So she was here, finally. With other people, sure, but he couldn't care less about the bumbling doctor or Hauser, though he didn't mind the good Dr. Sengupta coming along — they were just side characters, not important; only she was, and now their sick game could continue.
Honestly, he was surprised it had taken her so long to hunt him down. Wasn't she pissed? Didn't she want to kill him, see him suffer, make him pay for what he'd done (surely Ray did; he wondered idly why his brother wasn't here, too)? He hadn't thought she would take too kindly to being stabbed in the gut, hadn't pegged her as the type who just laid down and took what was given to her. No, she was a blazing spitfire, and he looked forward to seeing the righteous rage in her eyes — his eyes, deceptively calm like the blue ocean they mimicked.
Now, sure, he had a job to do, and he always did his jobs well, but Warden James hadn't given him any sort of timeline, so what did it matter if he caught up with his only granddaughter for a while? Despite how angry he knew she would be, he couldn't leave, knowing she was here, and not see her. The urge to talk to her was like an itch he couldn't scratch, or even a pain that wouldn't go away no matter how much medicine he took. But soon he would see her, and everything would be all right.
"Hurry up and make your move, Rebecca," Tommy Madsen whispered, speaking to the night that enveloped them both. "I'll be waiting in the mine."
Rebecca woke up with a scream — a name maybe, she couldn't remember — on her lips and a pain in her stomach. Gasping from the ache of it, she pushed the sheet off of herself and stared down at her wound. The bandage was mostly intact, if looking a little dirty, and it occurred to her that she hadn't changed it in a while, despite the doctor's express warning that she should reapply it every day. Rebecca groaned, then hauled herself out of bed. Lucy was already gone, her side of the bed made up as neatly as one could when one shared a bed. If she strained her ears, she could hear sounds of life in the other parts of the house, Howard jovially talking to Lucy, Hauser grumbling orders at Doc as if they were in an army kitchen, and Doc's heavy footsteps as he scrambled to obey.
There was a bathroom across the hall from Lucy's and her room, so she grabbed the wound-dressing kit from her bag and shuffled in, wincing as she went. The bathroom was a decent size, enough that she was somewhat comfortable as she sat on the toilet seat and, after washing her hands and donning a pair of white doctor gloves, began to unwrap her abdomen. She bit her lip to keep a whine in, not wanting the others to hear. She was sure any one of them would have offered to help (well, maybe not Hauser), but she was capable of doing this on her own, and she did 't want to be a bother. If Hauser saw she couldn't — or worse, wouldn't — take care of herself, he might not let her continue. She knew she was lucky to be here at all, and she would be damned if this injury got in her way.
When she was finally rewrapped, she emerged from the bathroom and padded into the kitchen to see the four of them eating eggs and toast and poring over a map that was spread out on the table. Doc saw her first and hurried out of his seat at the table, as there were only four.
"Doc, I'm fine," she tried to protest, but her friend just stood there, silently and stubbornly insisting she take it. It was Hauser, though, who got her to sit, saying gruffly,
"Just sit down, Madsen; God knows you need it. You think we didn't hear the shuffling and moaning in the bathroom?" Rebecca clenched her jaw and glared at her boss but finally accepted the chair, apologizing to Doc, which he waved away.
"I'll get you some grub," Howard announced, taking a plate off the table and going over to the stove.
"So what are we doing?" Rebecca asked as she gratefully accepted some food from Howard.
"Trying to figure out the best course of action," Lucy answered, sipping at some tea in front of her. "We've decided we want to sneak in at night – though dusk would probably be better; we don't want to impair ourselves too much – but that leaves a whole day. How should we spend it?"
"We could sight-see a bit," Doc piped from his standing position at the table. The heads of his team members swiveled towards him, as if they couldn't believe he had suggested such a thing. Seeming somewhat hurt, Doc tried to explain,
"I mean – reconnaissance! We might as well know how to get around here, right?"
"I'll be your way around here!" Howard exclaimed, sounding almost offended that Doc wanted to explore things for himself instead of just blindly trusting the older man's directions.
"No, it's actually a sound idea," Hauser countered, looking somewhat impressed. "And there's not much we can do here for the day. We know Tommy's tricks, we know where he's going and what he wants...sure. Let's do some reconnaissance." Doc grinned and Rebecca gave him a thumbs-up.
"Alright," she said. "Let's hit the town."
The town ended up being smaller than Rebecca had been used to, making her feel almost claustrophobic – gone were the bustling crowds of the city, replaced with a few citizens taking a leisurely stroll, and the tall buildings she'd always loved looking up at as a child had been taken over by various ranchers and one-story mom-and-pop stores, with the occasional formal and regal-looking Victorian house popping up here and there.
Hauser gave a weak chuckle when he saw her reaction. "Never been out of the city much, eh?" The detective merely shook her head. "You should see some of the places I've been to – ramshackle little villages that wouldn't fill this town even if we put a hundred of them in it."
"It's all quaint," Doc marveled as they passed the local library, a giant red brick building with a welcoming sign on it. Next to that was a flower shop and a bait shop.
"Yes, it's nice, isn't it?" Lucy commented. Howard was still at home, still upset over the perceived insult to his abilities, and not even Hauser could get the 'stubborn old fool' to move.
Though Rebecca was enjoying the fresh air, happy faces, and friendly conversation, she knew they needed to get down to business. "So where's the silver mine we're fairly sure Tommy's gonna break into?" she asked.
Lucy looked at the map Howard had provided them with, scanning it with her eyes for a moment before pointing, luckily, in the direction they had already been heading to.
"We go this way," she said.
When they arrived at the mine, just outside of town, there were quite a few people milling about, though there were no official tours, as Howard had told them. Families with children took pictures by the front of the mine, a large wooden structure that, while all the same height on the outside, slanted into the earth on the inside, and some teenagers seemed to be circling it, as if trying to figure out ways to get inside. A ways away from the mine was a little cabin, where the widow of the mine's owner, Baby Doe Tabor, had spent the last few years of her life and died, bankrupt and no longer in possession of her husband's great fortune-making mine. Tourists were allowed in the cabin, and it looked like a few were doing just that.
"Can you imagine working down there, all day every day?" Doc asked as they walked over to the entrance of the mine. Lucy and Hauser were walking around, closer to Baby Doe's house, seeming nonchalant, though Rebecca knew they were really observing their surroundings.
"It seems awful," she agreed, feeling sorry for the men who had been deprived of sunlight for all that time.
"My great-grandfather and great-uncles were coal miners," Doc mentioned. She turned to him, intrigued.
"Really?" she said. He nodded.
"Yeah. But my mom's father didn't want to be a coal miner, so he moved and made a career out of accounting."
"Accounting?" Rebecca raised an eyebrow. "Think he'd be proud of you and your comic shop?"
"Hey, my comic shop is a thriving business! And I have two doctorates, thank-you very much," was Doc's teasingly offended reply. Rebecca smiled and was about to reply when something caught her eye. Frowning she turned back towards the entrance of the mine, away from which she and Doc had migrated a bit – along with everyone else, it seemed; the entrance was clear and empty, most of the people having left or gone to explore the cabin.
What had she seen? Maybe it was a trick of the light. A very bright, yellow light –
There it was again! Rebecca squinted and moved closer to the mine, until she was underneath part of it. Her adjusted to the sudden shade, she scanned the area, and then, there in the corner – the lower half of a man's body slipping down into the mine, hurried footsteps echoing throughout the structure.
Rebecca didn't stop to think, nor to answer Doc as he called her name; as soon as she saw the man she followed in pursuit, knowing in her bones that it was Tommy. He had made a move sooner than expected, but that didn't matter. All that did matter was that she catch him, and as she ran after him like Alice chased the rabbit, all she could hear were his footsteps, a perfect echo of her heart.
A.N – Okay, I am very sorry it's been so long; I really don't have any excuses. I hope people are still interested in this. Do you guys like the way this is going? Reviews and other comments are appreciated.
Also, if anyone was disappointed by my lack of/possibly wrongful description of the town, it's because Leadville is in Colorado, and I have never been to Colorado or anywhere near it, so I tried to make do with descriptions and images found on Google. My apologies if it offends or disappoints anyone from that area.