Tag Archives: Sarah

Here and Now – Chapter 6

First, apologies for the long delay in getting this chapter out.  The story has been buzzing around in my head but only today has it crystallised.  I hope you think the wait was worth it.





Sarah turned as the door firmly closed behind her. Was this nightmare over? Was she really free?

She looked right and left and could see nobody moving about. The streetlights had just come on and she looked around for a street sign so that she could have an indication of where she was.   She saw a street sign, Kingsland Road, E8. She had been there before to the famous Faulkners Fish Restaurant so she knew where she was. She hailed a passing taxi to take her home.

Arriving home she knew she would have to talk to her neighbour Lisa who probably would have been wondering where she was and who no doubt, had been caring for the dogs. But first she wanted to go inside and take a shower. She felt dirty from the place in which she had been kept for the past few days.

As soon as she put the key in the door the dogs started yelping and barking which in turn brought Lisa to her door. She ran to Sarah and gave her a hug. She was so pleased to see her. Sarah explained that she just had to have a shower after the past few days and promised to come up to Lisa’s as soon as she had done so.

 While in the shower Sarah thought over the past few days and how she was going to tell her neighbour what had happened. She decided that only the truth would do. So showered and changed, having petted and fed the dogs, she took herself off to Lisa’s flat.

 And while Sarah showered Lisa had called Tom who hurried over to see his sister.

 Sarah heard from Lisa how worried she had been. How she had enlisted the help of Tom and how together they had gone to report her as a missing person at the local police station.

 Then Sarah told them what had happened, the meeting with Alex Wishart, the detention in the basement of a house in the East End and how she learned that she had been instrumental in a young woman committing suicide. She was still trying to come to grips with this information as both Lisa and Tom peppered her with questions, some of which she couldn’t answer.

 They agreed that they needed to tell the Police that she had come home, safe and well. But she didn’t want the Websters to get into trouble. They had suffered enough because of her thoughtlessness and she wondered aloud whether she would have to tell the Police who they were. None of them knew whether these people would be charged with unlawful detention but they all agreed that the Police Station was the next stop.

 Arriving at the local Police Station they asked for Sergeant Jane Palmer and were relieved when she came into the reception area. Taking in the fact that there was now another woman with them, she ushered them into an interview room.

 They quickly got down to the purpose of their visit. Tom introduced his sister to the policewoman who commented that she was pleased to see her safe and sound.

 “But where were you?” she asked Sarah. “Did you take a few days off without telling anyone because let me tell you we were all very worried about you.?”

 ‘Before I get into that” Sarah replied, “I have to know whether I have to make a complaint against the people who held me. As you can see, I’m unharmed and they really wanted me to know something that happened in their family which was partly my fault.”

 “Well, it’s most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But tell me what happened and then we can see where to go from there”

 Sarah then related the facts.   How she had been sitting in the bar on Friday night, how she met a man and they had a drink and then dinner together. She told the policewoman how she had woken up in a basement tied to a bed. She recounted her fears while lying there wondering just who the man was and why he had drugged and kidnapped her.

 Neither the policewoman, Tom nor Lisa interrupted this flow, although all were equally horrified.

 Then Sarah came to the part about escape and how Alex/Ronnie had engineered this. And then she told of her confrontation with his parents and the fact that she had been instrumental in their daughter’s death. She told them how she had then been allowed to leave, how she found herself on the other side of London and took a cab home.

 There was absolute silence in the room at the end of this dissertation. Nobody spoke for several minutes trying to assimilate what they had heard and trying to imagine the terror Sarah had endured.

 “So can you tell me the names of these people Sarah?” asked the policewoman.

 “I can, but I don’t want them charged with any crime. I think they have suffered enough because of me. I don’t want to add to that suffering.” She replied.

 The policewoman then excused herself from the room returning shortly with an older man whom she introduced as Detective Brian McLeod. The Detective asked Sarah to repeat her story and at the end of it sat for a few minutes looking very thoughtful.

 He then said, “As the Sergeant has already told you, it is most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But if you’re determined then so be it. But I must ask you to give the Sergeant the names of the three people involved.

 “We will have to interview them, probably at their house rather than at the police station, but if you are sure that you don’t want them charged we will issue them with a warning. Are you OK with that?”

 Sarah was relieved that the Websters would not be charged and so she gave their names to the Sergeant who promised to keep in touch to let Sarah know when they had been interviewed.

 So feeling much better Sarah and her friends left the police station and found their way to a local bar where they all had a well deserved drink.








Here and Now – Chapter 5

Stranger from the past (1)

On Monday morning, Lisa let the dogs out, changed their water bowls and gave them some biscuits. She then let herself out of Sarah’s house still worrying about the whereabouts of her neighbour. 

On the way to work she received a call from the policewoman who had interviewed them the day before. She identified herself as Sergeant Jane Palmer. She wanted to ask Lisa some more questions about Sarah and wondered if they could meet later that day. She stressed she had no information on Sarah’s whereabouts.

Lisa was very concerned about Sarah and so she agreed to meet the policewoman during her lunch break. Sergeant Palmer said she would meet Lisa at a coffee shop near where she worked, and after deciding on a place and time, Lisa closed the phone. She immediately called Tom who agreed to be at the meeting with the policewoman.

Lisa couldn’t concentrate on work that morning. She kept returning to the last time she had seen Sarah. It was Friday morning as they walked together to the tube station. Occasionally they would meet and walk to the Tube station together. She would get off at Leicester Square and continue her journey to Covent Garden while Sarah would stay on the Northern Line all the way to Bank Station. There was nothing different about Sarah that morning. She seemed no more stressed about her heavy workload than usual and she joked that she would no doubt bring her work home this weekend.

Lisa was pleased that she worked in one of the boutiques in Covent Garden, that hub that drew locals and tourists alike to the vibrant sector of town. Once she was finished for the day, she could go home and forget about work, not like Sarah who seemed always to have a bulging briefcase with her.

 It soon was 12.30pm and Lisa could leave for her appointment with the policewoman at the local Costa just a short walk from the boutique. When she arrived she was pleased to see that Tom was already there talking to the policewoman.

 Taking a seat towards the rear of the coffee shop where they could talk, the policewoman introduced herself. She explained that there had been several reports of missing women recently and she wondered whether Sarah’s disappearance was connected to the others. She asked about Sarah’s habits, friends etc and though neither Tom nor Lisa felt they were being helpful the policewoman appeared to be satisfied with their answers.

 She asked them was Sarah in the habit of going straight home from work or did she sometimes stop on the way to buy groceries, wine or perhaps call into a bar for a drink. Lisa was able to confirm that Sarah did all three. But she also told the policewoman, Jane Palmer, that it was Sarah’s habit to call into a bar after work on Friday before catching the tube home. She didn’t know the name of the bar but it was very close to where Sarah worked and knowing Sarah, it would be a discreet, small bar without the raucous end of the week gatherings found in many bars on Friday night.

 Jane Palmer told them she would make some enquiries to locate the bar and would pass the information she had onto the Missing Persons Bureau in the hope that they might be able to help. She explained that the Bureau is the UK national and international point of contact for all missing person and unidentified body cases. It is the hub for the exchange of information and provides expertise on the subject of missing persons. This made both Tom and Lisa feel that something positive would be done to locate Sarah.co They finished their lunch and the policewoman promised to keep in touch with them. She also asked them to contact her should they think of anything useful, however small.


Sarah arrived at the top of the stairs where she paused to take her bearings. She was in another hallway. To the right she could see the front door but between where she stood and that door there were several more doors. Two of the doors were closed, but a third, closest to the front door, was open and she could hear voices from that room. There was nothing for it but to try to pass that door undetected. As she crept closer she heard Alex Wishart’s voice “Come on in Sarah. We were wondering how long it would take you to escape from the bindings and find your way up to us here.” So there was no escape and nothing for her to do but to enter the room.

 “Oh did you think I made a mistake leaving you with only one arm tethered?” he asked her. “I did it knowing you would take the opportunity to escape.”

 Sitting with Alex Wishart were a man and a woman, both well past middle age and both looking at her with an eagerness that surprised and worried her. Who were they?” she asked herself.

 “Come in and meet my guests, Marjorie and Bert. They’ve been waiting to meet you for ages. By the way they are my parents. You won’t remember them but they remember you.” he said. “And my name isn’t Alex Wishart. My real name is Ronnie Webster. . You may remember me from school. We were in primary school at the same time.

 “My sister Maureen was in your class and you were particularly mean to her. You called her names, bullied her and made her life totally unpleasant. In fact you were the reason my parents took her out of school.”

 Try as she might, Sarah could not remember this girl from so many years ago.

 “Think harder Sarah” he said. “You will recall that everybody wanted to be your friend and you and your little clique decided whose life to make unbearable. Well you succeeded with my sister. In fact, after years of psychotherapy and counselling she eventually took her own life. I bet you didn’t know that did you?”

 Sarah was horrified. The thought that she had been in some way responsible for this girl’s suicide overwhelmed her.

 “So why am I here? She asked. “What do you want of me?”

 “We took you and restrained you so that you could have some idea of the straight jacket into which you put my sister” he responded. “For many years it was as if she were restrained and unable to break free. But you had an opportunity to break free. I gave you that. What did you give my sister?”

 By now Sarah was sobbing “I know it’s too late to put matters right, but I’m so very sorry Mr and Mrs Webster. For the pain I caused you and the unhappiness I caused your daughter.

 “We never thought that our treatment of her could have resulted in her eventual suicide.”

 Now Mrs Webster spoke. “I think you were a small part in creating the situation where Maureen decided to end her life. But we wanted you to know. And yes, for years I have blamed you for her unhappiness. I’m jealous that your mother is able to see you and enjoy time with you. I don’t have that luxury”.

 “Oh no” said Sara “My mother doesn’t have that luxury either. Several years ago both my parents were killed in a car crash. I now have only my brother left in my family.

 “What do you want me to do now and what are you planning to do with me? She asked.

 Alex/Ronnie responded “We know there is nothing you can do about Maureen and we don’t plan to do anything with you. You’re free to go. We just wanted you to experience some of the suffering she did.” With which he stood up, handed her her purse and took her to the front door. “Go!” was all he said

 To be continued…..












Here and Now Chapter 4


Stranger from the past (1)

Sarah lived in a four-storey house overlooking Hampstead Heath that had been converted into apartments in the 1960s. When she first came to London to study and work, she rented the semi-basement flat, now euphemistically referred to as a garden flat. The owner was an elderly woman who had recently moved into a retirement facility. After the woman died, and with the money left to her after her parents died, Sarah purchased the flat. And at that time she adopted a couple of dogs (first one and then the next) from the local animal shelter. 

The small dogs were content to stay at home all day, with forays into the garden through a cat door in the kitchen. This led them into a closed off run that kept them safe and secure.

 The other occupants of the house had no access to the garden and so this was a perfect set up for Sarah and her dogs.

 But Sarah was a creature of habit. On the odd occasions when she had been going away for a night or a few days, she always told Lisa her upstairs neighbour and Lisa would feed the dogs and take them for a short walk on the Heath. So when the dogs started to bark and whine Lisa became concerned. She hadn’t seen Sarah for a couple of days and while they were not exactly friends, they usually saw each other, if only in passing, every day.

 So taking the spare key, Lisa went downstairs to Sarah’s apartment. After calling out and knocking she opened the door to be met by two frantically barking small dogs. They had obviously been on their own at least overnight. Lisa filled their food and water bowls and then stood at a loss as to what to do next. She thought a short walk on the Heath with the dogs would give Sarah time to get home. If not, then she, Lisa, would think about what to do next.

 She had a phone number for Sarah’s brother but thought it unlikely that she would have gone there knowing she didn’t get on at all well with her sister-in-law. She had met several of Sarah’s friends one Sunday morning when they all met for brunch at The Coffee Cup in the High Street, but she had no way of contacting any of them.

 So she would walk the dogs, get some fresh air and then call Sarah’s brother to see if they had been in contact since Friday. She would also look into The Coffee Cup on her way to the Heath just in case Sarah and/or some of her friends were there. There was nobody she recognised at the cafe. It was a firm favourite in the area and on a sunny Sunday morning was full of people enjoying a leisurely brunch or coffee with friends.

 Arriving back at Sarah’s she let the dogs out into the garden and then looked around the flat. It wasn’t large and really there was nowhere for Sarah to be hidden if she had fallen. Lisa then called Sarah’s brother Tom. He hadn’t heard from or spoken to his sister all week. They had a loose arrangement to meet for lunch one day in the following week, but really he couldn’t help at all. He suggested that if Sarah did not return in the next couple of hours, Lisa should call him and together they would report her missing to the local police. Lisa demurred. She thought a person had to be missing for 24 or 48 hours before they were classed as missing, but Tom assured her this was not the case.

 So endeavouring to quell her qualms about prying and intrusion into Sarah’s privacy she looked for a diary or an address book. She found neither and assumed that Sarah, like everybody else of her generation, kept all such information in her cell phone or on her iPad.

 As she finished her search there was a ring at the door and Tom stood on the doorstep. He thought it so unlike Sarah and wanted to go to the Police Station immediately to report her missing.

 This they did and were met by a kindly older policeman who took down all the relevant details, age, height, hair, when last seen etc and then asked them to wait. Soon they were called into the office of a female officer who went over all the details with them again. She asked if either of them knew if she had been worried about anything recently, problems with money or at work. Both realised how little they really knew of Sarah’s life and were unable to be more helpful to the policewoman.

 Rising, she offered her hand to each of them in turn and promised to be in touch as soon as there was anything to report.

 After walking Lisa home, Tom took her phone number and they promised to keep in touch advising the other if there was anything to report. Tom said he had hoped that Sarah would have been home by the time they returned from the Police Station.

To be continued…




































Here and Now, Chapter 3.

Stranger from the past (1)

Through a small part of the window she saw the sky. She had no way of knowing what the time was.  As so many of her contemporaries did, she relied on her iPhone for the time nd so never wore a watch.  The iPhone was nowhere to be seen, nor was her purse.

She feared what would happen when he came back. He hadn’t molested her in any way, yet but she was sure he would. Why else would he have taken here?

She tried to work out why he had taken her. Was there anything about him she recognised she asked herself. Yes, there was something in the smile, or was it the inflection in his voice, but something definitely was beginning to feel familiar. Had she met him and known him at some earlier time? Perhaps once she managed to free herself, if she managed to free herself, she could spend time working out why he seemed familiar. But now, she had to concentrate on getting free.

She hadn’t heard the door being locked or unlocked so obviously he thought it completely unlikely that she would be able to escape the bindings he had applied. But she would listen hard the next time he came and make sure that the door wasn’t locked.

He had shown up earlier at what she guessed was his lunch hour, although time had become rather undefined for her. He approached her “Well Sarah how’re you doing”. He released her feet. It took a while for the circulation to return so that she could walk rather than stagger. He took her out of the room into a hallway where there was a bathroom where she relieved herself. He then took her back to the dark room but instead of laying her on the bed he sat her in a chair and proceeded to bind her hands to the arms of the chair. He left her feet free, which gave her some hope that she might eventually be able to escape.  When he left her she took particular notice of the door as he closed it. She was sure he hadn’t locked it. Was there a way to get free and out of the room into the hallway? Who knew where that would lead?

Some time later he returned with a bread roll and a takeaway cup of coffee. Of course it was difficult to eat with her hands bound and she asked him to release one of them. Surprisingly he agreed and as he undid one of her hands his cellphone rang. Turning away to answer it he left the room leaving her with one hand free.        

He didn’t return and after what she guessed to be an hour, she decided he had taken off again. So with one hand free she set about getting the rest of herself free.

With her free hand she picked at the duct tape on her other arm. It was hard and there was so little light, but bit by bit she felt the tape giving way. She couldn’t hurry this but she knew that at any time he could return and when he did he would bind her other arm to the chair again.

After what seemed a very long time her arm was free. She stood up and steadied herself against the chair as the circulation returned to her feet. She felt light headed and wondered what he had put into the coffee he had brought her earlier. Obviously he had drugged her at the bar so it was conceivable he would do so again. But there was little time to dwell on this question. He could return at any time and she just had to escape.

She found her shoes at the side of the bed and gratefully put them on. She then crept to the door. Hearing no sound from the other side she slowly opened it. To her delight there was a light on in the hallway and it took a few seconds for her eyes to accustomise to it. She saw she was in a long hallway with doors leading off each side. She tried the first door and it opened into a bedroom. Working her way down the hallway she came to the last door on the left. This opened into a kitchen with stairs in the corner leading upwards.

She had no time to think where the stairs might lead. She just knew she had to take a chance and get away…..




Here and Now, Chapter 2

Stranger from the past (1)

The evening passed very pleasantly and when Alec offered to drive her home after dinner, Sarah readily accepted. She had drunk rather more wine than usual and so as she settled into the passenger seat she felt herself dropping off.

And the next thing she knew she was here in this cold, dark place alone and restrained to the bed on which she was lying.

She looked down and was grateful to see that she was still clothed. Her shoes were missing but other than that her dress was intact and in place.

She tried to sit up but couldn’t. Once again she tried to move her arms but they were tied to the bed with duct tape. There was no movement. Her arms were bound tightly as were her legs. She could move her head and was grateful that at least she hadn’t been blindfolded.

She gathered her strength and shouted for help. She had no idea where she was or if there was any chance that she might be heard, but she had to try. The only response to that cry was a door opening and light suddenly flooded into the darkened room from outside. She could see a person moving towards her but couldn’t tell if it were a man or woman. The person took slow, deliberate steps to where Sarah was lying.

When he spoke she realised it was Alec Wishart with whom she’d spent a pleasant couple of hours yesterday, or was it even still Friday evening?

“Hello Sarah” he said. “Are you comfortable?   Is there anything you need? A drink perhaps?”    

“Who are you really? And what do you want?”   Sarah asked.

“Are you sure you don’t want a drink, Sarah?” he asked again.

“Just tell me where I am and why I am here?”

“You’ll find out soon enough why you are here. I have some people I should like you to meet. They’ll be here soon.” With which he left her and once again she was plunged into darkness.

Left to her own thoughts she began to imagine awful scenarios. Was she being held as hostage? Who would pay for her release? Her parents were both dead, having been killed in a car crash some years ago. And her brother was hardly in a position to pay anything for her. He had his own young family to support.

And now she regretted not taking the drink when it was offered. Apart from being dark it was getting hotter.

But now that her eyes had become accustomed to the dark she was able to make out a small sliver of light from far up on the wall to her left. Was it a grating or maybe a window in a basement wall. Was there any exit from this prison through there. But first she had to work out how to release herself from this bed.

Sarah thought back to a video she had seen showing how to release your arms if tied with rope. Well she was tied with duct tape and in the video it said that duct tape was less robust than rope and it is possible to free oneself if restrained with duct tape.

It claimed that duct tape is not indestructible. It is breakable. She tried to remember how to do it.

First she had to wiggle her hands to get some movement. In moving the tape she thought she could tear it. But it would have to be moved backwards and forwards to create the cross tear needed to break the tape. 

It looked reasonable when she had been sitting on the couch in her apartment with her two dogs for company. 

Oh goodness, what about the dogs. They would need to go out and need to be fed. Who would do that, or even know that she wasn’t around to do it? She had made no plans to meet anybody over the weekend, and so she wouldn’t be missed until Monday morning when she didn’t turn up for work.

But for now, she had to concentrate on getting free.

To be continued….


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Here and NowHere and Now Continued




Here and Now Continued

Did you read the 100 word challenge – Here and Now?

Well,  thought I would explore this further and so here goes…

Stranger from the past (1)

But what day was it? How long had she been here? And where was here?

Sarah had a usual busy Friday in the office and on the way home she popped into a local bar for a quiet drink. She often did this as a break between the hectic life at the office and her dogs clamouring for attention in her apartment.

There was a quiet bar close by into which she went most Fridays. She was known to nobody there and apart from the cheery greetings from the bartender, was left alone to unwind. This Friday she had taken a file home with her to work on over the weekend. She had been reading the file when the man approached her table to ask if he could sit there.

They passed some pleasantries and she went back to reading her file.

After a time, he said, “That looks like heavy reading for a Friday night. Aren’t you supposed to relax over the weekend?”

“Oh weekends are often given up to catching up with work things, and tying up loose ends.”

“Well, why not take some time off now. Put down that file and talk to me,” he said.

Sarah hadn’t taken much notice of him when he sat at the table. But now she did. She saw a well-dressed, middle aged man sitting opposite her. He wore his dark hair slightly longer than was the fashion, curling around his ears somewhat. His eyes were a deep, dark brown and for a fleeting moment Sarah thought ‘just the sort of eyes to drown in”. He was wearing a dark suit with a blue buttoned down shirt and a darker blue striped tie.

He didn’t appear to offer a threat and although it was not something Sarah usually did, she put aside the file and turned towards him with a smile.

“That’s better” he said and “I’m Alec Wishart. I’m 50 years old, unattached, recently divorced” this with a rue smile “and I have twin boys of 15. Now it’s your turn”.

“Oh I’m Sarah Holliday” she offered “Single, unattached. No children but a couple of very demanding dogs waiting for me at home.”

“Well they can wait a little longer I’m sure. Let’s have another drink and spend a little time getting to know one another.”

This was so unlike Sarah and she surprised herself with her ready agreement to both anther drink and some time spent in the company of this man.   What harm could come, she thought to herself. And those dogs could manage for an extra hour without her.

They sat in companionable quiet while the waiter took their order and returned with their drinks.

“So what do you do Sarah Holliday, that you have to take work home at the weekends?” he asked.

“I’m a very junior paralegal in a very large legal firm. I’ve only been there a short time and find it difficult to get through the mound of work that appears on my desk each day. I think it reproduces itself overnight.” She laughed.

“And what about you Alec Wishart. What do you do when you’re not meeting strange women in bars?”

“I’m a property developer” he responded “But in a very small way. I’m working on a project in the dock area, quite near here. And I was on my way home from a meeting when I saw this bar and decided a quiet drink would be in order. Then I saw a space at your table and came over to sit with you.

So you might say it was fate that we both happened to be at a loose end and happened to chance on the same bar.”

At that they both laughed.

The hour Sarah had given herself stretched into another as they  decided that food was in order. So once they had ordered their food,  they got back to discussing themselves and their lives, and to Sarah it seemed perfectly normal to be sitting here with this stranger sharing details that usually she kept to herself.

To be continued…


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