Missing Emilie

by Michael E. Lloyd

Table of Contents   Chapter Synopses


Book II: Reparations

Chapter 10: Fair Exchange

part 2 of 2


‘Carry on whenever you’re ready, Arthur ...’

‘I’m sorry, Inspector. It all got too much for me just then ...’

‘Of course. Take it easy. Want another glass of water ...?’

‘No, I’m OK. Just give me another few moments, eh?’

‘Sure.’


‘So, I’d managed to undo the rope tying Julia’s left hand to the arm of the chair. But as I was working on the one holding her right hand, she must have seen Orceau coming up behind me. I started to turn round, then she screamed and threw up her hand, and Orceau hit it with a kitchen knife and chopped two of her fingertips clean off! Some of the blood went in my eyes, and my vision was blurred, and I thought it would definitely be my turn next ...

‘But it had all gone very quiet. Julia was just staring in shock at her mutilated hand, and Orceau had frozen too. Then he started moaning something like: “Oh, my treasure, my poor little butterfly, you made me hurt you, why did you make me hurt you ...?” and I realised he’d forgotten all about me for a moment. I didn’t mess around. I grabbed the nearest heavy thing I could see — it was a small fire extinguisher sitting on the bench right next to me — and I smashed it into his face. He went down and he stayed down ...’

‘You made a nasty mess of his nose, Arthur. And he won’t be seeing very well for some time, either.’

‘Too bad. Anyway, now I didn’t know what to do first! I wanted to get Julia properly sorted out, but Orceau could have come round at any time. Too risky to ignore him completely. So I just got a towel from the kitchen and wrapped her hand in it as tightly as I could, to slow down the blood loss. She was still in shock, saying nothing and shaking her head in disbelief.

‘Then I looked around for some way of keeping Orceau at bay. And there was a lot more rope coiled up under the bench! So I wrapped it round and round him until it ran out and then I tied it off as tightly as I could. And I stuck the pillow case on his head!’

‘You did a nice job of that as well. Turned him into quite a chrysalis.’

‘Then I finally recovered Julia’s fingertips from the floor and went back into the kitchen, and rinsed them in milk, and put them in a glass and covered them with some more milk. I’d heard that was a good thing to do if you lost a tooth, just in case ...

‘And then I heard Julia sobbing loudly, and I rushed back into the garage ...’

’Can you hear me, Julia? Julia??’

‘What? Yes, I can! And stop shaking me!’

‘All right. But you must stop that shrieking, and sit still, OK? Good — now I can try and do something better for your hand. I’ll use the rope to make a tourniquet ...’

‘Oh Arthur, it really hurts! And I’m so scared!’

‘It’s OK, Julia. He’s not getting up again.’

‘No, about my fingers ...’

‘I’ve put them in some milk. Maybe they’ll be able to rescue them. Try not to worry too much ...’

‘What!!’

‘Calm down, Julia. Right, that’s a tourniquet of sorts. Bend your elbow and hold your arm up. Good. Now I’ll finish untying your other wrist and we can use that bit of rope to improve it ....... Nearly there ....... Right, that’s got it ....... Hold still ....... Almost done now .......’

‘Oh, hell, Arthur, I’m sorry I shouted at you. You’re doing wonders for me.’

‘I haven’t finished yet. Is there a phone in the house?’

‘Yes. I’ve heard it ring a couple of times. It must be in the kitchen.’

‘OK, I’ll call for the police and two ambulances now. Don’t try to stand up — your legs are still tied. Just try to relax. I’ll make you a quick cup of tea while I’m out there — that’s good for shock. And keep your eye on that bastard, just in case ...’

‘Those were all good moves too, Arthur. And apparently there’s a fair chance the surgeons can successfully re-attach at least one of the fingertips.’

‘I hope you’re right. Anyway, five minutes later the ambulances were well on their way, and Julia was drinking her tea and I was finally untying her legs. And then the first police car arrived ...’

‘OK, we’ll leave it there for now. I’ll need to hear what she has to say after the operation.’

‘Can I be with her, Simon?’

‘Only if you sit directly behind her and say nothing. One single word and you’re out of the door.’

* * *

‘So exactly what happened next, Julia?’

‘The guy must have realised what was happening as soon as he got back to the house, and gone straight into the kitchen and picked up that meat knife. Arthur had just finished undoing the first rope from my wrist when he came through the garage door with a crazy look on his face, and I saw him lift the knife and come towards us. Arthur started to turn around, but the bastard was already swinging the knife down towards his back. Oh, God .......’

‘Easy does it, young lady! Take a few good deep breaths.’

‘OK .......’

‘Better?’

‘Yes, Inspector.’

‘And then ...?’

‘I screamed and just threw my arm up to try and protect Arthur ... and the knife sliced through two of my fingers! I remember staring at my poor hand in utter shock — and then I saw the guy was still hovering right over us with the knife in his hand ... and that’s when Arthur hit him with something, and the bastard went down. And then I must have fainted, or whatever ...’

‘OK, Julia, we’ll stop there. That’s enough for the time being. More than enough. I’ll leave the two of you together now.’


‘Arthur, you really are a very resourceful man!’

‘Me? I’d say you win that prize, with your left-arm swing. And look at the price you’ve paid for it!’

‘It’s a very small price, Arthur. A fine deal. I’ve been thinking clearly again. You took my mother’s fingers, all those years ago, but in return she got her husband, and that gave me my life, no less! And now you’ve brought me back again from the hell that bastard had put me in. And maybe I saved you from a much more serious injury, or even let you hold on to the life you might have lost.’

‘Wow. That’s some thinking ...’

‘Actually, I reckon it’s far too much. Writers! Probably better to just say “Thank you, chéri,” and try to get back to living my own life. And let you get on with living yours ...’

‘Your life? My life? Oh, come on! I’d say we’ve gone a bit beyond that now, wouldn’t you? Why don’t we start talking about our life?’

‘Did I really just hear you right ...?’

‘I hope so. He didn’t manage to cut off your ear as well, did he?’

‘Oh, Arthur ...’

‘Want to talk about how it all happened?’

‘Not yet.’

‘OK.’


Proceed to Chapter 11...

Copyright © 2012 by Michael E. Lloyd

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