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Carruthers' Demise, Chapters Six and Seven (standard:drama, 2286 words) [4/24] show all parts
Author: Brian CrossAdded: May 23 2011Views/Reads: 1164/699Part 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'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 

Carruthers nodded, ‘Thank you.' He watched the woman tuck his number
into the back pocket of her slacks and partner her husband to their 

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 

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This is part 4 of a total of 24 parts.
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