Brice Montgomery, victim, extreme rock climber, reality TV star and heir to a whiskey distillery
Hans Steiner – Producer of the show Extreme Climbing
Kyle Temple– Rock Climber, Brice’s friend
Sadie Temple- Kyle’s sister, one of Brice’s conquests
Riley Gardner- camera woman
Maxine Montgomery – Brice’s sister
This is part two:
As soon as the trooper allowed them to go to the motorhome, Kyle shuffled his sister back to there. “Did Maxine give you or Brice a phone number?”
“Why? You don’t think she did this do you?” Sadie stared at him with wide, round eyes.
“We won’t know until we find out where she is. Phone number?” Kyle wanted to call Maxine, see what she had to say about her whereabouts and then give her the devastating news to relay to her family.
“She didn’t give it to me, but you can probably find it in Brice’s phone. I’ll get it.” As she walked to the back of the motorhome, she tossed, “She said she was staying at Eagle Crest Resort.”
That’s a stroke of luck. Brice had several friends who worked at the resort. Once he contacted Maxine he’d set about seeing what his friends knew about the woman’s movements since dinner with her brother last night.
Sadie returned with the phone and handed it to him. “I don’t understand why Hans and Riley took off. If Riley was filming she’d have the whole thing on tape and we could maybe see what happened.”
“I don’t understand that either.” Kyle scanned the names on Brice’s phone and found Maxine. He hit dial and waited.
“Hello, Brice? Are you finished filming already?” Maxine’s tone didn’t sound sinister.
“This isn’t Brice. It’s Kyle Temple. There’s been an accident—”
“Oh my God! Not Brice. Tell me it wasn’t Brice!” The woman’s voice rose hysterically.
Either she was a good actor or she was devastated. “I’m sorry. A rope snapped and he didn’t have a chance.”
Hysterical crying traveled through the phone and challenged his conscience. He had to ask. “Where are you?”
The crying slowed and she sniffed. “I’m at the resort waiting for Brice. We were going to check out a distillery together when he finished taping. He said that was to be his last show, he was ready to join the family business, if I helped him talk father into allowing me on the board as well.”
That left Riley and Hans as suspects. “You should probably call your family and then the state police to find out where they took Brice. I’m sorry. There was nothing I could do.” Brice hung up feeling relieved it wasn’t Maxine but more confused. Why would Riley or Hans want Brice dead? Without him they wouldn’t have a show. Wouldn’t have a show!
“Did Brice talk with either Riley or Hans last night?” Kyle swung his attention to his sister.
Sadie sat in the chair, rubbing her flat stomach. “He called someone while I was getting ready for bed.”
Kyle looked through the recent calls on Brice’s phone. He’d called Hans last night. Probably to tell him it was the last show. The producer would be out of a job if Brice shut the show down, but if Brice died they could find someone to replace him.
Picking up his own phone, he dialed the number on the card the trooper handed him. “Did you catch Hans or Riley in the road block?”
“We have one suspect in custody. Hans Steiner.”
“Ask him what he and Brice talked about last night.” He went on to tell the trooper what he’d learned from Maxine.
“I’ll call you back after I’ve talked with Hans.” The trooper hung up.
Kyle paced back and forth. Who had been at the top of the rock, pulling up the rope? And how had either Hans or Riley got up there so fast? They were both at the bottom of the cliff when he unhooked. Then he’d stood staring up the face of the cliff watching Brice descend. How long was it from the time he stepped over the edge and the rope broke?
“What are we going to do?” Sadie’s quiet question stopped his pacing.
“What do you mean?” He stopped in front of his sister and stared into her watery eyes.
“I flew out here expecting to get married.” She put a hand on her belly. “Now, I’ll have raise our child alone and I walked out on my job taking the chance Brice would marry me.”
“Don’t worry. You can stay here with me. I’ll find you a job.” Kyle ran a hand over his face. This was Brice’s motorhome. They should gather their things and hand the keys over to the State Police. “Get your things. We’ll head to my house.”
They loaded their things into his truck. He was locking up the motorhome when his phone buzzed.
“This is Trooper Harrison. I’ve talked with Steiner. He claims the victim called him last night to confirm the time to pick you two up this morning.”
“What did he say when you told him Brice planned to make today his last show?”
“He looked genuinely surprised. I don’t think he’s the murderer, but because he disappeared he is a person of interest. We’ll detain him as long as we can.”
“And still nothing on Riley? I don’t see her as the murderer, but it is unusual that she disappeared like this. She and Brice were close at one time.” Kyle glanced at this sister sitting in the truck. Did she know about Brice and Riley? Brice was his best friend but they had different views on how many women to string along at the same time.
“I put an APB out on her. If she tries to leave the area, we’ll get her. Hans gave us her vehicle and license plate.” The trooper hung up.
Kyle slid into his truck and turned the ignition. What was he missing?
After depositing Sadie at his house, Kyle couldn’t focus on work or anything else. He got back in his truck and drove to Smith Rock State Park. As he drove slowly by the park where the motorhome sat, he saw a flicker of light inside.
He dialed the trooper. “Did anyone go in Brice’s motorhome after I gave you the keys?”
“There’s someone in there now.” Kyle heard the trooper tell him to wait for a car, but he had a notion who was in the RV.
He turned off the vehicle’s lights and glided into the trailer park. There wasn’t a vehicle in the parking spot by the motorhome, but the intruder could have parked anywhere. The engine purred to a halt as he turned the key. Quietly, Kyle opened his door and slipped to the side of the motorhome. He heard a female voice inside.
“Why did you have to bring her here? Why?” Riley’s shrill voice caught Kyle by surprise.
He’d never heard her raise her voice or appear upset over anything. He’d been in several of Brice’s shows. There was one where the weather hadn’t cooperated and they had tried several times to make the shoot to stay on schedule. Everyone but Riley had cursed or ranted that day.
Kyle knocked on the door.
“Riley, it’s me, Kyle.” He tried the handle. It turned. Easing the door open, he poked his head in. “Hi. Want some company?”
Riley sat in one of the chairs in the sitting area. A photo of Brice was propped up in the other chair. A bottle of Montgomery whiskey sat on the floor by her chair. She held a glass of the amber liquid in her hand. “I don’t need company. I got this two-timing jerk to keep me company.” She slopped whiskey in her lap as she waved the glass toward Brice’s photo.
“What do you mean by two-timing?” He had a pretty good idea, but wanted to keep her talking until the trooper arrived.
“Brice told me he loved me and when the baby came he’d marry me and we’d travel around the world filming him climbing.” She scowled. “Then your sister calls and he drops me and tosses her in his bed.”
Kyle stared at the photo. Brice, your woman juggling may have gotten you killed. “Brice and Sadie have been special friends for years.”
“Special? Is that what it’s called?” She snorted. “Well, she doesn’t have a special friend anymore.” She laughed, hiccupped, and tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Riley, did you cause Brice’s fall?” Kyle held his breath, hoping the woman heard him through her sorrow.
She nodded once. “If the baby and I couldn’t have him, no one was going to have him. He’d promised to marry me. Then he sleeps with your sister. He would have done the same thing after we married. No, I wasn’t going to stand for it. He needed to be taught you don’t mess with people’s hearts.” Riley raised the glass in a toast. “You’ll never screw or two-time another woman, Brice.”
The click of a car door shutting caught Kyle’s attention. He stood up, opened the motorhome door, and stepped back. Two troopers entered. The woman trooper, coaxed Riley to her feet, frisked her, and then put the handcuffs on.
“I’ll lock up,” Kyle said as the troopers escorted Riley out the RV. He stared at Brice’s photo. “Buddy, I’d say you took the extreme fall long before that rope snapped.”
Copyright 2013 Paty Jager