— Omah discovers that the hut in the photograph has been disused for some time but not abandoned. Somebody has been there recently. —
The ride through the forest felt very pleasant to Omah, filled with views of trees just putting on the amber leaves of autumn, and silky streams gushing over rocky falls. Roger peered left and right, looking for something, and then announced:
“Here we are!”
Roger turned onto a dirt track and steered the hovercar carefully between the thick trunks of tall trees until they burst into a clearing and stopped.
“Okay. You two stay here,” Omah said. “I want to look around first.”
Omah picked his way carefully between the car and the steps to the hut, scanning the ground for anything of human origins. Reaching the hut, he tried the door but found it locked. With a hard shove, he tore the padlock off its rotten, wooden mounting and peered inside. It didn’t look as if anybody had visited for years. The meagre contents consisted of a bed, a stove and sink, a cupboard and a tiny water closet. Omah crept around the shack, peering under the bed and stopping at the bedside table. A single cigarette butt lay in an ashtray. He sniffed it, noted its damp smell and returned to the hovercar.
“Nobody’s been here for a while!” he declared, holding up the transparent evidence bag
containing the butt.