Jason dropped Marianne off at her condo after a long drive home. He had spent the entire trip explaining as little as possible about the person following them and the man in the hospital. He wanted to satisfy her curiosity without putting her in any danger.
He pulled his car into a space directly in front of his condo. Agent Kent pulled her black sedan into a space next to it. Jason let out a sigh before leaving his car. He smiled wanly at Winona as she motioned him towards his front door. He was starting to feel the effects of his shift at the medical center; he was tired and hungry.
After ushering Winona in, he went straight to his kitchen and began grabbing things from his refrigerator and cupboards. He knew what he was about to do was rude, but he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He piled everything on a tray, sat down at his dining table, and started to make a sandwich.
Winona watched as he slathered mayonnaise on one slice of bread and mustard on the other. He started with lettuce and tomato on the mayo side and liverwurst and Muenster cheese on the mustard and then followed it up with some pickle slices and anchovies before slapping it together and taking a huge bite out of it.
“How can you eat that?” she blurted out. The combination of liverwurst and anchovies in particular made her stomach churn a little.
Choking down the last bit of his first bite, he replied, “easily. I’m starved. I missed lunch.” He then took another bite while offering her the tray of sandwich fixings.
In an effort to be polite and take her mind off his sandwich, she built one a little less disturbing to her of lettuce, tomato, and cheese and ate along with him. At some point Jason had managed to bring some glasses of ice water to the table and put away the tray of food. He had even slipped a paper plate in front of her. Jason continued to eat his Dagwood while Winona nibbled at her cheese sandwich. “Where is it?” He smiled at her and took another bite out of his sandwich. “I’d really like to see it.”
Winona accepted his nodding as she politely averted her eyes from his gluttony. She was surprised by the loud clatter of the driftwood on the dining table. “It’s changed again.” Jason pointed at the center of the plank.
Winona picked up the piece of wood and turned it over and back again. “What has changed?”
“The message,” Jason started to pace. “It says ‘I am safe” now. Last night it said ‘Bethany’. The message keeps changing.”
Winona examined the driftwood more closely. It was old and gray. But there was nothing written on it; there was no evidence that it had ever seen paint of any kind.