The story: 3
We came across a row of eucalyptus trees, planted as a wind break. The truck was no longer visible in my rear view mirror, but I knew he was still coming. I saw a gap where a tree must have died years ago. Not even the stump was visible now. I turned and crossed the line of trees. I used the high ridge they were growing and their massive trunks in to hide the cab from the road. I killed the engine.
“These are some big trees, must be from Texas,” I whispered
“Texas? These trees come from Australia. I feel like we are in the citadel with the enemy at the wall.” Senka said.
“Shh, I hear the truck.”
The throaty sputter of the determined engine built to a crescendo as it passed. I held my breath. I heard the truck down-shift. If he guessed we pulled off…. The truck shifted again and sped up. I exhaled. We gave it another minute before we said anything.
“Maybe we should go for the police,” Senka said.
“Bad idea, doll. We’re the ones that stole the oranges; they’d just arrest us. Maybe we should check the oranges and see what we got.” Senka handed me a couple of oranges and I tore into them. She managed to slide a long nail into the slit and tease out the papers hidden inside them.
The pieces of paper were mostly groups of four letters, some sort of code. The one with the double XX had a cryptic message:
Collect a skeleton, circles of speech, flesh out messages, the shaman.
“Tough to make much sense of that,” I said.
“We’ll have to ask the shaman,” Senka added.
“First, we gotta find’m,” I said, “If he sent these messages than he must have access to that farm. If the messages are directing someone to find this shaman, then it would also make sense that he is local or they would have given a location.”
“So we are looking for a shaman with ties to Germany, living somewhere in the area, not likely going to be in the yellow pages.” Senka said.
“No, doll, but there might be something better. This being a small town, I’m betting that everyone knows everyone else’s business. We might get lucky in one of the local bars or restaurants. If a shaman lives anywhere around here you can bet there is going to be at least one drunk ranch hand that will have trouble keeping his mouth shut about it.” I started the engine and eased back onto the road. “I just need to figure out which way is town.”
“Make a right,” Senka said.