Sunday, 5 August 2007

Chapter 12

Well, here goes nothing...


Caro stared into Ryan's eyes, looking for some knowledge of what was going on, all the while trying to hold back another wave of sickness. Certainly he recognised the woman, but how did he know her? And more to the point, what had he told her?
"Uh, surprise?"

They stepped into the lift, maintaining an uneasy silence among oblivious members of the public as they slid toward the ground floor. When it stopped the doors opened and everyone else piled out, leaving them to their mutual uncertainty.
"Well, I could do with another coffee. Are you two going to join me?"
Caro didn't want coffee, nor did she really want to be with her husband. She had a feeling that enduring those things made for a much safer option than staying with Philé on her own. As much as the woman seemed to have rescued her, there were clearly higher priorities in play than her safety. She risked giving her new 'friend' what she hoped was a warm smile as she answered.
"Yes, that's an excellent idea."

"So, how did you come to be in Iceland?"
Ryan's tone was suspicious, but his interest sounded genuine enough, or so he hoped. Philé's response was laced with equally bogus goodwill.
"The big reunion wouldn't be the same without your wife. Isn't that right, Caro dear?"
Caro nodded, but looked decidedly the worse for wear. Perhaps she was hearing the same sinister undertones as Ryan.
"I think I have to go to the bathroom. I don't feel well. I'm sorry."
Ryan made a little fuss for her, all the while trying to find some reaction from Philé. The stranger definitely didn't like the idea of having Caro out of her sight, but had to let her go nonetheless. With his wife out of the way, Ryan quickly got back to business.
"What's she doing here?"
"Like I said, we're arranging a reunion. She's part of the old team, right?"
Ryan frowned.
"I don't know who you think we were, but I don't like this. Why are you so interested in Eddie?"

Caro pretended not to notice the man who followed her. He probably thought he was being subtle, stealthy even, but some people were obvious no matter what. It helped that she had seen him before, when Philé had broken into her hotel room.
She acted casual as she entered the ladies, then opened the small window as wide as it would go before picking a cubicle.

"Don't you worry about that. Let's just say it's in everyone's best interests that we find him quickly. Before anyone else does."
Ryan's concentration was wandering. As much as he was wary of the threatening tone, there was something about it that brought his thoughts back to her figure. Under other circumstances she might have been just another pretty - but distant - woman, but the pressure of his crazy situation made her much more than that. Even more so now that she seemed to have kidnapped his wife...
Damn, his wife! There was only Caro now. That was the mantra that ran over and over in his head as he watched her, slender fingers lifting her cup to moisten full, dark lips.

After what seemed like an age without the little woman coming out of the bathroom, her 'minder' followed her in. In a sudden panic he saw the window open, a conveniently overturned bin providing an easy step up to it. He quietly swore to himself as he sprinted back out, headed for the back of the building.
Caro waited several breaths, climbed down off the toilet seat and made her own way out.

The conversation had gone nowhere for several minutes, prompting Philé to allow herself a little smile. Ryan's attempts to get information from her were fruitless, much like his efforts to keep his mind on task.
They were interrupted by her phone. She looked at the screen and stood quickly.
"I'm sorry, I should take this."
She accepted the call as she walked, moving quickly out to the lobby.
"What is it?"
"I lost her."
She sighed. There would be strong words with whoever had assigned him to her, but shouting at the low primate wouldn't achieve much.

His meeting now down to just him, Ryan was surprised when a waiter approached his table and placed a shot glass on a serviette.
"Sir, this is from the lady over..." He stopped gesturing, looking around in confusion. "I'm sorry, she seems to have left."
Ryan shrugged, knocking back the drink and wondering whether to put the glass on another table before the others returned. In moving it, he noticed ink bleeding through the napkin. Sure enough, on the other side was a cryptic message:

Are you becoming expendable? Take care.
Love, GSE

3 comments:

GreatSheElephant said...

So far I have read only the last line but - Gah.

I'm a soft toy, people. Surely I should know that?

by James said...

Very Good QE...

When I read the open window in the toilet bit, I thought it was a little obvious, but then you surprised me with the standing on the toilet trick, very good.

What and who is next?

GreatSheElephant said...

Oooh, really exciting, despite the last line.

OK, who's next?