Chapter 14

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Art made arrangements for Chester Amundsen to pick them up at the airport and ferry them around. He and Natalya arrived at two in the afternoon local time. They exited the terminal building and stood at the curb. The cloudless sky was such a clear blue Art wondered if air pollution even existed in this part of the world. The air held a chill, but it wasn't quite cold enough for a jacket. Low 60s maybe, a good ten degrees cooler than the weather they left behind in Pennsylvania.

The sound of a honking car horn got their attention. A sedan emblazoned on the side with a Williston Star  logo pulled up.

Art opened the passenger door and peered inside. "Are you Mr. Amundsen."

"That's me. Do you need help with your bags?"

"Nope. Both of us just have carryon."

Natalya climbed into the back seat. Art got in the front passenger side and completed the introductions.

"Pleased to meet you both. Thank you for making the trip."

"Yeah, about that," Art said. "Now that we've made the trip, let's get down to it. Why are we here? What is it you have to tell us concerning irregularities regarding the bus accident?"

"I see you have a reporter's instincts and don't like to waste time. I like you already."

From the backseat, Natalya made herself known. "What can you tell me about my husband?"

Amundsen eyed her reflection in the rearview mirror. "There's someone I'd like you to meet who might be able to shed light on your situation. We'll meet with her tonight around six. In the meantime, let's check the two of you into a hotel. We can talk there and you can tell me what you know."

Art didn't care to play his cards first before finding out for sure what the journalist had to offer, but he figured he had little choice.

They checked into a medium-priced chain hotel. Of course, there was no question about sleeping arrangements. Art had to pay for two separate rooms. He kept a running total in his head of what this quest was costing him. Too late for regrets about the money he was spending.

They held the meeting in Art's room. He and Natalya showed their IDs to Amundsen, and Art showed his PI credential, not mentioning it had expired four years ago when he retired. Then they laid it all out for the journalist, about Natalya's suspicions. They showed him the video.

The man displayed little reaction to what they presented. When done, he looked between the two of them. "Did you say Agent Paterson is aware of this video?"

"Yeah, he thinks I'm crazy," Natalya responded.

"You're not crazy," Amundsen said. "Your story fits well with what my eyewitness has to say."

Art felt himself losing his patience. "Tell me about your eyewitness."

"Her name is Rosa Fuentes. The reason she's so skittish is she's an undocumented worker. Rosa has a story to tell, but she won't tell it to anyone in authority for fear of being picked up and deported. I tried relaying the information she provided to Agent Paterson, but he wouldn't act on it, claiming my information is hearsay. Although he's very interested in speaking with Rosa face-to-face, I promised not to divulge her identity."

"Why didn't you publish what she had to say?" Art asked. "You could cite her as an anonymous source."

"Trust me, I was tempted," Amundsen said. He took a breath. "The woman is afraid of ICE, maybe she has a right to be. She spoke with me off the record. I wasn't going to violate my principles. That's why I insisted you come to North Dakota. I needed to verify who you are before introducing Rosa to you."

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