First Watch

This morning was the second time she had heard that voice.

The voice was deep and British. “Jacklyn, the time has come to repay the favour.”

It had been fifteen years since she had last heard that voice. She had been in a San Antonio motel the last time. To hear it, now, in her Sudbury, Ontario apartment brought back the shakes immediately.

The voice gave up waiting for her. “We need you to follow someone.”

“Who are you?” she asked with very little voice.

“My name is irrelevant. We need you to repair the favour. You have one hour to get changed and out. Get your car to the corner of Lorne St and Big Nickel Mine Rd. Be on Lorne east of Big Nickel, facing west. I will phone your mobile with further instructions. Make certain you have a full tank of gas.”

The line went dead.

Jacklyn dressed and was still on autopilot as she brushed the snow off of her white PT Cruiser. She got in and followed the snow covered roads as instructed. After a stop for gas, she arrived at the intersection and pulled off the side of the road as the clock turned to nine am, roughly ten minutes ahead of when she was instructed.

She kept the radio low and closed her eyes. She jumped when David Lee Roth screamed at her that she might as well. It took her a moment to register it as her ring tone. She put her Blackberry on speaker. “Yes?”

“There will be a dark blue Ford Escape passing you in about sixty seconds. License number is an Ontario plate, AAGT 564. Follow it.”

“To where?” She typed the license number into her Blackberry.

“If we knew that, we would just have you wait for him there. Follow him and more instructions will follow.” Again the phone went dead.

As predicted, the Ford slowly passed her on the slippery road.

For the next fourteen hours she follwed the SUV. The snow let up enough so that the roads cleared and they were able to travel at normal speeds. With two stops for gas along the way, the SUV had finally stopped at a hotel just west of Thunder Bay.

Jacklyn pulled her PT into the McDonalds parking lot across the street. She sat for a few moments before her phone told her to jump again. “Yes.”

“Check your glove box. There is a voice synthesizer and a note. Go into the restaurant, get a coffee and wait for an hour. Then, using the synthesizer, call the hotel and ask for room number 212. Use the pay phone in the restaurant and the phone book for the number. Read the front page of the note. The back side will give you any instructions for any questions he may ask.”

She took a deep breath. “Then what?”

“Further instructions will follow after that.”

She put the phone in her purse and got out of the car.

The snow got much heavier as she waited. After almost an hour she bought a second coffee and went to the pay phone. She found the motel’s number and phoned.

“Hello?” The voice on the other side sounded exhausted.

She put the synthesizer in front of her mouth and was surprised by her own voice. “Mr. Vincent?”

“Yes, who is this?”

“My name does not matter. I do, however, know that Gregg Vincent is currently on a slab in a police morgue in Toronto.” The voice was deep with an obvious British accent.

Silence followed.

“A little more than twenty hours ago I watched you switch I’d with the corpse. Considering your wife’s crocodile tears, I would say we have done you a great favour.”

“What do you want?” The voice now sounded like a whine.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Vincent, we will be in touch when we require your services.”

She hung up the pay phone and put the voice synthesizer in her purse. She peeked around from the wall and looked out from the McDonalds. With the snow it was hard to tell, but she thought she saw the curtain in his hotel room move. She sipped from her coffee and walked to the washroom.

Once again her phone started ringing. “Yes,” she answered.

“Take your car across to the motel. You have a key card for room 115 in your glove box. In the morning drive home. You have done well.” The phone clicked dead.

She soon lay her head on the pillow in the room and started to drift off.  Though troubled, her long day of driving over rid any insomnia.  Her dream was of that night 20 years ago.  She was in tears and on her way to get drunk after a meeting with a professor who was about to fail her our of the University of Houston.  She found a body in her dorm room that looked exactly like her.  The body had credit cards and a full bank account, but seemingly no connections to family or otherwise.  Her name was Linda prior to that night, but it became Jacklyn ever since.

She did not hear the click of the door as someone entered the motel room as she slept on.

She did not hear the click of the hammer that was pulled back.

She did not hear click of the trigger nor the bullet that accelerated through the spare pillow and into her head.

Her run ended in that Thunder Bay motel.

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