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6th chapter

A Novel Idea - a Soap

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chapter 6

 

An excited Errol had phoned Mildred late one night, to inform her that his mother was arriving earlier due to some family business.

 

“Oh that’s wonderful, you’ll get to see her much sooner than you thought.”  Mildred exclaimed.  She was so happy that Errol had found out who his real mother was.  Now maybe she may be able to tell him about his father.

 

“Yes Im so excited, will you come to the Airport with me, I told her ill pick her up when her plane lands on Friday night”. Errol was feeling nervous, and was hoping for her support, as she had known him for so long.  Josh was going to be a way on a business trip.

 

“Of course ill come, I’m dying to meet your mother.”  Her assurance that she would be there made Errol feel more relaxed.

 

Several days later after work, they went to dinner.  Part way through dinner Mildred mobile rang, it was the hospital, asking her to come in as her mother had regained consciousness and was asking for her.

 

Then Errol had to go to the airport on his own as Hattie Marsden’s plane was due to land at 9.30 pm.  As always the case the plane was delayed by strong head winds and it was 10.pm before the plane touched down, and close to 11pm before she appeared at the gate.  Errol had bought her a nice bouquet of flowers

 

Hattie did not have any clue as to what he looked like so Errol had a big sign with her name on it. 

When she came through the door, he recognised her from her publicity photos at the art gallery where her exhibit was going to be held in a few weeks time.

 

There was a brief moment of hesitation, then she drew him into her arms, and said  “Why you’re the spitting image of your father!  Ill tell you all about him once I’ve settled.”

 

The held each other for what seemed an eternity sobbing with great joy that they had at last found each other.

 

Errol took her to her hotel, and then said he would be back in the afternoon as arranged at 4pm to take her to his house to catch up.  She had an appointment in the morning to do with family business. 

 

***

 

Mildred had arrived at the hospital and was shown into her mothers room, she was conscious but very dazed.  She gave a weak smile when Mildred took her hand and called to her.

 

“Mother,  I’m here!” She said quietly

 

Just then the alarm sounded to the heart machine that her mother was attached to.  A nurse scurried into the room and checked what the problem was.  “I’m afraid ill have to ask you to leave for a short time Miss Mansaw”  the nurse informed her

Mildred headed out into the corridor as several other nurses and doctors came running in.  After half an

hour the Chief surgeon came to talk to her.  “I’m afraid your mother has suffered a major stroke, there is not much hope that she will survive the night.”  The doctor informed her.  “You can sit with her as long as you like” 

 

She returned to her mothers side, and sat with her until she came around again and beckoned for her daughter to come closer.  “Mildred what you need to know, …….. the white box…….the garage……”  with that she was gone.  The alarm on her heart monitor gave a long beep and the lines that had been indicating her heat beat went flat.  The nurse came in to comfort Mildred and to turn the machines off so as not to bring any further distress.  It was 3am Saturday morning, 5 months since her fathers death.

 

****

 

Tiffany could not believe how fortunate she had been over the last few months of her Marriage to Mitchell.  He was such a wonderful husband and the kids truly loved him.  She had been in constant contact with Captain Yates from the police department about Walter.  Who fortunately had not showed his face again.  Maybe the police presence was enough to scare him off.

 

Work at the library had become very interesting with the reading of the manuscripts that had been donated by Dr Wallford-Millington.  And some of the art pieces that the family had donated were spectacular.  She and Dickson were getting on very well, he was very quiet, but had a side to him that she seemed to sense was a very interesting history.  During their time working together since her return from her honeymoon they had formed a bond.  Every day he let a little more be known about himself, Tiffany had found out just last week that he had been a very extensive traveller as a missionary to the Polynesian islands, and several remote areas of Asia.  He was very interested in the Anthropology of the people from those areas.  Which made him a good person to have working with them, as the anthropology people at the university could approach him and would get some first hand information on the places he had been and the things he had seen in the cultures.

 

The phone on Tiffany’s desk rang and she excused herself from the client she was attending to, so as she could answer it.

 

“Oh Mildred, you sound dreadful what’s the matter?” she enquired.

 

“Oh Tif, Mother died Saturday morning, can you let Bigell know that I wont be in for a while” Mildred sobbed into the phone.

 

“Mil I’m so sorry don’t you worry about a thing, Dickson and I will take care of thing here.  You take as much time as you need.”

 

“Thanks, ill let you know when ill be back,  I have 3 months long service due as well as last years and this years holidays so I think I may take them.”  Mildred hung up.

 

Tiffany immediately phoned Mr Bigell’s office and let him know what had happened.  He had been in a meeting already at early hour in the morning, so his secretary took the message and would pass it on the minute he stepped out.  Tiffany contacted Joelle to let her know what was happening too.

 

Joelle was very saddened by the news and phoned Mildred immediately.  Should would make sure after work she would go around to Mildred’s and make sure she was ok, and see if there was anything that she needed.  Errol phoned not two minutes after she had hung up with Tiffany and informed her of the same thing.

While she was out getting her morning tea from Marge she informed her of Mildred’s loss Hilda and Marge were saddened also.  They organised that they could get several people to organise meals for Mildred so that Mildred would not have to worry about a thing.  And to make sure that she had some nourishment. 

 

Later that afternoon some security guards came into the special collection area asking to see Tiffany, they informed her that Walter had been spotted outside the library and that they would stay with her until they were sure she was ok, and that he had gone.  One of their officers kept a close eye on him, as he had not done anything as yet and had not breached the restraining order that Captain Yates had organised, they could not do anything, until the local police came.

 

Tiffany went about her daily routine aware he was around but with the security guards there she felt a little more secure.  Around mid-day the alarm in the building went off.  Everyone commences the evacuation procedure, the security guards said they had to take action, so would have to leave the area and suggested she evacuate but stay close to other staff.

 

Little did they know at the time that Walter had tripped a smoke alarm in his scheme to abduct Tiffany.  He saw her as his and was not going to put up with her being with someone he felt she should not be with.  Everyone was in the middle of leaving the building, when Tiffany had remembered she had not locked the door.  She raced back informing Dickson that she would be out in a minute after locking up, and that she planned to head home after the all clear was given, as she had a dental appointment that afternoon.  Just as she reached the area, Walter stepped out from amongst the shelves.

 

Tiffany screamed, but there was no one left on the floor to come to her aid.  He grabbed her and dragged her screaming into the stair well.  He knew that everyone would be on the other side of the building as that was their meeting point for emergencies so he had a clear getaway.  His van was parked out near the back door and within a few moments had Tiffany secured and gagged in the back.

 

***

 

Mitchell Hills was in the middle of a lecture when he had heard the commotion out side of his classroom.  He had faintly heard an alarm sounding but did not know where it was from.  As it was not loud enough to mean it would affect his building, he continued on with his lesson.  It was not until after he had finished and tried to contact Tiffany later that afternoon that anyone was aware that she had gone missing.  With all the commotion, and people everywhere no one had noticed the black van drive away.

 

“I’m sorry Professor Hills, Tiffany had a Dental appointment this afternoon, and we had a fire alarm earlier.  She said she was going directly to the Dentist.”  Dickson said when the Professor asked to speak to Tiffany.

 

“Oh ok, ill catch up with her this afternoon.”  Mitchell replied.

 

An hour later the Dental surgery phone and asked if Tiffany was there.  Dickson felt panic creeping in, he contacted the security office and let them know what had happened.  A very concerned Security supervisor came racing over to the special collection area and tried to find out what had happened if any other staff had seen her.  He knew of Walter and that he had been seen, he contacted Captain Yates immediately, as well as Professor Hills. 

 

The Captain arrived with several of his officers within 10 minutes of the call, and Professor Hills was sitting in the security office being consoled by one of the female officers.

 

“Thank you for your call Henderson, this could be serious, Ive checked and there is no report of an accident so it is likely that there is a problem.” The Captain stated to Paul Henderson the chief of campus security, out of the hearing of the Professor.  “Have you viewed all the security tapes.”

 

“We are just starting on that,  so far there is nothing, but we could do with a few extra eyes to help with the task”  Paul informed him.  They set up the officers that Captain Yates had brought with him at several monitors.  It was nearly 2 hours before one of the officers called their attention to what he thought was a possible incident.

 

“I’m not sure if it is anything but I think I’ve got something on camera “C1” See here, just behind this row of books,”  pointed out the junior officer “this person is acting rather strangely” 

 

“Yes your right, can we get a close up of this?”  asked the Captain.

 

“No I’m sorry our equipment is not set up for that, take the tape with you, I believe your department has a computer program that can do it.”

 

Just then one of the others reported seeing Tiffany approaching the special collection door from camera “C6”.  The officer jumped with great excitement.  “We have them Captain Yates.”

 

The Captain and Martin raced to the monitor that the other junior officer was looking at.  And there plainly seen was the abduction of Tiffany.

 

So they took the tapes as evidence.

 

***

 

Around this time Tiffany was waking from a deep sleep, feeling very strange.  It was very quiet and there was a strong smell of coffee, and fresh baked cake.  She heard the sound of a door close and then crunching like someone walking on gravel.  The sound of a car start and roll away.  As the sound of the engine grew dimmer she drifted off into a state of sleep again.

 

***

 

Joelle, had had a pretty tough day, she had been rostered on at the Post Graduate research centre with, of all people T.J. 

 

“Boy!” she thought to herself, “Mildred was right about T.J. he is a real jerk.”  He could be as sweet as pie to the students and staff when he wanted.  But if he could not be bothered he would pass them off onto one of the other UES who were working with him at the time, even if they were swamped with work.  She was glad she did not have to work with him all the time.

 

One of the new Architecture lecturers had just made an appointment with Joelle. This was to do a training session on the different Database and electronic resources for the Post Graduate and new staff from his Department.  She had booked the training room and equipment that she would need, there would be 15 people in total.  They also wanted a lunch provided so she contacted Hilda at the Staff café to organise it.  It was going to be quite an involved session so it would take her several days to make sure that everything was set up and ready for the following Monday.

 

While in the middle of all this, T.J. had been chatting up one of the pretty little Academic research assistants that was doing some study there.

“So, how about coming out with me on the weekend, there is this great art exhibit on down at the Gallery.”  T.J. Suggested to the girl.

 

“I’m sorry, I’ve got way too much one, and my boyfriend would object.”  She replied with a friendly smile, “But thanks for the offer anyway.”

 

“Oh come on, I’m sure you could find some time.  It would only be an hour or two”

 

“No sorry as I said my boyfriend would object.”

 

“What he does not know wont hurt him.”  He glanced sideways to see if Joelle was taking any note of this conversation.  She fascinated him, and secretly was trying to make her jealous. 

 

“Don’t you know the meaning of the work NO!”  She emphasised the work NO! 

 

She scurried out of there as quick as she could,  “What a nerve”  She said under her breath as she passed Joelle.  .

 

Joelle just mouthed the words “You can say that again”  and rolled her eyes.

 

The I.T. guy Jacob had arrived to install some of the software that they would need for the training session for the Architecture training session.  Which thankfully took Joelle away from T.J. for a few moments.

 

Jacob was Medium height, average build and very pleasant to deal with.  He always was happy to help if he had the time to, unlike a few of the other IT people who showed a lot of arrogance.  If he did not then he always made sure someone else could, or would make an arrangement to turn up at a later time when he finished his assignment. 

 

“I see T.J. is back.” He commented to Joelle.

 

“Yup!”  was her reply.

 

She quickly explained the training session to him, so he knew what to test and make sure everything was in working order.  That done, Joelle headed off for lunch, and a phone call to Mildred to see how she was getting on.

 

“Hi Mildred, how are you?”  She asked

 

“Oh you know, it’s a bit on the tough side at the moment.  I really don’t know if I‘m coping all that well”  Mildred sounded terrible.

 

“Shall I come over tonight, we can have a little chat.” 

 

“That would be great Joelle, I would appreciate it.”

 

Joelle was in the middle of doing a second PhD in Psychology.  So she was excellent to talk to, and people felt she really understood was going on.

 

“After work Ill grab us some Chinese take away and be over around 6.30, is that ok.”

 

“Thanks Joelle, that would be good”.  They hung up and Joelle had a PhD client to guide through the wonders of the Internet. 

 

***

 

Errol had lunch booked with his birth mother and adoptive mother that afternoon, but he thought he would drop in and see how Mildred was getting on.  They stopped and chatted for a while, he offered his support in anything that she needed to get done.

 

“You know Errol,” Mildred began.  “It really puzzles me as to what mum meant when she said there was something in a white box that I needed to know.” 

 

“Yes it is a mystery, but when your up to it let me know and Ill help you with the clearing out of their house.”

 

“Thanks, Ill need it.  They were such pack rats.”

 

That chatted for a little longer then Errol excused himself, letting her know that he had a lunch date with his two mothers.

 

Mildred was really happy for him.  Joelle was due to come later that day so she was planning on cooking something for her.  Sort of as a payment for crying on her shoulder.

 

***

 

Errol’s lunch date with his two mothers had gone well, they both got on perfectly.  He found out that she gave him and a twin sister up for adoption, due to her being so young, and feeling she could not give the children a good life.  She had apologised profusely, but was happy that he had such nice parents. 

 

“You mean I have a sister!”  Errol was shocked for he had been so use to being an only child.  ”Ill have to find her.”

 

“But, what if she does not want to be found dear.”  His adoptive mother said.

 

“IF she wants to meet me then that will be good, but at least I can know who she is.”  He was just too excited to reason with.

 

****

 

Tiffany woke again, and felt very confused and dazed.  She reached out for Mitch.  But there was no one there.  The bed was cold.  She noticed that the room did not smell of his aftershave.  Rubbing her eyes she slowly sat up, looked around.  She gasped,

 

“Where am I, what is going on.!!”  She voiced out loud, 

 

She was definitely not home, she was not in hospital.  And the faint smell of coffee and cake was still in the air.  How long had she been there,  where was she.  So many thoughts went through her mind.

She got out of the bed.  Opening the beautiful floral curtains, she was in to look out the window, to find it was locked in by bars.  The day was still sunny, it was probably around mid-day.  But mid-day what day.  She gingerly walked to the door and tested the handle.  It turned freely.

Pushing the door gently she found her way into a passage way that was beautifully decorated, and furnished with antique furniture.  She looked both ways, listened for any sounds.  Deciding to turn left, she followed the fragrance of the coffee.  Walking into a cosy sitting room, she saw the kitchen on the other side.  She was famished.  She walked cautiously to the kitchen, and on the bench she found the coffee, and a chocolate cake covered with a net.  Next to it was a letter addressed to her.

 

                                      My Dearest Tiffany

 

                                      I know you must be alarmed at finding yourself in these

                                      Surroundings.  Please help yourself to anything in the kitchen

                                      That you want.  There is a selection of clothes for you in the

                                      Cupboard in your room.  I shall return in a few days, my love

 

                                      Passionately

                                      WALTER.

 

Her mind froze.  She felt nauseated, and as though she was about to pass out.  Sitting on the stool near the counter she was unsure what she should do now.  She searched the room for a phone.  But there was no sign of one.  She ran around each of the rooms trying the doors and windows, only to find them all bared and locked.

 

She collapsed into the sofa, and sobbed.

 

***

 

T.J. had headed off early for the day.  Several years ago he had bought a cabin in the hills not far from the University.  On his drive up it was fairly quiet, and a very pleasant day.  Just the other week he had heard that the property next door had been for sale and was promptly sold.  He was not sure if the new owners had moved in yet, or if it was to be a holiday shack.

 

He had looked at the property, at the same time he was buying his.

 

As he approached the driveway he saw a Black van pulling out of the lane from the next door unit. 

 

“Oh they have moved in” he thought to himself. “I must pay them a visit later.”

 

***

 

Captain Martin Yates, had spent the last 15 hours pouring over the tapes, trying to work out where Walter had taken Tiffany.  Just then an abrupt knock on the door by his Sergeant broke his concentration. 

 

“Yes Sergeant, what is it!”  He sounded a little annoyed.

 

“Another tape for you Captain, they had forgotten all about the newest camera installed, I think you may want to see this now.”

 

Martin Yates, put in the tape, for Sergeant Fitzwill to speak like this to him was out of character for the man.  There was obviously something of great interest on the new tape.

 

“Bingo!!”  Cried the Martin.  “Get the boys to see if they can get a clear shot of the licence plate.”

“Right on it sir”  Fitzwill replied.

 

“I want this picture and the plate number distributed as quickly as possible.” 

 

“You got it boss!”

 

On the new tape they had seen Tiffany being forced down the back stairs, and out into a Black Van.

 

***

 

“Professor Hills, Captain Yates here, we have some further information on your wife’s kidnapping”

 

“What is it Captain.”

 

Captain Yates was at home, and had been trying to contact the Professor all day.  He thought he would give it one last shot on his arrival home.

 

“We have further evidence of your wife being pushed down the back stairs into a black van.  We have the pictures being circulated as we speak.”

 

“Could I have a copy please”, asked Mitchell,

 

“I have an officer already on the way to your house, why not come over for dinner, and bring the kids.

My Daughter who is training to be a teacher is currently home on holidays from her university.  She will keep them entertained.”

 

“That would be great, when we can plan our next strategy.”

 

“Ill inform Sergeant Fitzwill to bring you and the kids, then ill drop you home myself.”

 

Captain and Mrs Margaret Yates were a very kind and caring couple.  They always worked as a team.  Margaret had been a school teacher and now helped with refugees and international students at the university learn English through he ESL program.  Their Daughter, Rose who was 20 was training to be a lower grade school teacher, and their Son, Isreal who was 17 was just finishing high school and hoping for a career as an architect.

 

Martin Yates informed his wife of what was happening, and she had a very nice and hearty meal ready for the guests when the Sergeant brought them. 

 

Around 45 minutes later the squad car with the Hills family had arrived and the kids were taken through to the play room out the back with fish and chips and a nice chocolate cake. 

 

“Oh Yum !”  They all cried in unison when Rose and Isreal carried the tray of food out with them.

 

Martin, Margaret, and the Sergeant all sat at the main dining table with Mitch, discussing what had been done, what was the next course of action and comforting Mitch in his grief and shock.

 

“What have you told the children Professor”  Asked Margaret

 

“Mitch please,”  He stated “I’ve just told them that she had to go away on an emergency to do with work and that she would be home with them as soon as she could.”

“That’s good we don’t need to upset them, the less they know the better.”

 

Squeals of laughter rang out from the play room.  The children where obviously having a good time with Rose and her brother.

 

“Now, tomorrow we are going to swarm the campus with this photo and contact everyone on campus to see if they saw anything.  We have done a licence check and found that the van was stolen from the Psychiatric hospital.  So we cant track it down by the address of the owner.”  Martin took a sip of his beer and continued “We have informed the owner of the van an Ebony Jones, and will keep her informed as to the where abouts of her van.  Sooner or later Walter is going to mess up and will be caught.”

 

Mitch was greatly relieved to have Martin on the case, and that nice Sergeant was a great help and gave the impression great efficiency .  He had assured the Hills family that everything was fine, and gave the kids an impression that this was just a nice dinner invitation from an old and dear friend.

 

Thankfully the children were to remain blissfully unaware of any of the dramas that were to unfold over the next few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©Colleen Hunter 2004

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