Category Archives: Serial

The Inklings: Chapter 105

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

As John approached his restaurant on Tuesday he noticed that Tim was already there. Tim was looking fidgety as he waited by the door and John realised that Tim must have been feeling anxious.

Before John unlocked the front door he stopped to show Tim which key to use. Then John showed Tim around the restaurant and tried to replicate the lessons his dad had given him six months ago, and as he did this John realised that he’d done quite well since then.

“I still do most things the way Dad did so you will probably find things working similar at the place Dad gives you” said John.

“Yeah, Dad is giving me another pizza place, but on the other side of the bridge” said Tim.

John had been fishing for information about the restaurant that Tim was going to get so Tim’s response was satisfying but it also unsettled John that Tim was going to be running the same kind of restaurant because it would make it easy to compare their success. John wondered whether the location of Tim’s restaurant would make it more valuable than his, but tried to not feel jealous.

“Let’s do the most fun part – make more pizza dough” said John and he started to open a large bucket of flour before adding “And maybe you can give me some advice. A friend of mine called Syafika is trying to find out about a guy she likes because he keeps doing strange things, like pretending to be other people and wearing disguises. His name is Anthony and he lives in a super expensive flat and he has secret meetings with people that Syafika works with. D’arby thinks Anthony might be spying for someone. Fanta reckons Anthony is a bit mad, but I think he’s up to something dodgy. Anyway, I reckon Syafika could be getting herself into trouble by trying to find out what Anthony’s up to. If he is a spy or a criminal he will probaly realise that she is checking up on him. What do you think?”

Tim let out a disappointed sigh. “I wish I was interesting enough for someone to want to spy on me” said Tim. “What’s Anthony got that I don’t?”

“He’s apparently very charming” said John. “And a fast runner. Syafika has been running everywhere, trying to get fast enough to catch him, I think”

“I want to meet Syafika” said Tim.

John didn’t like the sound of that at all. He could imagine what would happen if Tim met Syafika – it would be impossible for Syafika to know Tim without Tim eventually meeting Fanta.

“Syafika won’t want to meet anyone at the moment. She is too obsessed with Anthony. But maybe when she’s discovered that he is a cheating, lying criminal she’ll be ready to look elsewhere. Maybe you could help by giving her some gadgets to use to spy on him” said John.

“Didn’t I give you something like that for Christmas?” asked Tim.

John had anticipated this conversation and took out of his pocket what remained of the collection of tiny electronics that Tim had given him for Christmas.

“There’s a piece missing” said Tim.

“Yeah, I lost that piece last time I tried to help Syafika. She wanted to get back together with her boyfriend Vincent so D’arby and I hid it inside Vincent’s belt to make any radio he was near play music that reminded him of Syafika” said John.

“That was a clever plan!” said Tim. “But it mustn’t have worked, otherwise Syafika wouldn’t be chasing Anthony now”

“Yeah, that was a waste of time” said John. “Do you have another transmitter?”

“I have a whole box of them, but none in my pockets right now” said Tim. “What are you thinking of using it for this time? You do know it is illegal to use it to listen to people without their permission, don’t you?”

“I hadn’t thought about that” admitted John. “D’arby might have some ideas that aren’t illegal though”

“Ok, I’ll bring you another one tomorrow” said Tim. “But don’t do anything silly with it”

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The Inklings: Chapter 104

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

At 12:45pm Syafika left her desk to go and meet Anthony. She didn’t change into her running clothes this time because she was determined that she and Anthony were going to talk. As Syafika walked to the café in the Botanic Gardens she mentally rehearsed the list of questions that she and D’arby had come up with. D’arby seemed to think that Anthony was some kind of spy and told Syafika that she should pretend she knew what he was up to. Syafika was impressed with the way D’arby thought. Anthony being a spy would explain his disappearing, name changes and maybe even the wig. It also explained why Anthony had wanted Celine to work in her team – Celine must be another spy. What Syafika found disconcerting was that if Anthony was a spy he’d probably only had lunch and dinner with her to get information out of her. Syafika imagined that Anthony had a set of tricks similar to Celine’s and knew how to make people like him and think he was interested in them, when really he was only interested in what they knew.

At 1:10pm Anthony hadn’t arrived and Syafika started to think that he wouldn’t turn up. She decided that she’d continue to wait outside the café until 1:10pm and then she’d go inside and order herself some lunch. She wasn’t going to let Anthony completely ruin her lunchtime.

At 1:15pm Anthony still hadn’t arrived. Syafika looked in all directions to see if she could see him approaching but she couldn’t so she went inside and lined up to order herself something to eat. Syafika was very disappointed that Anthony hadn’t come and tried not to cry as she ordered one of the fancy salads. Then she noticed the chocolate cake and ordered a slice of it too.

“Same for me and I’ll pay for it all” said the person behind Syafika in the queue and Syafika jumped because it was Anthony.

“Thanks”said Syafika and tried not to show how happy she was to see Anthony. “You were so late I thought you weren’t coming”.

“I tried to call you lots of times to tell you I couldn’t get here until a quarter past, but your phone’s been off” said Anthony.

Syafika thought that was pretty funny and said “I hate mobile phones”.

Syafika and Anthony took their food to an outside table and sat down to eat.

“Why didn’t you call me sooner?” asked Anthony.

Syafika thought that was a ridiculous question and guessed that Anthony was trying to get her to reveal how she’d got his number.

“You didn’t make it easy to call you, especially when you only gave me a number that didn’t work” said Syafika.

“So how did you get a number that worked?” asked Anthony.

“I saw you with Celine, in your silly wig so I got your number from her” said Syafika.

“What did you tell Celine?” said Anthony.

Syafika could tell that Anthony was worried about what she had told Celine, or maybe about what Celine could have told her and thought it might be funny to let him think that she and Celine had discussed him but she didn’t think she’d be able to trick Anthony and so she kept closer to the truth.

“No, I took your number from Celine’s phone when she wasn’t looking” said Syafika.

Anthony looked relieved for a second, then started to look worried and Syafika guessed that he must have realised that he wouldn’t have been listed as ‘Anthony’ in Celine’s phone.

“But she has a nickname for me” said Anthony. “How did you know that?”

“Mr L?” said Syafika. “I didn’t know what Celine called you but because there was no ‘Anthony’ in her phone I wrote down all the names that sounded masculine. There was also a Mr X and a Mr Triangle”

Anthony didn’t look entirely convinced by Syafika’s explanation but didn’t say so.

“Now it’s my turn to ask you some questions” said Syafika. “What’s going on between you, Celine and Nelson? Is Celine spying for you? Do you want your old job back?”

Anthony looked frightened when Syafika mentioned Nelson and after a pause he answered “My old job back? No. Celine is just someone I went on some dates with and I knew Nelson when I was working there before. We sometimes catch-up” said Anthony.

Syafika didn’t enjoy hearing Anthony say that he’d been on dates with Celine because she was hoping that their relationship was professional, even if it was that they were both professional spies. Syafika tried to remember the exact words of the conversation she’d overheard between Anthony and Nelson so she could work out whether what Anthony said about him and Nelson being friends could be true. She remembered that Anthony had been pressuring Nelson to make sure that Celine got a job in her team. Syafika supposed that Anthony may have done that because he was in love with Celine, but if Anthony and Celine were in love then why hadn’t Celine spoken to Anthony when she’d seen him in the Botanic Gardens last week? And why had Celine told her that she was single?

“Where are you working now?” asked Syafika.

“Here and there. I mostly do short term contract work” said Anthony. “It gives me the flexibility to travel to see my Mum when I need to. She lives in Perth and she’s been quite sick lately”.

Syafika wasn’t satisfied with that answer. She wanted to know what kind of work Anthony was doing but knew that if he really was a spy he wouldn’t tell her. Syafika wondered whether she should bother asking how Anthony could afford his harbourside flat. She suspected that he’d just make up a story about having been given free rent by a relative or something. Syafika wondered what Celine would do in her situation, and then she remembered what Celine had taught her.

“Sorry to hear about your Mum” said Syafika. “What’s wrong with her? Is she going to be ok?”

Anthony looked relieved and started telling Syafika how his Mum had a heart problem that meant she got tired and dizzy easily. As Syafika listened to Anthony she looked at his eyes and imagined describing them to Celine. Anthony’s eyes were a greenish brown and Syafika wondered if that meant they should be called ‘hazel’.

“What’s Perth like? Did you grow up there?” Syafika asked Anthony and as Anthony told her how he had grown up in Perth and about all the places there he liked to go Syafika was busy working going through the rest of Celine’s list of observations.

“What are you doing tomorrow night?” asked Anthony. “Would you like to go out for dinner and a movie?”

Syafika was so happy she almost laughed. “Yes, I would like that” and they arranged the place and time. When they said goodbye Anthony gave Syafika a hug and she tried to work out what Anthony smelt like.

As Syafika walked back to work she looked at her watch and realised that it was 2:30pm.  She walked a bit faster and hoped she hadn’t missed anything important.


The Inklings: Chapter 103

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

Syafika rushed to work on Tuesday and worked diligently until Celine arrived, then she walked over to Celine’s desk.

“Will you come for a quick coffee with me after the meeting? I’d like to go back to the café and see the waiter again” said Syafika.

“Sure” said Celine, sounding pleased. Syafika noticed that Celine looked towards Fanta’s desk and thought Celine might have been checking to see whether Fanta looked jealous but Fanta was too busy reading to have noticed.

And so straight after the team meeting Syafika and Celine went to the café. When they arrived Celine noticed that the waiter who’d given Syafika the note wasn’t there and suggested they come back another day.

“But I saw him here when I walked past this morning on the way to work” said Syafika. “Maybe he’s just gone to the bathroom. I really need a coffee anyway. We can come back again tomorrow if he doesn’t turn up today”

Syafika was feeling proud of how she’d thought of a convincing lie so fast. She could see D’arby sitting at one of the tables and noticed that he was holding a mobile phone, which made Syafika feel like laughing because D’arby hated mobile phones more than she did – he didn’t have one and would normally have refused to even use one.

When they’d ordered their coffees Syafika lead Celine to the table next to D’arby’s, and sat down facing D’arby. This meant that Celine had to sit in the seat with her back to D’arby.

As soon as Celine was comfortable D’arby dialed her phone number. When Celine heard her phone ringing she took it out of her bag and answered.

“Hello?” said Celine. “Hello?” Celine looked at her phone screen and shook her head. “Someone called me from a private number and hung up as soon as I answered”

“Maybe it was a wrong number” said Syafika.

When Celine noticed the coffees being delivered to their table she put her phone back in her bag and was just about to take a sip of her coffee when D’arby rang her phone again. Celine sighed and answered but D’arby hung up again.

“Maybe they keep losing signal?” suggested Syafika.

“Maybe someone is trying to annoy me!” said Celine.

D’arby quickly sent Celine a text message that said “Why did you hang up?” Celine’s phone made a soft chiming sound when D’arby’s message arrived.

“I’m not going to read that” said Celine. “Stupid phone”

“It might be important. I don’t mind if you check it” said Syafika.

“No. I’m cross with my phone now” said Celine.

D’arby had to send another five messages before Celine’s curiosity grew large enough for her change her mind. Syafika watched as Celine unlocked her phone to check her text messges then Syafika deliberately picked up her coffee cup without taking a proper grip. The cup slipped out of her hand and spilt coffee all over the table

“Ow!” said Syafika, pretending she’d burnt her hand.

The next bit had been hard to plan because D’arby and Syafika could only guess what Celine and the waiter might do, but fortunately their behaviour suited the plan. The waiter rushed to get some ice for Syafika’s hand and Celine dropped her phone into her bag and rushed over to the counter to get some serviettes to wipe up the spilt coffee.

D’arby reached down into Celine’s bag and took her phone. He knew he only had seconds before the screen would lock so he quickly opened her Contacts and looked for a ‘Lawrence’, but there wasn’t one. There was only a ‘Mr L’. D’arby looked through the rest of Celine’s contacts and couldn’t see any sensible names. While Celine was wiping up the spilt coffee and the waiter was presenting Syafika with a bundle of ice wrapped in a tea towel D’arby discreetly copied down the numbers for Mr L, Mr X, Mr Triangle, Lion and Mouse. Then he carefully put Celine’s phone back in her bag.

“Would you like another coffee?” the waiter asked Syafika.

“No thanks, I feel so embarrassed that I just want to go. Thanks for offering though” said Syafika.

Celine was a bit annoyed because she’d been looking forward to drinking her coffee and the waiter could tell so he poured Celine’s coffee into a takeaway cup. Syafika insisted on paying the bill and while she was doing so D’arby walked past and dropped the phone he’d been using and a piece of paper into Syafika’s bag.

As they walked back to the office Syafika apologized to Celine and they organized to go for a coffee again the next day.

Back at the office Syafika did some work for about half an hour and then discreetly put D’arby’s phone and piece of paper into her pocket and headed for the bathroom. Syafika checked that the cubicles were all empty and then opened D’arby’s note. It said:

“There wasn’t a Lawrence in the phone so here are some possibles. Try them until you get him”

Underneath the note was a list of the phone numbers D’arby had copied from Celine’s contacts and ‘Mr L’ was first. “L for Lawrence” thought Syafika. “But what about T for Tucker?”. Syafika noticed there wasn’t a ‘Mr T’ on the list. Complicating Syafika’s thinking was the fact that when he’d been working with her, Anthony had gone by the name ‘Anthony Long’.

Syafika opened the phone D’arby had given her and tried ‘Mr L’ first.

“Hello?” said Anthony.

Syafika was so relieved that she didn’t have to call everyone on the list that she almost forgot what she was supposed to say.

“Hi. It’s me – Syafika. We really need to meet today. At lunchtime. I’ll wait for you at the café in the Botanic Gardens at 1pm. Ok?”

“What?” said Anthony. “What’s this about?”

“I can’t talk now. Will you be there at 1pm?” said Syafika.

“Ok” said Anthony.

Syafika quickly hung up, put the phone in her pocket and tried to look normal as she walked back to her desk.

As Syafika sat down she heard a funny tinkling sound and realised that the phone was ringing. She looked at the number and realised that Anthony was calling her back. Syafika couldn’t speak to Anthony there and didn’t know how to turn the phone off so she took the back off and removed the battery. Then she looked up to see who’d been watching her and was disappointed to see that Nelson and Celine were both looking at her.

“Sorry. New phone. I don’t know how to use it properly” said Syafika, hoping that she hadn’t stuffed everything up.

 


The Inklings: Chapter 102

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

As soon as D’arby woke up on Tuesday morning he went out the front to check for another parcel from Anthony and he was not disappointed. On the doorstep D’arby found an envelope with his name on it. He quickly opened it and found a letter that contained bank account details and said “You have three days to deposit $2,000,000”. This message made D’arby very angry and he was glad that RenewBank had other plans.

To keep up the façade for the other people spying on RenewBank, D’arby started his day at the official office before sneaking out and riding to the new office, which was a house that overlooked a park. D’arby wondered how Rudnika had been able to access such a nice place so quickly but didn’t want to ask questions because he knew he’d be offended if Rudnika wouldn’t answer him. Instead D’arby just showed Rudnika and Leopold Anthony’s note and told them about the plan he’d made with Syafika to get more information from Anthony.

“You will need to be very careful if you involve Syafika” said Rudnika. “And you know that you can’t tell her anything about what we are really up to”.

“I know. I don’t like misleading Syafika, but I haven’t told her anything about RenewBank or our trouble with Anthony. She just thinks I’m helping her find out information about Anthony because she wants to find out more about him. She has a crush on him and has noticed his mysterious behaviour” said D’arby.

“Do you trust Syafika? Are you sure she isn’t misleading you?” said Leopold.

“She’s a friend of a friend and she asked me to help her find out about Anthony months ago – before I even knew about RenewBank” said D’arby.

 


The Inklings: Chapter 101

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

After Syafika left Fanta stayed out the front to watch the rain, and John came out to join her.

“Why didn’t Syafika want to borrow an umbrella?” asked John.

“She said she felt like getting rained on” said Fanta. “I’m a bit worried about Syafika trying to find out more about Anthony. He tends to make her go a bit crazy”.

“Yes, I don’t like the sound of Anthony at all. I think he’s shifty. But maybe the sooner Syafika realizes that, the better” said John.

“I guess. Meeting up with Anthony probably isn’t any crazier than chasing him around the Botanic Gardens” said Fanta.

“Tomorrow I’m going to teach my brother Tim how to run the restaurant so he can manage it while I take the weekened off. And Emily has invited us to dinner on Saturday. We can sleep over if we want because her place is so far away” John told Fanta.

“That will be a nice change!” said Fanta. “What about Nancy and Ruby? Are they invited to Emily’s place or should I ask D’arby if he can babysit?”

John was mortified that he hadn’t thought about Fanta’s sisters.

“What would they prefer?” asked John.

“They would probably like to come” said Fanta.

And so John went to call Emily, who fortunately was was happy for Nancy and Ruby to come to dinner too. Then John went back out the front to tell Fanta, but she wasn’t there anymore. Back inside John bumped into D’arby, who was on his way to have a shower.

“You never told me what was in the parcel!” said John.

“Not a bomb!” said D’arby. “Just urgent work stuff”. D’arby felt really sad about having to keep the exciting things going on in his life a secret and hoped that one day soon he’d be able to tell John all about this adventure.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

The sound of heavy rain woke Fanta up early on Tuesday morning and she realised that rain was coming in through her open bedroom window. Fanta’s bedroom faced the street but because of the strong metal bars across the window she was not afraid to leave it open while she slept. As Fanta walked over to close the window a gust of wind blew the curtains open and Fanta thought she saw someone come in the front gate. She moved to the side of the window and peeped sideways through the gap in the curtain and saw someone leave an envelope on the doorstep. A car came along the street just as the mysterious delivery person turned to leave and in the light from the headlights Fanta caught a glimpse of a man who looked a lot like Anthony.

 


The Inklings: Chapter 100

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

It was raining when Syafika left Fanta’s place, but Syafika liked being outside in the rain. There was still a little bit of light in the sky when Syafika arrived home so she decided to have a look at how the runoff was flowing through the back garden. As Syafika walked out the back door she discovered that Festus had set up his tools under the back verandah and was making something from pieces of wood.

“What are you making?” Syafika asked.

“I’m making two wheelchair ramps for India so that Penny can get in the front and back doors of her house” said Festus.

“That’s nice of you. I hope Penny and Gina are able to feel comfortable at India’s house” said Syafika. Syafika couldn’t imagine how she would survive living with India and realised that Penny and Gina would have to put up with it for at least a year.

“India will be on her best behaviour. She feels responsible for the fire and car accidents because she’s the one who asked Gina to make sweet potato chips, and it was India’s friends who filled the street with parked cars” said Festus.

Syafika took off her shoes and paddled along the miniature river to the pond. She could hear frogs croaking but it was too dark to see them. Then Syafika heard Rose telling Festus to come inside and reminding him that it was the 15th of March. Syafika had forgotten it was the anniversary of her grandparent’s death. She rushed inside to have a quick shower before 9pm.

Every year at 9pm on 15th March Rose would select something from her parents’ music collection to play and everyone had to sit in silence and listen to it from start to finish. It was not something that Syafika looked forward too, but she endured it without complaint because she knew how important it was to Rose.

When Syafika came into the loungeroom Rose was carefully opening a box that held the CDs, cassettes and records. Ousman was next to Binta and trying to stick his head into the box to see what Rose would choose to play.

“Be careful Ousman. The records are very fragile and precious” said Syafika.

There was a rule about which music was chosen. Each year they would play what was at the front of the box and then put it at the back of the box and Rose would not let anyone change the order. If anyone wanted to play any of the music on any other day of the year Rose would have to supervise and make sure that the order was not changed.

At the front of the box there was a CD and Binta took it out. The cover had a picture of a man sitting at a piano on it. Ousman laughed at the man’s hair because it was parted down the middle and stuck out a bit at the sides.

“This is the pianist who got so carried away that he often played wrong notes” said Binta.

Syafika remembered how when she was a girl her piano teacher had often been cross at her for playing wrong notes and decided that she might enjoy this record.

Syafika looked at Mamadou to see what he thought of this ceremony because it was the first time he’d been there to take part. Mamadou looked happy and Syafika wondered whether all artists were obsessed with music.

Festus turned on the lamp near the CD player and turned off the overhead light. Syafika realised that she sitting in the darkest seat in the room and was glad because it meant she wouldn’t have to worry about her face giving away any of her thoughts.

The first piece of music was slightly familiar to Syafika but not something she’d ever tried to play so she wasn’t able to tell if the pianist made any mistakes. The left hand played the melody and the right hand ran up and down the keyboard making complicated patterns that Syafika suspected were beyond her ability. Syafika enojyed the piece and wondered whether her grandparents had hoped she would be able to play it one day.

The second piece was something Syafika had played, but never as beautifully. The pianist on the record was explaining something using music, as if he wasn’t able to talk but had something very important to say. When Syafika had played the piece she’d been so worried about keeping time and getting the notes right that she’d made it sound robotic.

Syafika looked at Ousman to see if he was getting bored. He had his eyes closed and was leaning against Binta. At first Syafika thought he’d fallen asleep but then he smiled and moved his head to the other side so Syafika realised he was just enjoying the music.

The third piece of music was a trio and something Syafika had heard her grandfather listening to many times. The violin’s cheerful start made tears come to Syafika’s eyes. She remembered her grandfather’s bushy eyebrows and couldn’t help crying. Then Syafika remembered a stream of other things, like the day she’d got stuck at the top of a pear tree and her grandmother had called out helpful instructions to guide her down, and the taste of the dark purple plums her grandparents had grown. Syafika wiped tears from her cheeks and tried not to sniffle too loudly.

The next piece was just for piano and not something Syafika remembered hearing before. It reminded her of running up a hill and her mind drifted to other things. Syafika realised she missed being a kid who had nothing much to worry about apart from music lessons and she realised that she missed her piano teacher too.  Next Syafika remembered the photo of Anthony that D’arby had shown her that evening and the plans they’d made for her to contact Anthony. She realised how much she enjoyed being part of a plan that involved team work. It had been fun to spy on Anthony by herself, but also a bit too scary for comfort. Now that D’arby, Fanta and John were involved Syafika thought she would be able to relax and enjoy the adventure more.

When Syafika realised that instead of listening to the music she’d been thinking about Anthony and she decided that she’d give her full attention to the music for the rest of the CD. So Syafika spent the next half hour thinking only about the music she was listening to and she enjoyed it so much that when it was over she was disappointed.

When Festus turned the light on Syafika realised that Amanda was sitting on the floor near the door and looking really sad. When Amanda noticed that Syafika was looking at her she dashed out of the room and up the stairs so fast that Syafika wasn’t sure she’d really seen her.

Nobody else in the room mentioned Amanda and Syafika wondered whether they’d even noticed her. Ousman asked whether they could listen to music like that more often but Syafika didn’t wait to hear what Rose and Binta would say because she didn’t want anyone to notice that her eyes were red from crying. She said “Goodnight” and went to her room without looking back.


The Inklings: Chapter 99

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

D’arby couldn’t help running the last kilometre of his trip home. He was anxious to find out if he was right that Lawrence the spy was also Syafika’s Anthony.

When D’arby burst in the front door Fanta came out of the kitchen and whispered for him to be quiet, then pointed towards the chair where John was sleeping.

D’arby quietly opened his backpack and took out an enlarged copy of the photo on Lawrence’s license.

“Is this Anthony?” D’arby asked Fanta.

Fanta looked at the photo carefully and then said “I think it is him, but you should ask Syafika to be sure. I only saw him once, and he was running pretty fast. But why on earth do you want to know?”

D’arby hated that he couldn’t tell Fanta what was going on. “I decided I would try to find out what Anthony is up to afterall” said D’arby.

“Where did you get that photo?” asked Fanta.

“I’m not supposed to say” said D’arby. “Is Syafika coming for dinner tonight? I’d really like to show her the photo”

“She is. I will call her to see if she can come early” said Fanta. She had never seen D’arby looking so excited and didn’t want him to have to wait any longer than necessary.

The stress of the fire on Saturday had left Syafika mentally exhausted and she was not enjoying being at work on Monday, so when Fanta called to ask Syafika to come early for dinner she was happy to oblige. Syafika turned off her computer and went downstairs to change into her running clothes. The clothes were still damp with sweat from Syafika’s lunchtime run but she decided that being a bit smelly was a fair price to pay for getting to Fanta’s place a bit faster. Syafika started running as soon as she came out the front door of her office building and smiled to herself because she looked and felt like she was running away from work.

When Syafika arrived at Fanta’s house John answered the door and Syafika thought he looked like he’d just woken up.

D’arby was in the kitchen making salad to go with leftover pumpkin soup and bread. Fanta and her sisters were in the backyard taking the washing off the clothesline because it looked like it was about to rain.

Syafika went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and caught D’arby muttering to himself.

“I want to show you something” said D’arby and he quickly washed and dried his hands before going to get the photo of Lawrence.

“That’s Anthony!” said Syafika as soon as she saw the photo.

“I thought so” said D’arby. “I just have to make a quick phone call and I’ll be back in a minute” said D’arby and he rushed to the phone to call Rudnika.

“I was right” said D’arby to Rudnika.

“Ok. See what else you can find out and I’ll see you tomorrow” said Rudnika.

Syafika was still looking at the photo of Anthony when D’arby returned to the kitchen.

“Where did you get this?” Syafika asked.

“I can’t say” said D’arby. “But I’ll help you find out more about Anthony if you like”

“Why now? A couple of months ago when I suggested we spy on him you and the others thought it was a dangerous idea” said Syafika. She’d been feeling a bit hurt ever since.

“I realised I should have been more helpful” said D’arby. “Tell me what else you want to know about Anthony”

Syafika didn’t want to tell D’arby that she wanted to know if Anthony had a girlfriend so she tried to think of other things she’d like to know and eventually said “I’d like to know how he can afford to live in a flat with harbour views and where he really went last year when he said he was moving to Perth. And I’d like to know where he works now, and why he pretends to be someone called Lawrence and has meetings with Celine and Nelson from work”

D’arby couldn’t help smiling when he heard all this information, even though he’d heard most of it before, because this time it made sense and he no longer thought that Syafika was making it up. D’arby really wanted to give Syafika some answers but knew he had to be careful. Then D’arby had what he thought was a brilliant idea. “Why don’t you organize to meet up with Anthony and just ask him all your questions?”

“I don’t know how to contact him” said Syafika. “I don’t have his current phone number”.

“Nelson must have it though” said D’arby.

“And so does Celine” said Syafika. “I saw her put it in her mobile phone”.

“What’s going on?” asked John as he walked into the kitchen with a fresh teatowel.

“Do you know anything about mobile phones?” D’arby asked John.

“Only how to steal them” said John.


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