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disappeared into thin air! Nick heard him yell for help, but he could
see nothing. The yelling kept going straight up into the air until it
grew faint in the distance.
Nick stared dumbfoundedly at the area where the cop had suddenly faded
out of sight. What the hell was going on in this screwy place? Then he
heard the shout below him and he twisted to stare at the borders of the
small creek. It was the two men from Andy Hocum's gas station - the
blond giant and the sandy haired guy. Panicky, Nick snapped off a shot
and the blond dived for cover.
"The dumb bastard is shooting," the blond yelled to his companion
several yards away. "Let's get the hell out of here, before he hits
He got a brief glimpse of them as they took off through the brush and
snapped a shot at them to hurry them along, just as Beth's car rocked up
the rutty road and braked beside the police car. She leaped out yelling
for him and he went down the stairs to meet her, the gun still in his
Her face was drained of color as she came into the house, the red of her
lips looking even more red against the pale wash of her face. "Nick!
"Oh, my God, Nick! Have you killed him?"
"I couldn't hit him," Nick told her. "I emptied the magnum at him and he
disappeared into the air." His eyes had a wild look in them, "Right into
the air," he added inanely. Everything was so balled up. Everything was
crazy. He wasn't Nick Danson ... he didn't know his name ... Brice
vanished into thin air ... the two guys were dogging his tracks ...
women came out of the woodwork to make love to him. What the hell else
could possibly happen?
Beth was staring at him. "You killed him," she breathed.
"No, no! He vanished. He vanished ... honest to God, I never even came
close to hitting him. I might as well have thrown rocks."
"Men do not disappear into thin air," she said.
"Listen, forget that for a minute. How'd he know I was here?"
She sank wearily onto a chair and looked at him. "He found the watch I
gave you a few years ago. It was lying at the crash site. He came to the
office where I work and asked about you. I denied that I knew you were
back and he began to yell at me about my life being in danger and that I
should stay away from you until he had a chance to put a bullet into
you. My God, Nick! What have you done?"
"I dunno," he lied. Should he tell her that he was not her husband, that
he didn't have the foggiest notion of who he was? He decided against it.
"How'd he know where to find me?"
She sighed. "He helped you build the place. Now where is he?"
"Goddammit, Beth, I told you! How many times do I have to tell you that
"Stop yelling at me!"
"Then believe me! It happened! I saw it happen, and I wasn't seeing
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