Chapter 16

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The morning after their interview with Rosa Fuentes, Chester Amundsen picked up Art and Natalya at the hotel. The journalist seemed eager to drive them to the location of the crash site which was well out of town in the middle of the prairie. He said he wanted them to see something. Natalya wanted to go too. Art didn't think there would be anything to see that could help explain why Vince hadn't been on the bus, but he didn't object if it would please Natalya.

They didn't speak much during the drive. With Natalya in the back seat, it was difficult for Art to carry on a conversation without twisting his neck or putting his body through contortions in order to face her. The darn headrests kept getting in the way.

Natalya didn't have much to say, absorbed as she was looking out the window at the passing scenery. What was she thinking? Was she visualizing what it must have been like for the passengers on that bus during their final trip? He wanted to tell her how thinking that way wouldn't be healthy.

Amundsen broke the silence. "Do you understand now, why I needed you to meet with Rosa?"

Art still didn't get it. The journalist could've just told him all about it over the phone. He admitted to himself, though, how hearing it from the eyewitness made the story more compelling and believable. He understood from Rosa's point-of-view why she avoided presenting herself to FBI agent Gil Paterson.

"If I just had a few more details, I could break the story wide open," Amundsen said. "I'm sure something went on with that passenger exchange."

Art felt the same way. There was still much he didn't know.

"I'd like to find out the identity of the eyepatch man in the photo," Amundsen said. "Since he was both here and in Baltimore with your husband, Natalya, the connection between the two men is key to finding him."

The moment Rosa pointed to eyepatch man in the photo, Art decided to keep the identity of Werner Gunther close to the vest. He wouldn't tell Amundsen who seemed too eager to get a story scoop. It would complicate matters if the journalist contacted the fixer. He would withhold the information from Natalya as well. He didn't need her to go running around half-cocked and approaching the man on her own.

From the information Veronica Hall had provided, Art knew Werner Gunther to be shady and dangerous. He wanted to be the person to contact the man, and he would have to do so after careful planning, now that he knew for sure Gunther was involved in whatever went down.

One other thing bothered him. Rosa said there were three men who approached Vince Henson at the bus terminal. One was Gunther, and one was the man named Logan. Who was the third man, and how did he figure into it?

The road they traveled had one lane in each direction. It was flat and straight with a few designated no-passing zones in places where slight inclines obscured the view of oncoming traffic. "I assume this is the safest route from Williston to Roja?"

"Almost a straight line connecting the two towns," Amundsen said. "There are other ways to get there, but a bus driver would use this road. It's the most direct and fastest."

Natalya leaned forward in her seat. "How much farther?"

Art wondered the same thing. His darn bladder was throbbing from the coffee he drank earlier.

"We're almost there," Amundsen said.

Amundsen slowed when he reached a certain point along the route and began studying the terrain. "It's been a while since I drove out here, but I remember the railroad crossing we just passed over. There's a slight curve in the road..." He paused. "Ah, yes, here it is." He pulled their vehicle onto the shoulder of the road and stopped.

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