Chapter 6

Written by: Donna McTavish

The leather purse sat in the middle of the table like a giant sleeping slug. Samantha stared at the scrap of incriminating paper as she tried to make sense of what the mauve haired woman was saying.


“… so your father is a very important person to us. We need your help to find out what happened to him.”




Samantha had not noticed that the woman had stopped talking.  Her body was shaking. Her father was alive.


“He won’t recognise you Samantha but you might trigger his memory. We need to hear everything that happened from when he disappeared until we picked him up in Liverpool Street.”


Samantha dragged her attention back to the present. Questions would have to wait. Her father was in danger. “When can I see him?” she whispered.


Inspector McCready hustled the man into the room and nodded towards a chair. Both hands rested on the table and he chewed his bottom lip incessantly. His right hand twitched slowly up and down as if controlled by an invisible string and he noticed it move with surprise. As the Inspector talked he lifted his head and looked directly at the glass window to the left of the table.


Behind the one-way glass, Samantha watched as Inspector McCready explained how the wire would be fitted and what the emergency signal would be. She remembered how her father comforted her when she was a child. You are as brave as a lion he told her. She dug her nails into her palms to stop her tears. 


Inspector McCready beckoned to the window and a policeman led Samantha into the bare interrogation room. Up close, she saw how his hair was thinner and the skin surrounding his fingernails was red and raw. She sat down and stared at the top of his head as the Inspector explained who she was. There was no glimmer of recognition at the mention of her name, no dawning of understanding, and no thawing of the confusion that glinted in his eyes.


“Not possible,” he said finally. “I have no daughter.” His voice was clipped and cold.


“Look at me, Dad,” Samantha said, keeping her voice level. “It’s Sammy… remember?”

He did not look at her and the tapping of his finger filled the silence. He moved restlessly in his chair.  “Put the wire on and let’s get this over,” he said sharply. Inspector McCready flicked a glance to the window and shook her head slowly. She had a bad feeling about this. Alan Sharp was not ready for this job but it was a chance too good to miss. The Assistant Commissioner would not accept failure. Inspector McCready stood up slowly and the man pushed back his chair and followed. 


At the door he turned and looked at Samantha. “I have no daughter,” he repeated but this time he looked at her closely. 


“Be as brave as a lion, Dad,” Samantha whispered as her father disappeared from sight.


This chapter makes sense of all that has happened before and now we want to know if Alan Sharp will do what the Assistant Commissioner is asking of him...or if he is even capable. Such great characterisation and even a seed of doubt is subtly planted...does her father really recognise her or not? Not heavy handed but just a light touch. Done so well!
Great chapter that pulls the plot together a little more. With little explanation, we understand a lot more as the story starts to build in tension to what I hope is a dramatic climax. I loved the description of the purse as "a giant sleeping slug." Terrific work, Donna.