Once again, to read all previous chapters, please click here.
And you can find the first two parts of Chapter 33 on the blog below this post.
Now read on…
Wednesday 13th November 1985: 12.00 – 13.00
Clarissa Rawlings straightened the cushions on the sofa for the fifth time, and ran her fingers over the large oak sideboard — inherited from 27 generations of St Marmadukes’ vicars dating back to the first Crusade (not against the Saracen, but against the A83 trunk road in Scotland, for some unknown reason) — to check for dust. Then she adjusted the cushions on the armchairs, then checked the coffee table for dust, then straightened the cushions on the sofa for a sixth time, then…
Oh, this was ridiculous!
She threw herself down onto the sofa, rumpling two of the cushions she’d just straightened. Never mind; she’d straighten them again later.
For now, though…
For now, what?
For now, she got up from the sofa, straightened the two cushions she’d rumpled, then slumped back down onto them, with the same effect as before. Never mind; she’d straighten them again later.
For now, though…
Damn it! She stood again, and went over to the telephone. She would phone Amita Chowdhary.
But what would she say?
Well — she’d tell her all about the Mabel Cartwright back-from-the-dead theory, of course. That was what she wanted to tell her, after all.
Yes, it damned-well was! And Joseph, too, for that matter. She owed it to Miss —
— Ahem! —
— Shut up! —
— erm, to Joseph, to keep him in the loop, as it were.
She lifted the receiver. Yes — she’d phone Amita. Or Joseph. And Joseph.
Damn again it! It again, rather! She suddenly remembered; the chief inspector had let slip that Amita was suspended. She couldn’t phone the police station. And — another realisation — as far as she knew, Joseph wasn’t on the phone.
Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!
She dropped the receiver. Well — that scuppered that idea.
She turned. Oh — two of the cushions on the sofa were in a slight state of rumpleness. She’d better straighten them, she supposed.
Later. She turned back to the phone. Maybe she could phone the police station anyway. Try to find out if Miss — erm, Amita, had a phone number.
She lifted the receiver. Ah. What was the station’s number? Where was the directory?
‘Why not try 642001?’ a voice said.
That wasn’t her conscience!
So who the heck…?
Could it have been this voice that everybody else seemed to have been hearing?
And if it was, why was she hearing it now?
Could it be that she was supposed to ring that number?
Wasn’t that just ridiculous?
Supposing she dialled that number?
Why on Earth would she dial that number?
Would it hurt to dial that number?
She dialled that number. The ring-tone sounded, and then…
‘Costalot Coffee House.’
Why on Earth would she have phoned their number?
Should she just hang up?
‘Just speak, Clarissa.’
What? Oh. Erm…
‘Erm…’ she said, echoing her thought. ‘I’m sorry to trouble you. But would there happen to be either a Miss Chowdhary or a Mr Makumbo there?’