Aloha old friends and new. Here is Chapter 6 of The Bones of the King for those who are reading along.
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The Bones of the King --- CHAPTER 6 ---The Hunt Begins
Sid Hart sat in the tube entrance and watched the sun slip beneath the waves far out to sea. A hint of green limned its upper arc and then, following the sun, it, too, disappeared from view. The waves rolled on and the curtain of night rose in the east behind Mauna Loa’s smooth bulk. Stars burned through the deepening twilight and took their place in the night sky. The lava reluctantly gave up the heat of the day as night feeding swallows whickered back and forth across the stark black landscape.
Sid decided that he had fucked up. Screwed the pooch, poked the pup, you name it; he’d done it this afternoon. He should have waited, bided his time and let the situation clarify itself before he struck. Now his cover was blown. The police were sure to put two and two together and the heat was going crank up several notches. That might have been worth it if he had accomplished something for all the trouble he’d just invited into his world, but it was clear that his effort had been wasted. Dicked the dog. Fornicated the fucking canine.
The surface vessel had ignited wonderfully, the satisfying crump and thump of explosion and shock wave hitting him in the ears and chest moments after he had toggled the transmitter. Watching with his binoculars, Sid had had an excellent seat for the show. Flames and smoke had obscured his view for quite a while following the detonation but there was no hiding the surfacing of the submarine and the subsequent rescue of the crewman who had been knocked overboard. After another half an hour the orange and yellow Hawaii County rescue helicopter had come racing down the coast and hovered over the sub. The injured man had been winched aboard in a basket and then a man from the sub traded places with a crewman from the chopper, which then flew off to the north like a shot. Within minutes the two men on the sub had rigged a steel cable to the boats bow and taken it under tow, still blazing like a torch, and headed north. He never would have imagined that the sub could have towed the hulk, but what came next really floored him. After a moment on the surface the man from the chopper went below and pulled the hatch shut behind him. White foam appeared on either side of the sub and the deck began to submerge then pitched rapidly downward and vanished. A wave splashed over the bow of the trailing boat and then another and another, each larger than the preceding one, their combined weight pulling the bow ever lower. He thought the hull would surely sink but that hadn’t happened. Instead the waves coming over the bow had surged over and around the fire and extinguished it within seconds. The smoke plume became steam and then faded away on the wind as the strange procession moved farther down the coast. After a while the sub surfaced and the burnt out hull of the boat rose in response. The two vessels continued north until they disappeared over the horizon leaving Sid alone with his thoughts.
He had underestimated whoever was running the submarine. The explosion and fire had been a pretty sight, but there should have been more to show for it. Things like a dead crewman and submarine adrift in shock as the burning support boat was reduced to cinders. Instead the submariners had rescued their man, put out the fire on their vessel and essentially salvaged the hull for future use or examination. All this had happened in the space of two hours following what should have been a devastating attack on their operation. Hell, the only thing he had accomplished was to show his hand to no effect. Talk about a fuck up. And all because the men running the sub outfit had their shit together. Next time he would not leave anything to chance.
The east wind whispered to Sid Hart as the night wore on and he worried away at the problem he had created for himself. He was up against the wall in a big way. The sub crew had not been able to bring up the Harlots body, but he was sure they had found her and it was only a matter of time before they tried again to retrieve her. When they did the noose would tighten around his neck and the police would try to lock him up forever. He vowed not to let that happen.
The only way to keep that promise was to get to the Harlot before they did. Which meant he would have to do everything in his power to stop them from diving while he went after her. He was going to have to disable the submarine and he was going to have to get some better dive gear. The second was pretty straightforward, entailing a visit to one of the many dive shops in town. The disabling of the sub was not going to be as easy, but he was already looking forward to the challenge.
It was time for him to find out more about Manta Ray Submarines and the man who ran it. Time to ferret out their schedule and their weaknesses and wait for the moment when the method he would use to attack them would come to him in the course of observing his quarry. Sid Hart rose on stiff legs and stretched. He entered the tube for a few minutes, gathered some supplies and then returned to the flow, sealing the entrance carefully behind him.
Above the slope of Mauna Loa the newly risen moon lit the island with its soft silver light. He felt exhilarated. The road ahead was going to be dangerous, but he was supremely confident that he could do what was necessary to protect his world. Sid struck out across the flows, headed for the far off access road and his car. It was time to go north and hide in plain sight. A shiver coursed up his spine and he smiled in anticipation.
The hunt was on.