Chapter 3

Written by: Joe Labrum

Her hand burned but Cody ignored it as she moved toward the massive entry in long strides. She kept her eyes on Singh’s wife as she passed, studying her expression, the downward stare, the sadness of her eyes. What was hiding behind those dark, swollen eyes?

Once outside, Cody looked straight at the investigator she had hired. Perhaps it would have been wise to have come here first. But Cody, being impulsive as ever, picked him from a Google search from half a world away, relying on credentials presented on a self-made web site. She was starting to question her decision.

They drove the forty-five minutes back to Chaudhri’s office building without speaking. Sekar tried a couple of times to make small talk but she didn’t reply. She was lost in thought as the image of Daisy occupied her mind. Somehow Singh’s wife held the key. Cody knew it, she could feel it.

 The old Mercedes wheeled in to the car park and pulled up next to Cody’s rented Toyota Camry. 

“What’s your next move?” she asked as she swung her door wide before the car had completely come to a stop. The investigator hesitated and Cody didn’t wait for an answer. 

The setting sun silhouetted the black Mercedes as it pulled away. Cody watched it pull out into traffic. For half an hour she sat with her hands on the steering wheel and the engine running, staring into the shadows at the edge of the car park through the windscreen. Finally, she gave up and drove back to her hotel.

The flame flickering inside a crystal shroud cast dancing orange designs on the linen-covered table. Similar candles on a dozen other tables scattered around the lounge were the only lighting and it made it hard to see the few patrons that lingered finishing their last drink. It was past two in the morning and the still grieving woman sat at a small table nursing a vodka Collins.  She had been up for going on twenty-seven hours. But, too upset to sleep, Cody found the quietest corner of the nearly deserted bar to think. Finally, the lack of sleep, the stress of the ordeal and the vodka captured her and released the emotion she had been struggling so hard to contain. Tears began to stain her cheeks with tiny rivulets of running mascara. 

“Cody-Ji …” the barely audible whisper was followed by a long silence. Finally, the voice, dripping with humility, continued, “you seek knowledge of your child’s slaying?”

Not knowing whether she was awake or dreaming, slowly Cody raised her head from behind her cupped hands to see the figure of the man with the cobra-topped staff. Dreadlocks hung over his head as he bowed before her hiding his face. His sudden appearance startled her. Fear washed over her even though nothing in his demeanour was threatening. She felt embarrassed. It vanished quickly. 

“The answer you seek lies with the household, but not the son.” He turned and was gone.


It is so interesting, over the years, to see a writers style develop. Joe is beginning to develop something that is easy for some writers and very hard for others. This chapter is full of inner thoughts and feelings, almost but not quite 'First Person,' of the main character but at the same time smoothly developing the story with just enough tension and mystery. We are drawn in and as I read this I found myself asking questions of Cody which of course, remain unanswered. I not only see the scene through excellent descriptive work but Joe's relaxed narration style is something I hope he never loses. Great chapter, Joe.
Hi Joe. Some of this detail is crafted beautifully, The candles. But more than that you got inside Cody and I could feel her grief. That is great characterisation. I also was delighted to the the man with the dreadlocks appear. Very good!