Categories > TV > Invisible Man > Busman's Holiday

Part 4

by OneEye 0 reviews

For the Invisible Man, even a simple vacation can go horribly wrong.

Category: Invisible Man - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Bobby Hobbes, Claire Keeply, Darien Fawkes - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-07-20 - Updated: 2006-07-21 - 1997 words

Part 4

Sitting quietly in the far corner of the hospital room, Bobby Hobbes listened as the cops and the FBI questioned Rose Egan about her capture, rescue, and escape. The girl was huddled under a mound of blankets, clutching a paper cup of hot chocolate, trying to get warm again. Mrs. Egan was sitting beside the bed, holding her daughter's hand tightly between both of hers, as if afraid to let go.

It was after midnight now. Heavy rain was beating against the windows of the hospital room. Listening to the pounding rhythm, Bobby's stomach clenched with worry. His partner was out there, in that. By morning, the temperatures were supposed to drop near freezing, especially at the higher elevations. It was already snowing on the highest peaks, the first taste of the long winter to come.

Inside the hospital room, the interview was going slowly and methodically. Too slowly. Hobbes wanted to just grab the girl by the shoulders and shake her until she told him where his partner was. He knew, however, that the only reason he was still in the room at all was that the rest of the cops had forgotten he was there. Sometimes, he mused, you can be invisible without a fancy gland.

Hobbes repressed a yawn as the interrogators gently led the girl step by step through her experience: Fawkes appearance on Sunday night, seemingly out of nowhere, the fight in the cabin, stealing the militia's vehicle, racing over mountain roads with another car in hot pursuit. Hobbes noticed that she stumbled a few times in her recitation, as if she was carefully not telling everything she knew. He wondered if she knew about Fawkes' hidden talent.

When she began to describe how the car was forced off the road, and how Darien had been wounded while taking on the two armed men, Hobbes suddenly felt his stomach clench again with dread. There was no way to tell from Rose's description how bad his partner had been hurt.

Bobby finally couldn't contain his frustration any longer. "And you left him up there? Alone and injured out in the middle of the woods?" he demanded angrily. The officers standing around the room looked up as a unit and practically growled in annoyance at the interruption.

Rose, who up until that point had been speaking about her experiences with an icy calm, looked up at Hobbes with tears welling in her eyes.

"I didn't want to!" she cried, her voice finally breaking with the release of emotions she'd been repressing for almost two days. "We ran and ran, until they finally seemed to give up chasing us. We found a little shelter under some rocks, and I tried to help Darien stop the bleeding, but we didn't have much to work with.

"When morning came, we tried to hike out. We'd only gone a couple of miles when we heard dogs barking behind us. It sounded like those scenes you see in the movies, cops and bloodhounds tracking the criminals. Except it was the criminals tracking us."

Hobbes anger evaporated, as he finally saw what should have been obvious from the start. "He made you go on without him, didn't he?"

Rose, her eyes red and puffy from crying, looked surprised and nodded. "He said the dogs would follow his scent because of the blood, so if we split up they might miss my trail. I didn't want to leave him behind, told him I wouldn't. We were standing on the bank of a creek, and he told me to walk in the water for as long as I could, to hide my scent, and follow the creek downhill until I found a road. Then he just disappeared...I mean, took off. I heard him running into the woods. I couldn't find him, couldn't follow him, so I just did what he said."

Hobbes shook his head morosely. /Dammit//, Fawkes, /he fumed. You shouldn't pull these stunts when I'm not around to save your ass...

One of the uniformed officers stalked over to Hobbes and looked down at him menacingly. "Sir," he said, giving the word a very derogatory overtone, "you really shouldn't be in here, this is official..."

Suddenly a thought occurred to Hobbes. Ignoring the cretin who was yammering at him, he looked across the room at the Cold Springs sheriff. "Hey, Pizzetti, you got topo maps of the area where Ms. Egan was picked up?"

Pizzetti nodded, looking a bit lost. "Sure, down in the cruiser, but why..."

Instead of answering, Bobby turned back to the girl. "You think you could help us trace the route you took down the mountain, even roughly? We might be able to find that old summer camp on a topo map even if it's no longer on a marked road. Most of the USGS maps were made back in the 1950's; I'll betcha that back then the camp would have been active and the road marked."

Rose thought about it a moment. "I...think so. I do know how to read a topo map. That creek should be marked, and I'd say we weren't more than three or four miles from where we crashed when he left me at the creek."

"Pizzetti..." Hobbes said, turning around, only to find that the sheriff had already figured it out and had gone out to get the maps.

The rain had died down to a mere drizzle when the FBI conducted a surprise dawn raid on the militia camp. Of the seventeen men encountered there, two were killed and three wounded in the initial skirmish. The rest surrendered after a short, tense standoff. It had helped that most of them were still asleep when the raid started.

Hobbes stood on a rise overlooking the camp, clothed in a borrowed poncho and watching the action through a pair of borrowed binoculars. He was having trouble holding the binoculars steady as he shivered in the cold. As predicted, the temperatures had plunged as the cold front moved through. Several puddles nearby had thin skins of ice coating their surfaces.

Claire was about twenty yards away, similarly clad, fiddling with some piece of equipment that she refused to explain. So far, whatever she was doing, she apparently wasn't getting the results she wanted.

Pizzetti sat in his car nearby, waiting tensely for some news to come over the radio. The Feds had allowed them to tag along in hopes that Darien or some clue to his whereabouts might be found within the camp.

So far, there was nothing.

From his vantage point, Hobbes could see a fenced area behind the main building. There were several large dog houses and half a dozen hunting dogs within the fence. A couple of FBI agents were sweeping the area, looking for stragglers while keeping a wary eye on the dogs. Suddenly one of the agents froze, as if he heard a noise. He made a subtle signal to his partner, nodding towards one of the dog houses.

Within moments, the two agents were pulling a young boy out of the small opening, kicking and screaming. The kid didn't look more than fifteen or sixteen. After a short struggle, the two agents managed to calm him down and cuff his hands.

Seeing the boy and the dogs, Hobbes had a flash of an idea. Without a word, he made his way down the hill and into the camp.

He approached the agent in charge of the operation, putting on his best expression of humility. It was really hard to refrain from being a smartass around the FBI, but at least this wasn't Jones he had to deal with. It helped that the agent he was speaking to was female; his instinct to be snarky was easily countered by an even stronger instinct to be charming.

"Agent Nelson?" Bobby said cautiously.

The woman held up a hand as she relayed some instructions to one of the men in the field, then turned towards Hobbes and replied, "Something I can help you with, Mr. Hobbes?"

"I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you."

"You can ask. I don't guarantee an answer you'll be happy with."

"Well, you see, my partner's lost out there in the woods somewhere. You asked us to put off a full search and rescue operation for a few hours so you'd have the element of surprise here, but if we're gonna to find him before he dies of exposure, we gotta move fast. There's a lot of ground to cover out there; if I could talk to some of your prisoners, the ones that were out yesterday hunting him, I might be able to narrow down the search area a bit."

Agent Nelson thought about this for a moment, then nodded. "Don't see why not. We'll set you up in one of the cabins over there. Want me to just pick one for you?"

"Actually, I'd like to start with the boy they just plucked out of the kennel area back there. He was with the dogs; maybe he's their caretaker or something. They might've taken him along yesterday to handle them."

Nelson nodded and started giving orders into her radio.

When the boy was brought into the cabin several minutes later, Hobbes was momentarily discouraged. The expression of fear and confusion on the kid's face was vague and somewhat vacant; Bobby suspected he might be mentally retarded to some degree. His plans for a quick, harsh interrogation flew right out the window. Time for a different tactic.

Mentally switching gears, he walked softly over to where the boy was seated. Pulling a second chair across the floor, he sat facing the boy so their eyes were level with each other.

"Hi," Bobby began. "What's your name?"

"D...D...Davey," the boy stuttered.

"Hi, Davey, my name's Bobby." Hobbes placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "It's okay, you don't have to be scared. I'm not gonna hurt you. I just want to ask you a few questions."

"Is Georgie all right?"


" brother. He takes care of me. He lets me take care of the puppies."

Puppies, Hobbes chuckled inwardly. Yeah, right.. Some of those beasts nearly outweighed this kid. "I'm sure Georgie's fine, Davey. I actually wanted to ask you about the 'puppies' you take care of. Did you go out with them yesterday when they went hunting?"

Davey's eyes brightened as a smile broke across his face. "Uh huh. Didn't tell me what we were hunting, but the puppies knew. They like hunting. They like the woods."

"Did the puppies find what they were looking for?" Hobbes asked, dreading the answer.

The boy's expression darkened, fearful. " got scared. The woods were haunted. Georgie and the others...they tried to make the puppies go on, keep hunting, but they wouldn't. They tried to hit the puppies, but the ghost wouldn't let them. The ghost said to leave. We did. We came back here."

Hobbes nearly laughed aloud in relief and amusement. Focus, Bobby, he admonished himself a second later, you haven't found him yet.

"Davey," Bobby inquired, "Can you read a map?"

"No, never was much good at reading. I can read 'Cat in the Hat,' kinda. And I love reading 'Wacky Wednesday,' but that's mostly for the funny pictures."

Trying not to show his disappointment, Bobby patted the boy on the shoulder. "That's okay, kid. Thanks for the help, anyway." Calling the agent outside back in to take the boy away, Bobby walked out onto the rickety porch. He looked around for Agent Nelson, intending to ask her to find the one named Georgie. Maybe he could be persuaded to read a map. Instead, he spotted Claire jogging down the hill towards him, waving that electronic whatsit she'd been so focussed on earlier. He climbed down the stairs and met her halfway.

"Bobby," Claire exclaimed breathlessly, "I found him!"

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