A Science Fiction Novel of Suspense
HIAM YEHUDA ROSE FROM THE LUNCH table, nodding politely, and paid the bill. We seated ourselves in his car and moved out into traffic in silence. It was some time before I said, "I know I have no right to ask or expect anything more but I am driven to find them. Can you give me a clue, anything that would help me?" I got no response until we reached my car in the administrative office parking lot.
Before he parted he said, "I can't tell you where they are. I can't even tell you where Trigo is. But if you continue the search be careful, Frances. Remember, Bodie is a ghost town."
I left with his warning ringing in my ears.
My mind thrashed about, speculating as I drove home. Why did Hiam mention Trigo. Trigo means wheat. Food. Does food have something to do with all this? Could I find the dog? Would he lead me to the strangers? Crazy. All this UFO stuff must be messing up my mind, I thought.
What is the F.B.I. doing to the strangers? And why am I in danger? Someone with power got me out of jail; he freed me from a drunk driving charge, a serious matter in California. I promised to let go, give up the investigation, but hadn't. Could they take me, break me, make me a prisoner?"
I was willing to take personal risk because the story had me caught in its power.
Imagine the reaction! People whisked away. The same people returning more than a hundred years later. What things would they bring back with them: wisdom, knowledge, disease, changed attitudes, new abilities, inadequacies? Abductions by some unknown power. How bizarre! I thought.
Paula, my bright daughter, provided one of the answers. "Our dog goes to the kennel when we go away," she said.
Twenty phone calls later, I found a woman who said they had a yellow dog named Trigo at their kennel and animal hospital on North Fair Oaks Boulevard in Pasadena. This seemed too easy. Had Hiam known that I would find the kennel? Was he suggesting that the strangers were nearby?
I left immediately for the kennel. When I arrived, Trigo was bouncing about, yipping and barking softly. I asked the attendant if anyone named Pedro ever came to see him and was told that no one came to visit. They had been given a thousand dollars to cover his keep and a phone number to call when that ran out. For twenty dollars, I secured the number and then drove randomly around, hoping for some kind of break. I was familiar with this part of Pasadena and knew there were a lot of hospitals and rest homes in the area.
I decided to spend a few days asking questions. At one point I used a pay phone to call the number I'd gotten at the kennel. It turned out to be a Wells Fargo Bank in the area but that was all I got.
On the morning of the third day of searching, I spotted a gardening truck manned by a polite Japanese.
"Good morning. Maybe you can help me," I said.
"Glad help, glad help," he answered, bowing each time he spoke.
"This may sound strange but I'm looking for some people who were brought here, to one of these rest homes or hospitals, within the last couple of weeks. A boy, Mexican, about fifteen, a blond man who looks like a young cowboy, an older Irishman and two ladies, one with red hair, dressed like, well, fancy ladies"
"Hi, I see them. They come in Air Force cars, three of them. They stay at the Vista Oaks on Fair Oaks. Fourth floor, I see boy at courtyard window on fourth floor when I do yard."
"Thank you, thank you," I said, my heart pounding.
We parted and I got the exact address from a phone book at the Albertson's Market nearby, drove to Vista Oaks Rest Home and Hospital and feeling like a detective, "cased the joint." It was fenced. There was an entrance in front with a guard desk. Getting in would take some planning; I needed time to think, to catch my breath. They are there, right there in the Vista Oaks and I am very close to getting their story-my story. I will get in.