|pic used under creative commons from mynameisharsha|
Yes, it's the moment you've all been waiting for! After AJ Nuest's nailbiting last instalment, the time has finally arrived for Part Six of Written Fireside - 'For Clara', the travelling blog hop story.
If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, well you've missed a treat! Not to mention the first course of burgers and hotdogs. But no matter, you can pick the whole story up right from the beginning using the following links:
PART 1 - Lori Connelly
PART 2 - Teresa Morgan
PART 3 - Carmel Harrington
PART 4 - Romy Sommer
PART 5 - A J Nuest
And now without further ado, here is my first contribution...
Clara snapped off the flashlight and jerked her fingers back from the wall panel as if it were red hot. With her back pressed against lumpy plaster and peeling wallpaper, she sidled along until she could peek though the gap at the edge of the shabby lace curtain and down to the driveway below.
Her heart hammered in her drum-tight chest and a panicky flash seared through her brain – ‘…caught, I’m caught…’
She was so certain that it would be Derek’s porky silhouette she would see below that her breath caught in surprise when instead a shaft of moonlight picked out Mark’s muscular frame in silver. He crunched across the gravel toward the front door, glancing with interest at her own car, parked alongside his. She may as well have hung a neon flashing sign on the house – CLARA IS HERE. It hadn’t occurred to her to hide the car – why would it? No one knew about this place except for her– right?
Unless hers wasn’t the only note Barbara had left behind.
He couldn’t have followed her, she’d driven past him in the café. How else could Mark know about the summer house? Had her friend contacted Mark too from beyond the grave? Did she mean to bring them together somehow?
Nothing was certain anymore. She ached miserably to talk to Barbara, knowing she never could. They’d survived this long by working as a team. She really wasn’t sure she was up to the challenge of seeing this through alone.
But maybe she wasn’t meant to.
As the door banged below and footsteps progressed steadily up the stairs she darted back to the wall panel. She would hear what Mark had to say. She would keep an open mind. But behind the panel was her only bargaining chip, and she wasn’t about to give that up. Barbara had meant her to find it, she was sure of that, and she wasn’t about to share it. She fumbled madly with the secret panel, shoving her hand into the dark space behind it as the footsteps got louder. And she managed to stuff the cloth-wrapped bundle under her sweater just as the door banged open.