Chapter 9

Written by: Tulika Saha

Stella shifted her car into gear, tracing the path that the familiar Green Honda without the dent had taken. Suddenly the confusion had lifted. Her mind was crystal clear. The car, now distant, turned off the road. Stella waited  before moving towards the car. 

'Me gawd!" Betina voiced Stella's surprise at the large villa they had come up to. The car was nowhere in sight. Stella spotted it inside the gates of the villa, parked at a distance and, dragging Betina, she reached the gates. This was certainly not the Linden household. 

"Whatch e waitin fer?" Betina was already standing away from the gate, along the compound wall. She gave Stella a leg up and soon the women were inside the wall. Stella hoped that no one was watching the CCTV coverage. The thought idly crossed her mind that the Ambassador hotel footage must also show the real culprit. But the smoke would have clouded it. Stella brought herself back to the present and focused  on getting to the house. There was a gap in the blinds. Stella looked inside, her heart now thundering in her ears and her mouth dry.

 Betina sensed her hesitation. She shoved her roughly towards the glass forcing her to look closely into the room. A cheerful room with doors from what Stella supposed the kitchen and a family room moved into her frame. A short flight of stairs led to the upper bedrooms.  Stella felt that she could not stand there unobserved for long. So, switching her cell to video mode she placed it gingerly on the slim edge of the window and sank down. Betina signed her a thumbs up. The women sat against the wall, among the bushes. 

For an hour, the women stayed there, still as death. Betina had fallen into a drunken sleep. Stella shook her awake as she picked up her cell and clicked on the play back icon. Stella let out a gasp. A man had entered the living area with a boy and a woman. But the man was not Greg. And the boy was not Toby! Where were they?

Just then a shadow fell across her and a crisp voice said, "Nick! Come along!"  Stella dropped the phone, startled. "Dad, wait a minute!"  The young boy and the blonde woman had joined him.  Stella looked at Betina. The occupants of the house had passed about four feet from them, yet astonishingly they had not been detected. 

 "Watch de video," Betina slurred. 

 "Not now. Let's follow them." They rushed towads their car and followed, driving crazily.

"E ken get a ticket for speeding," Betina said. 

 "I need to find out,  Betina."  Stella pursued the car tenciously, back to the city, back to familiar roads, back to the bridge. 

Stella's mind was churning over all the events of that day. Suddenly, Stella braked,  veered the car around and headed for the hotel.  She now knew what to look for.



Good chapter and written nicely. Only hope that the next writer (the last) knows what it is that Stella is looking for.
Thanks Ray! Certainly hope the next writer latches on to the clues.
Oh wow! Absolutely brilliant and now I can't wait for the last chapter. Great job Tulika