Reg had said his business in 215 wouldn’t take long, but that was over twenty minutes ago.
“Just keep a lookout,” he had said, but now Lily was starting to get worried. What was keeping him, and who exactly was she on the lookout for?
Just as she was tossing this through her mind, the motel manager started to make her way towards the rooms. Lily instinctively reached over and sounded the horn and a moment later Reg came bounding down the steps carrying a carry-all that she hadn’t seen before.
“What’s that?” Lily asked.
“Just something, I left behind before,” he explained.
If that wasn’t a satisfactory answer, what might she expect his explanation for his newly bloodied knuckles to be?
She was really starting to question her taste in men.
Bella looked at her case book and let out a loud sigh. She had never had so many back-to-back unsolved cases before. She read through the details again. All of them involved missing husbands or boyfriends, except for the latest one that seemed a bit odd as it was about a missing ex.
Okay, let’s look at this the other way around. Three wives and a girlfriend reported missing partners in the last two months. Two of them came directly to me, one was referred by Jacob who thought it sounded “more my thing,” and the girlfriend was referred by the police. Then Jacob sent the missing ex one to me yesterday.
Five missing men and I can’t find a single clue. They are from three different areas of the city, and they have no apparent links to each other. Hmm, a banker, an architect, a plumber, a student, and a musician.
This is crazy, Bella said to herself. Why try to link them? Because . . . because they are too similar.
The missing ex. Why would someone report an ex as missing, and then say that they didn’t really keep in touch. Isn’t that the definition of an ex? Someone you aren’t involved with. So why do you want to find him, and how do you know he’s “missing?” Maybe he moved, or just doesn’t want “you” to find him.
Bella closed the case book and pulled out the Brady file, the name of the “missing” ex. Andrew Brady was a twenty-seven-year-old musician. He did mainly pub gigs, and occasionally warm up sessions for some bigger local acts. She had found a flyer that said he had performed at the Queen’s Head three weeks ago. “Well, there’s some place to start,” Bella said aloud.
Sir George was confused. The baron had ordered him into the valley to rid it of a marauding dragon. He had checked all of the usual haunts: three caves and rocky overhang, but no evidence of a beast was found at any of them.
Was he losing his touch, he wondered. After all he was an expert in the dragon game. This perplexed him.
After checking the closest of the caves again, he tethered his horse to a pine and sat down on a log to consider his options. As he ran through the evidence he couldn’t shake the sensation of sulfur in the air. But where could it be coming from?
I walked into the only café that seemed to be open on the strip. The place was a little over the top considering the seedy neighbourhood. Why might a harbour district coffee shop need marble tabletops and a crystal chandelier? The menu too was out of place with Eggs Benedict and French croissants on offer. All in all, it was a bit disappointing as all I wanted was a cup of coffee and a ring doughnut to dunk.
Alvis refused to heed any warnings. As he saw it, all he had to do was dodge and wait for the bell and he would solve all of his family’s problems. The problems were many. his father had had the accident the year before, and his care from the so-called healers was expensive. Creditors were now starting to eye the family farm as well, and Alvis knew he had to step up and protect his parents and three sisters.
That is what had brought him to the arena. Five hundred silver crowns awaited him if he could survive five minutes with the champion, Bloodbringer. At seventeen, Alvis was sure he could stay a step ahead of the man that was now nearly forty. He had no intention of trying to defeat the monster of a man. No, the five thousand crown prize was not worth that risk. All he needed to do was avoid the hammer-fists. Hammer-fists were bronze mittens used as a type of boxing gloves. They were about the weight of a bottle of wine, and tiring to use, they were nonetheless deadly.
Alvis walked through the portal into the arena. Before him was the Bloodbringer who stood almost a foot taller than the lad and had three times the boy’s mass. On seeing him Alvis put his plan into action. He dropped the bronze glove from his left hand and waited for the starting bell. As soon as it rang, he ran straight at the champion intending to dodge past him and then run for the next five minutes. As he passed, he barely managed to escape. Bloodbringer was far faster than he had imagined. As Alvis ducked the intended blow the crowd roared.
The boy quickly realised that the champion knew his “craft.” Every attempt of evasion Alvis tried the man anticipated it, and the boy only narrowly escaped. Worse still, Alvis was getting tired. His last dodge past Bloodbringer was so close that he could fell the breeze of the punch. In desperation the boy suddenly turned and threw his right glove at the man to buy himself an instant to catch his breath. To his surprise, and that of the multitude in the stadium, the glove crashed into the man’s left eye, jerking his head backwards. The man staggered but did not fall.
Alvis ran looking over his shoulder and waited for the inevitable end. The end came only seconds later when the bell rang.
She knew he was going to give her a long, deep kiss, but she was surprised when he extended a hand as a formal greeting instead. Okay, long distance relationships are hard, but she really thought they had something. Now this.
“Hello Jessica, its nice to see you again,” he said matter of factly.
“Hi, Tyler, I um . . . . It’s good to see you too.”
It was then that he saw the petite Japanese woman coming up from behind him and stroking his shoulder as she stopped.
“Jessica, this is Aiko she is from our Tokyo office. We have been working together recently on a project.”
“Um, hello Aiko. It’s nice to meet you,” Jessica lied.
Jessica knew exactly what kind of project Tyler was referring to. It wasn’t that long ago when she had “worked” with him at the London office.
It was bigger than she thought it would be. Much bigger in fact than her husband’s which she had become accustomed to. But this was different. In fact, it was uncomfortable and almost painful to mount. Sue really wished she had brought the bicycle from home now.
When he decided to spy on his wife, the last thing he expected was to discover that she had absolutely nothing to hide. Every time he would track her down, she was doing exactly what she said she would be doing. She had lunch with her friends, she went to the park to feed the birds; she even went to a pottery class even though she had never seemed to be in the least bit artsy.
What he failed to discover, however, was that she was having a fiery affair with the next door neighbour, nor did he learn that she had a cousin that was virtually her twin.