, their plane touched down in Puerto Springs he had been happy to pick up the two jeeps and leave the town.  It had been a long plane trip, and the ending of the last leg of the journey was now in sight.  Seeing, Sky, Bobie and Jim would make everything feel right again.

Bobie looked at Jim and asked, “Does he know?”

Shaking his head, reaching up to pull the bill of his baseball cap down, in a futile attempt, he replied, “No. I tried to get him by radio but could not.  Won’t be long now and he will though.”

As the two jeeps pulled into the area and parked, Bobie and Jim walked toward them. Seeing Bernie Herbella step from the first one, the two waved toward him. He waved back but had a quizzical look on his face.  

The man was dressed in a light blue Levi shirt, the long sleeves had been rolled up to the elbow, giving him a more casual look, but the belt that wrapped around the waist of the Levi pants definitely shouted, expensive. A pair of brown western cowboy boots set off his attire. As a slight breeze was sifting through the air it loved to play hide and seek in his golden locks. The man had let his hair grow and on him, it only added to his appeal.

The movement of two people dressed in military garb appearing from the second jeep drew their attention from Bernie Herbella but for a second.  Bobie held out her hand to greet the man but instead he reached out and pulled her into a close embrace.  “Good to see you again, Bobie Parker.”

“You too.”  Bobie managed to whisper for the man was hugging tightly. “Need to breathe Bern.”

He released his hold and stepped back saying, “Sorry. It is so good to see you and to be out of that town.”

Jim stepped up and shook Bernie’s hand saying, “Good to see you too sir.”

“Don’t call me sir; name is Bernie and Bern to those that know me.”

“You sensed it too?”

Bernie looked at Bobie and then Jim before asking, “Sensed what?”

Bobie glanced toward Jim then said, “Eeriness about it.”

“Yes. That is exactly what I think.”  He looked over their shoulders, eyes searching before asking, “Where is Sky?”

Jim’s eyes met Bobies as the two turned shrugged and said in unison, “Don’t know.”

Bernie Herbella pointed toward the camp and said, “What in blazes do you mean you don’t know?  Thought you and Richmond were glued at the hip, Parker.”

Muttering under her breath, Bobie counted to ten then looked up at the man. “No we are not. Jim why don’t you fill Bern in on what has been going on. I need a drink of water.”  She turned and walked back toward the camp.

Bern looked at Jim and asked, “What? Never seen her in a snit like that before.”

“Can I take your luggage?”

“Can carry my own.”  He reached into the jeep and brought out a small suitcase. “Now tell me what is up with Parker?”

“Not the best time to tease or mention them being 'glued at the hip', sir. I uh mean Bernie.”

“Why? And where is Richmond?”

On the way to camp, Jim filled the man in on what had been taking place.  And upon entering camp, Bernie suggested, “Help the two I brought with me set up two more tents. I am going to have a talk with Bobie.”

Bobie was just walking from the tent when she almost ran into Bernie Herbella.  He held out a hand and said, “I’m sorry. Truce?”

She took his hand and replied, “Me too. It has been forgotten. What brings you here?”

Jim told me about Sky disappearing. Hard to believe. I know strange things happen in the desert some times but usually that is because a person is without water and lost for days.  Can’t imagine what could have happened.  I want to go there as soon as we can.”

Bobie pointed toward the new tents and the people working diligently on the last one.“Let’s get Jim and the others; I hope you can figure out some way to explain this.”

He sighed and said, “Me too.”

The five of them trudged up the hill, each step taken in the sand seemed to be pulling them down thus making it harder but they kept moving.  Bernie reached out and grasped Bobie’s right hand and said, “Don’t worry, we will figure this out.”

She smiled warmly, and replied, “Someone needs to,I am at my wits end.”

Seemed to take longer to get to the top this time, and as they neared the crest, Bobie, Jim, Bern and the two others stopped, stood and stared.  For there on her knees was Skylar Richmond, digging into the sand with both hands. It was as if nothing had changed.  Bernie turned to Bobie and Jim asking, “This all some kind of joke?”

Jim looked at Bobie, each trying to figure out what they were seeing, finally answering, “Not a joke. She was gone. How could she be there now?”

He smiled and said, “Let’s go ask our elusive friend, shall we?”  With those words, Bernie Herbella began to walk toward the flaming red head, shaking his head with each step.

Bobie poked Jim in his right side. “He thinks we are daft.”

Jim grasped her hand and lightly squeezed it then asked, “are you sure we are not?”

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Continued in part three

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