A week (perhaps two) later. I am piloting a speedboat. Already, the memories of what I had done just week(s) ago was fading, out of focus. Most of my memories are like that. But not the memories of the case I solve with my brother. Those memories are crystal clear.
I am gaining on the men I am chasing. Our boats are evenly matched, but my boat-handling skills are superior. The men I’m chasing look calm, cool, collected. Maybe even confident.
They aren’t. I can smell their fear, mingling with the smell of the lake. It draws me to them.
I pull up alongside them. Me and the driver of the other boat, we’re close enough to touch. We aren’t quite touching. Our connection is indirect, a thin sliver of steel. One end in my hand, one end in him. I watch him collapse like a cheap folding chair. His body is flying through the air, right off the boat and into the water. I leap, landing on the other boat. I’m boarding them. I find myself remembering The Case of Pirate Mountain. Those guys knew how to board a ship. If my brother and I weren’t on that cruise ship, things would have turned out a lot differently. For one thing, that senator would have died. The one I keep seeing on TV. I think he might be running for president or something? It’s not important. I focus on the task at hand.
The man on the boat is pleading with me. I’m ignoring him. I wrestle the controls of the boat with one hand. The other hand is busy brandishing the knife. The man continues pleading, promising me anything I wanted if I let him go. He is a fool. When I confronted him, he said something idiotic, something about no hard evidence and a lack of proof.
I don’t need proof. I don’t need evidence. All I need are clues. And I found the clues. I know I did, because whatever the clues were, they led me to him. The clues don’t lie. Men lie. Monsters lie. Even animals are capable of deception. But clues… clues don’t lie. They can’t. It would go against their very nature. Just like it would be against my nature to let him go free.
My right hand issues a counter-proposal to his suggestion, in the form of a horizontal slash. He finally stops talking. He touches the wound with a hesitant hand. He raises his hand to his face, stares at it. He seems to be surprised by the color of his blood. I reach out and push. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch him go over the side. I hear a splash. It seems faint. The sound of the boat’s motor almost drowned it out completely.
I dock the boat. I walk away from the boat, heading for the bus stop I saw earlier. My time in this small, lakeside town is done. Time to find a mystery somewhere else, or rather, to let a mystery find me.