Ray Sullivan publishes science based fiction adventures on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, WH Smith and other good eBook retailers as e-books. Additionally all of his books are available in paperback on Amazon. He also muses on technology, posts comedic books in serial format and discusses the world of self publishing.
Books written by Ray Sullivan
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Parallel Lives chapter 46
Karen had arrived later than Jack and Alan, having dropped
off the kids at her parents and arranged a flexible schedule to pick them up.
Her mother had been obviously perplexed by the sudden request but had assumed
there was something private, even romantic, behind the secrecy. Her daughter
and son-in-law had been through a rough time in the last few weeks and anything
that might compensate would make her feel better. Karen’s father hadn’t
pretended to understand, but he never had and never interfered.
The previous week had been a whirlwind of activity and
nothingness. Jack had worked all the hours available to prepare the final
repairs to the factory boiler-house and the subsequent commissioning. Both of
them, no, all three including Alan had spent what remained of the few hours
unfilled with work and essential family activities preparing for today. They had
reviewed and edited Alan’s final transcript carefully, had debated heatedly the
correct timing for its release, anticipating various scenarios it could spark.
Eventually they had agreed that none of them would agree on the exact timing
and let Alan do his job, trusting his instinct.
Parking opposite the Council Hall, which doubled for other
official duties including the needs of the Coroner, Karen spotted Jack and Alan
deep in conversation near the entrance. Alan, his hands thrust deep into the
trouser pockets of his suit, looked frozen on this bright and breezy morning.
If they were both outside then it meant that John Staples hadn’t arrived yet,
or he was also outside and they were keeping an eye on him. Karen scanned the
small clusters of people scattered around the building; the inevitable and
motley crew of smokers, reminding her of the meeting with Jackson at the
hospital, some casually dressed and clearly unhappy folk were gathered at one
end of the building, a smaller group of equally unhappy people, more
conventionally dressed in tired and ill fitting suits at the other end and a
cluster of youths passing across the front of the building, messing and fooling
with each other. Karen surmised, correctly, that Staples hadn’t arrived yet.
Locking the door of the car Karen caught a glimpse of
herself in the window. Spontaneously flushing her suit top down to flatten any
wrinkles, she pulled on both ends of the silk scarf loosely draped around her
neck. As she finalised the personal checks the reflection of a larger car
flashed past, drawing up two parking spaces further along. Looking up and
across at Jack she followed his eye line and turned towards the car that had
just stopped. At the wheel she recognised Doctor Jackson, unorthodoxly sat on
his own in the front, while in the back, squeezed together, were three men.
Nearest was a ginger haired man who didn’t ring any bells for Karen, while the
other two men were in shadow and unrecognisable. Karen looked back to Jack and
Alan, both of whom had now realised she had arrived judging by their eye
contact and the slight shake of Jack’s head. They had rehearsed this scenario
over and again as a possibility, but Karen hadn’t regarded it as likely,
believing she would arrive much earlier or later than Staples. She looked back
at the car and saw the ginger haired man was now standing, holding his door
while looking around him, as if searching for a colleague. His eyes met hers
and he instinctively smiled. Karen smiled back and then turned to pretend to be
locking the door she had secured immediately before their car had pulled up.
Looking sidewards she saw Alan slip through the Hall’s front door while Jack
leaned against the wall casually, his hands lightly behind his back. In the
reflection Karen saw Jackson stand up and open the other rear door, speak
briefly, then stand away. Although both rear doors were now open, there didn’t
appear to be any attempt by the two men sat in the back to make a move.
Realising she had now stood fumbling with her keys for much too long, Karen’s
mind raced. Placing the car keys into her handbag she shook her hair and strode
away, in the opposite direction to the Council Hall.