This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 843 words.
There were times when I started to question my own sanity. After all, Keith had solid alibis for both of the incidents that I had attributed to him, and would he really have the clout to get some kind of black-ops organisation to carry out such things on his behalf? Had my paranoia clouded my judgement? Overruled my common sense? But I couldn’t shake the feeling. I was unable to get the look on his face out of my mind when I met him. And I couldn’t forget the tone of his voice that evening he spoke to me at his housewarming party.
If I was on the right track, his plan to kill me in the car had backfired, and that could only mean one thing. He would try again.
But I had other fish to fry. A shaken-up wife and a withdrawn son, both exhibiting major changes in their personalities. The best I could come up with was a holiday. Somewhere exotic, and warm and sunny. A carefree trip with no mention of what had happened in Crystal Palace, and definitely no talking about Keith. Susan was unimpressed.
“It’s up to you. I’m not bothered, but if you want to go away, then you pick somewhere. The ladies in the village often talk about The Maldives, that seems to be a real destination these days”. So I did my research, and booked a two-week holiday to The Maldives. An idyllic hotel that offered luxury cabins on stilts actually in the ocean, with five-star service. There was snorkelling, boat trips, and an international menu of fine food. It cost an arm and a leg for the three of us, but off we went.
It was all it promised, but as far as Susan and Stephen were concerned, we might just as well have spent two weeks in a caravan in Clacton. She sat reading all day, and went to bed not long after dinner. Stephen wasn’t interested in my plans for snorkelling or any water activities, complained about the exotic food on offer, and spent most days griping about the poor wi-fi signal for his laptop. All in all, it was an expensive flop, and I was actually looking forward to the flight home.
We checked in for the flight back to Heathrow, and Susan had her book ready to read on the long flight. As we taxied into position for take off, there was a huge bang that made everyone on the aircraft gasp. Moments later, there was a broadcast on the intercom to inform us that there had been a problem with one of the main engines, and we were returning to the terminal to await a replacement aircraft.
As we sat inside waiting for the second flight, I couldn’t stop myself thinking. Keith had known we were going. Susan had told him on the phone, and her parents knew too. Could Keith’s reach extend this far? Was it at all possible that he had hoped to crash our plane after we had taken off, but something had happened too early?
By the time we arrived back in London, I had managed to convince myself that was fact.
Before I went back to work, I sat in the spare room I used as a study, and wrote down everything that had happened, right back to the start when we were kids. I was in there so long that Susan came in and asked me what I was doing. I gave her a lame story about writing a report on how to completely revolutionise the call-centre system for insurance companies. She stood in the doorway and smiled. “Well I hope they give you another promotion once they read it. Dinner’s ready in ten minutes”.
On the Monday, I left work early. In my pocket was a memory stick with the whole story written on it. If anything happened to me, Keith’s ambitions would come to nothing. There might be no proof of anything, but mud sticks, and sticky mud destroys political careers. I had an appointment with the solicitor who had arranged our house sale. I told him I wanted to make a will, ensuring security for Susan and Stephen if anything unusual should happen to me.
He wrote it up just as I asked. Susan would get everything. The house, life insurance, savings, all personal possessions. When I died, she would be set for life, and she could pass it all down to Stephen eventually.
Once everything was prepared and printed off, I signed on various dotted lines, witnessed by a member of staff and the solicitor, neither of whom were beneficiaries. Before I left, I handed over the memory stick, telling him that it should be stored securely with the will, and in the event of my untimely death it should be emailed to every major national newspaper and television station. Unknown to him, this also included everything right up to that meeting.
So if you are reading this now, you will know that my suspicions were correct.