Please read from #1 to keep up. Comments welcome.
Jack Taylor looks out his back door of his modest cabin. He has owned the land for years, but only recently moved in. Located in a small valley high in the Colorado rockies, he has a nice view of a small creek that meanders through his acreage. There is a small pond the stream flows through. Lots of Aspen trees and pine. And visits from all sorts of wildlife are not uncommon. He leases out his 200 acres to a local rancher who runs a few head of cattle and horses. Some of the land the rancher grows hay on for winter feeding. He’s not going to get rich on the lease money, but it pays the mortgage. Jack planted native grasses in his yard instead of grass. Less mowing that way. And it is less of a magnet to the deer. Deer are like big goats. Everything is edible to them. Not many vegetable gardens up here are left untouched by these damn deer. Situated in the back corner of his yard is a wrecked blue sedan. Well, it used to be blue, but now its kind of a dusty brown from all the weathering this past year. Jack rarely visits the car, feeling that the view of it from his back porch is close enough for now. He was close to the car plenty after it was dragged from the lake with his dead wife inside. Its been a long year.
After retiring from the FBI in Denver, Sarah and Jack were going to live in a small town and lead the simple life. But ghosts from his past changed all that. The investigation revealed that Sarah had been targeted. The toxicology report showed drugs in her system from the wine. And her car had been tampered with. Almost all of the safety systems had been altered. There was no way anyone would have survived all that, let alone his diminutive Sarah. Further investigation had led the FBI to look into Jacks past at various cases he had closed. They had narrowed the field of prospective suspects down to about a dozen. But with no real solid clues, it had ended there. The water in the lake had erased more then just his wife’s life. The only real evidence was the yellow sticky note. The few days submerged in the water with his wife had really faded the writing and left the ink so damaged no real forensics could be done on it. But the message was undeniable to Jack. “I’m coming back” is all it said. It made no sense to anyone else. But it made sense to Jack. Not too long after the investigation was finished he bought a small ranch 10 miles outside of Silverville, Colorado. Some said he was hiding. Some thought he was running. He thought he was trying to start anew. Maybe there is truth in all of them.
The engine he heard first. Coming down the long dirt road from the highway was an old Ford pickup. The driver was getting out of the cab when Jack opened the front door. Keeping a 12 gauge within easy reach he leaned on the door jamb. “Jack!” Crank yelled as he saw his old friend in the doorway. “Is that you, Crank?” Jack asked incredulously. They shake hands in the driveway. No guy hugs here. Not this generation. “Come on in Crank.” Jack insists. “It sure is nice to see an old friend.” They work their way up the the porch. The temperature is in the 50s still. Not bad for October. Jack grabs a bottle of Scotch and two tumblers and sits on one of the padded wicker chairs. Crank pours a couple of stiff pulls, and they both settle back.
“Looks like snows coming.” Crank says after a good swallow. “See how dark the clouds are at the edges.” Jack nods and says “I haven’t been here long enough to see those signs.” Crank nods and they sit silently for a few minutes. “Look, Jack,” Crank says “I came to see how you were doing. I heard about Sarah and I felt there was nothing I could do 300 miles away.” “There was nothing you could do.” Jack offered. “The investigation came up empty. And after all that happened, I guess, well…” Jack tailed off in thought. More silence. Jack then brightened “Hey, I heard you were working here.” “Yeah, got tired of the big city rat race and took the job offer here in Silverville a few years back.” Crank replied. “Pay is a bit less, but the views are incredible. And with only one stop light in town there aren’t any traffic jams.” “Its a whole lot quieter up here as well.” Jack said. “Sometimes I miss the work, Not the cases I mean, but I miss the people sometimes.” Crank was ready. “We have a case going on now that has us stumped. We could use a new set of eyes on it, and with your experience, well, who knows what could happen.” Jack cringed. “I don’t know. I’ve been out of it for more than a year now. And after my Sarah was taken from me, I just don’t have the heart for it.”
Crank thought for a while. “Jack, just think about it. We have a new sheriff who is really smart and she’ll listen to experience like yours.” “She?” Jack shot back. ‘A female sheriff? My how times change.” Crank answers “She’s good Jack, and cute. Look her up and introduce yourself to her. Just leave my name out of it. Abby will not forgive me if she knew I was talking to you without her knowing.” Jack and Crank stand up at this. Crank makes to leave, but turns to Jack. “I heard there was a note in the car.” Jack paled at this. Crank continued “We have a case which I think you will be very interested in.” “What do you mean?” Jack asked. “There was writing on the bathroom wall, Jack. In the victims own blood.” Crank offered. Jack waited for more. “It said ‘I’m Back.’“ Jack could barely move. The blood rushing in his ears sounded like the ocean. Crank helped him back to the wicker chair. After a few minutes Jack came out of it and said “I’ll look her up, Crank, I’ll find Abby.”