Free Apocalypse by Dean Crawford

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Authors: Dean Crawford
odd symbols and rubbed them with his finger.
    ‘Will you cut it out?’ Lopez laughed. ‘Your work here is done, Einstein.’
    ‘Why’d you think Purcell would do this?’ Ethan asked her. ‘Leave messages like these for us to find?’
    Lopez shrugged. ‘He’s a scientist – they get their rocks off on stuff like this.’
    Ethan shook his head.
    ‘He’s just lost his wife and child in a brutal murder that he says he did not commit. I don’t reckon he’d be interested in playing mind games if he’s trying to
prove his innocence. Surely he’d just write the tail code in big letters like he did the other message, or he’d just call the police again and tell them to search for the aircraft in
question, not conceal them in a tiny scribble up here.’
    Lopez fell silent for a few moments as she considered this.
    ‘Unless maybe there’s somebody else looking for him too,’ she suggested. ‘Somebody who he knows might not search as thoroughly as the police have. But then why leave the
blatant message for you on the other wall? Why not hide

    Ethan spoke without breaking his gaze.
    ‘Maybe the
message is the coded one, the rest just enough to satisfy whoever he thinks is pursuing him. So he hides the coded message here behind the curtain, maybe figuring
that the police will search more thoroughly and have more resources to figure out what he’s trying to tell them, before whoever else he’s hiding from finds him.’
    Lopez looked across the room at the scrawled message.
    ‘He’d still have to know in advance that we’d definitely be here.’
    Ethan turned on his heel and looked at her. ‘And how might he know that? Sure, he called Sears and told him to contact me, but how could he be absolutely sure that I’d turn
    ‘I don’t know,’ Lopez admitted, ‘but why else would he have written your name up here and then left a code for you to find?’
    Ethan was about to respond when another voice answered for him.
    ‘Because Nicola is right, and he knew that you would be here.’
    Ethan turned and saw Jarvis standing in the doorway of the room. The military transport he’d travelled down on was not even half as fast as the F-15s, but Ethan knew they’d have been
given priority status as they raced south. The old man sauntered in with his hands in his pockets and looked up at the walls where the scrawled messages taunted them.
    ‘That’s crazy,’ Ethan pointed out. ‘You saying this guy really can see into the future?’
    ‘We’re not sure,’ Jarvis admitted. ‘But he’s leaving you clues and he must have a reason for doing so. I was just listening to what you said, and there’s no
point in Charles Purcell concealing selected information in codes unless he’s hiding something from one person whilst trying to inform another.’
    ‘Sure,’ Lopez agreed, ‘but who’s to say that it’s us Purcell wants to figure all this out? Maybe this is all a double bluff to throw us off the scent, and he really
did murder his family.’
    Jarvis shook his head.
    ‘Given what we know about him I’d say it’s unlikely. He has no history of mental instability and was by all accounts extremely happy in his work at NASA.’
    ‘But he works for somebody else now, right?’ Lopez pointed out. ‘Maybe something happened?’
    Sears re-appeared in the apartment.
    ‘I’ll say,’ he said, as he waved a piece of paper at them. ‘I had that aircraft checked out for you.’
    ‘Did you find it?’ Ethan asked.
    ‘Kind of.’
    Lopez looked at the captain with an uncomfortable expression. ‘The hell does that mean?’
    Sears looked somewhat pale as he replied.
    ‘It didn’t belong to Charles Purcell’s father. November two-seven-six-four-charlie was a Grumman Mallard that went down yesterday afternoon off the coast of South Bimini island
in the Bahamas. There were no survivors.’
    Ethan stared at Sears for a moment and then looked at the code that Charles Purcell had scrawled

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