23 UP AND AT ’EM
“Alright guys,” Ian said as crouched on the ground holding his tablet and emailed the video to his boss. “We need to get you guys home. You’re parents are anxiously waiting. Plus we have some investigating to do.”
“Good idea,” Terah blurted enthusiastically.
“We do?” Marney questioned.
“Yes, we do.”
Teplan, curious, piped up, “What do you need to do, Ian?” half-wondering if they could tag along. He knew they would be better off safe-and-sound at home, but he thought about how exciting it would be to go on a mission.
“We just need to get some evidence for your video.”
“Well, we have soil from the river. Will that help?” Teplan inquired.
“Sure, that might help,” Ian said supportively. “It just doesn’t connect the river to the pig factory. We want to find some paper-work showing some sort of trail, otherwise the video might not be enough on its own.”
Silence grabbed the hallway a moment.
“Ready, guys?” Ian asked. “We’ll drive you home. Marney, can you check if those goons are gone?”
Marney took out her cell phone and manipulated the screen. She accessed her home security system and flipped through the cameras positioned inside and outside her house. “Looks all clear. Only your truck outside. Let’s go back to the ladder. One of their goons better not be hiding inside my house.” Marney said sternly.
Let’s just get home. Let’s just get home, Terah repeated to herself while towing behind Marney.
The four of them made their way back through the hallway. Ian pulled up the rear in the group and regularly swiveled his head down the hallway, checking for signs of movement. This made Teplan a little nervous. Did Ian think someone might actually come down the dark hall from behind?
The motion sensors did their job effectively and switched the light on at the trapdoor as they arrived and switched the light off behind them as they moved forward. Marney arrived at the ladder first, put a hand on a rung and paused. Without turning around, she calmly raised her other hand, notifying the others to be still. She took a breath, silently climbed the steps, unlocked the hatch above and then opened it. Again she paused suddenly and remained motionless for many moments. After listening for about thirty seconds, Marney cracked the trapdoor open and peaked out into her kitchen. From the bottom of the ladder, Teplan and Terah could see her head scan back and forth, looking for signs of the unusual. Terah stepped closer to Teplan. After another thirty seconds or so, Marney slowly opened the door all the way and gingerly climbed back into the kitchen.
She disappeared for another thirty seconds before her voice then beckoned them up: “Okay, come up. Looks like they didn’t even come in the house . . .”
Ian motioned for them to go up first. Terah took him up on the offer and was up the ladder before Teplan could blink.
“Alright, Teplan. Your turn,” Ian said. “Let’s get you guys home.”
Teplan flew up the ladder with Ian in tow. Ian closed-up the trapdoor behind him and replaced the rug. “Let’s move.”
Marney grabbed her bag from the counter and picked up Teplan’s backpack as they made their way across the house. Ian peaked through the small curtain in the front door window before opening the locks.