“When did you know you were lost?” he asked.
“Just before it got dark,” I said and dutifully signed my name to the little guest book.
“And that’s when your car broke down?”
“No, it was about half an hour later. After I realized that I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and tried to backtrack. The car just sort of chugged to a stop.”
“Lucky I happened along when I did,” he smiled. “Not many people use that road this time of year – once the tourist season is over it becomes most quiet around here.”
I shuddered at the idea of being stranded alone in the dark. With no cell reception this far out in the wilderness I would not have had another choice. And then the old pickup came sputtering along the road, following it’s headlights home.
The driver was handsome and charming and despite all of the reasons why I should not, I trusted him. When he offered to drive me to a local bed and breakfast it sounded a lot better than spending the night alone in the dark in the woods. So I said yes.
The Passage Pieton Bed and Breakfast was a pretty sight, all glowing windows and gingerbread trim. Marcus, who turned out to be driver of the truck as well as owner of the bed and breakfast, offered to send up whatever food could be found still available in the kitchen. I thanked him and set off to locate my room which Marcus said was located on the back side of the Inn.
After a late supper I turned down the bed and prepared to read a little before falling asleep. When I opened my book the postcard which I had been using as a bookmark fell out.
It was a simple postcard, mailed from a beachside resort in France over a month ago. The message was written in French by my best friend, Roseanne, who had spent months teaching herself French in preparation for her dream trip of a lifetime.
She had flown to Paris and visited all the big cities before renting a car and driving to a little beachside town somewhere in the South of France. She did not name the city and said only that she was staying at a cute little place named after a goofy bird.
That postcard was the last anyone heard of Roseanne.
She disappeared without a trace and despite efforts from both French and American authorities there seemed to be no leads in the case. I was determined to conduct my own investigation – I knew her best and surely I would find something everyone else had missed. I flew to France where I rented a car and set off into the countryside just following my instinct as to what Roseanne might have done. Would she have turned towards the forest hillsides or the coastline? Coastline. Would she have taken a left here or a right hand turn? Left. Would she have stopped for gas now or gone on a bit farther? Farther.
And so I wandered on a blind pilgrimage to honor my friend. Now here I was in this little inn in the middle of a forest with no more idea what to do next than the police had. Finally I slept.
The next morning I was awakened by an odd sound. A swooshing, sucking, swooshing sound. A sound like – waves? Groggy I got up and walked to the window, expecting to see some kind of activity in the forest.
Outside my window was the ocean as far as the eye could see. And between my window and the water was….beach. Lots and lots of beach. To my right I could see a broken dock jutting out into the water and just beyond it a partially sunken boat covered in pelicans. I picked up the postcard on my bedside table and studied the picture again.
Just then the door of my room popped open and Marcus stood there with a breakfast tray.
“Do you like the view?” he grinned. “My Inn is named after it, did you know?”
“I didn’t know, my French is not very good,” I answered.
“Most of you English girls come here without a clue about our culture or language,” he said. “Would you like me to translate it for you?”
“Yes, please,” I said and hoped my voice wasn’t shaking.
“In English it is translated as the Pelican Crossing.”
I dropped the postcard and watched it flutter to the floor.