As ever, to read chapters 1-25, please go to my St Marmaduke’s page.
And to read the first three parts of chapter 26, you need my blog page.
Tuesday 12th November 1985: 10.00 – 12.00
Amita Chowdhary checked the clock for the six-hundred-and-fifty-fifth time since finally abandoning all hope of sleep at 5.30am.
Two minutes to twelve. Two minutes, then she could set out…
She’d finally stopped shaking at around five o’clock, but it had still taken her the extra half-hour before she’d been convinced enough that her night-time visitor had truly gone, to emerge from under the bed-covers. Since then, she’d drunk seventeen cups of jasmine tea, failed to eat anything for breakfast, paced the floors of her two-bedroomed flat for all but one hour and thirty-three minutes of the six-and-a-half hours she’d been up (the discrepancy being the time taken to drink all the cups of tea plus time taken to recycle them down the toilet), opened every cupboard, wardrobe and drawer she owned in the hope of finding she-wasn’t-quite-sure-what, and failed to read a single word of her book.
And now it was one minute to twelve. One minute, then she could set out…
She strode to the clock and made sure it was still ticking. It was, the same as the previous 421 times she’d checked.
She still wasn’t one hundred percent sure she’d actually had the visitation. As a general rule, old ladies didn’t manifest themselves in her bedroom in the middle of the night; at least, not since Great Aunt Indira, when Amita was eight, who’d been losing it somewhat and had mistaken her toy chest for the Ladies’ conveniences at Pune Grand Hotel.
But, damn it, she had nothing else to do, and if it turned out she could learn something to get back into favour at the station with…
The minute hand slid over to the hour. She’d been determined to follow the instructions to the letter, and now —
TUESDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 1985: 12.00 – 12.01
— yes, a few seconds past twelve, it was the afternoon.
Shrugging on her overcoat, Amita dashed out of the flat, and headed towards Teashop Lane and the Costalot Coffee House.