Tag Archives: Anthony

The Inklings: Chapter 125

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

After D’arby had spoken to Syafika he suddenly felt very tired so he decided to have a brief sleep before he called her back to see what she’d discovered in Anthony’s flat, but instead D’arby fell into a deep sleep and didn’t wake up until the sun had come up.

When D’arby did wake up he felt really sick, so instead of calling Syafika straight away he went to the bathroom to vomit in the toilet. Then D’arby called Syafika’s mobile phone and waited nervously as it rang.

“Hello?” said Syafika.

“It’s me – D’arby. How’d you go?” asked D’arby.

“Good. I’m just walking home now. Do you want to meet up?” said Syafika.

“Ok. Can you pass by our place on your way home?” asked D’arby.

“Ok” said Syafika.

“Good. Before you go – what’s Anthony’s flat number?” asked D’arby.

“63 on level 7” answered Syafika”, feeling proud of herself for having memorized it. “Why do you want to know?”

“I want to find out how owns it” said D’arby. Then to change the topic D’arby added “I think I caught your tummy bug”

“Oh no!” said Syafika. “Sorry!”

“Don’t worry. I wonder whether Anthony will catch it too” said D’arby.

When D’arby had finished talking to Syafika he remembered that he should have asked her what she’d done with the transmitter. Then D’arby realised that he could find out whether the transmitter was working by turning the receiver on.

D’arby picked up the tiny receiver and attached some headphones. He couldn’t hear anything so he checked the settings but still heard nothing so he took the headphones off and went to tell Fanta that Syafika was coming over.

D’arby found Fanta sitting at the dining table and packing library books into Ruby’s school bag.

“John is making pancakes” said Ruby when she saw D’arby. “Do you want some?”

“I’m too sick to eat pancakes today” said D’arby.

“Why?” asked Fanta.

“I think I caught the same tummy bug as Syafika” said D’arby.

“Don’t give the germs to me please” said Fanta and she leant away from D’arby.

“I’ll take care to wash my hands well” said D’arby. “Syafika is going to pass here on her way home. She is on her way now”

“How is she?” asked Fanta.

“Feeling better” said D’arby. “I’ll go and wait for her out the front so I don’t breathe any germs onto your pancakes”

D’arby went and sat down on the front steps to wait for Syafika. He was feeling very tired but doubted he’d get time to rest that day because he was supposed to organize to meet Anthony, and he should report what had been happening to RenewBank.

When Syafika came walking along D’arby thought she looked pleased with herself and couldn’t wait to hear what she’d discovered about Anthony.

Syafika smiled when she saw D’arby waiting for her.

As Syafika came in the front gate Fanta and her sisters came out the front door on their way to school.

“I wish I could stay and hear about your adventure but we are already late” said Fanta. “What if we visit you this afternoon?”

“That’s fine” said Syafika.

“Come inside” said D’arby and he led Syafika to the dining room where they found John clearing the table. The sight of leftover pancakes made D’arby feel sick. “I’ll be back soon” said D’arby and he rushed to the bathroom to vomit. On his way back to Syafika he picked up the receiver, a set of small speakers, a pen and a notebook.

When D’arby got back to the dining room John was bringing Syafika a cup of tea.

“I heard you vomiting” said Syafika.”How many times have you vomited now?”

“Only twice” said D’arby.

“I was better after four” said Syafika. “So maybe you just have two to go”

John looked alarmed at the talk of vomits. “I don’t want to catch that. It would be terrible if I infected people who came to my restaurant” said John. “They’d think I’d given them food poisoning”

“If you get it you’ll have to stay home until you’ve been better for 48 hours” said D’arby.

“I better call Tim and put him on notice that I might need him to run the restaurant for a few days” said John and he walked to the phone.

D’arby sat down at the dining table and opened his notebook. He could see that Syafika was enjoying her cup of tea and couldn’t wait until he felt better.

“Did you hide the transmitter at Anthony’s place?” asked D’arby.

“Yes. I hid it inside the collar of his jacket” said Syafika. “But I think he might know I did it. He knew I’d been sneaking around and I don’t know how. Maybe he has secret cameras and was watching me from his room”

“I tried listening to it before but I didn’t hear anything” said D’arby

“Anthony went out when I left and he wasn’t wearing the jacket so maybe you didn’t hear anything because there wasn’t anything to hear in his empty flat” said Syafika.

“Let’s try again now. He might have gone home again” said D’arby and he plugged the speakers into the receiver.

D’arby and Syafika listened carefully for a minute or so. They could hear faint noises that could have been someone moving around. D’arby pictured Anthony sitting in his flat reading a book and realised that they could listen for hours and not hear anything.

“Why don’t you call him” suggested D’arby. “Then if he is at home when he answers we should hear that on our speaker. If we don’t hear anything then you can try to find out whether he is at home. If he is home and we can’t hear him we will know that the transmitter isn’t working. If he is still out we won’t know anything”

“Ok” said Syafika and she took out her mobile phone. She still didn’t like using it and hoped it wasn’t going to become a habit. Syafika rang Anthony’s number and waited.

After a couple of seconds the sound of a mobile phone ringing came out of the speaker. D’arby quickly turned the receiver off so Anthony wouldn’t hear them listening to him if he answered.

“Hello” said Anthony.

“It’s Syafika” said Syafika. “Are you ok? I hope you didn’t catch my tummy bug”

“I’m not ok actually. I had to come home because I feel nauseous. I haven’t vomited yet, but I think I’m going to soon” said Anthony.

“Sorry!” said Syafika. “Will you be ok?”

“I’ll be fine” said Anthony. “I’ll just have to stay home today”

“I’ll let you go and rest. Take care! Call me if you need anything” said Syafika.

“Ok. Bye” said Anthony and he hung up.

“He sounds cranky” said Syafika.

D’arby imagined Anthony was going to get even crankier later that day.

After Syafika left D’arby tried to plan the rest of his day. He needed to meet up with Anthony and give him the bad news that RenewBank wouldn’t be paying him any money and he also needed to call Rudnika and give her an update. What stopped D’arby doing anything straight away was that he was starting to feel nauseous again. To hurry things up D’arby drank a large glass of water. Not long after he had to rush to the toilet to vomit.

D’arby washed his face and hands thoroughly and then he called Anthony.

“Hello” said Anthony. “Who is this?”

“It’s D’arby” said D’arby.”We need to talk about your letter – let’s meet up this morning”

“I’ll be at the Rose Garden in the Botanic Gardens in 30 minutes” said Anthony, and he hung up without waiting to hear what D’arby thought of the plan.

D’arby wondered how he’d manage to get to the Botanic Gardens and back without vomiting, but realised that the worst that could happen was that he’d vomit in public.

Before D’arby left he called Rudnika. When D’arby told her about the plan to meet Anthony Rudnika said “Make it clear that we won’t be paying. And see what you can find out from him. Then I want you to use your judgement – if you think that he is at all reasonable or trustworthy offer him a job at RewewBank”

“What would he be doing?” asked D’arby.

“I’m not sure yet, but I’d rather keep him close. He may be useful in the next couple of months” said Rudnika.

D’arby didn’t like the sound of working with Anthony.

“But if we offer him a job mightn’t that sound like we are agreeing to pay him but want to call it something else?”

“That’s why you’ll need to choose your words carefully” said Rudnika.”First make it clear that we won’t be blackmailed but also show that we are not against him – he must have his reasons for what he has done. If you think his reasons are at all justifiable or that there is anything good in him, then offer him a job, but make it clear that he will be paid for doing work for us, not for keeping quiet. Basically be as friendly as you can about refusing to pay him and try to keep him talking as long as you can”

D’arby felt stressed after he finished talking to Rudnika. He was worried about how to talk to Anthony and he was worried he wouldn’t get to the meeting on time. D’arby got out his bike and as he started riding he began to calm down. He decided to not plan what he was going to say and that he wouldn’t look at his watch because he knew that Anthony would wait for him if he was late – their meeting was too important for Anthony not to wait.

D’arby dismounted at the entrance to the Botanic Gardens feeling a bit annoyed that there was a sign prohibiting bike riding, but he tried to stay cheerful and calm as he walked his bike to the Rose Garden.

As D’arby approached the meeting place he saw Anthony sitting on a seat and looking sick.

D’arby nodded at Anthony and as he sat down on the seat beside him he realised that he wasn’t going to enjoy giving Anthony bad news.

“You look like you are about to vomit” said D’arby.

Anthony couldn’t reply because he was too busy rushing off to vomit behind a shrub.

“You were right” said Anthony as he sat back down next to D’arby.

“I might need to vomit soon too. I’ve vomited twice since I woke up” said D’arby.

“That was my second time” said Anthony.

“You will probably feel ok for at least half an hour. We should make the most of this time” said D’arby. “I may as well let you know straight away that RenewBank isn’t going to pay you for keeping quiet. You can tell who you like about our secret office”

Anthony kept his face calm but D’arby was sure that inside he’d be feeling cross at what he’d just heard.

“It isn’t just about your secret office” said Anthony. “I will easily be able to find your new secret office and I can tell whoever pays me what ever they want to know about RenewBank. Nothing will be secret”

“I know this is your job, and that you are good at it” said D’arby. “But we’d rather not keep our secrets than be blackmailed. If you don’t tell people what you know this week, you might tell them next week.”

“I won’t. One payment is all I need and I won’t tell anyone ever” said Anthony.

“Who is your client anyway?” asked D’arby.

“If you paid I’d tell you, but I won’t say anything about my client otherwise” said Anthony.

“How can we trust that you are telling us the truth when we know you are double-crossing your client?” asked D’arby. “Why would you make us the offer anyway?”

“Because I like RenewBank more than I like my client. I want to help” said Anthony.

“But why make us pay you then?” asked D’arby. “If you want to help RenewBank, why not just lie to your client?”

“They only pay for results and I really need the money” said Anthony. “I want to get out of the game but to do that I have to buy myself out – I need the money to get out”

“Why do you need to buy your way out?” asked D’arby. “And why now?”

“I want to settle down and start a family but my life is not compatable with that while I’m doing this work. Family is a weakness – anything you care about can be used against you – people can threaten them. I can’t just leave because I know too much. I know dangerous secrets. I need money so I can disappear and start again somewhere else” said Anthony.

D’arby wondered how Syafika fitted in with Anthony’s plans – was he thinking of settling down with her? Did he expect her to run away with him? D’arby wondered whether he should tell Syafika this, then realised that maybe Anthony was telling him lies to make him think it would be worth paying him to stay quiet. D’arby decided he wouldn’t tell Syafika anything Anthony said unless he was sure it was true. If what Anthony was saying was true then D’arby felt sorry for him and wished he could help him.

“You could always work for RenewBank instead” said D’arby. “It doesn’t pay as much, but it would be an honest way out”

“How would you protect me though” asked Anthony.

“Not sure” said D’arby. “Maybe we could hide you. Maybe you should think about how we could help you and tell us”

“What work would I be doing?” asked Anthony.

“Not sure about that either. You might have a better idea than me. I’m just the messenger” said D’arby. “What could you do for us?”

Anthony didn’t reply for a few minutes and D’arby could tell that he was thinking.

“I could tell you who your enemies are and who your friends are” said Anthony. “And I could find out things about your enemies”. I am very good at my job. You probably know how many people were trying to find out about RenewBank and I was the only one who discovered anything” said Anthony. “Now I know all about RenewBank”

Anthony paused for a while and D’arby could tell that he was thinking again.

“Wait a minute” said Anthony. “Isn’t this just a trick to keep me quiet for much less money?”

“You don’t have to keep quiet though. That’s not a condition” said D’arby.

“Yes, but if I am relying on RenewBank to protect me then it would be stupid for me to tell anyone your secrets” said Anthony.

“If you know all about RenewBank, why didn’t you anticipate this move?” said D’arby, in a tone that he hoped showed he was joking.

“I should have” said Anthony. “Give me two days to consider what you’ve said and I’ll let you know what I decide – or I might propose a different deal”

“Right. Ok” said D’arby. “Just out of interest, why did you choose RenewBank?”

“What do you mean?” asked Anthony.

“I don’t believe you have a client. I think you just decided to find out about RenewBank. Why?” asked D’arby.

Anthony smiled and looked into the distance when said “I will get back to you in a couple of days but I want to go now so I get home before I vomit again”

As D’arby watched Anthony get up and walk away he felt quite satisfied with the way the conversation had gone.


The Inklings: Chapter 123

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

Syafika woke up shivering and realised that she didn’t have a blanket over her. She put her hand out and searched for one in the dark but couldn’t find one. Then she realised that she didn’t know where she was sleeping. She thought she could see the shape of a bedside lamp so she put her hand out and felt for a switch. The lamp turned on automatically when she touched it and Syafika saw that she was lying on a bed, on top of the blankets.

It took Syafika a few seconds to remember where she was and why she was there. Her stomach felt better now but she was thirsty so she got up to get a glass of water. When Syafika passed the door of the main bedroom she could hear snoring so she tried to walk as quietly as possible. Syafika gently opened cupboards in the kitchen as she looked for a glass. She found neat stacks of bowls and plates, a modest pantry and a juicing machine before she came across the cups and glasses.

Syafika took her glass of water and walked around the flat. First she looked out at the harbour and noticed that there were no boats moving around. Then she noticed a flash of lightning and as she watched it start to rain she hoped that D’arby had followed her instructions and gone home.

When Syafika remembered D’arby she remembered that she’d met up with Anthony for a purpose. Syafika realised she should look be looking for clues to what Anthony was up to and imagined she might find some on his computer or phone or maybe some paperwork. Then Syafika remembered the transmitter D’arby had given her and wondered where she could hide it. Syafika decided to go back to her room to get the transmitter from her bag but on the way she noticed a door to another room. She turned the door handle slowly and gently, then stopped to listen. When Syafika heard Anthony’s snoring she decided it was safe to continue. She went inside the room and turned on the light.

Inside the room there was a desk, bookshelf and a couple of filing cabinets. The filing cabinets were locked but the desk drawers weren’t. Syafika had a quick look in them but only found stationery. Syafika wondered where Anthony kept the key to the filing cabinets. There wasn’t anywhere obvious to hide a key so she felt the top of the bookshelf but only found dust. Syafika sighed with frustration and wished she’d taken more notice of what was in Anthony’s room when she’d walked through to go to the balcony. Syafika considered trying to creep into Anthony’s room to have a look for his phone or computer, but when she imagined how embarrassed she’d feel if he woke up Syafika decided not to.

Instead Syafika went back to her room and got the transmitter then walked around the living room with it looking for somewhere to put it, but she couldn’t decide on a good spot because all the good hiding places were so out of the way that they probably wouldn’t pick up anything Anthony said and she didn’t want to risk putting it somewhere where Anthony would find it. Syafika was about to give up and go back to bed when she noticed a jacket hanging on the back of the door. Syafika took the jacket down and inspected it. She decided that the collar would be a great spot to hide the transmitter so she quietly got a sharp knife from the kitchen and cut a few of the stitches joining the underside of the collar to the jacket. Then she tured the transmitter on, slid it inside the collar and hung the jacket back up.

After Syafika returned the knife to the kitchen she went back to bed and lay there feeling exhausted but also guilty for not having made the most of this opportunity to look throught Anthony’s things.

Not long after Syafika fell asleep again she was woken by the sound of her phone ringing. She turned the light on and saw that her bag was on the bedside table so she quickly took out her phone and answered.

“Hello?” said Syafika. She was really curious to know who was calling because she didn’t think anyone but Anthony knew her number.

“Are you alright?” asked D’arby.

“Yes” said Syafika. “I feel much better now”.

“What are you doing?” asked D’arby.

“I was sleeping” said Syafika.

“What is Anthony doing?” asked D’arby.

“Sleeping, I guess” said Syafika and she realised that she couldn’t hear him snoring anymore.

“Have you had a look around?” asked D’arby.

“Yes but he hasn’t left anything accessible” said Syafika.

“Are you sure? Why don’t you have another look? What about in his room?” asked D’arby.

“I’m not going in there. He might wake up and catch me” said Syafika.

“You could make an excuse if he wakes up. Tell him you were looking for headache tablets” said D’arby.

Syafika sighed loudly and decided that D’arby was right and she should be making more of this opportunity.

“Ok” said Syafika. “I will do it now. Bye”

Syafika sat and listened for the sound of Anthony’s snoring but couldn’t hear anything. She had a really bad feeling about sneaking into his room and realised that she ought to be able to come up with a better plan. Syafika concentrated on her breathing until she felt calm. Them she got up and gently knocked on Anthony’s bedroom door.

When there was no answer Syafika knocked again and this time she thought she heard something so she gently opened the door and walked in.

Anthony turned on his bedside lamp and sat up in bed, looking a bit startled.

“Sorry to wake you but I have a terrible headache. Do you have something I could take?” asked Syafika. As she said this Syafika felt guilty, but not as guilty as she’d have felt if she had been sneaking around Anthony’s room in the dark. Syafika noticed that Anthony looked different when he was half asleep. His hair was sticking up messily and he seemed to be having trouble registering what she was saying.

Anthony briefly covered his face with his hands as his eyes adjusted to the light. Then he nervously scratched his hair. Syafika made the most of this opportunity to have a discreet look around the room. She noticed that Anthony’s phone was on his bedside table and so she sat down on the floor next to the bedside table and held her head.

“Ok. Just a minute” said Anthony and he got up and left the room. Syafika waited a couple of seconds and then grabbed Anthony’s phone, but soon realised that was a waste of time because it was locked and needed a fingerprint to unlock it.

Syafika put the phone back and, realising that it would take a lot more planning for her to be able to steal Anthony’s secrets, but that there was one thing she could have a go at – she could see what Anthony would tell her.

When Anthony came back he handed Syafika a glass of water and then put two tablets in her other hand.

“Thanks” said Syafika and she put the tablets in her mouth then pretended to take a sip of water and swallow. She had a thing against headache tablets and didn’t want to take them, even when she really did have a headache. When Anthony looked away Syafika spat the tablets into her hand and stood up.

“Will you be ok now?” asked Anthony.

Syafika looked at Anthony and wondered whether she should try to talk to him now or in the morning. She thought he seemed a little bit annoyed at being woken up, which made Syafika think it would be better to wait until the morning. But at the same time, Anthony’s tiredness made him less sharp and Syafika thought she’d have a better chance of getting information out of him now.

Syafika sat down on the corner of Anthony’s bed and sighed loudly.

“This game was fun, for a while, but I’m getting sick of it. Why don’t we both admit we are spying on each other and just tell each other what we would like to know – it would save a lot of time” said Syafika.

Anthony suddenly perked up. He sat down next to Syafika, put his arm around her and said “That sounds like fun. Let’s make some coffee and then we can talk until the sun comes up”. Then Anthony got up and went to the kitchen. Syafika waited behind so she could throw the headache tablets under Anthony’s bed, then she followed Anthony to the kitchen, feeling terrified.

Syafika watched Anthony grind coffee beans and put them into a stovetop percolator.

“I need to watch the temperature carefully and it takes a while so please forgive my silence until the coffee is made” said Anthony. “If you think it is too boring you can go and try unlocking my filing cabinets again. The key is hidden in that room somewhere. See if you can find it”

Syafika’s face became hot with embarrassment and she felt like hiding in one of the kitchen cupboards but instead she had to look Anthony in the eye.

Anthony smiled and took a small digital voice recorder out of his pocket. When he pressed the button it started making a snoring sound.

“Don’t worry. I’m not angry. I would have done the same if you’d let me sleep at your place” said Anthony. “Plus I know D’arby made you do it”.

Syafika tried to hide her surprise when she heard Anthony mention D’arby and wondered how Anthony knew who D’arby was. If Syafika hadn’t been about to bluff her way through a secret-trading session with Anthony she would have asked him how he knew D’arby, but instead she tried to look as if she already knew.

Syafika walked over to the look at the harbour, and on the way she noticed Anthony’s jacket hanging on the back of the door and wondered if Anthony also knew about her hiding the transmitter in the collar. As Syafika looked out the window she noticed that it had stopped raining but she could still see lightning in the distance. Syafika realised that her heart was beating really fast and tried to calm down by staring at the water and not thinking about anything.

“Coffee’s ready” said Anthony and he carried the coffees over on a tray and put it down on the coffee table. Syafika sat down on a chair that was facing the window and Anthony sat opposite her. When she looked at the tray it reminded her of the tea that Ousman had made for her at breakfast time, and she felt like that was a million years ago. Syafika saw that Anthony had made her a coffee with milk and had sprinkled chocolate powder on top and he’d made himself a black coffee.

“It was your idea, so you go first. Tell me something” said Anthony.

“Wouldn’t you rather ask a question?” said Syafika.

“Asking questions is a more dangerous version of the game. I don’t think you’re ready for that level yet” said Anthony.

“I’m not ready? Or is it just that you think you’d be able to control the information you give me more tightly if I can’t ask for the things I want to know?” said Syafika.

“Both” said Anthony. “Go, before the sun comes up. When we see the sun, we stop”.

“Ok” said Syafika. “Today… I mean yesterday, Celine and I went for coffee and we talked about you”

Anthony tried to keep his face blank but Syafika could tell that what she’d said had made him angry.

“That’s not much information” said Anthony, and not what I wanted to know. I don’t follow you to see who you go for coffee with”

Syafika wanted to smile but couldn’t. She was pleased with herself for having made Anthony admit that he’d been following her.

“Sorry. I’ll think of something more interesting next time it is my turn. Your turn now” said Syafika.

“Nelson is a psychopath” said Anthony.

Syafika hadn’t expected that. She had heard D’arby talk about psychopaths but didn’t really know what they were.

“Your turn” said Anthony.

“According to Nelson, Christine is helping the Minister steal money” said Syafika.

“That is more interesting” said Anthony. “But you shouldn’t trust anything Nelson says”.

“Who can I trust?” asked Syafika.

“You should trust Christine” said Anthony. “That was my turn. Now it’s your turn”

Syafika was glad to hear that she could trust Christine because she liked Christine, but she realised she liked Nelson too.

Syafika felt like she’d run out of things to say that might be of interest to Anthony professionally and she couldn’t stop wondering why Anthony had been following her – had he been doing that for his work? Or was he following her because he was personally interested in her? She was tempted to admit that she was obsessed with him but frightened of how he’d react.

“Let me think for a minute” said Syafika. “I need to take in what you’ve said and work out what I should tell you next”

Syafika realised that she needed to rethink everything she’d assumed about Anthony. She’d assumed that he was interested in her because he wanted to know what was going on at her work, and that Anthony was interested in what went on at work because he was involved in some kind of corruption. She’d also assumed that Nelson and Celine were working as spies for Anthony, but if Anthony had two spies, why would he risk trying to find out information from her? Hearing that Anthony thought Nelson was a psychopath and that he thought she could trust Christine made Syafika realise that Anthony didn’t trust Nelson. The way Anthony had got angry when she told him she’d had coffee with Celine made Syafika suspect that Anthony didn’t trust Celine much either. If all that were true then maybe Anthony tried to find out information from her because he trusted her more than he trusted his spies. That seemed like a sensible explanation but it didn’t explain how Anthony knew D’arby, or why Anthony had followed her home.

Syafika wondered what interest Anthony could have in D’arby and remembered that D’arby had started a new job recently but she didn’t know what the job was. When Syafika thought about how D’arby had suddenly become interested in spying on Anthony she wondered whether D’arby might also have his own reason for spying on Anthony. But even if that were true, what business did Anthony have following her home?

Syafika wanted to think that Anthony had followed her home because he was in love with her, but she forced herself to think through other possibilities and realised that there was another reason that Anthony would follow her home – what if Anthony was spying on her because he wanted to find out something about her family? What if Anthony hadn’t been following her when he saw her running barefoot – what if he’d been spying on her house and saw her arrive home? When Syafika thought of her family the idea that Anthony would want to know anything about any of them seemed ridiculous because none of them ever did anything suspicious, until she remembered how she’d followed Rose and had seen her give a bundle of cash to a lady who lived in the park near the train station.

“Ok. I’ve got one. I saw my Mum give a bundle of $50 notes to a lady who lives in the park near the train station” said Syafika. Syafika paid careful attention to Anthony’s face as she said this because she was using it as bait and hoping that his reaction would tell her whether he was interested in knowing about her family or not.

Anthony opened his mouth slightly, as if he wanted to ask a question but he didn’t say anything. He just stared at Syafika.

Syafika held Anthony’s gaze for a couple of seconds and then it became too uncomfortable so she glanced over his shoulder and noticed that the sky was getting lighter.

“I think the sun is coming up” said Syafika. Can we watch it from the balcony?”


The Inklings: Chapter 121

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

When Syafika arrived at Anthony’s flat she was only interested in getting to the toilet because she knew she was going to vomit soon. Syafika was glad that Anthony didn’t follow her into the bathroom. Syafika knelt down beside the toilet and waited for the next wave of nausea. When she’d vomited she rinsed her mouth and washed her face. Syafika discovered that Anthony was sitting on the floor just outside the bathroom door.

“I bet you think this is fun!” said Syafika. She always felt quite good just after she’d vomited, but knew that she’d start feeling sick again soon.

“It is less predictable than the movie we were watching” said Anthony. “What do you think made you sick?”

“Food poisoning or a tummy bug I guess” said Syafika, without giving much thought to what she was saying because she was too busy worrying that her parents would get home and not know where she was.

“Maybe you picked up some germs while running barefoot” said Anthony.

“Maybe. Hey, I need to try calling my parents again” said Syafika.

“But you can stay here” said Anthony.

“Thanks, I know, I will. I just need to tell them where I am” said Syafika.

Syafika got out her phone and called her home number. As she listened to it ringing she realised she was feeling angry with Anthony for having commented on her running barefoot. A couple of seconds later Syafika realised that if Anthony had seen her running barefoot he must have seen her running yesterday and wondered if he’d been following her. She wondered whether Anthony had meant to reveal that he’d seen her yesterday or whether it was an accident. When the answering machine answered the phone Syafika decided she didn’t want to have to keep ringing so she left a quick message about being sick and staying at a friend’s house.

“My parents still aren’t home so I left a message. Now they won’t worry when they come home and I’m not there” said Syafika.

“Good. Now you can relax” said Anthony. “Would you like something to drink? You probably need to rehydrate. Would you like some water with ice and lemon?”

“Thanks, that would be nice” said Syafika.

“Have a look at the view while I make it” said Anthony.

Syafika looked around and realised that the flat had large windows and a balcony on the harbour side so she went to have a look, but what she most wanted to do was see if there was a balcony facing the Botanic Gardens. She was hopeful that there was because when they came in she’d noticed that this was the only flat at the southern end of the floor.

“Wow! Do you have a view of the Botanic Gardens too?” asked Syafika.

“Yes, there’s a balcony off the main bedroom – go and have a look if you like” said Anthony.

Syafika tried not to look suspicious as she walked across the flat. She was aware that D’arby would be confused about what to do because he was supposed to keep watch over her and she suspected that he would be standing outside the door of the building and wondering what he should do. Syafika considered trying to sneak D’arby into Anthony’s flat but realised it was beyond her deceptive abilities.

Syafika turned on the balcony light and went out, closing the door behind her. Even though it was dark she could tell that the view on this side was amazing. She wasn’t a fan of the busy waterfront and would prefer to look over the Botanic Gardens. Syafika looked down to see if D’arby was there and noticed that someone was waving at her – it was D’arby. Syafika was very relieved to see D’arby and yelled out that he should go home because she was going to stay the night. When he said he’d stay outside she thought he was being ridiculous and told him to go. Then she hurried back inside because she knew it wouldn’t take Anthony long to make her drink.


The Inklings: Chapter 115

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

Syafika watched the clock all afternoon and when it was finally time to leave she rushed off to change into her running clothes. They were damp and stinky from her run in the rain that morning but Syafika didn’t mind – she wanted to get home as soon as possible so she could take her time getting ready for her date.

When Syafika got home there was nobody there. There was a note on the fridge saying that everyone had gone to India’s place to install the ramp and plan the street meeting. They were going to have dinner there, and there were leftovers in the fridge that Syafika could have. Syafika realised that she hadn’t told her parents about her date that night and decided she’d leave them a note before she left.

Syafika opened her wardrobe, took out the dress she was planning to wear that night and carefully put it on her bed. It was made from dark blue cotton with a tiny red flowers printed on it. Next Syafika took out a pair of sandals and checked their condition. They were her favourites and very comfortable. If Syafika hadn’t known Anthony was a spy she might have considered wearing some of her prettier, less comfortable shoes, but she wanted to be able to escape quickly if things got uncomfortable.

Next Syafika packed a red shoulder bag with all the things she thought she might need that night, including the mobile phone D’arby had given her. As Syafika put the phone in her bag she noticed that a light on it was flashing so she looked at the screen and saw that she had a new text message. It was from Anthony’s number and said “I can’t wait until tonight”

Syafika noticed it had been sent an hour ago. She tried to reply but didn’t really know how to send text messages, and was feeling too nervous to be able to work it out. In the end Syafika decided to have a shower before trying to reply.

When Syafika was dressed and ready to leave she looked at her watch and saw that she dind’t need to leave for another 15 minutes so she had another go at trying to write a text message to Anthony and eventually managed to write “Me neither”, but as she pressed ‘send’ Syafika realised she didn’t mean it. She was feeling so terrified she didn’t want to see Anthony at all.

Syafika put the phone in her bag and wondered if there was anything she’d forgotten, but nothing came to mind. Next she spent a couple of minutes looking at herself in the mirror, checking that her dress didn’t have any holes in it or fluff stuck to it. Then Syafika set out.

As Syafika walked along her anxiety started to fade and she began to feel excited instead. She wondered what she would learn about Anthony that night and wondered what he was hoping to learn about her. Syafika was imagining her conversation with Anthony when she realised that someone was walking next to her. It took her a couple of glances to realise that it was D’arby because he was wearing a disguise. D’arby had grey hair and a beard and must have padded his tummy because he looked a bit fat.

D’arby managed to stop himself from laughing until he was sure that Syafika had recognized him. Syafika noticed that he’d even disguised his laugh, making it a deeper chuckling sound than his usual hyena sounds.

“I just picked up something really useful from John” said D’arby, and he showed Syafika the transmitter, and how to turn it on. “I haven’t thought through what to do with it though. What would be really great is if you could hide it at Anthony’s place somewhere, but if you don’t get an opportunity don’t worry”.

“I’m going to dinner and a movie with Anthony, not his house” said Syafika. “But I’ll take the transmitter and see if I get an opportunity to hide it somewhere. If Anthony brings a bag with him I could try to put it inside the lining or something”. Before Syafika put the transmitter in her bag she turned it off – she didn’t want D’arby listening in to her conversation with Anthony.

“Sorry, yeah, silly me” said D’arby. “You might also be able to hide it inside a jacket or shoe – although I don’t suppose you’ll be able to access his shoes”. D’arby had wanted to ask Syafika to try to find out the number of Anthony’s flat but was too scared to make Syafika angry so he decided to change the topic instead and asked “Did your parents ask where you were going tonight?”

Syafika felt sick when she realised she’d forgotten to leave a note for her parents. “Thanks for reminding me. I need to call them – they were out and I forgot to leave a note”

“Why don’t you use your new mobile phone?” asked D’arby.

Syafika felt a bit disgusted with herself as she took the phone out of her bag and dialed her home number – if she’d known where the nearest pay phone was she’d have gone there instead. Nobody answered and Syafika realised that her parents probably hadn’t got back from India’s place yet. Syafika hated leaving messages on the home phone because she didn’t know who would listen to them and so she hung up and decided to try again later.

“They aren’t home yet” said Syafika. “I’ll try again in an hour or so”

As Syafika and D’arby walked they went over their plan. D’arby would have dinner at the same restaurant where Syafika was meeting Anthony and then he’d go to the same movie. The trouble was that Syafika and Anthony hadn’t decided on a movie yet, but they had chosen which cinema. D’arby had narrowed the movie they would see down to two options, based on the time of night. His plan was to buy a ticket to each and then follow Syafika and Anthony to see which theatre they went into.

When they were a couple of hundred metres from the restaurant D’arby stopped and waited for Syafika to get ahead of him.

When Syafika arrived at the restaurant she looked at her watch and realised she was a couple of minutes early. Based on previous experience she expected Anthony to be late, so she sat down on a wall and watched out for his arrival. Fifteen minutes later he still hadn’t arrived. Syafika noticed D’arby walk into the restaurant. Either he didn’t see her or pretended he hadn’t seen her, but a few minutes later D’arby walked out of the restaurant, looking at her briefly before going back inside. Syafika suspected he wanted her to follow him so she went inside too. Syafika quickly noticed that Anthony was sitting at a table in the middle of the restaurant

“Sorry” said Syafika after she rushed over to Anthony. “I was waiting outside”.

“That’s ok” said Anthony. “It was my turn to wait”


The Inklings: Chapter 109

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

When Anthony’s meeting was over, Anthony sat alone on the seat in the rose garden for about 15 minutes. At first D’arby thought Anthony was waiting for someone else to arrive but eventually he realised that Anthony was probably just digesting all that had happened that day. Anthony looked really worried and D’arby couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for him. D’arby wondered whether Anthony had been motivated to blackmail Renewbank by something other than greed.

D’arby’s thoughts were interrupted when Syafika sat down beside him.

“What are you doing here?” whispered D’arby.

“I followed Celine because I guessed she was going to meet Anthony and I wanted to watch” said Syafika.

“Ssshhh” said D’arby and he pointed towards Anthony. Anthony stood up and started walking away.

Syafika and D’arby waited until Anthony was out of hearing range and then they excitedly began to discuss what had happened that day. D’arby listened carefully when Syafika told him what had happened at her meeting with Anthony and how she was sure Nelson had snuck off to meet with Anthony after. D’arby could tell that Syafika was scared as well as excited about the plan for having dinner with Anthony, and D’arby couldn’t help feeling the same. If D’arby hadn’t been trying to find out about Anthony to save Renewbank he would have recommended that Syafika didn’t have dinner with Anthony.

D’arby told Syafika what he’d seen when he followed Anthony and showed Syafika the photos he’d taken and Syafika confirmed that they were of Nelson and Celine. Syafika was happy that Anthony had made Celine angry.

“What did we learn today then?” D’arby asked Syafika.

“Not as much as I’d hoped” replied Syafika. “But at least now I’m more confident that Celine and Nelson are both involved in whatever Anthony is involved in – I guess we’ve partly confirmed our suspicions, but I still have no idea what it is that they’re up to”

“Yes” said D’arby. “I think we can be pretty confident that Nelson, Celine and Anthony are all up to something. Do you think that it might involve the work that your team is doing? Could there be some corruption going on?”

“Well, Nelson did once tell me that Christine was involved in corruption – that she was helping the Minister steal money and that she’d set things up so Nelson would get the blame if anyone discovered the theft” said Syafika. “But I didn’t really believe him. I trust Christine more than Nelson”

“Either way, that’s bad! How can you work with these people?” asked D’arby.

“For a while I didn’t have a choice – all this started happening the day Dad broke his leg and so I had to keep working or nobody in the house would have been earning any money” said Syafika.

As D’arby listened to Syafika he realised that he liked Syafika a lot more now than when they had met. It wasn’t a romantic affection, just admiration. D’arby was enjoying working with Syafika and he hoped that they’d be better friends now.

Before Syafika and D’arby left the Botanic Gardens they made a plan for Syafika’s date with Anthony the following night. Then they got up and started walking home. D’arby felt proud to be walking next to Syafika.


The Inklings: Chapter 106

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

D’arby was sitting under a tree wearing a fake moustache, sunglasses and a broadbrimmed hat. He had a camera around his neck and hoped that he looked like a tourist rather than a spy. D’arby watched Syafika say goodbye to Anthony and then got up so he could follow Anthony. He hoped Anthony wouldn’t start running.

Anthony took his phone out of his pocket and called someone. Then he had a long, suspicious look around him before walking off while talking on his phone. D’arby pretended to be fascinated with the spiky trunk of a large tree until Anthony wasn’t looking, then started walking after him. Anthony finished talking on his phone and sat down on a seat in the rose garden. D’arby wandered off and found some steps that lead to a higher part of the garden and slowly made his way to the section that was uphill from Anthony and behind him. He sat down where he could see Anthony and watched. Anthony did nothing for at least five minutes and D’arby started to wonder if Anthony knew he was being followed and was hoping to bore D’arby into giving up. Then Anthony looked at his watch and sighed, which made D’arby think Anthony must be waiting for someone. D’arby realised that the phonecall Anthony made after Syafika left was to organize an urgent meeting. D’arby started looking around to see if he could see anyone approaching. There were a few people around but nobody was heading towards Anthony.

Suddenly Anthony jumped up, which gave D’arby an awful fright. Anthony did 100 star jumps and then started doing pushups. D’arby counted 80 before he couldn’t bear to watch anymore. Then D’arby noticed that a man in a light blue suit was walking over.

D’arby kept his head down and hoped the man in the suit wouldn’t notice him. Anthony and the man sat down and started talking. D’arby discreetly took a couple of photos, but only managed to capture the backs of their heads. Their conversation didn’t last long and soon Anthony’s visitor got up to leave. Anthony did another set of pushups and then he left too. D’arby wondered who he should follow and decided on Anthony.

Anthony muttered to himself as he walked and D’arby wished he knew what Anthony was saying but was too scared to get close enough to hear. Anthony’s mutterings must have helped him decide what to do next because he started running towards the exit near Government House. D’arby had already decided that he wouldn’t bother trying to run after Anthony so he just kept walking and wished he’d followed the man in the light blue suit instead.

As D’arby walked out of the Botanic Gardens he looked down the hill and thought he saw Anthony crossing the road and going down some steps. D’arby didn’t want to waste this second chance so he rushed down the hill, crossed the road and cautiously walked down the stairs. He got to the bottom just in time to see Anthony walk into a café. The café was very busy with a long queue and Anthony was at the front of the queue. D’arby thought he might be able to blend into that crowd so he joined the queue and watched as Anthony ordered a takeaway coffee. The person serving Anthony seemed to know him and was trying to convince him to buy a reusable coffee cup. D’arby realised that Anthony must come to this café often. D’arby was pleased when Anthony decided to take the reusable coffee cup and noticed that most customers had brought their own cup. As D’arby watched the barista make coffees he noticed that the takeaway cups stacked on top of the coffee machine were brown and corrugated and D’arby realised that he might have discovered the café that Anthony had bought his coffees from every morning before he went to spy on RenewBank.

When D’arby noticed some nice sandwiches in the refrigerated cabinet he realised that he hadn’t had any lunch. D’arby was considering buying himself one when he noticed that Anthony had already collected his coffee and was leaving the café. D’arby waited a couple of seconds before following. Anthony walked back up the stairs and into a block of flats. D’arby looked at his watch while trying to decide what to do. He decided it would be unwise to try to follow Anthony to his flat. D’arby was meeting Syafika after work, but that wouldn’t be for a couple of hours so D’arby hurried back to the café and bought a sandwich. Then D’arby sat in the park across the road from Anthony’s building and ate his sandwhich while watching for Anthony to emerge.

At 3:10pm Anthony came out of his building looking somehow different. D’arby realised that Anthony’s hair and clothes were different. Anthony’s hair was longer and silkier and he was wearing a tight-fitting suit with trousers that were deliberately a couple of centimetres too short.  Anthony walked back into the Botanic Gardens and D’arby followed him. D’arby wasn’t very surprised when Anthony went back to the seat in the rose garden and waited until a woman came to meet him. D’arby took a photo of the woman, who he was pretty sure was Celine. Celine and Anthony didn’t talk for long and when Celine left she looked angry.


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.


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