Welcome to The Book of Bones, a weekly adventure story. If you’re just joining the story, click here for Chapter 1.
From his hiding place behind an abandoned store, Sheriff Craig Jameson watched the blue Dodge Ram pull slowly out of the parking lot of Miguel’s Automotive and Pawn. Cupping the screen of his cellphone to hide the glow, he checked the open app. Sure enough, a tiny red dot tracked the movement of the pickup truck as it headed down the road. Bonebrake thought himself clever, sneaking out in the middle of the night, but now Jameson could track the man wherever he went. And so could Jameson’s friends.
Smiling, he tucked the phone into his pocket and headed in the opposite direction to the spot where he’d parked his patrol car. No need to follow Bonebrake just yet. If the man went somewhere interesting, Jameson would pass the word through the proper channels. Hopefully the troublesome Indian would continue on his way and never set foot in Quemadura again.
When he reached his parked patrol car he found Matthew waiting for him. The back of Jameson’s neck prickled and he took a few calming breaths before approaching his son. If the boy, and in many ways that’s what Matthew still was, kept screwing up, Jameson would be forced to deal with it. He loved his son, but at some point, his hands would be tied.
“Did you let him go?” Matthew said when his father came within earshot.
“The man who put Mari in the hospital? I’m afraid I did.”
That got a reaction. Matthew flinched, and his eyes drifted toward the ground. “She had an accident.”
“So I wrote in my report.” Jameson sat down on the hood of his squad car and motioned for Matthew to join him. He gritted his teeth, biting down a rebuke, as his son sulked over to his side. The car dipped as Matthew let his bulk drop onto the bumper. He sat there, arms folded, staring down the empty street.
“I meant Bonebrake,” Matthew said. “You just let him leave?”
“I told you I planted a tracker on his pickup. I can get to him any time I like.”
“I need that tracking information,” Matthew said. “I’ve got business with him.”
Jameson shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about Bonebrake.” He took a deep breath. “I want you to know, that’s the last time I’ll sweep something under the rug for you.”
Matthew humphed. “I don’t know what you’re…”
“Stop it!” Jameson turned to his son, who continued to stare into the distance. “I don’t care how you fix this problem, but fix it you will. You want some in-patient treatment somewhere? I’ll pay for it. You want to leave town and start over somewhere else? I’ll pay for that too. But you will leave that girl alone and you won’t put your hands on a woman ever again. However you need to do it, get your shit together.”
“I can’t leave here until I finish what I’ve started.”
“You can finish your book anywhere.” Jameson said.
“You know what I mean. The rock is the key. I need to find out what’s behind that door.”
“And you thought blowing it with a big mess of C-4 was the answer?” Jameson raised an eyebrow.
“How did you…” Matthew’s shoulders sagged. “I couldn’t get it open so I figured I had to go around it.”
“Do you even know how many things are wrong with that idea? How many reasons it probably wouldn’t work? Not to mention you have no training with explosives.”
“You have no respect for me.” Matthew sprang to his feet and began to pace. “What if Bonebrake’s men get there before me?”
“Bonebrake’s men? Out at the rock? Those are my…acquaintances.”
Matthew stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned to face his father. “I can’t believe you did that. I considered the possibility, but I never thought you’d betray me like that.”
“You don’t understand what’s at stake here.” Jameson rose to his feet. “Once Bonebrake found the door, it was only a matter of time before the secret got out. And if those men learned that I’d been hiding something this important from them…”
“So you just handed it over to them?” Matthew asked.
“All they know is a man with suspicious government connections and a history of meddling in things of this nature has been poking around. They know the Halcon Rock legend, but that’s it. They don’t know anything else and if you want it to stay that way, keep your head down and your mouth shut. They’ve got the place cordoned off as a precaution, but as far as I know, they’re not actively searching for a path to…you know.”
“So you believe it leads to the world beneath?” Matthew asked.
Jameson shrugged. “It make as much sense as anything else. The truth, whatever it turns out to be, will be stranger than fiction, as they say.”
“That’s just it,” Matthew pleaded. “I want to know what the truth is. Whoever built that door is hiding something. What is it?”
“There’s another possibility.” Jameson turned his eyes to the full moon and tried to ignore the shiver running down his spine. “What if that door was built to keep something from getting out?”