CHAPTER TWELVE

Amy climbed stiffly out of the van and stood, trying to get her bearings. Hannibal, too, was looking around, cigar smoldering, a deep frown on his face. He looked at her doubtfully. Not that she blamed him. All around her, students were going about their lives, hurrying to classes, talking in groups, studying in the shade of the trees that lined the main avenue of the small college.

They'd been cruising every street around the gas station for what seemed like hours, trying to find anything Amy thought looked familiar. This was the second time they'd ended up here.

"Let's just go a little further. Up this way." She looked at him over the hood of the van. "Please."

Hannibal didn't say a word, but climbed back behind the wheel of the van. Silently they drove down the road.


*****

They stumbled out of the woods and across a small field. The bright lights of the gas station hurt her eyes and she squinted as she pulled the two of the to a halt. She had to find a place to leave Face where she could keep an eye on him and yet keep him out of sight of any others. Two people running out of nowhere would attract enough attention; one of them being covered in blood would wreak havoc.

They came in at an angle, and Amy saw two phone booths along the side of the building. Doors to the restrooms were between the phones and the back of the building, which was lit only by a single, dim security light. Several boxes were stacked at the back.

Not perfect, but it would do

Face sat on one box, eyes closed, leaning heavily against the back of the building. Under the lights, he looked nearly as pale as...Amy swallowed, blinking back tears. Just hold on a little longer, she thought. She started to leave for the phone, then stopped and gingerly reached under Face's jacket and pulled his gun from its holster. Not knowing exactly what to do with it now, she reached up and laid it carefully high on top of another stack of boxes.

One more glance at Face, and she stepped around the corner to the phone booths.


*****

The van came slowly around a curve, coming to an abrupt stop. Up ahead, several police vehicles were parked, lights flashing. An ambulance was pulling into a tree-lined drive, toward one of the many brick-faced college buildings, with the usual flat roof and institutional windows. Hannibal looked questioningly at Amy as he pulled the van to the side and parked. She shrugged, shaking her head.

"Well, something's obviously happened." He sighed. "I can throw a cap on, sunglasses, see what I can find out."

"No, Hannibal. We're in enough trouble. I'll go."

Hannibal frowned. "You up to it, kid?"

Amy swallowed. She wasn't, not really, but Hannibal couldn't just waltz up to the law, and she had to know. She had to. Nodding, she slowly got out of the car.


*****

When BA answered the phone, Amy couldn't help herself. She started crying and knew she was close to losing it completely. She was grateful it was BA. She couldn't have taken Hannibal's questions, or Murdock's craziness right now. Slowly BA's low but stern voice brought her back to earth, and she was at least able to tell him where they were. He told her to wait behind the station with Face and they would come and get them.

When he hung up, she almost called him right back. She didn't want to let go of that line to safety. Shakily, she stepped out of the booth, checked to see if she had drawn any attention, and practically ran back to Face. She reached up and grabbed the gun before sitting down next to him.

She was still holding it in her lap when the van pulled up.


*****

The cop on duty at the end of the drive didn't exactly look friendly, but if anyone would know what had happened, he would. She tried to appear casual; no sense drawing attention to herself.

The cop shook his head disgustedly. "Some broad jumped off the clock tower last night. Couple of students found the body this morning."

Amy looked through the trees, now seeing the rather pretentious tower at the corner of the building. "Jumped?"

"Yeah. Don't know why people do that...hell of way to go." He turned his attention to the slowing traffic, and Amy moved away.

She followed the sidewalk around the curve as far as she was allowed, looking. She knew that was the curve in the road, and the way the drive turned...it had to be.

But it couldn't be.

Then she saw, in the distance, her car, the Vette parked close behind it. Parked on a side street, several yards from where the ambulance now sat. From where that woman...

She felt another wave of dizziness coming, and quickly found a bench in the shade. She plopped down, putting her head down, holding her temples. None of this was making any sense.


*****

Amy let out a deep breath. She was sitting on the bed at the motel, Hannibal, BA and Murdock seated around her. Face sat at the small table by the window, head resting on his arms. He hadn't said a word since they left the house, silent even as they re-did the bandage on his side. He'd sat down at the table and stared at the wall until Amy started telling the others what had happened. That's when he'd put his head down, refusing to look at anyone.

She looked up, exhausted from their questions, and waited to hear what Hannibal wanted to do. She was startled to see all three of looking totally confused.

"What?"

Hannibal cleared his throat, and glanced over at Face. "Amy, we were at Tovey's house, and it definitely isn't some old Victorian mansion. There was a woods, of sorts, but no rose garden, no broken window, and definitely no tower. The nanny took Tovey's kids over to her mother's house when the phones went out. He's there right now, and they're all just fine."


*****

"Amy?"

She looked up, startled. Hannibal was sitting beside her on the bench, frowning so deeply he almost looked like BA.

"Oh, Hannibal, I'm sorry. Some woman killed herself last night. Jumped from...that tower."

Hannibal looked over at the clock tower, a typical new brick structure trying to look old and dignified.

"You think that's where your house was?"

Amy shook her head. "I don't know, Hannibal. But I have to find out what happened last night, and why. Not only for myself. Face..."

Hannibal sighed, shoulders sagging. "Yeah. I have to tell you, kid, if it weren't for the way he's acting, I don't know if I'd have believed any of this. But something happened to you two last night, and we're going to find out what."