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Friday, November 6, 2015

ANNE'S OGRE -- Excerpt #12

McAllistair trusted Natalia to use some common sense when dealing with the woman with the camera. He appreciated that she had looked around for him, made eye contact, and gave him the little hand signal that everything was all right. That didn't mean he wouldn't check out the woman and her story once the singing group and their new friend with the horse-sized dog had hurried back to the boarding house.

"What's up with the kids?" he asked, approaching the woman as she scrolled through the camera. He mentally calculated the chances of following her back to wherever she was staying, and getting his hands on the camera. Not to steal, just long enough to look through the images and erase the ones that showed Natalia's face clearly enough for enemies to recognize her. "They're not from around here, are they?"

After a few minutes of chatting with the woman, who reported for the monthly magazine, America's Voice, McAllistair decided things had definitely gone in his favor. First, he knew the magazine and its reputation, so he knew he could take everything Jenni Doran told him at face value. No evasions to protect her story. Then, the fact the pictures were for a collage of images with no stories attached, no names, not even identifying the locations where the pictures had been taken. And last, that the images wouldn't appear until January or February, depending on how long it took to get them to the main office and how many other great pictures other reporters were snapping during the holidays. The enemies of Natalia's family weren't the kind of people who would look in a feel-good, conservative magazine like America's Voice. Not even if they were bored. Not even if they needed toilet paper in an emergency situation.

"What about the girl with the dog -- that was a dog, wasn't it? Not a pony?" he added with a grin. "They do tricks on the side after the other kids sing?"

Jenni laughed and said no, she was a traveler stopping in town to enjoy the lights. She offered the information that the girl was a courier for a philanthropic foundation, and her idea of doing a story on the place in the future.

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