They ended their trip by pulling up a hill crowded on both sides by trees. When they broke free of the woods there was a small cabin in a clearing. Nikki leaned in to her window to try to get a better look. It seemed decent enough. It wasn’t a resort but she imagined that it could’ve been worse.
Nikki, Jenna, and Ian were the last to get out and they stood together staring at what was going to be their new home for the month.
“Yep,” Ian nodded. “This is exactly where I would take a bus load of people who no one would notice was missing for a month.”
“Seems like the place, doesn’t it?” Nikki smiled.
“Oh come on guys,” Jenna was always the optimist. “It’s not so bad. There’s trees-“
“To hide the bodies next to…” Nikki added.
“And even a fire pit!”
“To burn the evidence!” Ian chimed in.
Jenna faced them and tried to look annoyed but was failing miserably. Nikki always wondered how she could see the bright side of a dark room.
By this time Sylvia had gathered everyone else around the bus again and called for attention.
“Alright, grab your bags as we pull them out of the back and head toward the cabin. Ladies will follow me to their room and Gentlemen to theirs with Rodney. We’ll meet back in the kitchen once everyone is settled so that Rodney can lay down the law.”
Ian gave them a look and they tried not to laugh.
The kitchen was the first room that they stepped into when they walked through the front door. It was connected to the dining room which was only a large table with ten chairs around it. Their room wasn’t actually that bad. If you were ok with feeling like you were at summer camp anyways. On one side of the room were two bunk beds that met in one corner to make the shape of an ‘L’. Right next to the door was small sofa that Nikki assumed had a pullout bed in it. If the guy’s room was the same then they would fit but just barely with the five of them. Nikki, Jenna, and Sylvia were going to be just fine since it was just the three of them. Nikki hoped that three could still be company and not feel like a crowd.
Thinking of the word company made her instinctively go for her phone. She still hasn’t called in today and hasn’t been in the lab for two days. The thought of something going wrong on her first trip away from the office made her sick.
The call was picked up on the second ring. “Archaeology Laboratories. This is Jonathan Starvos speaking. How can I help you?”
Nikki took the phone away from her ear to look at the number. “Dad?”
Her father laughed and then spoke as if to her and to someone there with him. “Uh oh. Got caught by the boss.”
She could hear her secretary’s laugh somewhere near her dad and she cursed his endless persuasive charm he seemed to be able to work on people. “Dad, what are you doing at work? That is the opposite of what retired people do.” She sank into the couch as Jenna started piling things into a long dresser that took up most of the remaining wall.
“Well, when you said that you were leaving for a month I couldn’t help but poke my head in.”
“I have everything under control from here.”
“I never said that you didn’t. This is just your first time away from the business.”
“I made sure everyone knew what to do while I was gone.”
“I know, I’ve asked around. I promise. I’m meddling, I’m just answering phones. I started this place, you can’t expect me not to visit.”
“I know….” Nikki sighed. “Well, how is everything going?”
“Good. The staff know exactly what they’re doing, like you told them. Oh, Carl says that he heard from downtown. They found some possible correlations and are going to do some more tests and research.”
“Well, how’s the site look anyway? Anything I can do for you while I’m here? Some research on the area?”
Nikki almost said no but she knew that was only her pride talking. If she wanted to get as much out this trip as she could she would need someone with reliable internet and access to different resources that the lab had to get information. She told her dad as much and all that see knew about where she was so that they could do some background checks to see what might have been here before and what areas she should be sure to check.
“Ladies,” Sylvia poked her head into the room. “We’re going to get started in the kitchen.”
Jenna slid down from her top bunk and Nikki followed, getting up from the couch and tucking her phone back in her pocket after rushing more information and goodbyes to her dad.