Chapter 2 – A stormy evening

Sharon runs through the jungle back towards the village. The poison had worn off half an hour later and she had quickly went after Hank. Of course, he would have a 30 minute head start.
It has started to rain, horribly. The weather prognoses did warn about an incoming storm, but they expected it to happen a bit later. Figures. Sharon is now running on a small jungle road the storm had transformed into a mud pit, more or less, while trying not to slip. Trying to shield herself from the rain would not work. She is without any proper rain clothes and the rain can be described as someone dumping a sea over the area.

Muddy, wet and exhausted Sharon manages to make herself back to the small village of Timal. The village is really small and located in the middle of the jungle. There is an airfield a short ride north from it. Despite the storm turning the solid ground into a liquid the village sturdily stands.

Sharon stumbles into the small hotel and almost collapses on the floor. The receptionist greets Sharon and one of the hotel assistants quickly fetch Sharon a towel. In one of the corners, some people are watching TV. The reception is horrible due to the weather, and between the crackles it’s possible to make out someone saying that the storm should not last for long.
Sharon, however, doesn’t pay the TV any attention and heads towards her room, but not before wiping her shoes and wiping of the worst of the mud. For being a small hotel in the middle of a great storm they sure take their cleanliness serious.

*

After getting a change of clothes, ordering some soup and curl up in all blankets available in the room, Sharon relaxes and takes a moment to review the situation.
“Alright, so Hank is here, and he is obviously up to no good as usual,” she drinks some of the soup, not bothering to use the spoon.
“He will probably sell the idol or trade it for something odd, as usual. And he’s probably gone by now as well, unless the storm hit before he managed to leave.”
Sharon sneezes, then drinks more soup.
“Assuming he’s still here, I should try and take it back and give it to the village. It’s theirs after all… I think…”
She puts away the bowl of soup, almost finished now, and falls back, covering herself under all the blankets.
“I should search around…”
She sneezes again.
“After some rest.”

*

An hour later, Sharon feels a bit better and decides to get some information. She heads down to the reception. It’s still stormy as ever, but it still doesn’t seem to bother the people watching the TV even though the storm makes the reception really bad and threatens to cut the power at any second. Sharon gives them a puzzled glance before turning towards the receptionist. She knows that asking for people at hotels generally doesn’t work, so she will have to be careful with her words.
“Uh, hi,” Sharon says, not quite sure how to do this the best way. The receptionist smiles at her.
“Yes? What is it?” she asks, sounding borderline creepy with her over-nice voice.
“Err, I just wonder if a person has checked into this hotel today. It’s… uh… my cousin,” Sharon says, trying to sound convincing, but with the pauses and uncertainty it would be surprising if she fooled anyone. Sure, Hank isn’t really her cousin, but the receptionist shouldn’t know that.
“I’m sorry, we don’t give out our guests name to just anyone,” the receptionist answers, still with that half-creepy smile.
“His name is Hank deLouis, he told me he would be here today. I think he might have checked in while I was out before,” Sharon says a little more desperately and panicky. This might be the only way to find Hank as she has no intention of leaving while the storm is still out.
The receptionist’s smile falters a bit when she sees what appears to be worry in Sharon’s eyes.
“Well, a Mr. Hank deLouis did check in a couple of hours ago. However, I have not seen him since, I’m sorry.”
Sharon tries to hold back a smile, she didn’t think it would actually work. She quickly regains her worried face.
“Oh, no. And with the storm and all,” she says, her fake worry sounding fairly obvious, and yet the receptionist seems to be fooled, at least somewhat. At least she has lost her smile.
“Sadly. I did warn him about the weather, but hopefully he has taken shelter in one of the other buildings in town.”
“Oh well, thank you so much,” Sharon sighs and turns away to walk up the stairs, back to her room.
“The storm should be gone by tomorrow,” the receptionist shouts after Sharon as a final try to cheer her up.
As soon as the receptionist can’t see her, Sharon grins. She didn’t believe it actually would work and hurries back to her room.

“Okay, if Hank isn’t at the hotel he’s probably at the airport. Of course, the planes can’t leave in this weather, giving me some time to figure something out,” Sharon smiles for herself while packing her bag. It’s a one-strap backpack that seems to fit more than it first looks like it possibly should.
Sharon sneezes.
“Aw, great…” she mutters to herself.

After packing everything and setting the alarm to very early in the morning, Sharon heads to bed. Tomorrow she will once again try to stop Hank deLouis.

Next chapter

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