Chapter Twenty-One ~
The men were already seated and waiting on the women. Jude spoke almost immediately. "You know, I think there's more to that book and mirror we found on the ground. There was a map drawn in it and we naturally assumed that's all it was...but why the mirror, too?"
"That's been at the edges of my mind, to be honest. It doesn't seem likely she would've taken the chance to drop something that had no significance at all. I'm gonna run up to the study and get it, I'll be right back," Jackson said as he got up and sprinted up the steps.
"I think Lydia is the one who dropped the mirror. Her fingerprints were all over it, but I don't know what she wanted us to do with it." He picked up the copy of his yearbook lying on the table and flipped through it, trying to find a girl named Lydia Willis. That was the last name the print had brought back. He looked through the senior year first, but it brought nothing. He did the junior and sophomore years too and still drew a blank. He went to the back section of the freshman year and hers was the last name on the page. Lydia Willis, three years below him in school. She'd been a beauty, but he couldn't honestly say he remembered her. "I found Lydia's name in my yearbook. She was a freshman the year I was a senior. I don't think I ever met her."
"Oh, I'm pretty sure you probably met her, you just don't remember," Amy said.
He looked at her quizzically and asked, "Do you know something I don't?"
"Nothing I can talk about, Jude. Just trust me when I say you knew her very well." She sealed her lips shut and Jude had to grin.
Jackson came back down carrying the book and mirror. "Maybe she just wanted us to know who she was. That's a possible reason for leaving the mirror."
"I guess it's possible, but it wouldn't hurt to look at it again. Here, can I take a peek?" Justy asked. She held out her hand for the mirror and Jackson handed it to her. She looked at the outside closely and then opened it up. Being a woman, she knew there was a secret compartment in the mirror and went right to it. She pulled the fake back up and whistled in excitement. "There's something in here." She pulled it out with shaking fingers and opened it up. She read it out loud, "He lives and works on Redwood Road in West Jordan, Utah. It's a fire of a place."
"Wow, that's a little obscure. Why didn't she just tell us?" Amy wondered.
"It's hard telling. I don't think her mind was all there, you know? Anybody that can do the things she did is bound to be a little messed up," Jackson suggested.
"Yeah, I guess that's true, but she seemed so sane when she spoke to me. She was sad and resigned. I actually felt a little sorry for her," Amy told them.
"I know a lot of people would think you were crazy Amy, but I'm telling you, that's what a forgiving heart is all about," Isaiah Cobb said with a smile. He looked over at his wife and said, "My Stacy is like that too."
Amy couldn't help but smile at the pastor. He was obviously smitten with his wife and it was so good to witness something like that, given the dire situation they were in. "I bet she is," She replied before looking at Evie, Shepherd's wife. "Do you have any idea what the message might mean?"
"I don't know, child. Maybe it's a reference to a fire station, or maybe even a storefront that has fire on it..." She left off hesitantly.
"That's a good guess, Evie," Shepherd said as he smiled and dropped a kiss on his wife's cheek. "Maybe it's some kind of art store or something to that effect."
"That's a possibility, and it would go right along with our profile. We were thinking he had artistic tendencies..." Jackson said.
"I think I know exactly where the place is it at, Jack. You remember last month when we were downtown looking for the perfect gift for your wife?" Jude asked with a sly smile.
"What gift is he..." Amy began, but was cut off by her husband.
"Yes, I remember, what about it?" Jack returned quickly, throwing a dirty look in Jude's direction.
"There was a little art store right beside that other little store we went into...it had fire flames in red and gold..." Jude interrupted himself, "That's it. That has to be him. It's the same color as the glitter he's been using." He sat upright in his excitement, his words almost dancing from his tongue.
"Okay, let's get a couple of the SUV's and go check it out. You ladies can stay here and catch up on all the news." Jackson dropped a kiss on his wife's forehead. He moved just before she playfully swatted him on the behind.
"You're lucky I love you so much, Jackson Masters," Amy said quietly. He laughed and strode purposefully out of the room behind Jude, Shepherd, Isaiah and the rest of his own team.
"Be careful," Justy called out to Jude as he disappeared.
"I will, pray for me," Jude yelled back at her without turning around. The other women laughed lightly.
Out in the garage Jackson stopped and asked Shepherd, "Do you need a gun? I have plenty, and I'm going to be honest, we're arming up and we're probably gonna end up using them."
"I don't think I'll need a gun, but thank you. I don't have a problem with you guys having one. I know your job requires you to carry, and I see nothing wrong with it."
"Okay, I'll take extras, just in case. He looked at Isaiah and asked, "How about you?"
"Nope, the only thing I've ever shot was game. I think I'll let you and your men keep us safe," He responded with a smile.
Jude witnessed a weird look come across Jackson’s face and after they got in the car he asked, “What's up man?"
"There's nothing wrong, why do you ask?"
He laughed, but Jude could tell he was feeling uncomfortable. "It was obviously something. You looked like you'd seen a ghost, and then you shook your head no."
"I thought I saw a halo over Isaiah’s head for a moment," Jackson confided in a near-whisper.
"Maybe you're not getting enough sleep, or you're too wrapped up in this case," Jude said, trying to sound reassuring. He sensed it wasn't the time to rib his pal, but he would keep it in his arsenal for a later time, perhaps...
"Maybe so, but I know what I thought I saw. I hope we catch this guy. He's bad news all the way around. I think he's gonna make a play to get you next," Jackson said loud enough for the two in the backseat to hear, effectively ending the conversation.
"Yeah, I've got the same feeling. I know I'm a big, strong, strapping male but the thought of him getting his hands on me terrifies me. I don't know how the women dealt with their kidnappings. I'm just glad we have them back safe and sound. With those retinal scanners in place I feel comfortable leaving them there now," Jude said into the quietness of the car.
"I agree with you two. I think his next move is to try for Jude. I thought he might try to use Justy to get to him, but he doesn't even know they like each other, does he?" Shepherd asked.
"Well he knows about what happened to Justy back in high school. Every kid in school at the time is always going to remember her humiliation, but I don’t think he realizes they’re an item," Jackson said.
"So what are your intentions toward the young lady?" Isaiah asked curiously. Everyone in the car laughed. It helped ease the tension settling over them.
"I know I don't really know her that well, but I would love to ask for her hand in marriage. I had a huge crush on her back in school, but I was too much of an idiot to let anyone know, especially her. She was a little over weight and I'm ashamed to admit I was afraid to let any of my friends know I liked her. I didn't want to be made fun of. I feel like a real heel about it now, but I can't change what happened in the past."
"That's true, you can't change what happened in the past but you can definitely change what happens in the future," Isaiah said sagely.
"That's very true," Jude said thoughtfully. It had begun to snow heavily, but the huge black and silver SUV trudged through it like a trooper.
"How on earth do you ever get used to all this snow?" Isaiah asked.
"It's actually pretty easy," Shepherd said with a smile at his friend. "It was hard to get used to all that humid heat in Oklahoma, though."
"Yeah, I see how you are, make fun of the greenhorn," He smirked back at the older pastor.
Traffic had slowed to a crawl and Shepherd asked, "Did anyone happen to listen to a weather forecast by chance?"
"Nah, I've been too busy concentrating on this Glitter Killer thing," Jude answered.
"Yeah, I have too. I can tell you they're calling for snow, with a side of snow. The skiers are gonna love it,” Jackson said as the SUV slid around on the interstate. He reached down and turned a button, and the vehicle jerked quietly into four-wheel drive. The sound of the huge tires cutting through the snow was all they heard for the next little bit. The roads had become treacherous in minutes, and they all tried to concentrate, as if that would help Jackson drive any better.