After everyone finished eating the ladies begin to clean up. More people begin to arrive to the house. Astila sees a different side to Aisling once she is surrounded by her family. She is much more out going than he thought. When a few of the aunts arrived her face lit up like the sun. She rushed and gave them hugs . Her eyes shine like emeralds when she is talking to them . He could have sworn her eyes were blue grey. Even when looking at her closely before they looked blue grey not green. Sam notices the puzzled look on his face. Walking over to him .
" she is like night and day sometimes. She is reserved and shy until the house is full. Then she shines like a star in the night sky. She loves taking care of those in her heart. With us it's easy she doesn't have to entertain Debra and I. We come and go however we please. We can go entire days without saying a word. When the aunts and uncles are around she comes out of her shell and you know when she is happy or sad by the color of her eyes. When she is content her eyes are blue grey. When she is overjoyed and happy they are green. When she cries they turn the brightest green. It always amazed me that the two opposite emotions bring out that color." Sam smiles at her antics with the small cousins . Children seem to hold her heart in their hands. Her laughter rings out across the yard like the clear soft sound of flutes playing . Astila sits on the bench watching her while wondering how the search team is doing.
In the woods a yell rings out. Terry turns to head towards the voice. One of his officers found a trap. Trapping is not allowed on this trail since it is apart of the Appalachian trail and so close to the federal land. They continue with their search. They find evidence of someone living in the woods. Another yell rings out . they disarm the trap and go towards the yell. The officer found their old tree house and it is in use. They climb up to inspect it. Inside of the tree house is a telescope and camera along with some bedding and empty pans. On the walls are pictures of Aisling . They are of her in different areas of the yard. Looking through the telescope you can see Aisling's house and yard. Whoever the person is he is fixated on her. Remembering that they had another hide out just passed the property . Terry tells them to look for the old jailhouse. Before the Civil War there was a jailhouse not far from here. They used to spend a lot of their summer days playing there . He leaves a few behind to get fingerprints and to collect the evidence. While he follows the creek towards the waterfall. Where he knows Aisling spends a lot of time . He wants to check it out on his own . About two hundred yards or so from the waterfall up in a large elm is a deer stand hidden by the heavy leaves and branches. Climbing up he gets an eagles eye view of the area. Noticing there are dry packs of food and bottles of water. Someone has been living on the Hawkins-Wilson property without them knowing. He sees a black wooden box under the small makeshift bed. Pulling it out opening it he sees bits of teeth and carved bones. Bring it with him he heads down to see if they found the old jailhouse. Calling on the radio he asks for a report. The group at the tree house is almost done with photographing the evidence and bagging it up. They let him know they have full sets of fingerprints as well as hair samples from the blankets in the corner. The other have found over a dozen traps of various types. They found the jailhouse and he needs the coroner to meet them there. They found more bodies. As well as the walls are plastered in photographs of Aisling. Terry hurries to the area of the jailhouse . His heart is beating fast with anxiety over what they maybe dealing with. He comes up on the jailhouse it's broken down in areas with the woods overtaking it. For the most part it's hidden from view. The stench is overwhelming he can tell that whoever has been living in secret here has been here a long time there is an outhouse hidden behind a cluster of trees. Walking inside the jailhouse he sees the officers have their flashlights on because it's almost pitch black inside from the overgrowth. They shine their lights in the old cell for Terry to see. There inside is two more bodies . They look like children .
" we already called to have this area examined by Dr Adams. He will be at Aisling's house within the hour. Since this is on federal property we need to call the Feds in. " the deputy looks at the sheriff wondering what he is thinking.
" I know it just inside the federal line a few hundred feet over it would still be Aisling's property. This will make it easier though if we need to get assistance from other jurisdictions. " he sighs with relief that he won't have as much difficulty to get help now.
He points to the two that found the bodies.
" you guys stay here and stay alert. I will head back to meet with Dr Adams . You guys stay in constant contact with each team. Whoever has been living here is not afraid of killing. I will radio the other teams to stay alert. Be careful and alert the last thing I want is to make a call to either if your wives." He turns and informs the other teams that he is heading back to meet Dr Adams for them to stay alert. Taking out his cell phone he give the chief a call. Telling him that they found dead bodies on park service land on the trail by the old jailhouse. They need to give the Feds a call to see how they want to proceed. He also informs the chief that this makes four bodies in two days. By the time he hangs up he has reached Aisling's yard. He sees Sam talking to Astila. Motioning to them to met him in the barn . Once they get there he sees that Sam also brought the reverend with them.
" we found evidence of someone living in the woods . They have deer stands and living in the old treehouse. Also we found two more bodies inside the old jailhouse. This person has been living here for awhile. Behind the jailhouse is an outhouse hidden but you can smell it way before you get to it. I think it was put there to cover the stench of the rotting bodies. This person has been living here for possibly years without any detection . There is something else they seem to be Fixated on Aisling. There are pictures of her everywhere he uses to sleep at. " watching the three men for their reactions. He sees a mixture of anger and anxiety.
" will it be safe for her to be here. Do we need to make her leave?" The reverend asks .
" jeez uncle John what do you think. It's not safe for her to be here especially alone. She will not leave her house. You know she won't stay anywhere else. She will be to uncomfortable. " Sam looks at the older man with an angry face.
Astila clears his throat to interrupt.
" I have work at John Hopkins for the next six weeks. It is no problem for me to be here. I may even be able to get her to accompany me there sometimes. My sister and uncle will be joining me in a few days they can help watch over her as well. " waiting to see what the older mans reaction will be .
" just who are you . We do not know you from Adam. How can we leave our blood with strangers. I mean no offense but I am not as trusting as these fools . She will be given no choice she will either come to one of our houses or be sent to Texas with my brother. " John glares at Astila with anger.
" mr John please this is no time to be arguing. I have done a full background check on Astila. He is who he says he is. He has a clean record besides a speeding ticket. I don't think it will be good for Aisling to live in fear. I do think that someone needs to be here at all times when she is here. I am going to put in a few camera that will not be very visible unless you are looking for them. I am also going to put in motion censored lights . This way at night they will come on as soon as anyone gets close to the house. We will also have patrols driving by at random times. We will protect her. I also found out that Astila was in your brothers green beret unit. With high marks. So you can call him for a reference if you like. " Astila's head turns towards the sheriff in surprise. His records were sealed so how did he find out.
" don't look at me that way. It showed you were stationed in Steve's unit nothing else . I called him to get the dirt on you. As soon as he heard you were interested in Aisling he was more than willing to tell me that you were to be trusted. He also told me to tell you good luck with his niece. Did you think I would let you stay with her otherwise. I would have found a reason to make you move along if anything would have been out of place" Terry gives him a wink. Looking at John waiting for him to answer. Instead he takes out his cellphone and calls Steve.
On the first ring he answered.
" yes John what is it?" You can hear the amusement on the line since he is on speaker.
" do you know about the situation with Aisling?" He curtly asked his brother
" I know that Terry was worried about one of my old Sargents and wanted to know more about him. Why what is going on?" He demands an immediate answer.
" it looks like someone that is dangerous has been living in the woods behind her house. He is obsessed with her. Your Sargent Astila showed up yesterday and is suggesting to help out with protecting her. " John informs him
" I will be on the next flight out. Have Astila meet me at the airport when I arrive. " he orders . Upon hearing this .
" yes sir commander I will be there a soon as I have your itinerary. " Astila speaks curtly as if he is still in the military. John hangs up the phone .
Dr Adams has arrived and the four men exist the barn to greet him. Within minutes Astila accompanied the two officials back into the woods. He wants to see the areas where this person has been living . To assess if he is military or just someone who has survival skills.