The Private Detective remembers the campgrounds..and her
|The private detective sat on the pine straw, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. The aroma of dead needles brought him back to a time and place where he first experienced love. In his mind’s eye, he returned there, back to the campgrounds.
Asher Matthews hadn’t planned to be in the investigative business. He earned a Computer Science degree at North Carolina-Charlotte and minored in English, only because they did not have a writing program. He wanted to write novels and short stories for a living, had been his dream since he was an 11-year-old student. He spent free time as a teenager – when he wasn’t excelling at soccer or on the track – writing stories for family, friends and teachers. He had received several offers from colleges and universities to attend and major in Creative Writing or American Literature, but was talked into, and rightfully so, studying computers. His father and his coworkers at the bank, back in in 1981, told him that it would be financially beneficial to learn to program computers: The days of them running everything were coming.
They were right, of course.
In the distance, Asher heard a waterfowl land on the small lake. A smile came to his face, remembering when, in the morning, he saw loons land on the Morrisania Lake with her, the first girl he truly loved. The innocence of that time made him ache to be young again.
He finished the can of black cherry soda – the drink she served him the first lunch they shared - stood and brushed off the needles that had stuck to his jeans. His momentary rest was over and he needed to return to the task. With each step through the darkness, the conifers gave reminders of the campground and of her. Asher needed to stop thinking of Rebekah Dahl and focus on finding his quarry.
He exited the pines and stepped onto a meadow. Asher saw no signs of the man he had been following, but memories rushed into his mind. He and Rebekah spent time, hand in hand, walking through the campgrounds’ field of wildflowers, talking about what they wanted to do with their lives. She supported his dreams of being an author and had read a story he wrote while on the lake beach. She loved it.
The sound of a stick breaking brought him back to the present. He slipped quickly back into the cover of shade and looked around. The man walked out onto the field, oblivious to the detective. Asher reached into his leather jacket and removed the Glock from its hiding place. The man, taller and younger, was unarmed, giving Asher some solace. He took a deep cleansing breathe and stepped forward. The image of Rebekah’s smile flashed into his mind as he pointed at his prey.