Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
After searching the woods into the afternoon and coming up
empty-handed, Juan Jose, Miguel, and I headed back to base
camp to check in with Becca and the others. I prayed that Scott had
made it back to camp during our absence. After all, if he’d gotten lost
last night, the sensible thing to do would have been to wait for
daylight to find his way.
Becca was pacing by the picnic table, the other cast and crew
members gathered nearby; everyone looked downtrodden. I imme‐
diately knew by the look on Becca’s face that Scott hadn’t
When Becca saw me she looked at me hopefully, but surmised
quickly that we hadn’t had any luck, either. Becca’s walkie-talkie
chirped and she said into it, “What?” She held it away from her ear,
glanced at it, then said, “Reception up here is choppy.”
I sagged onto the picnic table bench. Victoria and Parker, who
were standing close by, distanced themselves. Suddenly the others,
who’d been roaming by the campfire, disappeared into their tents, as
if my bad luck was catching.
Becca patted my shoulder. “Don’t worry honey, we’ll find him. I
know we’ll find him.” Then into the walkie-talkie she said,
“Our GPS coordinates are forty-two north, uh . . . Oh . . . Yeah . . . The
24camp that’s over . . . okay, okay sure,” she said, hanging up. “They’re
I sprang to my feet and we both looked down the trail. A tall
woman with honey-blond hair slicked back into a ponytail came into
view. She wore black pants and a windbreaker with an official logo on
it. She seemed capable and sure of herself. On a leash was a Great
Pyrenees dog. Behind her was a group of people, each with dogs.
There was also a man, who walked a bit apart from them. He had dark
hair and wore a matching windbreaker.
The woman stuck out her hand and I shook it. She had callused
palms, giving me the impression that she’d done search and rescue a
thousand times over. I hoped they’d been successful. She introduced
herself as Montserrat. The man who stood apart from her shook my
hand as well, introducing himself as Sergio. In contrast to Montserrat,
his hand was smooth and warm.
A desk cop.
We went through the necessary intake procedures for a missing
person, complete with description, last time seen, and various
“Do you have something of his for the dog to smell?”
Montserrat asked me.
Becca squeezed my elbow. “It’ll be okay, honey.”
I retreated to my tent and pulled out Scott’s sweatshirt, pressing
my nose against the soft cotton. It smelt like him, a bit of cedar mixed
with musk. I choked back a sob and quickly exited the tent. The dog
seized Scott’s sweatshirt and sniffed it, growling and howling in
between his sniffs. Montserrat nodded and patted him. Then she took
the sweatshirt around and let the pack of dogs smell it.
Montserrat tapped her walkie-talkie and waved to Sergio saying,
“Nos vemos.” The pack of dogs tore off in the direction of the river, the
same path Parker and I had hiked the night before.
I started to follow Montserrat, but Sergio stopped me. “Wait!
Please, I have some questions for you.”
I hesitated. “But they’re going to try to track my friend down.”
Becca gave me a queer look, and I realized I had omitted the word
boy in front of friend. What was wrong with me? Just because the cop
looked like Antonio Banderas’s younger brother didn’t mean I could
throw my boyfriend under a bus.
“Sit,” Sergio said. Becca and I went to comply.
“You are free to go,” he said to Becca, “if you like.” She gave me
another look, unsure what to do. “Or if you want to wait nearby,
perhaps it is better. I’ll have some questions for you, in a moment.” He
nodded toward the tents, implying that he wanted to speak with me
“All right, I’m happy to help any way I can.” Becca said, pinching
my arm. “Everything is going to be fine, Georgia. They’ll find him,
you’ll see. He’s smart. Maybe he fell and twisted an ankle and is
staying put, that’s all.” Becca went to wait in my tent.
None of what she’d said made me feel any better. If he’d twisted an
ankle, wouldn’t we have found him last night or this morning? Sergio
indicated the bench at the campsite table. I sat, a splinter sticking into
my leg. I made no effort to remove it. The pinching and biting sensa‐
tion would keep me on my toes. Let’s see what Mr. Banderas the
Younger had to say. He took a notebook out of his pocket.
“So the man who is missing, can you tell me more about him?”
“What do you want to know?” I asked.
He referred to his notebook. “We have a physical description: six
feet, one hundred eighty pounds, shaved head, dark eyes.” He glanced
up from the notebook. “Correct?”
I realized that if Scott were standing next to me, he would have
said, “And I’m funny, warm, and smart! Tell him that!” The thought
made my heart ache and all I could do was manage a nod.
“Okay.” Sergio said. “What is your relationship to him?”
“He’s my boyfriend,” I said.
Sergio’s dark eyes held mine for a moment, something flashing
through them that I couldn’t read. His lips pressed together and he
jotted a note.
“Were you having any problems?”
“No. We didn’t fight the night he disappeared, if that’s what you
want to know.”
Sergio gave me a strange look, but didn’t say anything. He seemed
“He didn’t run away from me,” I said. “Do I look that much like an
ogre, that I’d chase a man away in the middle of the night? In a foreign
country, no less?”
Sergio waited, watching me as I spoke. I was getting carried away.
I knew it. I shouldn’t let it get to me. He was just doing his
job. I stopped myself suddenly. Sergio was quiet.
“What?” I asked.
“What’s an ogre?” he asked, his Spanish accent making it almost
sound cute. “I do not know that word.”
“A monster,” I said.
He nodded his understanding, then very seriously said, ”You do
not look like a monster.”
I sighed, tension releasing from my body. ”I don’t want you to start
thinking I have anything to do with his disappearance,” I said. ”That
only wastes our time and energy. Look, I used to be a cop in the
United States. I understand that our best chances of recovering
someone who’s missing are in the first hours—”
Instead of reassuring me, he asked, “Does he take any
“What?” I asked.
“Does he have diabetes, or—?”
“No, no, he’s healthy.”
“Prescription medicine?” He touched his temple.
I fought the desperation surging in my chest. “Are you asking if
Sergio shrugged. “Depressed or epileptic—”
“No,” I answered, my impatience mounting. “Look, we won’t get a
second chance at this tiny window of opportunity to—”
“Who else is here?” He made another note and glanced around the
camp. “Were you the last person to see him?”
I recounted the hike with Parker, and mentioned the scream we’d
He nodded gravely, then asked. “What’s going on here with the
I told him about the TV show we’d been getting ready to film.
“Reality program?” Sergio asked. “It’s worse
than I thought,” he said. “A missing American, that is one thing, but a
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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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