Quicky Sanders: Quarry Quandary
Sanders wrapped up her interview with the supervisor. It was a dead end, as expected. The supervisor deflected the concerns raised by lobby groups about the environmental impact of the quarry and gave non-answers for an hour. But that wasn’t what she was here for. She had heard rumours that the quarry was being used by the mob to hide illegal goods, supposedly burying them in sand pits and away from prying eyes. That was the real scoop, and the real reason she was here. If she could uncover one of these caches, she could expose the crime ring and shut down their operations. Once Sanders was convinced that the quarry workers thought she was gone, she snuck into the work site.
Her intrusion would not go unnoticed.
The quarry was indeed hiding something. Ilsa had been assigned to make sure it stayed hidden. The assassin loathed these assignments, thinking them as well below her. She was the expert on removing people, not a glorified security guard. When the reporter stepped into the quarry, she felt a surge of excitement. Finally, some prey. Like an expert trapper, she allowed the reporter to explore deeper, build confidence, and wander into the inescapable web.
“You there!” Ilsa bellowed out once Sanders got close enough. “Stop!”
Sanders froze and turned to face Ilsa. Ilsa looked at the reporter with amusement. She must have been crazy to think she could get away with sneaking around the quarry in a bright red dress. Crazy, or superbly clever. She thought about the principle of hiding in plain sight, and Sanders might have been onto something. Still, she had been caught. Ilsa wanted to press her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I’m a reporter,” Sanders replied. “I’m doing a cover story on the environmental impact of the quarry. You’ve probably heard about the protests.”
A smooth response, Ilsa thought. No hesitation, no obvious tells. Either she’s rehearsed this hundreds of times, or she’s telling the truth. Either way, the consequence was the same.
“You are trespassing,” Ilsa stated sternly. “This area is out of bounds.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realise,” said Sanders. “I was interviewing the supervisor before. I was under the impression that we were allowed to take photos. There weren’t any signs.”
That part was true. Again, either she was very observant, or very lucky. Ilsa shrugged. “Maybe. But you can’t come here. This area is extremely dangerous. These pits are very unstable. They can become saturated and pull you down. Like…quicksand.”
“Quicksand?” Sanders asked, giving the first sign of fear. Ilsa latched onto this giveaway.
“Uh huh. We’re here to keep people out for a reason. We don’t want people disappearing into quicksand. Especially if no one knows they’re snooping around without permission. Then there’d be no one to cover the story. Look, you seem to be the real deal. Let’s keep it between us. Just don’t come back here and I won’t report you.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it,” said Sanders, breathing in relief.
“Wait, where are you going?’
Ilsa shook her head. “I said that I would turn a blind eye, but that doesn’t mean the others will. If you go back that way, you’ll be arrested for sure.” Ilsa pointed out across the quarry. “Cut across that way and go out the edge. I’m the only one here, so no one will see you leave.”
Sanders thanked Ilsa again for letting her off the hook again. Ilsa watched Sanders step onto the sand flat, her bright red outfit reminding her of a ladybird walking into a spiderweb. Soon, she would be trapped…