“Anything over there?” Jennifer asked.
John, his heart not really in what he thought of as a pointless search, half-mumbled, “Nope.”
Jennifer was neither satisfied with John’s response, nor convinced that he’d even tried to look for clues.
“What’re we looking for, John?” she asked.
“You tell me. You’re the one convinced that there’s some mystery here, I’m just… Oh, my God! What’s that?”
“Over there,” he said, pointing in the general direction of an outcrop. Jennifer ran to the area he had indicated.
“I can’t see anything,” she shouted, “What is it?”
“Exactly what you’ve found. Exactly what we’re going to find here. Nothing!” he sneered, “We’re wasting our time; time we could be spending on the beach; that’s what we came out for.”
Undeterred, Jennifer kept looking around the area, all but carrying out a fingertip search. Over the course of the next half hour, the pair found fifteen discarded empty soft drink cans, twenty-eight empty cigarette packets, four cassette tapes accompanied by streams of tape and, on the less savoury side, twelve used condoms, three soiled samples of ladies’ sanitary products and six small piles of used toilet paper. Jennifer catalogued and photographed the lot – everything.
“What’s this all about, Jen?” John asked.
“I’m climbing to the top of the mountain, John. You coming?” she said, ignoring his question.
“Don’t you think we’ve done enough looking? Why on Earth do you want to go to the top? For the view?”
“If you like. I just have a very strong feeling that I should climb to the top of the mountain.”
“A strong feeling?” John asked, his voice laced with sarcasm.
Jennifer waved her hand dismissively. “Suit yourself, Mister,” she said, “I’m going up.” With that, she turned and started climbing the rock-face.
John shook his head and gave a fair imitation of a Gallic shrug, palms uppermost. “I’ll be by the Land Rover when you’re ready to see sense,” he said, though not loudly enough for Jennifer to hear.
Some minutes later, Jennifer reached the summit. The view from the top was magnificent, and she spent some time admiring and photographing it; although that wasn’t what drove her to climb the mountain. She was mildly amused when she saw John climbing, about five minutes behind her. His rate of ascent was better than hers, and she guessed that he must have left about ten minutes after her.
She started to look around. Close to the centre of the summit she saw a tidy pile of stones about one metre in height, and there was something behind it. She waited for John. When his head appeared, she called him over.
“Ahem. Excuse me, Mister Doubting Thomas, sir. Come and see what your clever, intuitive, beautiful darling wife has found.”
When John arrived, she pointed out to him what she had found behind the cairn. It was a full set of woman’s clothing: beige shorts, a white t-shirt bearing an Arabic logo, and white cotton bra and panties. On top of the clothes were a pair of pink flip-flops and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses on top; the whole pile was neatly folded and wrapped in a large, fluffy, plain pink beach towel.
“What d’you reckon this means?” John asked.
“It means, dear boy, that something is amiss,” Jennifer replied. “What do you think of my feelings now, then?”
“You’ve got to admit, Jen, it did sound pretty far-fetched. But where do we go from here?”
“I don’t know, John. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was some sort of alien abduction. Whatever it is, the neat pile of clothing suggests that our lady was a willing participant.”
“And she’s doing it naked,” John added.
“And she’s doing it naked,” Jennifer agreed.
This is a continuation of "Just deserts?", written in response to Kreative Kue 27, issued on this site earlier this week.