Chapter 2: The Search
Anne pushed open the two wooden doors of the Jaco Coastal Hotel. It seemed nice, and extraordinarily new. She couldn’t remember seeing it before.
The lobby was brightly lit, with windows on all sides, and a large circular carpet in the center. Several couches lined the walls, and there was a small reception desk on the far wall. Next to it there was a small hall leading back, with a set of stairs disappearing to the higher stories on the right.
A young, thirty-ish looking woman sat behind the desk, and she looked up as Anne walked over. She smiled, nodding. “Visiting Jaco?”
Anne nodded. “Yes… Well, actually… Uh… I don’t know…”
The woman smiled. “Looking for a room, or directions?”
“A room,” Anne said. “I hope you have one.”
“Yes, yes. Our rooms are slowly filling up.”
“You must be new then?”
“Oh, yes. We just got finished building about two months ago.”
“I see. I figured this was new, I didn’t remember seeing it on my last, uh, visit here…”
“When was that?”
“Oh, I hope you enjoyed your visit.”
“Well, um…” Anne trailed off.
The woman cleared her throat, standing up and handing Anne a set of keys. “You’re on floor two. Room B3.”
“But I do need a bit of information before you take the room, and you’ll need to be checked in for payment.”
“Ok.” Anne set down her suitcase and began pulling out her ID. Several minutes later, she had put it back into her wallet, and the woman had entered down everything she had needed.
“Please enjoy your stay.”
“I think I will.”
Anne smiled, and began walking past the desk to the stairs, when she stopped. “Um, ma’am.”
“Have you heard anything about a group from the States. A group of photographers?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“It’s okay… I’ll find them. I was just wondering…”
The woman smiled. “If I do hear anything though, I’ll inform you.”
“Thanks.” Anne nodded and began climbing up the stairs. She stepped off the stairs, glancing up the next set to the third floor, and walked down the hall.
On the left, B1.
On the right, B2.
She walked past the two doors and found her room on the left: B3.
She unlocked the door, pocketing the key, and lightly kicked it open. She walked inside, looking around. On the far wall there was a window overlooking the beach, with the bed lying out under it. There was a small bathroom on the right, and a closet to the left. There was a bedside table on either side of the bed, one with a phone on it, each with a small table lamp.
There was a fan with a light-system on the ceiling, and a dresser on the wall to the right of the door.
Anne dropped her suitcase onto the bed, and then stretched. “I have a bit of time… I’ll go down to the docks…”
With that, Anne left her suitcase behind, stepping back out into the hall. She turned, closing the door, and locked it. She walked down the hall, quickly making her way down the stairs.
The lady at the desk looked up and nodded, smiling. Anne walked by, pulling open the doors of the hotel, and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
She walked along the street, making her way down to the docks.
The docks were home to several seagulls resting in the evening sun. There was a small shack-like building on the sand, and behind it were the stretches of the docks.
Several boats were tied up there, and she could see some people moving around them. In the distance, one boat was coming back.
She walked up the sand to the door of the shack-building, and opened it. She stepped inside, and looked around. It appeared much larger inside than it looked from the outside.
There was a counter on the opposite wall, and a man had turned around behind it to glance at her. There were several shelving-systems lined up in rows, and a cooler on the right wall labeled ‘Ice.’
Anne walked through one of the aisles to the counter, where the man completely turned. He wore jeans and a black shirt with something in Spanish on it. He had black hair which stuck out from under a slightly turned hat.
He had beads of sweat on his skin, and the front of his shirt looked slightly damp. When he smiled, Anne could see he was missing a bottom tooth. He spoke in accented English. “Hello there, miss.”
“What can I do for you? Do you need dock space, or just dropped by for a snack?”
“No, neither, actually. I just have a few questions.”
“Oh, ok then.” The man nodded.
“I was wondering if you knew or had heard anything about a group of photographers coming here from California. They want to go to Isla Nublar… Someone said they might be in Puntarenas, but I just thought I’d check the local docks… They might have been searching for someone to take them.”
“Ah, I don’t know any group like that… Especially if they’re asking to go to Isla Nublar…”
Anne slumped. “Man…”
“But,” the man said. “I’ll take you out to the docks. We’ll ask around. I think I may know someone who might be able to answer your question…”
“Can you? Thanks!”
The man motioned for her to come around the counter, and showed her a door leading outside. He pushed it open, allowing her to step out onto a wooden board plank running across the sand to the docks.
He took the lead, and said, “My name’s Miguel, by the way.”
Anne nodded, and as Miguel led her down to the docks, she asked, “Can you tell me about this guy? Why he may be able to answer my question?”
“His name’s Carlos Sanchez. A few years back, in 1997, he offered to take a group of people to Isla Sorna, one of the La Cinco Muertes island chain… You know what that is?”
“Yes, yes… A lot.”
“Ok, then. Well, although he was reluctant, he dropped them off. He’s really the only one who ever was willing to do it due to the stories, but maybe those people you’re looking for came to him. He hears news from the ports. His son’s almost twenty now, and he’s been helping on one of the boats down in Puntarenas.”
“Maybe he heard something…”
“Well, if he did, it sure would have gotten to his father. We’ll see.”
They walked out onto the docks, moving out across it. They stopped at a trawler which had a wide deck space in the stern, large enough to support several cars, at least. There was a large cabin tower in the bow, and Miguel said, “Wait here.”
He climbed down onto the boat, and walked up to the cabin. There was a door at the base, and he knocked. He glanced back at Anne, as the door opened. A man walked out, saying something in Spanish. He wore jeans, a striped shirt, and wore an odd cap over his black, scraggly hair. He had a thick mustache, and spoke deeply.
Miguel was motioning toward Anne as he spoke back, and eventually the two started walking over. Anne backed up, as Miguel and the man—who she guessed was Carlos—stepped out onto the dock.
Miguel introduced them, and they shook hands. Miguel said, “I’ll translate for you both, if you need it?”
“Yes,” Anne said. “Ask him, um, if he’s heard anything about a group of photographers from the United States looking for a boat trip to Isla Nublar—“
At this, the man took a startled step back, but Anne continued. “—on Thursday, at noon.”
Miguel nodded, and began speaking quickly to Carlos. Carlos began speaking back, and Miguel turned to Anne. “He says yes, or, at least, he’s almost positive. His son passed along something about it to him from Puntarenas. They were looking for a boat to take them.”
Anne nodded. “In Puntarenas?”
Miguel was about to speak to Carlos, but Carlos said, “Si.”
Anne nodded, and, curious about what Miguel had meant about Carlos taking some people to Sorna in 1997, she asked, “Who was it you took to Isla Sorna in 1997?”
She already knew the answer, but just wanted confirmation. Miguel spoke to Carlos, and then looked at her. “He says he took three people. They were armed, and had two trucks and a trailer. They paid him before-hand.”
Anne nodded. “Now, um, is your son going to be in Puntarenas tomorrow?”
Miguel spoke to Carlos, who replied, before Miguel turned to her and said, “Yes, he is.”
“Can you tell him I’ll be looking for him at the docks there, then?”
Miguel translated this, and then spoke to Anne. “Yes, he will.”
“Oh, thank you.”
Carlos nodded, and Miguel asked, “Is that it?”
Miguel started speaking to Carlos, who nodded to her and returned to the boat. After a few moments, Miguel turned to her. “He’ll contact his son in Puntarenas tonight. He’ll meet you at the docks whenever you get there, since he’s there all the time.”
“Thank you for your help.”
She shook Miguel’s hand, and watched as Miguel walked up the docks to the shack. Anne looked back at the water, toward the setting sun. The boat she had seen coming back was now being tied up at a dock farther down the rows, and she watched for several moments before heading back.
Anne entered the hotel lobby, looking up at the voice of the woman who had greeted her behind the desk. “Ah, Ms. Jones.”
“A man dropped in here while you were out and asked me to give you this letter.” The woman stepped out from behind the desk, holding an envelope in her hand that she handed to Anne.
Anne took it, glancing at the woman. “Thanks.”
The woman nodded, before turning away. Anne inspected the envelope without opening it, and then began up the stairs to her room, opening it as she went up.
After she had entered her room, she threw the envelope on the bed, unfolding the letter that had been inside as she sat down on the edge of the bed, near the envelope.
Silently, she read it:
Welcome back to Costa Rica. I told you I’d welcome you back if you ever decided to return. Hopefully the lady at the desk will be able to get this to you before she slips out for the night. Anyway, I was informed of your flight here by a friend of mine, so I found out where you were staying. I’ll be in Puntarenas for a few days helping out one of the local stationed doctors for a medicine transfer. If you can make it out there, I’ll be happy to show you around—maybe this time your vacation will be a lot better! Tomorrow I’ll be at the docks for a shipment transfer across the harbor to Montezuma. So, come on out if you want! Enjoy your stay here!
“Hmm…Maybe he can help me search for them…”
Anne looked down at the letter, remembering the one time she had met Guitierrez. She had been rescued from Isla Sorna, placed in a hotel in Puntarenas by the government. She had woken up one of the mornings after questioning and went out by the pool, where she had met Guitierrez.
She nodded, folding up the letter and lightly threw it onto the cabinet-top before taking off her shoes. Quietly, she got up, grabbing up the empty envelope and placing it on the cabinet with the letter. She flicked off the lights and slipped into bed without undressing.