|Carruthers' Demise, Chapters Six and Seven (standard:drama, 2286 words) [4/24] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Added: May 23 2011||Views/Reads: 1164/699||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Chelsey Carruthers has had her latest offering rejected by her publisher. Martin Carruthers, her agent, suggests a short break, but things are starting to go awry|
Chapter Six ‘Thank you, yes – it's just the heat, I'll be fine.' Now facing the woman, Carruthers could see that any resemblance was restricted to similar build and hair. The person now regarding him with concern was older than Chelsey, judging by the wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, and spoke with a northern accent. ‘It was my husband who noticed first,' she remarked. ‘We were concerned you were going to keel over – well as long as you're okay...' ‘To tell you the truth I'm concerned about my wife,' Carruthers spurted before she could turn away. ‘She set out for the toilets ages ago and seems to have vanished into thin air. I know it sounds daft, but I don't suppose you've seen a tall, blonde woman looking lost?' The woman shaped her mouth to speak and then just as quickly compressed her lips. She looked over her shoulder, exchanging a glance with her grey haired partner whom Carruthers adjudged to be in his fifties. ‘No...' she said, but without any real assurance. ‘Well – with all the people here...it's so busy today that...' ‘I can well understand.' But Carruthers wasn't convinced. He'd an idea she'd been about to say something and thought better of it. He reached down, delved into his holdall for the pen and notebook he habitually carried, scribbled his phone number on a leaf and handed it to her. ‘There's probably nothing to it,' he said in a voice he knew was strained. ‘She'll probably appear at any moment but I've got a bad feeling about this – she's been under stress you see – anyway, if you do happen to recall anything, please call me. I'm afraid I don't have my phone with me right now, I left it at the Chequers Hotel where I'm staying – wife's instructions, you know.' ‘I see,' the woman said, though her expression told Carruthers she didn't really see at all. ‘Can we do anything for you, Mr. Carruthers?' It was the grey haired man who spoke – ‘Would you like a lift?' He glanced around, tilting his face towards the heavens. ‘Seems like we're in for a storm. We're headed that way.' ‘No – thank you – I'll wait here. I'm not going without Chelsey.' ‘Quite.' The man swapped what Carruthers thought was an uncomfortable glance with his wife. ‘Well, I'm quite sure it'll turn out okay, you'll see.' Carruthers nodded, ‘Thank you.' He watched the woman tuck his number into the back pocket of her slacks and partner her husband to their four-by-four. Carruthers turned his attention to the field, sweeping his gaze over it once more, again to no avail. Overhead the sky had darkened further, the sun having turned hazy had now disappeared entirely. In the distance thunder growled, but still he waited, he waited until the first heavy drops of rain began to fall, until lightning flashed, and even the hardiest picnickers had vacated the area. But still there was no sign of Chelsey. Perplexed and agitated, Carruthers resigned himself to the fact she wasn't going to show. He now faced the prospect of a lengthy walk back in what threatened to develop into a full blown thunderstorm at any minute. The potential dangers of a trip through the forest in thunder and lightning, riding his own bike with one hand and guiding Chelsey's in the other were starkly apparent to him. But they were heavily outweighed by his concern for Chelsey. Okay, he'd probably get back to the hotel and find her there, possibly cozily chatting across the bar with Robin Noades – and then all hell would break loose. But of course that was nonsense. Whatever had happened, and he willed her to be there when he arrived, he certainly wouldn't find anything like that. But what of the couple he'd not so long ago spoken to? Why the look of uncertainty on the woman's face? Why did she suddenly button up and not Click here to read the rest of this story (210 more lines)
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