Chapter 8

Written by: Jasmine Groves

As Stella gently coaxed the car onto the road she couldn’t let go of the scars she had seen on Betina, it made her own burn scars feel like they were pulling tighter and tighter and trying to drag her backwards.

Stella had set out on the road to find answers, to prove that she had nothing to do with the fire at the Ambassador Hotel, that the doctors, lawyers and especially Greg were wrong.

Betina’s anxiety was wafting off her like steam , she clearly needed a lick at a bottle and to be back in the comfort of her bridge. Stella gulped. She hated making Betina feel uncomfortable especially  when she had agreed to go on this wild goose chase, but a gnawing in her gut told her she had to ask.

“Betina, how did you get burnt? Does it have anything to do with why you are living under the bridge?”

Stella turned to Betina and stared deeply into her eyes, digging in, seeing if she really had an answer “Now mi’sy not sure you want me to be tella you that ole story. I think I know’s more about than you think!” Betina waits, Stella waited, the road in front slowly moved along. Betina hesitated and went on.

“I recognised ya on my bridge that day, now I ain’t judging ya and if I thought it was true then I wouldn’t have got in thee car with ya, but I was also at the Ambassador Hotel, me had been working in that ole kitchen there, trying to make me ends meet after me bloke threw me for some peroxide blond.”

“Betina, you can’t mean, oh my god, those burns, from the very same hotel?” Fear and angst entered Stella’s voice, “Betina, you have to believe me, it wasn’t me – I didn’t have a breakdown, I didn’t burn the hotel and I never wanted to be standing on that bridge thinking of jumping.”

Now it was Stella’s turn to gasp and shake with tears. “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t.” She pulled to the kerb and sat rocking in the driver’s seat, trying to convince herself, repeating the words over and over. Time stopped and Stella forgot Betina was in the car.

“Right lass, that’s enuff of that pity. Yea can’t go through life like that.” A rugged hand rubbed Stella’s sleeve trying to reach her, bring her back from her thoughts.

“I saw ur eyes when you saw that car, it looked familir didn’t it. I reckan it is, I reckan I saw it parked at the Ambassador hotel that night with a man and a boy in it. Yip I reckon so.”

Stella slowly turned her head, her tear streaked face showing both fear and disbelief. “But that was Greg’s car – the dent fixed, but it was Greg’s car!”

“Only one way te find out” A strange burbling cackle escaped Betina as Stella inched the car back onto the road.

Comments

Now this is excellent and not only leads us to the climax but the build up to the climax, I think, is exceptional. 'Lick at a bottle' is great. 'A burbling cackle' is even better. Nicely constructed and a smooth ride to the cliff hanger. Great chapter, Jasmine. It is posted on my web site.
The story has certainly been one of the most interesting ones. The writing in each chapter has been above par. Good work Jasmine. Hope I can maintain the high standards set here.