Author’s note: A day late, but it’s still the weekend and it’s only a day. This week’s chapter from The Girl from a Thousand Fathoms is called ‘The Truth’. So i suppose the question is – can you handle it? More to the point, can Heidi?
Chapter 77 – The Truth
There she was, dressed in another variation of lace-up boots, a long skirt and scoop top in black and purple. His heart in his mouth, Persistent Smith hurried towards the Kylma Kala main entrance.
‘Hello. It’s me,’ Smith boomed anxiously.
‘So I see.’
Smith grimaced unhappily. ‘Sorry I’m late.’
Heidi was incredulous. ‘Late? It’s not even the same day.’ She headed off along the pavement. ‘It’s my lunch hour, I need to do some shopping.’
Smith hurried after her. ‘I could buy you lunch.’
‘No, thank you.’
Nonplussed, Smith fell back. ‘Help me,’ he begged the Hand.
‘He was kidnapped!’ the Hand shouted. ‘Locked in the boot of a car and driven to Southampton.’
Furious, Heidi spun on her heels. ‘No you weren’t. Don’t you dare lie to me.’
‘Yes, I was. Honestly,’ Smith said.
‘It’s the truth, honest to God,’ the Hand cried. ‘Sure as the fact that I’m just a stupid hand pretending to be a person. Or am I a person pretending to be a hand? I don’t know any more. You’ve got to help me!’
Lunchtime crowds pushed around them. ‘Really kidnapped? Really?’
‘Only by accident. I escaped.’
‘Well, yes, I can see that.’
Smith grimaced uncomfortably. ‘It wasn’t that difficult.’
‘You’re impossible, do you know that?’
Heidi walked away. Smith bounded in front of her. ‘I’m persistent.’
‘Do you know how long I waited for you? I felt like a complete idiot.’
‘I don’t know where you can get one of those around here,’ Smith said. ‘I’m only part of an idiot, will that do?’
Despite herself, Heidi smiled. ‘What really happened?’
‘I was on an adventure.’
Heidi shook her head. ‘Tell me the truth.’
‘I was following someone and hid in the boot. Then they drove the car away.’
Heidi jerked her head towards the offices. ‘You don’t work here do you?’
‘As well as being a bit of an idiot I’m a bit of a detective too.’
Heidi absorbed the information. ‘Which bit?’
‘The bigger one.’
They started walking.
‘Then what happened?’
‘They got out the car. I escaped and we drove back to Brighton.’
‘My friends. They actually really were properly kidnapped, on a ship. They escaped and swam to shore.’
It all sounded utterly implausible. On the other hand this was Derek Smith. ‘So where’s the car?’
‘Just around the corner.’
Smith showed her.
‘Oh Lord, where did you get a machine like that?’
‘I just said.’
‘What about the owner?’
‘He drowned when the ship sank.’
‘I don’t know whether to believe anything you say.’ Heidi ran her hand over the crumpled rear wing. ‘What a shame this happened.’
‘I’m going to get that mended,’ Smith said.
Most of the damage was from Tim’s sideswipe of the Mercedes. There were also fresh knocks and scrapes on the front bumpers. On the drive back to Brighton Smith had leaned over the front seat and studied how Tim moved his feet across the pedals and moved the gear stick. It hadn’t looked difficult. When they pulled up in Tim’s street he said he would take over and drive home. And they let him.
Something beeped in Heidi’s handbag. ‘Dammit. Look, I’ve got to go,’ she said but didn’t move away.
‘OK.’ Smith shuffled his feet and stared at his shoes.
The beeper sounded again, louder. ‘That stuff you helped me with on the computer was really important. Thank you.’
‘All part of the service, ma’am,’ the Hand said.
Heidi took a step away. ‘I really have to go.’
Smith took a deep breath. ‘I could pick you up after work.’
To be continued…