(Collaborative story, Dock One continued from previous post)
Her intuition pushed her to get out of there. Let the local law enforcement handle this. She had two days left to savor Paris. Two days to compensate for a lifetime of missed opportunities. A shame to waste it netted in a police investigation.
Ignoring her instincts, she shivered, jerked her hand away, and jumped up. Her foot slipped on a pile of euros uncovering a photo of a woman in her mid-fifties. The woman, her face not in focus, must be the prisoner. Who was she? Marian turned the photo over. On the back written in red ink were the words: Le Point Neuf, 9:00 p.m. Bring 500,000 euros in small bills.
Marian screamed, “He’s dead. Help.” No one answered her shout. She looked back at the man. How can I save the woman? A key, the money, the picture, and note were the only clues. Her heart pounded.
If she could figure out mystery novels and movies before the halfway mark, she could solve this one. Two days with the Paris police answering questions, or two days solving a mystery on my own? What am I thinking? This is crazy. It’d be different from her everyday work, test her investigative skills. What would her father think? Sirens wailed in the background, growing louder, closer. Gendarmerie.
Marian crammed the key and the photo out of sight, into the bottom of her purse. She flew up the stairs. The small group of people who had gathered seemed not to notice her, so she slipped among them. An American told the others, “I heard a woman scream on the dock that someone was dead, so I called the police.”
The singsong siren stopped the voices. One policeman pushed the crowd back while a couple others clambered down the stairs. Marian strolled across the bridge as if she were a passerby. From the opposite side she glanced towards the dock. One man stood apart from the others, hidden in the shadows. Was he watching her?
She stepped into the road. Few cars passed, and no taxis. When a sputtering Citroen approached, Marian walked farther into the street and the car stopped.
“Mademoiselle, may I help you?” The elderly woman spoke in perfect English.
“Yes, please.” Marian swung the door open and lunged into the front seat. She tried to compose herself. “I’m meeting friends at La Rose de France, but—”
The woman interrupted. “I will take you. Tonight you are lucky.”
Marian wanted to believe that. She settled into the seat, and pondered what to do next after reconnecting with Pierre and the rest of her group.