Chapter 6

Written by: emilypalk

Treading water, his hands snaked into his pockets, searching for his sodden wallet, or at least, the pulpy remains of his ticket. Nothing! A deeply sonorous ‘bluuuuuurp’ of a ship coming in to the port reverberated through him. Adrenalin coursed afresh. He spun himself around to search for the shore.  He could just make out the lights of the motel in the distance, a good way up from where he was. Knowing it would exhaust him to fight a path through the fetid whirling, he kept his chin up as high as he could and let himself be swept in the opposite direction. When the oil-slicked current slowed to small eddies, Robert pulled his way in towards a haphazard-looking jetty, coming up underneath the rotting boards and catching his breath. 

He rewound his actions in his mind’s eye, back before the mobster’s arrival, the phone call to Lucy. His stomach clenched at the thought of his daughter alone in her apartment, a sitting duck for Jack, or the snappily dressed hoods that would be looking for him in the most likely places. He could only hold onto the tiniest hope that she had done as he requested and gone somewhere safe. He rewound further, back to before the bathroom window, back to before he slipped out of bed…to the moment Jack was relieving himself with the door held open, giving Robert a split second to slide his wallet into the underside of the pillowcase…

The motorway whined and his nostrils stung with the acrid fumes as he crept along between shadows and the rocky outcrops of the shore. He crouched in the brush at back entrance of the motel and waited, shivering lightly in the heavy oiliness of the warm night.

The Plymouth was gone, as were the black sedans with their heavily tinted windows. Not wanting to risk going in through the front entrance, Robert squatted underneath the small window he’d squeezed through earlier. The bathroom was lightless, and no sound came from the room beyond it. The slime clinging to his clothing made his passage through the small space easier this time. ‘If that snake’s still there, it all ends here’ he told himself, and gently eased the bathroom door open a tiny crack. Crumpled sheets showed the room had not yet been serviced, and Robert’s fingertips sought and then touched the smooth, worn leather. He exhaled. 

The bus transit station was a safer option than the airport, which could be crawling with cops. Besides which, the irony wasn’t lost on him he had limited cash in his wallet with which to reach his daughter, with the ticket promising them both safety tucked neatly in the coin pouch. He paid a gangly kid for his hoodie and baseball cap, and with both pulled down to shadow his face, Robert loped to the ticket window. He settled himself in the back of the bus as it roared onto the motorway, and plotted carefully, his next move.

Emily Palk (Aus)



Full of information and description, Emily has written an interesting chapter. (The motorway whined and his nostrils stung with the acrid fumes as he crept along between shadows and the rocky outcrops of the shore.) I like this although perhaps a little dialogue would have been okay but that's a personal like. Nice chapter from Emily.
Thanks Ray, I agree about the dialogue, though I felt that with the previous chapter I didn't really have anyone he could talk to for the next while. Plus, I had to get him out of the water and moving along so the story could develop. I'm learning much about genres outside my comfort zone.
I love this chapter Emily. It moves so fast and is so visual its like watching a movie. What a tough act to follow.
Thank you Suraya. These genres are very new and exciting for me :)
I love the direction you've taken this. I think it fits the overall story very neatly. Well done.