The rain had been pelting the two of them for the last ten minutes of their hike. The water had washed away the last of Rachel’s makeup and had ruined Chad’s new jacket. “Are you sure we’re going the right way?” Chad turned to her, but kept his flashlight low and steady.
“Yeah, I’m sure. It’s just past old man Buggy’s fishin’ hole.”
“Are you sure that you haven’t been seen?”
“Of course, old man Buggy’s been gone for years and his son lives on the west coast. No one ever comes out here. The son has only kept the land hoping that the city would expand out this way. He had hoped to sell it as commercial.”
“Okay, well let’s keep moving. Surely we’re close.”
“Yeah, the lake is just past those pines.”
As they trudged past the lake, Rachel tugged on Chad’s coat and pointed, “I put it right under the bushes close to that old boat.”
Chad took off at a run. When he reached the bushes he knelt down and dug with the spade that had been stuck in his back pocket. It didn’t take him long to reach the buried box, and slowly he pulled it from its muddy grave.
Rachel reached him and leaned down to hold the flashlight. “We could sit in the boat, you know, at least we’d be shielded from some of this rain.”
“Okay, you lead.”
Rachel held the flashlight and led the way up and into the boat. She sat down under the canopy first, and wrapped her hair into a twist to try to wring out the wetness. He followed and settled into the captain’s chair. Her hands trembled as she handed him the tiny key from her pocket, and she held her breath as he inserted it into the lock.
Chad’s smile elongated into a line of rage as he opened the box, “It’s not here. Where is the letter?”
“What do you mean? I put the envelope in the box and locked it as soon as I picked up the letter, and I haven’t let this key out of my sight.” She gasped as Chad grabbed her arm, and pulled her from the chair.
“I want you to tell me where it is, now.”
“I swear to you, Chad, I don’t know. I put it in the box.” She fell down in sobs when he relinquished her, and tried to think of how she could get away.
Chad sat back in the chair. He didn’t know what he would do with the worthless girl. He should’ve known better than to trust her. But, in the past youth and ignorance had served him well. Without the codes, his plans were failed; no exchanges, no money, no future. He was ruined without the information.
Chad grabbed the end of her ponytail and pulled, “I’m willing to give you one more chance. Tell me where the letter is and I’ll let you go.”
“I told you, I don’t know where it is.” Rachel spat the words at him as she tried to ignore the pulling on her neck.
Just then, a commotion from beyond the lake caught Chad’s attention and he pushed Rachel flat against the floor. She felt the cool of steel on her neck, and tried to calm the beating of her heart.
She heard voices nearing them and begged God to keep her safe.
“Alright, Mr. Blake, we’ve got you surrounded. Stand up slowly, and drop your weapon.”
Chad stood slowly, leaving his pistol aimed at the red ponytail. “You don’t have anything on me. You can’t take me in.”
“We have one letter from the Bank of France showing a deposit of more than three million dollars, and proof of over ten million more that you’ve embezzled through your company. We have your partner in our custody and he has given us all the information we need to keep you out of society for a very long time. Of course, without the help of special agent Rachel, none of this would be possible.”
“No buts, Mr. Blake, we’ve got your number, and it looks to be in excess of twenty years.” Rachel grabbed Chad’s arms and pulled them behind him, encasing them in silver cuffs.
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