And So It Begins
The school bus speeds down Hwy 104, a two lane highway about 21 miles from a small town named Cypress Point. ETA to the area on Cane Bayou is two hours. The Finding sit and unlike the children usually on a school bus, The Finding are like Monks who have taken a vow of silence. Neville is sitting in their midst, and it’s best if he’s kept in the dark about their plans. He’s drawing pictures of the Daulton domain to show Monroe and Officer Jones, trying to illustrate his remorse. Neville is allowed to talk. He can be heard but should not hear. Jesse is reminded of his Army days, and the Finding’s discipline is impressive. Officer Jones and Monroe know the Police and Highway patrol officers. They have all been notified that the Finding ‘School Bus’ will be passing through at a high rate of speed. Other drivers do a double take as the bus zooms by, and Jesse and Samantha on the speeding bus, whiz past speed signs they can’t read.
Samantha finds it more enjoyable than hearing Neville. He continues with his ‘attitude change’ which is now helpful and caring. Samantha wonders if she is getting motion sickness, or just feeling nauseous listening to Neville. She wonders how much they can really trust him. Neville is a master of deceit, and if an opportunity presents itself, he will disappear in the blink of an eye, even turn on his own mother if it would benefit him. ‘Well, Neville hates his mother, so that’s not a good example,’ thinks Samantha. Actually, the person Neville truly cares about, besides himself, doesn’t exist.
Jesse is worried and doesn’t want a replay of a couple of months ago. Victor Daulton, as well as those at his residence, are all Draakars. Just two months ago Jesse, Monroe and Officer Jones lived through the chase and battle with Neville that resulted in Neville’s capture. Then it was Neville against Jesse as Draakars, with a few deer, and Monroe and Officer Jones as mountain lions in the battle as well. Quite a bit different than having to face off against God knows how many Draakars, and if they are water bound there would be no stopping them.
Jesse gets Monroe’s attention, gestures with his head, and says softly, “Let’s talk.”
Monroe and Jesse go to the back of the bus while Officer Jones and the rest stay seated. One of the Finding take Monroe’s seat next to Neville and stares, giving him a ‘Make my Day’ glare.
Jesse tells Monroe, “We need nets. We’re not equipped to chase down God knows how many Draakars in Cane Bayou.”
Monroe pauses and says, “No, we’re not.”
Jesse says, “They won’t be able to escape if we block both directions on the bayou leading away from the residence.”
“Sounds good, let’s get nets… we’ll talk more what about to do with them later.”
They nod in agreement then Monroe tells the driver to look for a sporting goods store. Monroe and Jesse sit, and a vow of silence resumes, even for Neville. Samantha smiles and though nervous tries to relax. In a while, the bus slows and pulls off at Boat and Fish in La Combe. No word is spoken about the reason for the stop. Mum is the word. Neville looks at Monroe and the others as they pass by his seat with an inquisitive expression. Monroe and Officer Jones rise while two Finding take their place on each side of Neville and give him a glare, ‘Mind you damn business.’
Monroe, Officer Jones, Bob and Jesse all but run into Boat and Fish. After they exit, methodically seat by seat, two seats at a time, the Finding file into the store. Neville wonders if all have taken a vow of silence for not a whisper is heard. Suddenly Neville’s seat buddies stand pulling him up, and Neville, forever the smart ass, says, “It’s not our turn. What happened to our orderly discipline?”
Meanwhile in Boat and Fish, the Team make their final purchase of what should be more than enough nets to block the bayou. The nets are disguised in boxes and put in the back of the bus. Monroe and Officer Jones look at Jesse and Bob, but both appear hesitant as if they are waiting for the other to speak. Finally, Monroe looks at Officer Jones, with raised eyebrows and nods toward Bob and Jesse.
Bob and Jesse look at one another, laugh, and Bob says, “I know what they want. Do you, Jesse?”
“I do… I believe they want us to play Draakars.”
“Okay, okay… we need you to be Draakars,” Monroe tells them.
Jesse says, “We understand. We’ve talked about it. We need to travel underwater to a point and get the nets across the Bayou.”
“If we can have an advance team set up a landmark at the bayou about a hundred yards from the residence, then we can travel to another hopefully even bigger landmark that we can see from the water and put the net up. After that we travel to another point on the other side of the residence and finish the job with the other net,” adds Bob.
Monroe tells, “Looks like we got the right guys.”
Officer Jones nods in agreement.
“Can you tell us anything about Cane Bayou? Depth? Any visibility at all?” Jesse asks.
Officer Jones answers, “Sorry, I don’t know.”
Monroe adds, “Me either.” He sees Neville back at the bus with the others surrounding him crowding in to get on the bus. They board, and Monroe give a ‘Thumbs up!’ “Let’s go.”
Forty-five minutes later they travel through Mandeville then onto small overgrown dirt and gravel roads. Sparsely populated and heavily wooded, for miles and miles they travel seeing no residences. The map shows a few boat launches, and they search for the one in the vicinity of the residence. Finding one they pull in, unload, and do a brief recon. Within five minutes eight head out. Dusk is only an hour away at the most. The rest of the Finding number thirty, and they congregate for a briefing. Officer Jones tells them, “10 along with 3 of the recons will be stationed across the Cane Bayou. 20 along with the other 5 recons will surround and close in on the residence. We believe since they are Draakars, they will try to escape by the bayou. Nets will prevent them from getting far if they make it to the bayou. The nets will be handled by our Draakars, Bob Wallace and Jesse Gunn. Usual procedure. Make your change but remain unnoticed then change back fully armed. We believe the Draakars will try to escape via Cane Bayou. We hope to capture them there, but none must be allowed to get away. When the recon returns, we’ll have one last briefing. Go relax if you can.”
Jesse and Bob give each other a ‘They heard, didn’t they?’ glance. In the rush of the last hours, Samantha and Pamela have just learned Jesse and Bob have net duty. They understand the necessity but are not happy hearing the news from Officer Jones. Jesse and Bob turn and head toward Samantha and Pamela.
Bob tells Jesse, “Remember Officer Jones said go relax.”
Jesse looks at him and says, “Yeah, right.”
Samantha and Pamela have a mixture of irritation and worry on their faces.
Samantha says, “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Did you hear that, Bob?” Pamela asks.
Bob answers, “Loud and clear. Don’t worry. Jesse and I are going to put nets in the water. That’s all.”
“We couldn’t tell you on the bus. We were obeying the rules; fitting in with the Finding,” Jesse tells her.
“Samantha shakes her head, “You were obeying the Rules? That’s a first.”
“We set the nets and trap the Draakar who try to escape,” Jesse assures her.
“The Finding captures them, and we’re long gone,” adds Bob.
Three of the recons run up to Officer Jones. They call to Bob and Jesse. The Finding gather for the final briefing, but the members of the other recon haven’t returned yet. Daulton’s residence is a new solid brick house well hidden in the woods. There are two barn like structures just off of the main residence but a bit closer to the bayou than the house. The recon took pictures which they show Bob and Jesse because they’ll be the first to assure the nets are in place before the assault begins. A few rather large ponds are on the property, and the pictures of the water also show gator tracks and many birds perched on the mud banks. Bob points out one of the tracks.
Bob asks, “Were there more… Did you see any more of these?”
Recon man looks, “No, didn’t see any more. At first, I thought it looked like a bird, but it’s too big.”
“Can I borrow this a minute?”
Recon nods, and Bob shows Pamela… “Look at this? What does this look like to you?”
Pamela looks, and says, “Tracks?”
“Right, but this one.” Bob points to track in question, and Pamela looks closely.
Pamela has the feeling, Bob thinks she should know something, but in truth she doesn’t and pointing to the picture asks, “Here?… Is it a track, too?”
Bob almost disappointed answers, “I believe it is. Did you ever hear of a Bibibia?”
“Yes,… In Osteo.”
“I’ve seen this track a thousand times. It’s a Bibibia.”
“Are you saying the Osteoans brought it?” Pamela asks.
“They had too. There was a game Draakars played called gadage. We rode the Bibibia over the shoreline of the Crystal Sea. We celebrated special days, and I played,” Bob says excitedly.
Pamela can’t help thinking if the Osteoans brought a giant bird named a Bibibia, then what else might they have brought. What other animals and plants live on their island, and what sea creatures swim in the turquoise water that surrounds their island. It’s as if a world she could never see again, never could return to, may have been brought to their new world or at least a part of it. She looks at Bob and says, “I want to visit that Island when we clear all this up.”
Bob smiles lovingly and tells her, “It’s a date.”
Pamela and Bob are lost in their mental journey to the Caribbean when Jesse calls, “Bob, we gotta go.”