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Carruthers' Demise, Chapters Thirty & Thirty One (standard:drama, 3067 words) [17/24] show all parts
Author: Brian CrossAdded: Jul 22 2012Views/Reads: 1108/793Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Martin Carruthers' disappearing novelist wife, Chelsey, is suspected of murder,and he strives to find the truth. Continuation of my drama.

Chapter Thirty 

It was around ten a.m. when the estate agent called. Carruthers clutched
the phone tensely to his ear. 

‘Mr. Cousins?' 

‘I beg your pardon?' Carruthers had blinked at first, until his
scrambled senses alerted him to the fact he'd used an alias. ‘Oh yes – 

‘Mr. Cousins - Jeffries and Co. here. In response to your query I do
seem to recall an enquiry from a Mr. Bodes concerning properties in the 
area, however he doesn't appear to have followed them up – I'm sorry I 
can't help you further on this...' 

‘Okay, thanks anyway.' Carruthers felt his spirits instantly submerge,
but then a thought came to mind – ‘Would you be able to tell me what 
kind of property he was interested in?' 

‘You mean by way of size?' There was a pause. ‘If I remember rightly,
the type of property with a degree of land available – I recall forming 
the impression he was considering working from the premises.' 

‘Thanks,' Carruthers repeated, terminating the call. There must be
innumerable smallholdings out on the Forest, he thought despondently. 
It was a hopeless venture but at least there was the minutest chance he 
might stumble on something. 

He drove out to the country road he'd seen Noades swing into a couple of
days past. It was an undulating lane winding between pockets of birch 
and oak, through which he could catch the occasional glimpse of well 
concealed, substantial properties. Any recognisable vehicles, 
unfortunately for him, shut off from view. Could that of have been 
Noades' intention? Carruthers wondered now, pulling up at the head of a 
driveway protected by a five-bar gate. If he and Chelsey had wanted 
total privacy what better place to obtain it? A largish property with a 
piece of land, tucked safely away – such as the one he was outside now. 
He could have been a tourist checking his map, had he not been craning 
his head for that one stroke of fate that might lead him to Noades and 
Chelsey. A white concreted drive gave way to a crescent, intermittently 
visible through the sway of trees, and he saw parked within it a sports 
car of similar shape and size to Noades'. 

Carruthers heart began to pound and then stuttered back to silence as he
saw an elderly man with a stoop struggle into it and advance slowly 
down the driveway towards him. He saw now that the vehicle bore no real 
comparison to what he'd imagined. Only the colour bore similarity. He 
drove on, passing through a hamlet consisting of two rows of terraced 
houses, either side of the lane. Slowing, he ran his eyes along the 
cars parked on the shingle bordering the road but none matched Noades' 

A mile or so further on he encountered a large lake on the outskirts of
Beaulieu, again easing off the pedal, and when an impatient driver 
almost hooked onto his rear bumper he pulled onto the grass verge. 
Abandoning his car there, Carruthers elected to walk around the lake's 
fringe. Being a fine morning the area had drawn a sizeable gathering; 
appearing not to have a care in the world, although inside sick with 
despondency, he shoved his hands in his pockets and ambled along. There 
were kids with kites and model boats, adolescents with jet skis, 
couples and families, plenty for him to surreptitiously run his eyes 
over for that one sighting – 

And then from his pocket, the jingling of his phone – Carruthers
snatched it from his pocket; even now there was the slightest 
possibility that it might be Chelsey, raising his hopes just a little – 
but no such luck – 

‘Carruthers, I've been thinking...' a pause by Adrian, with his normal
impersonal greeting – no reference to his missing sister, and yet her 
half-brother's next remark surprised him to say the least. 

‘Listen old chap, we've been on the wrong footing lately – and you
aren't entirely to blame; perhaps if we were to meet up we might have a 

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This is part 17 of a total of 24 parts.
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