The majority of the group having spent the night doing their best to bed down alongside fallen timbers or on large stones, your sleep is suddenly interrupted when a rain cloud blows in from the lake.
Groggy, you all stampede onto the bus, waking Timothy.
However, after a few moments you realize that not everyone has made it back on board the Greyhound. Someone is missing.
A headcount is taken, then another.
“Where’s Natasha?” someone finally asks.
“Perhaps she’s off picking flowers?” someone else jokes, but a sense of dread hangs in the air.
Through the window you spot her: She sits on a rock, facing the lake, her head slumped. If it wasn’t for her absolute stillness in the downpour you might think she was mediating – but it’s not just rainwater that’s running down the stone upon which she sits. Even in this meager light you can see the boulder is awash in blood.
Natasha has been eliminated.
You have until 5PM to vote.
18 Responses to Jackfish – Day 2
“Is… is… Natasha dead?” I shake my head and murmur to myself. “Stupid question. If this were an Agatha Christie I would be looking at those people she called out yesterday…. well, no, I wouldn’t because that would be too obvious… wouldn’t it?” I peer about. “Who did she call out… Eleanor and Tim?”
“Although I agree that Natasha was suspicious of Elenore, if you recall, she wasn’t suspicious of me, she just didn’t want to have one person leading the group…which I completely agree with. We need to work together to suss out the liars in our midst.”
“Natasha agreed with my plan to stay in the bus at night. She didn’t trust Elenore’s…boots (?) though.” Tim pauses and considers for a moment. “Now why would that be?”
“Elenore, can you tell me more about yourself? You have a very distinct ‘combat’ look to you…the boots, the cropped hair…are you by any chance a soldier? And can you tell us how you know about FEF? I’m curious as to where your inside info is coming from.”
Tim turns to the rest of the group. “I don’t know who those guys in the helicopter are working for or who this Hinge fellow is, but I get suspicious when there are military forces with no identifying insignias around. Sounds like something out of a Tom Clancy novel.”
“She’s dead!?” Thomas looks at the shape on the rocks…. “Is anyone going to go and check to make sure….? she might only be a little bit dead…” He gulps…..
Elenore sinks her head into both hands, and then back up with a look of dread “Ya, she was suspiscious of my boots, I told you all the only thing these boots have done is helped save people.” Elenore pauses and looks around at everyone reading their expressions of fear and suspicion. “I’ll have to tell you eventually anyways. I’m Canadian Forces, well no, I was Canadian Forces too many tours and all I wanted to do was get out and back to a civy life. You know enjoy life, instead of constantly living switched on. This whole situation hasn’t helped at all.
I spent most of my years in, training other forces. That’s how I’ve heard of the FEF. There’s always crazy rumours flying around about them. But you’ll never see them mentioned on any report or breifing. I know you’re thinking it’s me, I’m the FEF, but I’m not, ” Elenore hesitates” and I might be the best shot you’ve got trying to figure out who they are. I know soldiers and can help you figure it out. I can’t take this, I can’t take the look on your faces I’m going to go check on Natashia maybe it’s not too late, maybe she’s just passed out from pain but there still might still be there you know, have a heart beat or something. You all can figure out what you want to do next but a little rain isn’t going to stop me from checking on her.” With that Elenore walks down the aisle of the bus and waits for Tim to open the door to let her out.
“You were pretty quick to single her out as one of the FEEFs yesterday. Maybe you trying to shift suspicion away from you and this whole ‘Wanting to help people’ thing is an elaborate cover-up.”
Anya taps her phone with a finger, “I’ve seen plenty of videos on YouTube that show people doing exactly what you are doing right now.”
She looks in Tim’s direction, “I don’t think you should let her off the bus before someone else checks on Natashia. She may try to hide any evidence that would point back to her.”
Thomas looks after Elenore, after a brief pause follows her: “I can’t let you go alone, hold up I’m a coming too.”
*looking around at the silent group*
She seems legit. And honestly, she probably IS our best chance of figuring out what the hell is going on.
And I know you’ve all been suspicious of me, and with my cryptic non-answers, I can’t blame you. May as well tell you guys my deal, it will either or it won’t.
I’m in a band and, a year ago, our tour bus caught fire and my buddy died while trapped inside. They ruled it arson and cast me as the suspect. I was in jail throughout the trial and it was looking like the jury was going to find me guilty. Then at the last second, they found new evidence and it turns out my buddy’s psycho ex-girlfriend did it and set me up. After all that, I decided I just needed to runaway for awhile. And as I have the means to do it – legally obtained, I assure you – I figured why not. So yea, I picked the first bus that looked good and got on it.
And here I am….*gesturing to all this*
I look at the departing pair. “Interesting….”
Tim listens to Elenore’s story with an expressionless face.
“I’m not accusing anyone of anything. Being in the forces doesn’t equate to you being an FEF terrorist, obviously, but it does make me wonder if you know more than what you’re letting on. How do we know you aren’t in league with this Hinge guy they’re looking for?”
He raises his hands in defence. “Not saying /you’re/ here to kill us – but we know they’re looking for Hinge….”
“As for you, Billy” he glances in the man’s direction. “It sounds like you’ve had a rough year and it hasn’t gotten any better. I’m sorry for what happened in your past, but thank you for sharing your story with us. It puts my mind at least a little more at ease.”
“Look – I have no idea what’s going on but we’re running out of time. After Natasha yesterday we need to quit messing around and figure this out. Is it odd that the only one of us here that’s mentioned that they know about the FEF is Elenore? I’m not trying to point fingers but we don’t have much to go on”
I look around. “Are we going to play their game? Are we going to give them a target under the assumption that they will let the rest of us go?”
I look from face to face. “Or do we this FEF pick us off one by one? I’ve lived a long life, but I was hoping to do a bit more reading before I reached my final chapter…..”
“Honestly, I don’t think they are going to give us any choice but to play their game, Martin. We are pretty stuck. The sooner we find Hinge, the sooner we are on our way.”
She fiddles with her phone, for it is constantly in her hands, and sighs. “I suppose my mother’s estate will have to wait a little longer.”
Elwood looks at the gathered faces and takes a deep breath. He seems hesitant, and the words tumble out of him quickly. “This is crazy. They’re going to keep killing us until we find them. Look, if we can just figure out who this Hinge person is, this will all be over. Yes, finding the FEF is important… and you seemed pretty quick to with your supposed backstory, Brill. It’s almost like you’ve rehearsed it or something.”
He pauses meaningfully, giving Elenore a hard look. He plunges on, “But let’s set that aside because the second we find Hinge, this will be all over. Jackie is a gender neutral name, so it could be any of you. Any ideas on how to find them?”
Elwood plops on the ground, seemingly exhausted with the effort of such a long speech.
“I’m guessing if someone’s in the FEF they’d know who the other FEF members are – could that be why Thomas went after Elenore? Unless they were all given a mission without meeting the others, in which case Thomas could just be concerned. I’m reasoning around in circles here and we only have an hour left. Maybe we can’t be concerned with finding Jackie just yet but we could at least look into loyalties and see who’s been defending whom.”
Natasha’s body, upon further inspection, has had a permanent smile sliced open just beneath her chin.
Yet, despite the grisly sight, the group seems unable to bring itself to vote to kill – yet.
The helicopter makes itself briefly obvious, hovering low over the gathered, but after a moment it waggles, as if in disapproval, then returns to its position above the treeline.
[I’ll leave this thread open for further conversation, but please reserve your Day 3 votes for the Day 3 page. I’ll be announcing the FEF results at 10AM EST tomorrow – I have the day off and will also be dead till then.]
“Even if we do assume there’s something suspicious about Elenore and Thomas – and honestly, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but something about that man strikes me as odd – that still leaves the problem of the THIRD FEF agent in our midst” Tim replies.
“I think we need to start consider everyone’s words” He pulls out his notepad.
“So far we know the following,” he says as he tears the page from his pad and passes it around….
– Elenore was a soldier but left the forces (why? discharged?). Claims to know inside info on the FEF and have “solider friends”. Had disagreements with Natasha before the murder. Wanted to check on the body before anyone else. Friendly with Thomas. Billy thinks she’s legit?
-Anya is on her way to her mother’s house (an estate? deceased mother?) Suggests we try to find Hinge. Constantly checking her phone for signal. Suspicious of Elenore?
-Rick. Suspicious of Elenore. Was at a hockey tournament in Toronto. Was asking a lot of questions yesterday (trying to help, or figure out who Hinge was?)
– Eddie is from Boston. He’s a drinker (has a problem?). He defended Thomas.
-Thomas is an older fellow (what did he do in his past?). He seemed to expect to be here – or maybe he’s just a really avid fisherman. Friendly with Elenore. Had no trouble falling asleep last night (curious, spend many nights outdoors?)
-Elwood is a gardener, or has a garden. He’s admitted to being scared. Did not take part in conversation about who to sacrifice yesterday. Wants to find Hinge. Accuses Elenore of having a rehearsed backstory
-Martin said he thought I wasn’t FEF. Anya questioned him about his past. He studies old books. Didn’t want to throw accusations around. Suggested that Natasha called out both Elenore and I (reversing his earlier trust in me?). Also noted aloud that Thomas and Elenore going off together was “interesting”. (quick to imply suspicion but unwilling to actually target anyone in particular?)
– Billy; accused of murder but found to be innocent. Trying to get away from the town that judged him (seems to have been honest so far). Maybe trusts Elenore?
“And then there’s Natasha.” Tim says. “She was a bit of a flake, but seemed harmless. I can’t believe the FEF would have been out for her blood, so she must have just gotten in the way somehow. Billy noted how relaxed she seemed, but that was probably more to do with the drugs she was smoking. Elenore raised suspicions of her as the deadline for voting to sacrifice someone grew near. Was she hoping we would cast her out and do the FEF’s job for them? Who knows?” he shrugs. “Natasha also called ME out for being too nosey and taking a lot of notes. She didn’t want to be “controlled, maaaaaaan”” Tim rolls his eyes at that. “After I suggested staying in the bus, she agreed it was the best option as we were in within earshot of each other. Then she tripped out over Elenore’s boots and took some “patchouli” oil. Now, I’m not in high school anymore, but I know that’s what I said it was every time my teachers would say I smelled like weed.” He chuckles, but then sobers himself.
“And after that we all know what happened to the poor girl” he says in a hushed tone.
“We’ve spent another day arguing with each other and no one is any closer to the truth. The killers will surely strike again tonight, so take note of who is speaking for who and we’ll see where we’re at again in the morning. Tonight, I suggest we all stay on the bus. Maybe if we’re close enough together it will be harder for them to get to us without rousing the others.”
After a moment, Tim takes a deep breath. “If I’m gone in the morning someone needs to keep taking notes.” He holds up the notepad and pencil and places them determinedly on the dashboard then takes a moment to gaze at each of the gathered faces before settling into the driver’s seat and pulling his cap down over his eyes.
“So far we know the following,” he says as he tears the page from his pad and passes it around.
Eddie squints at Rick, as if wondering whether he recognizes the man from… nope, going by the look on his face, he doesn’t seem to. “Not much of a story to tell, myself. Ever gone to see a baseball game in Binghamton? Greenville? Nah, I thought not; most people haven’t. I was on the road this week to see if Buffalo wanted to make a trade, they said try back next year.”
Thomas returns from the viewing of the dead body. “There’s no mistake, that person has passed, I need to sit down, that poor girls throat….. “ he takes some gulping breaths and stagers over to sit down. “I’m too old for this.”