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Enjoy a sample of my newest children’s chapter book, launching soon.
‘In Search of the Elusive Panda’
The Green Peak Canyon Expedition.
An antique gold picture frame.
“I’m not staying here a moment longer.” Kathy said to Tommy. “Sorry, but I’ve had that trawler up to my eyebrows! I should never have got on in the first place. I should have listened to Rory”
Tommy agreed, but it was his only way home so he was staying.
“Do you know anyone in this isolated place?” she asked.
“Mmm…” Tommy scratched his week-old bearded chin.
“As a matter of fact, I do.” he said after a few moments.
“Anyone that might be able to point me in the direction of the airport?” Kathy asked, hoping she had enough money to cover the cost of a flight out of Kandar to anywhere.
But she knew she would need help, so she told Tommy that going to the airport straight away was probably a waste of time. She had been trying to contact her parents, but there was still no answer. Now she was in a place with no reception. She’d have to find a way to get to Borneo by another means.
“Maybe. “Tommy answered, “but I don’t know how we get in to his place. There’s a big movie star with a mansion near the north of the island.”
“You mean you know of him, not actually personally know him?”
Tommy nodded. “But it’s worth a shot.”
“Okay.” Kathy was ready for anything that might help. “Let’s go,”
They walked around the lagoon where they had anchored the ‘Bonmarie’, and tried to find a tuk-tuk or some other means of transport. The local people watched them curiously. Kathy strode along determinedly, trying to work out a plan in her head as she walked. She didn’t have time to notice the scenery, the poverty around her, or the gorgeous temple in the distance.
Finally a smiling tuk-tuk driver stopped.
“Hello, you want ride?” he asked.
Kathy couldn’t believe her luck.
Tommy gave the driver some American dollars and told him something.
The driver’s face lit up.
“Okay, Mister,” he said grinning from ear to ear.
Kathy sat down and Tommy waved her goodbye.
“Good luck,” he said.
“You’re not coming with me?” Kathy wanted to get out and walk with him again.
“No,” Tommy pushed her gently back into the seat. “I’ve got to get back to the boat. You’ll be right. I told the driver to take you straight to Mr Redman’s mansion.”
The tuk-tuk driver began to move. Kathy twisted in her seat and watched as Tommy’s figure disappeared into the distance.
The gates to the mansion were impressive. High and ornate, large and heavy, they stood like monuments to a king in the midst of his downtrodden servants.
Kathy got out of the tuk-tuk and stood in awe, wondering how she could dare to enter.
The driver wandered over to the guard in the little booth at the side of the gate that Kathy hadn’t even noticed.
The two Indonesians had a lively conversation, hands waving and voices raised in the language only they could understand.
The driver sauntered back to her, as the gates majestically swung slowly open.
“There, Missy.” he said happily. “Hope it’s ok. Have a lovely day.”
He got in the little vehicle, turned it around and drove away, leaving Kathy standing, astounded, at the entrance. The guy in the booth waved at her, and she guessed she had better move inside so he could close the gates again.
As she walked along the immaculate driveway her sneakers crunched the gravel under her feet. She looked around. The gardens were magnificent, the flowers heady with perfume and the trees lush and tropical.
She gaped with awe at the house in front of her. It’s white walls dazzling in their beauty, the domes of the roof Indian in influence. The whole place was opulent and somehow out of place in the midst of a beautiful but decidedly poor island. She arrived at the massive carved front door of the building and knocked timidly. She felt out of place in her red t-shirt and denim shorts.
The door swung open immediately and she was welcomed in.
The woman who had opened the door was tall and slender. Her black hair, long and wavy, rippled over her shoulders and rustled the lemon silk of her dress.
“I’ll get Mr Redman for you, ma’am. Please sit down. I’m sure he won’t be long.”
Kathy sat carefully on the edge of a chair in the room, her backpack at her feet.
Various small tables held objects of great beauty – a vase here, a statuette there. Flowers from the garden enhanced a small shelf, displayed in a crystal vase. Above, in an antique gold photo frame, a dazzling portrait of an austere woman stared down at her.
Kathy felt a little overwhelmed and quite nervous. She dared not move – everything felt expensive and fragile.
She jumped, as a voice greeted her.
“Hello,” the voice was richly masculine. “What can I do for you?”
A handsome man in his late sixties, stood in front of her. She recognized him from the movies she’d seen.
“I…I…” She stuttered to a painful silence.