>NEVER A FRONTWARD STEP, PART SEVENTEEN

>I put on the visor, welcoming the belated shade. “I was here last…” I started the sentence, but then a thought stitched itself to the side of my brain. “Yvette—the fisherwoman, she was with me. Have you seen her?”

“She the one who sits on the pier?”

“Yes, she wears the hat … sometimes, I think. I don’t really know that, but she was wearing a big hat when I first saw her. Do you know where she is?”

“Can’t say I do,” said the lady. “She’s usually on the pier at sunrise, but I didn’t see her this morning.”

I had to get back to Brisbane. I had to do some serious business. This was not the way things were done. If they had taken Yvette—if they had done anything to her…

“I’ve got to get back to the lifesaving club,” said the lady, pointing back over her shoulder. “You going to be okay to get home?”

“Yeah,” I said distractedly. “Thanks.”

This wasn’t right. The junkie was one of their foot soldiers, a particularly nasty worm with a penchant for schoolyard pushing. He knew the game he was in. Yvette was an innocent person. Anger grew in my chest in a spiky rising rhythm. I pulled down my sun visor and gingerly got to my feet. Shaking myself of accumulated sand, I began the trek to the spot where my hire car was very likely sitting with its wheels missing and its CD player on permanent loan.

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