CHAPTER 13: THE END
Shirley smiled as she, Bo and Jeffrey stepped into her attic room. "Great detective work! I wouldn't know what I would have done without you two." she praised them. "Just one question…" She turned to Jeffrey. "How did you know that Brown guy?" Jeffrey swallowed a lump in his throat and sat down. Shirley and Bo did the same. He took a large breath and started his story.
"F-five months ago when I was still in Australia…I was just, you know, hanging around when I overheard some guys talking about how they were going to rob a museum in Sydney." Shirley kept her eyes on Jeffrey. The story had caught her interest. "Of course, I couldn't let that happen, so I warned the police…The police could prevent the heist from happening, but somehow the criminals found out I was the one that informed the police." An odd silence filled the room. "They tried to kill me." This revelation hit Bo and Shirley were it hurt most. All Shirley's previous interests in the crime were instantly wiped from her mind. She couldn't even imagine what Jeffrey must've been going through. "When I was having a ride with dad and Mark someone crashed into the backseat door at the driver's side of the car. That was the place I usually sat." Again Jeffrey drew a large amount of oxygen into his longs. After a few minutes he exhaled again. For Bo the pieces started to fit together. "But that day I offered my seat to Mark…That's how he got deaf." Jeffrey bowed his head. "It's all my fault…It's all my fault." Shirley and Bo tried to calm him down and convince him otherwise. He couldn't have possibly have foreseen the crash. Could he?
In the small, dark room Mr. Black was at the table again, this time accompanied by two of his associates. Mr. Black took another cigarette and lighted it with his golden lighter. He looked around the table, his eyes resting on the empty seat to his left for a minute. The other two men didn't dare speaking before they were asked. With fear they waited for Black to address them. After blowing a perfect circle of smoke he spoke with a menacing voice.
"As you two know, Mr. Brown failed to accomplish his mission, which puts all of us in danger of exposure." Mr. Black rearranged his hat and continued. "Luckily, I found a loyal operative willing to remove that threat for us." Black looked at his watch. "I think we're relieved from our problems for now. Just remember, as long as those kids are still alive, we risk exposure and anyone who fails an easy mission the way Mr. Brown did will end up just like him." The shuddering of the other two men went by unnoticed.
"Nevertheless, this whole experience hasn't left us empty-handed. It has shown that they care deeply for each other and we can exploit that. One day they will pay for their interference. One day they will pay dearly."
Jeffrey was in his bed. He held his journal in one hand, a pen in the other, both lit by a single lamp on his bed stand. He wasn't sure what to write. Usually he wrote what he felt, but now he wasn't even sure of that. Suddenly he heard voices in the room next door, the room of his brother. He stopped fooling around with his pen to hear it better.
"Come on, you can do it…" the voice of his mother sounded. An awkward silence followed. "Yes, you can. Just believe in yourself." Obviously she was talking to Mark, who signed back. "If you don't try to talk the tickle-monster will get ya." she went on. "Tickle, tickle tickle!!!"
Suddenly a distorted voice sounded. Jeffrey almost couldn't believe his ears. "No, don't!" Jeffrey wondered if he had heard what he thought he heard. Had his brother really spoken without signs for the first time in five months? When he heard both the voice laughing, he knew it really happened. Without any kind of hesitation he put the pen to the paper and started to write.
Finally, I have some luck, something I haven't had in months. Well, maybe coming here was lucky too. Today Mark finally spoke. I have been waiting for that ever since the crash. I think he'll be OK, certainly if we stay here in Redington. I still don't know what's really up between Shirley and Bo, but I will find it out. I learned that they are true friends. Who else would put his life at risk to help me perform a crazy stunt like I did today? I don't want to hurt my friends. It would wash away all the happiness I have right now and I couldn't handle that again. I –
There was a knock on the door. Jeffrey closed his journal and hit his stuff under the bed. "Come in!" His mother's face appeared in the doorway. It was extremely happy. Come on, Mark wants to see you. With a smile on his face, Jeffrey pushed back the blankets, hopped out of bed and went over to her. He gave his mother one last smile visible from the room before he went outside and closed the door behind him.
Shirley was just sketching something. The TV played gently on the background. The news came up and as soon as the word art theft fell, Shirley put her pen down, swirled around and turned the volume of the TV-set up. She watches closely to the story on the news that had caught her attention.
"…The man that was arrested in warehouse district for the theft of the rare art work in the Redington area that had taken place lately has died in his cell just over an hour ago." Shirley's eyes widened. "The man, Lyle Forsyth, was shot to death by an unknown person." The image on the screen turned to the cell the man had been in. "Apparently, he moved to the wall with his last strength to leave a message." On the wall was a bloody picture. It consisted of a circle with a four in the middle surrounded by some curly lines. The voice of the reporter continued. "The investigators are baffled and have absolutely no clue to the perpetrator at the moment, even though they're sure it was in fact murder. The only question remaining is who did it…"
Shirley turned the TV off and turned back to her journal. She took her pen again and, from the top of her head, copied the symbol she had seen on a blank page. Then she turned back to where she had stopped writing before and put her pen to the paper.
The man who started it all just died… Something tells me there is more to this case. He couldn't have framed me all on his own. He must have been part of a larger organization. It's like he told Bo and Jeffrey. This is far from over. I…We still have to be careful. We must be prepared for their next strike. Whenever or wherever that will be.