Tobal nodded his agreement. "What should I do then?"
"Hide in small caves or under rock ledges during the day so no air sleds can find you. If you are under or within the rock they should not be able to pick you up on the monitor screen. Then travel quickly at night. When you travel at night it will be seen that your med-alert bracelet is working properly after all and they don't need to worry about it. They might try to find you at night but it is getting colder and no one wants to be out on an air sled in the middle of a cold night."
"Besides", Rafe said with a grin. "You are not doing anything wrong. At least no one has told you that you can't go there. They probably will once they catch you. Try to get there in the middle of the night. It's a full moon so there will be enough light to see. Give yourself about three hours and then get the hell out of there as fast as you can. It will be interesting to see what happens when they do catch up with you."
"That sounds like a good idea", Tobal told him. "I think I'll do exactly as you said."
They talked a little more about his upcoming journey and then the talk wandered around to Rafe and how he got his second chevron. It was late before Tobal got to sleep.
Tobal started out the next morning as if he were heading toward his base camp. There was nothing unusual about that and it shouldn't draw attention. The area between his base camp and the abandoned gathering spot was very rocky and there were a few caves and outcroppings he remembered seeing. He used them now travelling at night and holing up during the day. It should make them think his med-alert was malfunctioning.
He made cold camps during the day and gradually worked his way closer to the waterfall moving quickly at night and hiding during the day. He was glad for the furs since they provided the protection from the elements that he needed.
He tried sleeping during the day without much success and when he did sleep it was troubled with nightmarish images that became more intense the closer he got to the waterfall.
It was midnight on the fourth day when he stood in front of the cairn in the haunted gathering spot and felt the ghosts around him. There was enough moonlight to see and he searched as much of the cairn as possible without lighting a torch. He examined some of the objects that had been laid there but they simply seemed to be offerings.
He was baffled and frustrated. The answer certainly did not seem to be here and the rest of the camp looked to have been thoroughly cleansed. There was nothing to see and his instinct kept telling him to leave as quickly as possible.
He hated the thought of going down the cliff face in the dark but an inner prompting kept screaming that is was not safe to be here and that he had to leave as soon as possible. Going down the rock chimney was much easier than going up and soon he was scrambling over the edge of the cliff trying to find the toe holds he knew were there.
It was with relief his searching toe finally found the first hole and from then on the descent went quickly. Soon he was standing in the small patio area near the pool at the base of the waterfall. He figured about an hour had passed which gave him two hours more.
He stripped off his clothes and put them in a small pile in a corner of the patio where they were hidden by some rocks. He kept the knife strapped around his leg and the magnesium fire starter on a small chain around his neck. He had carefully thought this out during the past month and knew he needed to at least try exploring the pool.