Chapter 9 (1)

he would go?  Maybe a relative?”
“Listen, lady, I know you mean well, but don’t go looking for him,” Roger said.
“I won’t go alone,” I said.  “I’ll bring a police officer with me.”
Roger looked slightly less worried but far from reassured.  “You’d better bring three of them, well-armed.”  He thought for a second, “I don’t know of any relatives but Casey but I do remember that the family used to own a vacation house up at White’s Lake.”
He pointed to the house, “It may be like this place.  It went to John in his parents’ will so nothing could be done with it.”
Apparently, the property taxes had been paid though if the house had not been auctioned off.  I wondered if maybe Gravely actually owned the house and farm now.  If they did, maybe the vacation home was theirs too.
“And you’re sure John couldn’t be hanging around here somewhere on the farm?  Maybe an old barn or shed?”  I questioned.
“Yes, I’m sure he’s not here.”  He took a deep breath, “I’ve checked the entire property every few days since he left.  I couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t.”  He kicked at the gravel again, “I don’t know why you would want to see him.  I doubt anything he told you would help Casey.”
“It’s just something I have to do,” I said.  It was the most truthful thing I’d spoken in the entire conversation.  I held out my hand, “Thank you for all your help.”
“You’re welcome,” he said as he gripped my hand tightly.  “Please be careful.”
As I backed out of the driveway and turned onto the main road, I thought about how scared I’d been when Roger had sneaked up behind me with a shotgun.  I’d been paralyzed with fear, unable to move.  Now I was on my way to confront a psychopath.  My father’s ancient pistol seemed inadequate.
I needed a gun with a magazine, and quickly.  I looked at my phone.  I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to see that I’d been searching for a weapon.  I parked the truck at a local store.  Inside, I quickly found what I was looking for-a display of prepaid credit cards and phones.  I picked up one of the credit cards and a generic smart phone and paid for them both with cash.
In a short time, the phone was active.  I sat in the parking lot and searched for gun shows.  Online gun sales popped up.  I read through the information.  I’d had no idea such marketplaces existed but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I’d found.  By going through a private buyer, I could pay cash and avoid a background check.  I was slightly horrified that the process left a gaping hole in gun sales but in my circumstances, I could hardly choose now to get on my high horse.  If Dr. Miles had interceded, I might not pass a traditional check.  I also finally admitted to myself that I wanted a gun that wouldn’t directly be connected to me.  I browsed through the websites, making notes on a sheet of paper.
I stuck my hand in my pocket.  I’d never have enough cash to buy any of the guns listed.  I started the truck back up and drove to the next small town which was ten minutes away.  There had to be one somewhere, I mumbled under my breath.  Pawnshop-I saw a flashing electronic sign up ahead.
I parked the truck and went into the store.  I’d never been in a pawnshop before but I’d seen all the shows on television.  An overweight man with a balding head stood behind the glass counter.  I could see sweat stains under his armpits.

“Can I help you?” he asked.
I pulled my diamond engagement ring and wedding band from my fingers.  “I’d like to sell these.”

He made a great show of looking over both the rings and then he sighed, “I’m afraid they’re not worth much.  I can give you five hundred.”
I glared at him and snatched the diamond ring out of his greasy hand, “It’s worth $3500, at least,” I snarled.
“Okay, okay, calm down,” he countered.  “I must have looked at it wrong.”  He screwed up his face in thought, “How about a thousand?”
“$2000, and that’s robbing me blind,” I countered.
“Lady, you’re crazy.  There’s no way I’m giving you that,” he said.
“What about $2000 for both of them, total?”  I asked.
He stopped as if he was considering, “I’m crazy for doing it, but okay, you have a deal.”
I wasn’t fooled.  The band could easily fetch $600 on its own.  He’d paid me about half of what they were worth.  He stood to make a hefty profit.  He didn’t ask me any questions. I guessed that he hadn’t wanted to give me a chance to change my mind.
I stuffed the cash in my pocket as I left the store.  A McDonalds was lit up a few blocks down the road.  I parked the truck again and went inside.  I noticed a young guy on a laptop.  I walked up to him and smiled, “Could you do me a favor?”
He looked disgruntled until I pulled a twenty out of my pocket.  “Maybe, what do you want?”
I sat down in the chair next to his.  “I have a friend I’ve had an argument with and she unfriended me on Facebook but I’m dying to see what she’s up to.  Her name is Casey Leech.  Can you look her up?  I’m not sure exactly how all that stuff works and I don’t want her to know I’ve been trying to look at her posts.”
He looked at me, marking me as ancient since I appeared over eighteen.  “My mom doesn’t understand it, either.  She’s always asking me to do posts for her.”  He groaned, “Facebook is for old people.”
I didn’t make a comment as he began to type.  Then I noticed the way he spelled Leech.  “It’s Leech, not Leach.”
“Whatever,” he replied as he corrected it.
“Stop, that’s her,” I said as he brought up a page.
“Guess she doesn’t care about her privacy,” he said.  “Either that or she doesn’t know how to use the settings.”
“Can you scroll to her last post?”  I asked.
He moved the page, “It looks like it’s been awhile.”  He pointed to

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