Chapter 3

Written by: Suraya Dewing


Three days later Jason left the hospital. He leant on Christine for support as they hobbled to the waiting taxi. She put her hand on the door handle and a large diamond ring flashed.

‘Where did you get that?’

Tugging the ring off, she thrust it into her coat pocket. ‘Nowhere…’s zirconia, cheap rubbish,’ she said, brown eyes wide and innocent.

Pre-occupied, he climbed into the taxi and Christine followed.

When Jason told the driver to take them to Snohomish Exchange, he caught a quick smile flash on Christine’s lips then vanish.

Snohomish Exchange was a large building with peeling paint and faded signs that advertised antiques for sale. Behind the cobweb covered window there sat an old roll arm couch and a blanket box.

Jason took the key ring he held for Albert in case of emergencies  and tried each key in the lock until one opened the door. With a loud creak it slid away and revealed a dark, deserted showroom with an office at the rear. It was just as Albert had described; a perfect front for the operation.

Giving no warning Christine dropped Jason’s arm and ran ahead. Her loss of support threw him off balance and he slumped to the ground banging his head on the concrete. Her pattering footsteps disappeared as he lost consciousness.

He wasn’t sure how long he was unconscious but when he came round he looked for Christine through bleary, aching eyes. She was nowhere. With a groan he lifted himself to his feet and stumbling, made his way to the office.

When he got there the door was ajar. He frowned. Albert said Madison was always careful about shutting office doors and locking them. He rested against the old desk to catch his breath and noticed there was a screwed up piece of paper lying next to his hand. He picked it up and smoothed it out then read it. It was a delivery note for a container. The number matched the one that had had the headless body in it. His heart started beating. In the gloom he peered closer at the note. The container was to be loaded with used car parts from Snohomish bound for Nigeria. He wiped his forehead. He knew he had seen what they hid in the radiators. One had flashed on Christine’s finger.

‘God,’ he breathed.

He jerked the top drawer. It thudded open. Empty. Sweat beaded his forehead as he pulled all the drawers out sending  them crashing to the floor. Nothing.

Behind him a cough made him look up. Christine stood in the doorway waving the log book. He froze.

A humorless smile curled her lips as she tilted her head and taunted him.

‘Looking for this?’

Gulping back the knot in his throat, Jason reached for it.

‘Yes, as a matter of fact….’

She pulled it away shaking a finger at him.

‘Oh no no….. Not so fast, ….finders keepers.’

Suraya Dewing (NZ)



Wow! This is really getting very tense. Suraya has added more clues and a frightening twist to the story. Each chapter is getting harder to follow for the next writer. Fantastic stuff. I can't wait to read more.
Okay folks, I've updated this chapter. I was not happy with my last version and tonight I had just a bit of clear time to re-work it until I was happier. It now sits well within Earnest's parameters and that pleases me.
Just to show that the first draft is in fact 'shit' I've edited this dastardly chapter at least eight times, perhaps more. Yes, a definite exercise in stretching one self by taking on an unfamiliar genre. I don't think I've altered any of the facts so feel sure the next writer will not be thrown by my late alterations.
This is a great chapter the way it adds substance and definition to the Exchange. And implying some kind of relationship between Jason and Christine has me wondering if she is friend or foe.
I caught a small edit error, however, "...he pulled all the drawers out, sending sent them crashing to the floor. Nothing." I don't think the "sent" belongs there.

You are dead right Joe...'sent' is an interloper, an intruder....sneaking in from the Snohomish shadows. It's now been relegated to the right shadowy corner. Be gone you....sneaking unwanted word...
I'm out of breath.
If this is about diamond smuggling that is world wide smuggling trade and easy for it to get messy.
It appears that the "Battle of the Story Mint Titans" is forming. That can only mean that the reader is going to benefit from high quality writing and storytelling. Frankly I can't wait for it to be my turn!
Oh dear, neither can my turn, I mean.