A story – part 60


It started to rain, we ensured the tents were safe, issued a meal to all affected, and settled them down for the night. The rescue teams came in, cold and hungry. We made sure they were all fed and sent them to sleep until daylight.

Sitting in the command tent with the lists of injured and dead, we cross checked against the names reported as missing.  We discovered on the different sheets of paper, that there were family members each looking for each other, which meant they were actually all safe, just needed to find each other.  There were 7 people unaccounted for at the end of the checking, all most likely to have been in the apartment buildings that collapsed in the aftershock.

Next morning although it was still drizzling, as soon as it was light enough and the rescuers had had a hot meal, they went off to the collapsed apartment buildings.

About an hour later the international rescue team arrived with their search dogs. By lunch time everyone in the town was accounted for. Sadly 18 people were dead. For an area that had not had had an earthquake in over a century, two in a few years were rather worrying.

We had a last hot drink together, and I went round thanking everyone who gave their time so generously.  It irked me a bit to have to shake Philip’s hand and thank him, but he had worked extremely hard to help rescue people.The volunteer rescue service were more normally used for rescuing climbers in our mountainous areas, this was work rather different and we had been grateful for his experience in this type of disaster.

By evening I was back home. I had a long bath and settled down for a quiet evening at home checking on those appointments that had had to be postponed while I was away. After supper I started working on a plan to get the orphanage up and running again. I again tried to phone Anthea, but still got to voice mail. My irritation of the previous evening now turned to anxiety over her. I phoned her parents, but they hadn’t heard from her.

Her father did some checking and phoned me back a while later. She had not been at the office nor over at the glassworks.

Now my anxiety turned to a real fear for her. I started phoning all hospitals in both cities and along the route between. No report of her being brought in.  I phoned her parents for her car registration. Her father had been to her apartment, but she was not there, and a neighbour reported she hadn’t seen her for a few days. I phoned the emergency services in both cities. There were no reports of accidents involving a car with her registration.

That night I woke in a sweat. What if Philip had kidnapped her? It seemed impossible, he had been at the disaster, but what if that was just a way to throw off any suspicion.

As early as possible I phoned one of my contacts in the security branch of the police. He came round to the palace early and I explained what I knew of the situation. He seemed worried.  He promised a team of experts would check out Philip’s apartment as soon as he had left for work. He would be followed discretely for several days to ascertain that he had no secret.

At 11am he phoned me. Some articles of clothing obviously belonging to a woman and about the same size as Anthea had been found in the apartment. They were clean and ironed, folded and stored in a cupboard.  There is no proof if these articles were left behind by Anthea when she broke off the engagement, or it they relate to something more sinister. The surveillance would continue for a few days.

I phoned her parents. We spent quite a long time on the phone; they had become as worried as I was. Fortunately I could reassure them that the security division and the police were doing all they could at this stage. The advantage of being the king is that I have the ability to avail myself of the services of such people.

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6 thoughts on “A story – part 60

  1. Oh, no! And she may not be the only one – if they were working on lists of residents then visitors wouldn’t be missed! Poor use of the dogs too. I think they should have double checked all the collapsed areas with dogs. Very good writing Sidey!

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