Corinne had often gone out in the morning and not returned until evening. Both her parents assumed she was either at university or working on assignments for her studies, and equally assumed she would not be home during the day.
Most of the time they assumed correctly.
However, a few months ago she had returned early to find her father in his study, looking very annoyed. Then he had admonished her for not telling him of her change in plans, and that she was to call ahead especially if she was coming home early.
When she asked him why he hadn't answered. At the time she thought it odd but fitting with his sometimes eccentric behaviour and let it pass. Later again, it occurred to her that he might be having an affair, and couldn’t imagine he would be so stupid as to bring the woman home. Until her mother had told her men of a certain age often did stupid things.
Her mother had also noticed his eccentric behaviour.
Since Harry's accident, Corinne had become suspicious again, wondering what it was he didn't want her to discover.
That first thought of an affair made her deliberately return at various times of the day to check whether he was there. The first few times no one was home but on several more recent visits, he was, particularly after discovering what had happened to her brother.
But there didn’t seem to be a connection between the two events.
The most recent time she had seen him on the phone in the study, yelling at some invisible person on the other end of the line, using language she had never heard him use before. It was as if he was being blackmailed because it sounded like he was being forced to do something that would jeopardize his integrity and reputation.
When she remembered that event, she also remembered one other detail. She had heard him relate an address as he wrote it down.
A memorable address as the street was named after a city she had been reading about that very morning. The same street that was on the piece of paper under the drawer in Harry's office.
Why did Harry have that address, and why had he hidden it away so no one would find it?
Had he visited it, and that caused his abduction and beating?
Did Harry know his father had it too?
What was at that address?
There was only one way to find out. Go there.
It was an empty block on a street with old and mostly derelict buildings, where most of the street lights were broken, and those that weren’t cast a very eerie glow over the area. Along one side were buildings that may have been warehouses, and on the other, a relatively new wire fence, with a little rust in places, and several gated entrances with rusty chains but new locks, and signs of recent activity given the tyre marks in the gravel on the other side of the fence..
But for all intents and purposes, it really was the block that time forgot.
There was a small wooden shed in the middle with windows that had been boarded up and a door which from where she was standing just outside the fence line had a rusted and disused lock.
She looked around, noting that two of the street side buildings were in such bad disrepair and had scaffolding that had begun to rust, an indication it had been there for some time.
An ideal place, she thought, to bulldoze and build luxury waterside apartments. The land itself would be worth a small fortune.
The question uppermost in her mind; what was both her father and her brother's connection to this place.
Having seen enough and no closer to finding any clues, she got in her car and drove off.
A minute or two later, after the car disappeared from view a man came out from a hidden doorway and dialled a number and waited.
When the call was answered he said, “The daughter was here. I thought you said the situation had been contained.”
He listened to the voice on the other end and said, “I'll see to it myself.”
© Charles Heath 2016-2019
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