When we were kids, we always rejoiced when we learned that Uncle Frank was coming for a visit. He was our favorite uncle. He was a retired pilot and always told entertaining and funny stories about his travels around the world and the unusual people he met along the way. He didn't seem to ever have a permanent home or any real family of his own. Uncle Frank would stay for a week, then be on his way. He would never say goodbye to us kids, for he would always leave in the middle of the night. But we could guess when it was time for him to go, when the night before, he would always say, "Kids, I'll catch you on the next go-around!" We would laugh because it just sounded funny. At least to a kid. One summer, the last summer it turned out that Uncle Frank would visit, he just turned up. We came down to breakfast and there he was. My brother and I just laughed out loud. Uncle Frank said, "There they are! The sprouts of mischief!" We didn't know what that meant but again it sounded funny. We laughed. Uncle Frank, once again, told us funny stories, but this time his stories had a darker tone to them. "Boys," he told us, while we all sat on the porch drinking lemonade, "I tell you, there are a lot of very strange things in this world. Why, I've seen things you wouldn't believe. There are worlds you couldn't imagine. Conspiracies galore. Secrets sought and secrets protected. Ghosts and souls trapped. Why, I now even believe in an afterlife! Because the dead can talk to you! In whispers!" We were fascinated and wanted Uncle Frank to go into detail but our parents wouldn't allow it. "Frank, you're frightening the kids," our Mother would say. But we weren't frightened, just fascinated. But Uncle Frank said no more. The next night, when Mom and Dad were in the kitchen making iced tea, Uncle Frank said to my brother and me, "Well, boys, I'll be seeing you on the next go-around!" Of course, I knew what he meant. He would be gone by morning. "Why do you have to go, Uncle Frank?" my brother asked. Uncle Frank smiled, "Well, I've got to keep moving on. You see there are some people who are looking for me. They want me to give them some information about a very "magical" place. An island. But I won't give it to them. I won't tell them a thing, because certain things should remain hidden. Certain forces shouldn't be dealt with. To do so would only cause trouble!" My brother and I nodded our heads in understanding but we didn't understand. Later that night, after my brother and I went to bed, a bright light shined into our room. There was a commotion outside. I got out of bed and took a look out the window. I could see figures walking around in our front yard. Then I saw Uncle Frank being taken by some of those figures into a black car parked by the curb. Then the car pulled away. I went back to bed but I didn't sleep. The next morning, of course, Uncle Frank was gone. I asked about what I saw but Mom and Dad said not to discuss it anymore. They both seemed frightened. A few days later, they broke the sad news to us that Uncle Frank had been killed in a helicopter crash. I was stunned. We never talked about Uncle Frank again. Over the years, as I grew up and had kids myself, I thought about him alot. What he had said that last summer. I guess whoever was looking for him had finally found him that night. I had always felt that Uncle Frank, true to his word, didn't tell them what they wanted to know and he had paid the ultimate price. Sometimes, late at night, I swear I hear whispers. They sound like Uncle Frank. Telling me everything is okay. But I decided its probably just the wind. Next: Case #5 "The Loneliness of Hugo Reyes"

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