It is an old fashion setup: the water carefully measured-three cups exactly. The ground coffee carefully measured-seven one-eighth of a cup portions placed into the stainless steel basket. The percolator placed on a natural gas stove, with the medium burner on high for nineteen minutes. This is how Margaret Brookside does her coffee.
Coffee at 10 PM is generally not a good idea for Margaret, but she had a long night ahead of her and the coffee would help. As she poured over the photos, she was amused by the non-aerial photos…images that the bird-pilot must have thought interesting…like the photo above.
As Margaret switched from regular images to thermal images she thought she saw something out of place at the end of a narrow dirt road leading to an old gravel pit. Thermal images of two people were apparent, but in a subsequent flyover minutes later the thermal image showed four people and in a third flyover only two.
With Slim up near Ellwood City, Willoughby across the county line and Doucet back in Canada, Margaret decided to contact the most dedicated volunteer she could think of…Ellie.
Ellie spent her down time sitting atop a fish and chip truck just on the outskirts of Beaver Falls and that is exactly where Margaret found her. The pair, photos, maps and flashlights in hand, drove to the gravel pit Margaret had seen on the photographs. The pit was adjacent to a long time abandoned rail line and it was dark, it was spooky, it was scary, but the duo muddled on.
As they walked smushed together, they came upon ground that did not seem right. Even in the total dark, they knew they were standing on something out of place. It was hard but not solid, the gravel on top was loose underfoot and when Margaret stomped her foot on the ground a hollow thud talked back. Ellie said she could think her way into whatever they were standing on and without hesitation she disappeared leaving Margaret alone to ponder their fate.
Ellie’s bright blue eyes adjusted slowly in the dark, she could hear slow methodical breathing from two distinct humans just ahead of her. Fumbling for the flashlight, Ellie swung it up in front of her, gripping it tight with both hands, pointing the beam straight ahead. Four squinting eyes and two beautiful faces greeted Ellie…she had found Cricket and Sapphire.