This is the seventh and eighth chapter of a book draft. I am writing it with the hope it appeals to a youthful audience, both chronologically and spiritually speaking. I will continue to share at least on chapter weekly. If you have read the previous chapters, thank you. If not, please go there first.
Chapter Eight -
About two hours after he slowly cruised by the house they were apparently going to spend the night in, the suspicious stranger from the cafe returned to the neighborhood, turning off his headlights just before he rounded the corner, and pulled to the side of the street in front of a house three doors down. He was sure he would not be spotted because it was now dark enough, he believed he would not be seen. He switched off his motor and settled back in his seat to try to get some rest. It would be another long night of lightly dozing in his car while he waited for his targets of interest to show signs of movement again. He learned about an hour later that he misjudged who he was dealing with.
Ben had peeked out the front room window to see if there was any activity outside that he should be concerned about. Sure enough, he saw the same car that was following them parked down the street. It was still not too dark to identify it as the same sedan. He immediately knew they were being stalked! But, by who? And why? He felt a knot tightening in his stomach, but he knew for the safety of his wife and the boy that he had to do whatever it took to find out! What to do? He decided he would try direct confrontation and see what he could learn.
Ben slipped quietly out the back door of the host house and walked across the back yard into the alleyway behind the property. From there, he carefully walked down the alley heading to the end of the street that would put him safely behind the car parked on the street side. He made sure he stayed out of sight and as he passed by the back yard of each house along the way, he paused and looked carefully to determine what he could see, and equally important if he might be seen. He was not experienced in surveillance work and had to improvise moment by moment.
He reached the end of the street and turned to walk to the edge of the house on the corner so he could peek around it to size up what he should do next. So far, so good! He was sure there was not any way he had been detected up to now. He stood still while hiding behind the front porch of the corner house and contemplated for a moment how to execute his next move. He realized he could use the concealment of the shrubbery in front of the house to move a little closer in order to see into the car. From his new vantage point, he could clearly see a figure inside the car in the driver’s seat. There was no visible movement by the person in the car.
There was one more house to approach before he was in direct alignment with the car. Ben noticed he could move around the shrubbery to the area between the two houses and stay well out of sight. He was fortunate that all was quiet and there were no cars traveling up and down the street. And no discernible movement in either of the houses, so he was sure he was not causing any disturbance himself.
From his hiding crouch near the front porch of the second house, he could more clearly see that the man in the car had slumped down in the seat and pulled his hat over his face. From this indication, Ben assumed this fellow planned to be there for the night. And he was also confident he could approach the car without being detected if he was stealthy enough. His heart was pounding because his momentary role as a sleuth was causing adrenalin to pump through his system! He was both scared and excited.
Time to contemplate his next move while he tried to calm himself down. He took a series of deep breaths and told himself to just relax and not make any move before he was clear about what he was going to do. And he also needed to ponder what he was going to say assuming he would be successful with his surprise confrontation of this curious stranger. Ben could see that he could approach the car in a low crouch and remain undetected because it was now quite dark.
Thoughts streamed through his mind that he should have gone to Martha before he left the house to let her in on his plan and intent. But then again, she would have done her best to talk him out of what he was doing, and he strongly believed he needed to do this because the alternative was likely to prove to be more unpleasant if he didn’t. But it was easy for him to imagine the panic she was feeling at the realization that he was not around and she had no idea where he might have gone. He did not even inform her that he had spotted the car before he slipped out of the house. Martha was attending to getting the boy bedded down for the night. But that was enough of being preoccupied with Martha’s concerns. He was deep into his mission and he had to complete it, whatever that might turn out to be!
Ben formed his plan in his mind before he made his next move. He hoped he would find the passenger side car door unlocked. He knew he could reach the car undetected. He planned to quickly open the door and jump into the car so quickly it would startle the stranger from his repose and give him the upper hand.
He knew he had to be prepared for a possible physical altercation. However, he hoped he would be able to just talk with him. But what would he say? Well, first he would declare that he knew he was being stalked. Then he would ask why he was being stalked. What was the stalker’s intentions? Was he planning to kidnap the boy? Or was he just collecting information that he was going to report to someone? From there, he would just trust the conversation to go wherever it needed to go and hope for an acceptable outcome. Now, time to act!