Chapter 6

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Time slowed to a curious crawl as Clarke Abaddon slithered from the greying shadows. Behind him, the tails of his long, black coat flirted with an errant breeze, rose and fell in ghostlike rhythms. Little was familiar or congenial about Clarke tonight, his stance quite menacing, his grin twisted, almost ugly. 

Or perhaps it was just the friendless night toying with Art’s already vulnerable mind. 

“So you came to Roverhampton after all,” Clarke  said.

Did Art have any choice? Certainly not after Clarke’s haunting message causing Art to fear for Charlotte’s life: “The first woe has passed. Behold, two woes are still to follow.…”   Revelation 9:12.  “Tell me you haven’t hurt Charlotte.” 

“My dear boy,” Clarke said, “why would I hurt Charlotte? She has little if anything to do with your impending promotion.”

If that were true, why the message? Unless it was merely a cunning ruse in persuading Art to Roverhampton.  Art groaned. He had had enough of this melodramatic craziness. With Charlotte safe, he was going home, leaving this twisted madman and all his twisted hocus-pocus to himself. 

“It doesn’t work like that, dear Art.”

Art swallowed, felt his pulse ramp up. How did Clarke know what he was thinking? 

“What has begun needs to be finished.” 

The cold night air fed Art’s shivering bones.  How he wished this was all some debauched dream. He searched his surroundings for an escape route. The place now seemed nothing more than an old, forgotten ghost town, barren and alone; their only company, a golden-eyed raven perched on the crotchety limb of a nearby tree.

Until the moans began, faint and frightened. Clarke curled his bony finger to somewhere beyond the petrol pumps. “You’ll find her there.”

Her?

Art’s stomach somersaulted. “You said….”

“Not Charlotte….”

Then whom?

Slivers of pale moonlight guided Art as he staggered forward, his legs rubbery and uncoordinated. At the far end of the decrepit building, he found her, slumped and chained to a rusty post. A burgundy high-heeled shoe lay toppled nearby, its match precariously hanging from her left foot. Blood-matted hair covered much of her face. But it was the pool surrounding her, licking her feet, tasting her skin, feasting on her clothes that truly horrified Art. 

Petrol, its acrid stench unmistakeable.

She rolled her head towards him. Terror had distorted her face, but Art still recognised those unique grey-green eyes.

Mandy, his boss.

Behold, two woes are still to follow.

Panic rushed Art to Mandy’s side, tried to free her from the chains, rattled them, twisted them, searched for something, anything that would break them. Nothing.

Clarke appeared, insidiously clicking a lighter. 

“You can’t do this,” Art yelled. 

 “I’m not,” he said with far too much calm. “You are.”

Horror overwhelmed Art. And as his mind began its downwards spiral, he thought of an old, childhood rhyme.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost
For want of a shoe the horse was lost…

And all for the want of a…

… promotion. 

 

Comments

The pace on this is like the 640 Express. What engaging writing. I was right there from the very moment the wheels started clacking. Fabulous Rosemary.
Rosemary, what a fabulous chapter. The suspense is building with every chapter and you have done such a fantastic job of portraying Art's sorry state. One can imagine what he is going through because of your descriptions.
Thank you to you both, Suraya and Hemali. I had a ball with this chapter as it was right up my alley. I couldve easily written 500 words more. Lol!
Absolutely chilling! What a gripper ...