Budgie and Nils jogged back down the hill and into the house; whatever preparations they were going to make, they were in a mild hurry to make them. LaShawn handed me the binoculars.
“Take a look down there,” he said, pointing to the southern end of the valley stretching in front of Budgie’s property. “The start of Edward Road.”
Only two roads offered passage from Budgie’s property to the rest of the world: Edward Road and Alexander Drive. Through the awkward little circles of the binoculars I found the bottom of Edward Road. It formed a quiet T-intersection with Anthony Street, marked by a stop sign and a dead gum tree.
“Okay,” I said. “What am I looking at?”
“Now come up Edward Road, just as it turns up the hill.”
I followed the directions and saw a roadworks barrier blocking the street. Three vans were parked on the side of the road, with six or seven men waiting nearby, all dressed in black.
“The guys with the vans?”
“Yeah,” said LaShawn. He pointed to the north end of the valley. “Now check out Alexander Drive, just up from the bowls club.”
I checked. Another barrier blocking the street. Another three vans by the side of the road, and another group of men, maybe ten this time. There was purple tepee as well.
“More vans. What’s going on?” I said.
“They’re stopping any traffic leaving,” said LaShawn. “Nils spotted them when he tried to get into town before. Said they turned a couple of cars around and sent them back. Lucky he saw them before they saw him.”
“They don’t look like road workers,” I said.
“Then why are they blocking the road? Who are they?”
“One of the guys near the vans is wearing a backpack, a big chunky thing—you see him?”
“Uh… yep,” I said, “got him. Funny looking backpack.”
“Right. Well, that fella’s name is Jimmy O’Shea.”
I lowered the binoculars. “Jimmy O’Shea? That sounds familiar. Oh yeah—there was a guy named Jimmy O’Shea in the paper yesterday. Rory was talking about him.”
“That’s the guy.”
“Huh? What—the guy with the backpack?”
“Yeah. That’s the Jimmy O’Shea from the newspaper.”
I put the binoculars to my eyes and took another look. “The paper said he’d gone missing.”
“Well, we found him,” said LaShawn.
I handed the binoculars back. “That’s weird. I wonder what he’s doing here.”
LaShawn’s eyes narrowed and the hint of a grin curled the corner of his mouth. “He’s going to try to kill Rory.”
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