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nothing. After a period of a year, there would be damned little trail
left to hunt along. There would be almost nothing. Whatever had been
there, would have probably been sifted through by the guy, the
detective, Nolan Brice. Brice! Of all the friends for him to have, he
had to be saddled to Brice! He'd have to be real careful where that
character was concerned because the slightest slip would set the cop on
his trail like a blood hound.
The crackup? Now there was something. He would always be stuck with the
question of how he had managed to get out of that mangled mass of metal
with merely cuts and bruises. But he could chalk that up to dumb luck,
or something. The thing that worried him was had he left a clue that
could trace him here? He had burned the flying suit ... he had tried to
cover it up to Andy ... A lot of things about the smashed aircraft
bothered him. Things like the flying suit; it had been made of strange
material; but hell, he'd burned that thing. There would be no problem
Almost without realizing it, he found himself staring at the car that
was parked on the other side of the street. The streetlight gleamed on
the black paint of the Chevrolet sedan and he thought of what Andy had
told him earlier about the men who had been interested in finding him.
Looking at the car much closer, he could see the two men sitting in it.
The knot of fear returned to his stomach when he saw the light shining
on the driver's blond hair.
The men from Andy's gas station!
It was Beth. She had followed him down and he could see her framed in
the doorway at the foot of the stairs. She had slipped into a nightgown
that, in the moonlight, was more alluring than if she had been nude. She
started to speak, but he hissed at her for silence.
"Come here, Beth," he instructed, "and don't put on a light."
Her bare feet whispered on the rug as she came to his side in obvious
bewilderment. He pointed out the car and the two men, telling her about
how they had inquired after him at the gas station. She listened
"What do they want?" She asked, when he'd finished.
She was sitting on the arm of the chair, leaning against him to study
the car. The soft pressure of her breasts was disturbing and conjured up
memories of early in the evening.
"What do they want?" She asked again.
"I don't know. That's something I have to find out. Listen, give me a
minute to get to the upstairs window. Then snap on the light and move
around. They're probably looking for me and I want to give them the
impression I'm not here."
"All right, Nick."
He got up and threaded his way to the stairs and up to kneel before the
bedroom window that fronted on the street. Through the gap in the
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