Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Forbidden Valley - 5

This is snippet 5 of my in-progress fiction, The Forbidden Valley.  Snippet 1 may be found here.

The police finally released him and the Indian lad just before sunset.  The questioning had gone on for hours, but he'd had so few answers.  Thankfully they eventually came to believe he was uninvolved in the murder.  However relieved he felt at having been released, though, he was now at loose ends about how to proceed.  And his letter from Creighton had somehow disappeared in the pandemonium and the ordeal.  He decided to sleep on it overnight.

The next morning, he sent a telegram to Creighton first thing, then retired back to his hotel to await word.  It wasn't long in coming.  It also wasn't very helpful.  It informed him that Creighton was out of the office and might be gone for some time.  Marley stared at the telegram numbly for a moment.  What now?

If he had any clue where Professor Clark had gone, beyond following a river north into the Himalaya, he'd have an idea.  But the Himlayas were an enormous place, stretching as they did along sixteen hundred miles, and over two hundred miles thick in places.  Its tallest peak reached up well over five miles.  They were a massive haystack in which he was seeking a needle.

The only real hint he had as to where Clark was came from the fact that the rumors he'd followed were heard in Lahore and Jammu, on the west end, and that Clark had gone north from Jammu.  The fact that he was to be following a river really offered no great help, for the mountains where the origin of many a river, great and small, and Clark had not told Marley the name of the river in question.  Marley stared in frustration at the maps he'd obtained.

North from Jammu lay the Pir Panjal Range, a portion of the Himlayas that separated Jammu from the Kashmir Valley, beyond which lay the main body of the Himlayas.  Even if the hint provided by where Clark heard his rumors was accurate, that left both sides of the Pir Panjal plus the rest of the western Himalayas to search.

He sat back from the map, considering the situation, and another thought nagged at him.  His letters to Alice had mentioned his illness and the professor going on ahead, but he'd not mentioned to her that the professor had more or less disappeared.  But he had.  How do you tell your fiance you misplaced her father?  The question continued to nag at him as he decided to seek lunch.

copyright (c) The Other Sean

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