“Yes sir!” Bruce pinched his lips together tightly to hide a smile. He knew Hogan didn’t want to admit that his knee was in bad shape.
“Stop here,” Harry said when they reached the gateway of the farm. The gate had long since disappeared, probably used as fuel in some fire pit. “That looks like fresh tire tracks.” They both got out of the car for a closer look.
“Truck, I’d say, or an SUV; probably a half-ton,” Bruce said. “Doesn’t look like car tires to me.”
Harry stood in silence a moment. “No sane person would drive a car up this road, or what remains of it. It’s nothing more than a dirt track.”
“Should we make casts of the tire marks?”
Harry slowly shook his head. “Not yet! Let’s go on up and check out the wood shed first. On foot,” he added as Bruce turned towards the car.
“Oh! Of course. I’ll just get the keys from the ignition.” He leaned into the car, pretending to be retrieving the keys, mentally smacking himself in the head. The keys were in his pocket but he had forgotten about messing up the tracks by driving over them. “What exactly are we looking for up there?”
“Your guess is as good as mine, partner. Anything that indicates recent activity, I guess, whether it’s kids drinking or doing drugs, maybe some homeless person taking shelter here, or even someone using it as a romantic hideaway... take your pick.”
“Except a homeless person probably wouldn’t have a vehicle,” Bruce said.
When they reached the little shed the door was closed. Harry knocked, but there was no answer. He pushed the door open and stepped inside. “Not much light in here,” he said as he reached for his flashlight and turned it on.
“You’re right about that.” Bruce turned his light on too. “Not much to see... hang on, take a look at this, over here in the far corner... the dust looks disturbed.”
“You’re right,” Harry said as he joined him. “I see a couple of dark spots too, wet looking, like water dripped off something. Someone might have spent the night here and the water might have come from a wet jacket.”
“No sign of anything else around, though. Maybe it was just a vagrant passing through, or a homeless person.”
“I’m not so sure,” Harry said thoughtfully. “That vehicle ties in here somehow. A farm, abandoned for years, suddenly has an overnight tenant... I want to know who and why.”
Bruce sighed. “Why do you always look for explanations for everything?”
“There’s a story behind everything, Bruce. It might be perfectly innocent but I want to know what it is.”
‘Stakeout tonight then?” Bruce was already thinking about hot chocolate and raisin tea buns, his go-to snacks for a stakeout.
“If it’s necessary.”
“What do you mean?” Bruce looked at him as they closed the door behind them and headed back to their vehicle.
“I’ll send one of the boys out here to cruise back and forth in an unmarked and report in if he spots a vehicle turning in here,” Harry explained. “Whoever was here might still be in the area.”
‘What if it’s not the same person?”