As we pulled up behind the police station to hide our bikes, I noticed that Nicole was jumpy. Which is strange, since she, like Nigel, usually never lets on that she is frightened by anything. Is that what Nigel was worried about this afternoon?
We quickly got rid of our excess baggage (my hoodie, sweatpants, and gloves, as well as Nigel's backpack), and moved deeper into the woods.
Nigel volunteered to be the hunter, so Nicole and I quickly slipped off into the woods, and found some places that would be good for looking out, while still giving good cover.
I wonder why Nicole is so jumpy... Hey, maybe that's why Nigel made sure that I would be with her! That way I could figure out what's wrong. He must think it's a girl thing... I doubt it though, she would have said something to me before this. We're tight.
"Something wrong, Nicole?" I asked. "No, I'm..." she trailed off; then sighed "Yes, something happened to me, and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, and the only one who knows anything about it left and said that she might be gone for a very long time, but that she would be back."
"Wow", I responded, not knowing what else to say. "What happened?" "She said not to tell anyone. She said that everything is repeatable, and the wrong people might figure out how it happened and do it again, only to their benefit."
"Who's this 'she' that told you this?"
"I don't know her name, just that she couldn't be more than 15 or 16 years old, had hair that made freshly fallen snow look grey, and eyes that made the ocean look like waste" "Wow, if she's that... umm,"
"Gorgeous is the word you’re looking for Liz"
"gorgeous, she shouldn't be too hard to find."
"You'd think so, but she went around the corner, and then she was gone. I have no idea how she did it, or where she went, but she vanished."
"Yeah, just don't tell Nigel, I don't want him to start feeling sorry for me, or thing that I'm not as good a person or something like that."
"You know..." came a voice from the other side of the bush we had been hiding behind "talking is one of the ways to get your selves found the quickest."
We both almost screamed when we heard this voice, but when we looked up, we saw Nigel approaching on the other side of the bush, looking at us like we had shaved our heads.
"Whew, for a second there I thought you were a slayer" I joked.
"Yeah, you can't go sneaking up on a girl like that!" Nicole added.
"Uh, isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing?" Nigel queried
"Oh, right" she replied, looking for a place to hit her head that it wouldn't cause permanent damage.
"Let’s try this again. This time, please save the girl chat for times when we aren't trying to be sneaky."
"Right" we replied.
And with that, we quickly made a fake path towards the east, hoping Nigel would think that we went there so that he wouldn't be able to swing from tree to tree above us, and then went up to the bike path so that we wouldn't leave footprints.
"You know," I whispered to Nicole "I don't know what happened, and I'm not going to press, but if you need someone to talk to, I'm here.
"Thanks," she replied "I'm not ready to talk yet, but when I do, you'll be the first I talk to."
"Sure thing" I replied "but we probably need to be quiet now so Nigel doesn't catch us again.
"Right" she whispered back, and slipped just far enough back so that one of us would be able to get away if Nigel found the other.
"Well, she seems to be doing ok, all things consid--"
Two shots ripped through the air from Nicole's direction, and a cell phone beeped in a very strange pattern.
*beep, beeep, beep. beep, beeep, beep. beep, beeep, beep.*
"Daphne, is this the correct signal code?" I asked, wondering if she had studied them like she was supposed to.
"Sound's right, it's our undercover agent's keying, lemme check the code book"
"You don't have them memorized?" I replied. Even though I already knew the answer.
"Do you?" she replied with a surprisingly harsh tone.
"As a matter of fact, I did." I replied in a fairly harsh tone, "But we just changed the codes before you joined, and I have been otherwise preoccupied with other assignments and have not had the time to learn the new codes yet"
"Yes, I know" she replied, obviously sorry that she had spoken to me in such a way "Ok, here it is. Yes, that's the correct code, she says she has engaged the mongrels"
"Let's get the move on then," I replied, knowing that she would understand from my tone that our agent would have to be disciplined when we got back "we've got to get there to back her up. What belt you on now?"
I just tested into my Green belt yesterday" she said with a smile.
"Good you might need that Jujitsu here."