"Maybe we won't grow old," Jewel said in a joyful voice.
"That's when you get buried alive in some kind of accident," John said with a note of sarcasm.
"Perhaps you win the lottery," replied Jewel.
"Perhaps," replied John.
"We need a tech to tell us how to home in on Luke's phone," Jewel stated.
"Back to the University," John answered.
Eventually they paid a communications employee to monitor the phone numbers they had gotten of Luke's phone, and the calls made by the Mr. Gains until they were certain they had the right number. Then they got a weekly update on the general locations of where Luke was placing calls.
"We need to change our looks before we go to Atlanta. He might be at the airport and spot us right off the bat," stated Jewel.
"You'll look good as a blond," said John with a smile.
"You'd look a lot different with dark hair and a mustache, and I'm going to be a redhead," Jewel replied.
"Better yet," commented John with a bigger smile.
When they got to Atlanta they split up and began walking around at opposite sides of the city staying around the night life hot spots. After a week without success, there was a story on the news about a jogger who had been attacked in a park. He was hit over the head and bitten several times on the arm and face.
"This has got to be our quarry," stated John.
Luke had been laying wait in the wooded portion of the park after dark. The victim was walking briskly as if late for an appointment and texting as he went. Luke began to hum then attacked him with wild animal viciousness. Before he could eat enough to kill his dinner a couple out for walk came into view and Luke abandoned his meal.
"According to the phone book the nearest hospital is Mountain West," said Jewel.
"Call and say you think the victim from the park attack might be your friend," said John.
"The say the victim is there, but they won't give a name," Jewel said.
"That should be enough," John replied.
"Are you still going to be able to do what needs to be done if we find Luke?" asked Jewel.
"Absolutely. I understand why he did what he did, but I can't let him continue. Then there is the question of what happens to us in the long run. Will we become like him eventually?" Luke questioned.
"Not as long as the anti-psychotics keep working," answered Jewel.
"Have you noticed a change in tolerance?" asked John.
"Not yet," replied Jewel.
"Let's spend sometime around the hospital. Luke might want to finish his meal," John suggested.
"He's got to know the cop's swabs around the bites," Jewel stated.
"We should find out where they do the testing," John added.
They were too late for the lab doing the testing, it burned down the night before.
"Says here it was definitely arson," John said reading the paper.
"Wait a minute. I'm a nurse. I'll apply for a position in the morning," stated Jewel.
Jewel got hired on the spot.
"There's an upside to the nurse shortage. They signed me up with immediate placement," Jewel announced to John over the phone.
"Good deal. I'll hang around the area. Luke might show up," John stated.
Jewel went to the intensive care unit because of her experience.
"His name is Lenny Sheller. Tomorrow I'll try to talk to him," said Jewel.
"What kind of shape is he in?" asked John.
"Poor. He lost a lot of blood. Then there is the trauma from somebody eating you," Jewel stated.
"I sympathize," John replied.
"You're so sensitive." Jewel replied.
"That's me. Mr. Sensitive. Buy the way, I want to eat the lady in room #117," added John.
Three days later Jewel was able to talk to Mr. Sheller.
"Hi. I'm Jewel. How do you feel today?" asked Jewel.
"Okay I guess," Mr. Seller replied.
"Your charts says your healing quite fast. That's good. What do you do for a living?" Jewel asked.
"I manage BTI," Mr. Sheller answered.
"BTI?" queried Jewel.
"That's Bio-Tek Investments," Mr. Sheller said in a weak voice.
"Interesting. There, this will hold you for an hour or so." Jewel said as she finished setting up an intravenous drip.
"Thanks," Mr. Sheller said as he drifted off into deep sleep.
Jewel watched him for a second before calling John.
"I think he could be a great ally,"Jewel said before telling John about Mr. Sheller.
"Sounds like he could be really handy to have around," John replied.
"It might be a week or more before he's going to be rational enough to approach with our story, so I have time to prepare," said Jewel.
"Does he look psychotic, or irrational in anyway?" asked John.
"Can't tell. He's on pain meds, and he's just had rather traumatic experience. He's not going to look content and be in good humor," replied Jewel.
"Can you slip him the med's so he doesn't go alligator on the staff?" asked John.
"Alligator. That's funny, but no. They do to many blood works. The best I can do is keep an eye on him," answered Jewel.
Over the next week Jewel had more conversations with Mr. Sheller. He asked to the call him Lenny, and he talked a little about his work.
"Well, he has a sense of humor that comes and goes. Mostly goes, and in a troublesome way. It's like he can't keep focused just like I can't without the meds. He also eye's the meat they serve at dinner with an increasingly intense stare. I asked him if he would give me a tour of his business when he feels better and he said he would. So, what did you accomplish today? asked Jewel.
"I found a real low life strip club, a blind dope pusher with a pet monkey, a male prostitute, and guy who will eat a cockroach for a dollar," replied John.
Robert Evan Howard