Killer Summer

Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson

Book: Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ridley Pearson
Tags: Fiction, Mystery
    Her hands behind her back, she moved the keys back in place.
    “Sure,” she said, wondering what was up with him. He was constantly on the phone. He never gave a damn about what she overheard.
    “We have a court in twenty minutes,” he said, wanting her out of the room.
    “I know, Dad,” she said, heading back to her room, glancing at the keys on her way out to confirm that she’d left them where she’d found them. Gripped in her right hand was the key to the jet. As she shut the door to her room behind her, she was already celebrating her triumph.

    T ell me again why I’m awake at this ungodly hour?” Fiona asked. It was five-thirty A.M. A melon-colored light graced the ridgetops of the eastern mountains, as seen from the asphalt of the small Sun Valley Airport. She wore a down vest zipped snugly over a blue jean jacket, the July dawn registering only forty-five degrees Fahrenheit.
    She’d reluctantly accepted Walt’s invitation to a predawn flight in his glider, an olive branch he’d offered via voice mail following the debacle of the night before. She didn’t love the idea of the flight—her last flight with him had landed her in federal custody—but his voice mail had left her smiling, and here she was. She nursed a slight hangover with a cup of green tea.
    The glider was towed to ten thousand feet and released, the tow plane banking sharply away and leaving them to the whine of wind over the wings and the orange sun rising over the horizon.
    She sat directly behind him, her camera around her neck, brought along voluntarily this time. She took a series of pictures, working with the play of morning light as it caught the western spine of mountains framing the Wood River Valley, the ridges aflame with a yellow light that sank slowly down the slopes toward the valley floor.
    “Outstanding,” Fiona said into the headset’s microphone.
    “This is my form of meditation, where I come to find myself . . . whatever that means.”
    “I can’t believe all the planes at the airport,” she said, looking down. A lower ramp packed with parked aircraft revealed itself from the air.
    “The wine auction.”
    “There must be fifty jets, or more.”
    The glider bumped and shook as he found and caught a thermal uplift. They spiraled higher, approaching eleven thousand feet.
    “We’re going to dive lower in a minute,” Walt warned. “There’s nothing to worry about, okay? I want to get a look out Democrat Gulch . . . where we found the wrecker.”
    “This is a business trip?” she complained.
    “I can’t pass up the opportunity.”
    “Do you want me to make pictures?”
    “Your call. If we see anything, sure.”
    “Such as . . . ?”
    “Tents . . . a campground. But I’m not expecting to see anything. Those two fled north, and we never saw any hint of them. That’s been bothering me.”
    “Have I been shanghaied?”
    “Camera work is optional. Honestly, I thought you’d enjoy the view. No ulterior motives.”
    “None?” she said, regretting it immediately.
    “I was an asshole last night.”
    “Yes, you were.”
    “I will work on being less of one.”
    “I saved your voice mail.” She regretted he couldn’t see her smiling. “Evidence,” she added.
    “Here we go,” he said, dipping the left wing slightly.
    The view of the terrain from above was wondrous. The rugged landscape of ever-larger mountains and more dense wilderness rose in a progression of deformities like shark’s teeth. North and east of Croy Canyon, where Democrat Gulch lay like a dirt ribbon on the valley floor, there was not a structure to be seen. The barren floor of waxweed and rabbit bush gave way to aspen groves, intermingled with fir and lodgepole pine, from where a blanket of green conifers rose toward the jagged rock and the lifeless realms of gravel fields and ice—all that remained above the tree line.
    Sunlight drew a sharp, brilliantly bright line across the rock, reminding her of a scratched

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