His chest tightened as he gripped tense and terrified to his burgundy polo windbreaker. He could feel the air getting thinner as the ringing in his ears grew louder. He wanted to shout for help but he couldn’t manage a word. Painstakingly he scrambled for his fountain pen and started to scribble fast and hard as much as he could on the aged white paper. He knew it was coming, but he had to delay it, someone must know the truth… to warn them.
*Rip* went the page as he folded and fumbled for the khaki envelope on his littered desk. Struggling, he sealed it and propping himself up, hankered breathlessly for the safe behind the ornate oil painted nightingale. It was too late.
His breath quickened and the pain thundered across his weakening heart. The ringing was fading and he was falling, endlessly, effortlessly. Suddenly the fluorescent lights in his rounded office dimmed, flickered and as if by fate, died out, along with them the fading breath of the Silk King. In the foreboding darkness, folded and dormant, the letter waited.
Finally within the confines of the marble walls and carpeted hallways of the Crimson Castle I loped, panting and sweaty with my mind set on getting to the East Wing of the building. There was only one more flight of stairs left to get to his office when the dark corridor was suddenly incandescent with the shrillest high pitched scream emanating from the floor above. My stomach lurched and mouth ran dry.
Was the stranger in the clearing right? Was it too late to save Uncle Konde? I couldn’t think about that now, it would only deter me longer. I climbed the last stair and rushed, pacing, tripping but bent on getting there. I was behind the door now, we both were, peering down at her; silk nightdress and hair draped over his pale face.
“Don’t just stand there, Call for an ambulance!”
Tim rushed to the corridor and dialed without hesitation. He was always great at reacting fast in crises. I on the other hand wasn’t. I couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. What had happened? He was fine this morning, how could this have happened?
Standing there however I knew it was no accident. Someone was behind this. The masked stranger knew about it, he knew a lot more than he should have known. I had to find him, find out who he was, what he had meant. How he knew my uncle would…would…I couldn’t even think it. I rushed to the window, flinging it open to maybe catch a glimpse of someone exiting the scene. I did.
A candelabra floating in the darkness of the garden alongside a dark hooded figure retreating into the shrubbery; I had to stop them.
I bolted from the office, sliding and jumping down the steps afraid that I would lose them if I delayed any longer. Who would want to kill Uncle Konde? I mean he had a lot of money yes but he had been kind to his workers and was the most philanthropic man I had known. Tears were now welling up in my eyes, dropping aimlessly down my face but I did not have the time to mourn now, I couldn’t. First I had to catch up to the dark figure in the garden.
Outside cold and breathless I searched, flung my eyes around but I couldn’t see anything. I sprinted forward, tried to retrace his steps, called out for help but nothing, they were gone.
“Sam! Sam what in bloody hell are you screaming about?”
It was Mr. Mlandi, Betty and Carla, his twin blood hounds on his heels and another torch in hand.
“I saw him…he was here…”
“What are you going on about? Saw who?”
“Uncle Konde’s killer…he was here…”
“Killer…what do you…?”
His face went pale as his eyes went up the wall to the open office window. Immediately his fingers unclenched the torch as he and the dogs disappeared into the castle, the sound of barking resonating through the halls, awakening a flurry of lights and panic throughout the castle grounds.
That had done it, saying it out loud finally released the weight of the moment. Uncle Konde was dead. My knees buckled and I fell under my own weight, kneeling in the moist cold grass. I was too late. The only person I had, the closest thing to family and I couldn’t save him. I was alone. The tears flowed more unreservedly now. I couldn’t believe it, Uncle Konde was dead.
Are you enjoying the read so far? Do let me know. I was tweaking it here and there to make sure that it had the expected effect. We’re down to chapter 3 and I must say that I am not disappointed at all about the flow of it. I do intend to spice it up though so hang onto your mystery boots because it’s gonna get nail bitingly geeeeewd… Haha.
Thanks for reading lovelies.