Chapter 8

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Could Simon still be alive?

I bit my lip and began pacing; the thud of my wedged heels the only sound in the musty, tomblike box. What had one of the Mason brothers said? Something about Simon causing ‘way too much trouble’ and dealing ‘with him properly at the bar’. Hardly the thing to say about someone already dead. And the groans? A semi-conscious man in pain?

Fresh hope warmed me from the inside out. I tugged on the long fringes of Viola’s psychedelic shirt. “Could Davey have lied about Simon’s death?”

“I… don't… think so. But he didn't always tell me everything.” Her voice sounded blurry, hoarse. Was Viola crying? I swivelled back to her. Mascara-tainted tears riveted down her pasty-coloured cheeks. “Viola?”

“If the Mason’s did this to Davey… then they’ll.... do the same….” Her sentence fell into a fresh flow of tears.

No time for sisterly lectures about making beds and lying in it, although Viola very likely deserved one. I searched my pockets for a tissue. Fortunately, I found several. Unfortunately, Viola had already taken care of the problem, using her shirtsleeve.

Shaking my head, I grabbed her hand. “Come on. We have to go the Masons’ bar… now.”

 

Masons’ bar was all polished timber, smoky, subtle lighting and scattered picnic tables carrying the weight of loud, jovial customers. After Viola confirmed both brothers in the bar, we headed towards the Masons’ business-venturing house truck. If Simon was still alive, I figured it a good place to start.

 

 

I followed Viola for some distance, until glaring camper lights muted into moonlit darkness and sounds of human life were nothing more than a mere background hum. There, the shadows appeared murkier, sounds of foraging nightlife more menacing. And I shivered. Environments such as that did little to appease a feverish imagination such as mine.

Viola pointed to a large, solitary, unlit vehicle parked beneath an old beech tree. “There,” she said. “That’s ‘Unforgotten’.”

Aptly titled, I thought. I shook off a fresh round of icy goose bumps and then, step by rickety step, approached the truck.

It was locked.

No surprises there.

“Here, let me.” Viola pulled a bronze pin from her flame-coloured hair and lit up her phone. Within seconds, she had the door unlocked. I didn't dare ask.

I pulled open the door. Warm air whooshed from the inside.

“Hello?” I called.

Nothing.

“Simon?”

Again, nothing.

I glanced at Viola. She shrugged. Using her brightly lit phone, we then entered.

Inside oozed of opulence, from glossy, black marble to white leather furnishings.

A quick scan of the place proved futile. A more thorough search, not so. Spread upon the lounge was a navy, pinstriped jacket, a one-way airline ticket to Ibeza, Spain, and a passport.  

I picked up the passport.

Name?

Adam Matthews.

Photo?

My breathing quickly slammed still.

“I wanted you to believe I was dead, Clauds.”

That steely, sepulchral voice I knew.

As I did the man in the photo.

My Simon.