Keaton stood a respectful distance behind Gale as he laid flowers on his sister’s grave. His head still throbbed after being knocked out which seemed like a blessing, considering what Gale had attempted to describe.
After the two of them had been taken out of the USAMRIID, they’d laid low, fearing that the Army would hunt them down. That hadn’t happened. Death had either insured that no one was aware of what it had attempted, or the Army didn’t want everyone to know that a plot from the other side had nearly unleashed every virulent disease known to mankind. Keaton wasn’t sure which scenario he preferred.
He’d called Mrs. Hernandez and swung back by his office to speak with her in person. He’d never figured out how, or what, he’d tell the widow. In the end Keaton didn’t need to. She seemed to understand and payed him the rest of what she’d promised. Not long after he’d started getting clients. At first, Keaton had thought it was a hoax, but it turned out to be genuine. Within two weeks his business had gone from the brink of collapse to bursting at the seams. He and Clara were spending a lot of time together.
Gale stood and brushed the dirt off of his pants. At a gesture from Keaton the two of them headed out of the graveyard.
“Is she really gone?”
Gale nodded. “When Brook died the first time, I could still feel her presence, even though I never saw her. Now, I feel nothing, not even an echo. She’s gone.”
“At least she’s at peace,” Keaton said.
Gale smiled. “That’s true.”
They reached Keaton’s car and he got in. Keaton turned to Gale who leaned on the passenger’s side window.
“Are you going back to Virginia?”
“Tomorrow,” Gale said. “Although I think I’ll stop avoiding this place. You?’
“Back to my business,” he said. “Someone has to deal with reality.”
“You know, most men would’ve hit the bottle after something like this.”
Keaton grinned. “Why do you think my business was in the tank to begin with?”
The two men chuckled. Gale stepped back. Keaton waved and took off. He turned the corner of the cemetery and Gale Jackson vanished from sight.