We worked out a plan for our operations over the next day or two:
Bo and Gary went to the police station, but found nothing. They also checked the Department of Interior, the newspaper, and the library, and in each case came up blank.
Since the idiots failed to contact Dutton today, Barrow explicitly delegated Bo to do so tomorrow, while Carter will visit local hunting clubs looking for stories.
Dr. Payne was not here. Barrow, Larry, and Warren checked his room but he was not there either. The next trip was therefore postponed by at least 24 hrs.
Barrow echoed my thoughts and announced that no-one
should travel alone. The plan for the day was formed around this.
Garry and Bo were to investigate Payne's disappearance.
Jason and Larry were to work at the library.
Decker and I were to fetch Dutton.
We started out immediately after breakfast.
Jason and Larry found nothing at the library, and continued on to the Historical Society.
Gary and Bo reported that Payne visited the telegraph office and sent a telegram; then there was no sign of him. Apparently the telegram was friendly, personal, and he left there healthy and fine. This was at about 10:15 am. Not a thing after that -- he was seen nowhere, not even the morgue. They looked all day but came up with nothing.
At the Anchorage Times, we talked to Mr. Ross, the
head of the paper. He said that Dutton had a personal thing to take
care of, and left town on February 13th. It was a family emergency.
His family is in Seattle. He left no forwarding address.
Ross then went through Dutton's desk, and found that he'd left his passport behind -- how odd!
We did get Dutton's home address from Ross, and left the paper to check there. We noticed we were being followed by an Inuit gentleman, so instead of continuing to Dutton's place as planned, we went for a casual walk out of town. It took us half an hour to get to the edge of town, and then we proceded another half an hour. We split up to see who was following. Decker headed off the trail, while I continued on.
After a while I turned to go back. I found Decker, and we determined that we weren't being followed at that point, so returned to town.
After lunch, we continued to Dutton's place. This time we were not followed.
We arrived at a house that had clearly not been occupied for a while. Obtaining no answer from the front door, we went around the back. The back door and the windows were all locked. The mailbox contained quite a collection of bills, dating back to February, and a personal letter from a Jane Bear in Seattle.
We opened the letter, finding it to be a short personal note dated in May, of the nature of "Dear brother, Hope you can stop in and see us sometime. Love, Jane". Clearly his sister knew nothing of Dutton's so-called family emergency.
Our next step was to find the landlord. A neighbour directed us to a Mr. Henry, noting that he hadn't seen Dutton in a long time.
Mr. Henry said that Dutton was paid up until a month or two ago; he consented to go with us to look over the house.
Of note in the house was a darkroom containing several undeveloped photographs.
The landlord said he would help us if the police and/or Horace Ross agreed he was missing.
We reported back to Barrow, and noted that at this point Gary and Bo had not yet returned.
Decker and I then went to the telegraph office, and sent a telegram to Jane Bear saying that we were looking for her brother, and he might be missing.
We then returned to the hotel.
Larry and Jason were more successful than the cops. There was nothing at the library, but checking the newspaper archives they did find items of note:
Carter reported back that all the hunting clubs have stories about overly large creatures, creatures watching from the woods, and so on. None were unfortunately of practical use for us.
We planned to track our Inuit follower back to find out about him. Bo can track him while he tracks us. We also planned to talk to Mr. Ross about the undeveloped film, which could conveniently be considered property of the newspaper.
I went over to the paper to tell Ross about the film,
as planned. He says that Dutton was happy about the pictures between
Fairbanks and Anchorage. Ross and I then visited Mr. Henry, and we
collected the pictures and returned to the paper.
I then went to the telegraph office. A reply had been received - "NOT SEEN ALEXANDER SINCE SUMMER LAST YEAR VERY CONCERNED". I arranged for the message to be delivered to Barrow, then set off to execute the plan to identify the followers.
As I left the office, I noticed I was indeed being followed, so headed out of town. I kept walking for an hour and a half, then returned to town.
Gary remained to watch the followers -- they gathered together and waited for a while, then went back into town and to a "coffee house" a short way down from the hotel.
At lunch we shared what information we had found.
Larry had determined that the surveyors were not searched for where the hunters liked to hunt, and that the fishing boat would be back tonight. At the Department of the Interior, Turner's secretary (Turner is the guy in charge) asked Larry to meet her for dinner. They made a date.
Decker and I went back to meet with Ross. The photos showed nothing of interest, but did include the GK photos. No useful notes were found. Horace Ross said that Dutton didn't actually say he was leaving, but just sent a message. Since the message was typed and not signed, this opens the possibility that the message was not in fact from him.
Larry, meanwhile, went out on his date. On
the way, he checked with the fishing boat but found no information there.
The secretary -- single, and cute according to Larry -- said that she thought not enough was being done to find the missing people, and she'd be willing to help. The personnel folders were both stamped "inactive", i.e. dead or quit. Clearly they've stopped looking for them.
That afternoon, we reported Payne missing; the detective
said they'd put out an APB for him. Apparently the telegram he had
sent was irrelevant to his disappearance. On checking his room, we
found that his medical bag and just one of his suitcases was missing.
We couldn't come up with any reason why Payne would be targetted. What if Payne's luggage had been removed after we looked, but before the police did? Barrow et al. can look into this while we're gone.
Larry said that Dutton's pictures were not of a GK, but of something in the woods. Whatever it was, it was too small to be Silla.
We planned an expedition to the suspect area. The team will be Bo, Gary, Charlie, Decker, Sam Quickhand, and myself. We will leave by truck later today.
In the meantime, before we leave, I'll mail off this
section of journal...