*Complete* Part one to Elephas. The story of a strange sickness that begins to kill elephants in captivity and in the wild. When Adilyn finds herself forced into the heart of this mystery she realizes that she might be as interested and in it for the gold as the other players.


7. Chapter 7

“Now tell us what happened young lady, don’t be shy.”

    “I did tell you.” Adilyn protested as the police asked her again.

    “I came in here an hour ago and a man shot the Ranger three times, then he left.” The police were examining the body without touching it and taking notes on everything Adilyn said.

    “Miss LaRue, you’re our only witness and we need you to be cooperative.” Adilyn sat down and sighed.

“I’ve already told you everything I know!”

“Please Miss, anything, just something helpful. What did the man look like? What was his name? Had Roberts ever mentioned him to you before?” Adilyn pressed her lips together and shook her head.

“No, I’d never heard of him, and the room was dark, I couldn’t see him very well. He was pretty tall but that’s all I remember.” The policeman sighed and shook his head.

“If you change your mind and decide to inform us further, call this number.” He handed her a card and opened the door.

“You can go.” Adilyn hurried out of the room and squinted at the sun that was starting to rise in the sky. She was tired from staying up all night, and more than anything, wanted to get away from California altogether.

“You didn’t turn me in.” Adilyn stopped walking and looked behind her. Raz was leaning against a lamp post at the edge of the sidewalk.

“A life for a life. We’re even now.” She continued walking but Raz caught up and fell in step with her.

“You know, I find you fascinating. And somehow, I can’t believe my life had anything to do with you keeping those lips quiet. Although it was a very logical reason you came up with right then.”

“Then why did I do it?” Adilyn questioned him, not daring to glance over.

“I’m not sure, that’s what has me puzzled.” Adilyn sped up a little and Raz laughed, speeding up as well.

“Could it be that you’re actually attracted to me?”

“What? To a man I met an hour ago for five minutes? Not to mention that during that time he killed a man before my very eyes and threatened to take my own life? Yeah, I’m totally attracted to you.” Adilyn rolled her eyes and crossed the parking lot.

“Well what is it then?” Raz asked, continuing to follow her. Adilyn turned to face him

“Why are you still following me? Shouldn’t you be running away? It won’t be long before the police start searching for you, even if I didn’t turn you in.” Raz leaned against the nearest car and smiled at her.

“Oh don’t worry, they’ll never catch me.”

“Hasn’t stopped them before.” Raz grinned,

“Sassy as well, I see how it is. Well I’ll get to the point then and leave you be. Truth be told Darling, you seemed to be the closest to Roberts until this morning.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“You might be able to help me. Roberts might have told you something that could be quite valuable. Things you couldn’t seem to remember for the police.”

“And why should I help you?” He took a step closer to her and put his arm around her waist. Her eyes met his and then something cold and hard was being pressed firmly into her back, with a small click sound. It was his gun. Adilyn straightened and tried to pull back a little.

“I suppose there’s a few things I might be able to remember.” Raz removed his arm and let her go.

“That’s better. Now if we’re going to be partners we better get two rules straight.” Raz said taking the lead in the parking lot.

“And what are those?” He looked over his shoulder at her to make sure she was following.

“Betray me and you're dead. Touch my gun and you’ll get hurt.”

“Way to keep things short and sweet.”

“You get used to it. Well come on, we don’t have all day.” Raz stopped next to a yellow lamborghini, and opened the door for her.

“In you go.”

“You sure have a nice car for someone who just got out of jail.”

“So he did tell you about me. I wondered if you knew.”

“He told me enough.”

“Of his story.” Raz growled to himself. Adilyn climbed into the passenger seat, then Raz got in and felt the zoo parking lot.

“This could count as kidnapping.” Adilyn said after while.

“Probably.” He didn’t say anything else. Adilyn looked out the window and tried to figure out where he was taking her. But after a few minutes she gave up. Adilyn didn’t know the area well enough yet to have any clue as to where they were, or where they were going.

“Are you going to tell me your side of the story?”

“So impatient,” Raz muttered without taking his eyes off the road, but he was smiling as if he found her amusing.

“I think I have a right to know. Seeing how you forced me into your plan at gunpoint and I have no idea where you’re taking me.”

“That’s true, I suppose I’ll have to tell you eventually. Why don’t we start with what you already know. That way I’ll only need to make corrections and add to the story a bit.” Adilyn decided she might as well try to summarize the strange conversation she’d had with Roberts on Friday afternoon.

“On Friday, Roberts told me he’d been receiving letters and showed them to me. There were three, all identical. Before he’d showed me the letters he’d pulled out an old newspaper with a picture of you on it. Then he told me about how you were sent to prison for a year after the an elephant died, one you were looking after. It had been poisoned and you blamed Ranger Roberts for the poisoning. Every animal before that ended up dying too. He said you stole his dream of working with animals in India. Then the elephants at the zoo started dying. That’s when your letters came. Or at least, he assumed they were from you, he said he recognized the handwriting. That’s when he went bazerk, asking me to run away to Vegas or something, and that night I went home planning not to come back.”

“Yes, Roberts had a bit of a gambling problem. He always ran to that when something went wrong. And the letters were from me.” Raz was gripping the steering wheel tightly and his knuckles looked white.

“But he has a way of twisting stories.” Adilyn waited to hear what he would say. After the moments pause had passed, Raz began.

“It was just over two years ago. Roberts and I had the same dream of tending to animals in India. I had always been better with those sort of things and therefore I was hired rather than Roberts. He was furious of course. Claiming that I was just trying to steal his life dreams. Rather than getting a similar position nearby, he lost himself with gambling and ungentlemanly behavior. H couldn’t keep a steady job. I lost contact with him and worked hard at what I did. But one day just as an animal was starting to recover, it died. Then it happened again and again. Every animal I cared for died just before recovery. Then one day I began looking after a young elephant. Her name was Dorothy, and she was owned by a six year old boy who was very protective of her. In the area, may elephants had been getting sick and dying and this boy was worried his Dorothy was coming down with something. After the elephant died, it was discovered that she had been poisoned. I was accused and thrown into prison. But how could I have poisoned that elephant? I didn’t know about her before I took the job, and I wanted her to live. No, I was convinced it had been Roberts. Why else had every animal died? After I got out of prison I discovered Robert's whereabouts and came after him, determined to get my revenge.” Adilyn was making a mental note not to get on this man’s bad side for safety reasons, when she remembered something.

“Well if you’ve gotten your revenge, and I told you everything I know, then can’t I leave?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“Why? I’m no use to you!”

“Actually, as a matter of fact you are.”

“What is it you’re still after?” Raz pulled to the side of the road and turned off the car. Then he turned to face her.

“You really are fun to tease, I just realized that. It’ll make everything more interesting.”

“Just tell me what I need to do in order to get out of here.”

“To get out of here, yes, let's see. To get out of here, I need you to help me find a treasure. One Roberts has been hiding away for while now. But we won’t be the only ones after it, I’m sure of that. And in order to get to that treasure first, we’ll need to know who we’re up against, what they had against Roberts, had who’s been killing the elephants.”

“We already know that last one?”

“Do we?”

“You killed them.” Raz laughed and shook his head.

“I killed a man before we were properly introduced, but I assure you that under ordinary circumstances, I’m not a killer. I especially wouldn’t kill my own patients. My money's on Roberts. Although I have no idea as to why or how he did it.”

“So where are going right now?”

“We’re hiding from the police, just until tonight. Then we’re going to break into Robert's office and find everything we can. Anything that might be a clue.”

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