Chapter 48

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“It’s very close,” said Nicole, “you will want to slow down.”

“You’re telling me that pendant corresponds to our map?” asked Pepe.  He had watched Nicole place the pendant on the map and use the makeshift device the same way Cameron and he were trained to use lensatic compasses in the Legion, the difference was that their military field compasses had magnetized needles.  Nicole’s decoder did not have a way of telling true north that Pepe could see, and he did not see how she knew her bearings without a the magnetized needle.

“It only needs to give me the general direction.  I will know what it is I am looking for when I see it,” said Nicole.

The corners of Pepe’s mouth dropped to form an upside down smile.  Pepe realized that the scale of the map, large or small, did not matter if whoever was decoding with the key knew what they were looking for.  The pendant truly was a key, and a good one, that could be used with any map that had the correct landmarks.

“There,” said Nicole.  She pointed at a line on the map designating a two-track utility road.  “That is where we need to turn.”

The road came up quickly as Nicole predicted.  Though Cameron had been driving slowly he did not see the two-track until the Chevy was upon the road.  There were no signs and they drove past before braking.  The mouth to the two-track was overgrown and could easily have been mistaken for an old logging trail.

Cameron stopped the Chevy, backed up to the mouth of the two-track, and then turned off route eight onto the overgrown utility road.

The Chevy plodded over the old road for some time.  Regardless of how gently Cameron tried to maneuver, the deep weather worn dips rolled their stomachs.  Sections of the two-track were so crowded by brush and fallen branches that Cameron had to stop several times so that he and Pepe could clear the path.  They continued at a slow pace until, a far distance from route eight, the evergreens turned to hardwoods, and the two-track became a groomed dirt road.

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