AS THEY CLIMBED into the truck, Kev told them there was no more news from Gatts. Just as he reported word from Hua Hin, his phone was ringing.
"I just put the phone down with you, what is it."
Kev's eyes brightened, "Great news, that was Gatts. They have tracked down the Merc. I've got the address. Let's go there and have a look. The car was spotted by a patrolman earlier."
Peter and Pru were bubbling with excitement. Skylab and Kev remained worried that the news may be bad.
Kev slowed their car to a stop. Correct address, but no car.
"I saw a roadside restaurant back there, let's ask somebody inside?"
"It seems your daughter is memorable," said Skylab. "The man used his hands to describe her shape. Plus, the restauranteur said they are barely ever at home."
"It must be her!" shouted her mum.
"Seems that way," said a very pleased vicar. He smiled at the thought of his shapely offspring.
"We are getting closer, great. I wonder why they don't use this house much?" "The best news is that she seems happy and unharmed," Pru said.
"I'd rather she is not staying with a man, even if it could be innocent?" said Peter. The others doubted it.
"Let me call Gatts with the good news. Do you want to visit the church as planned or shall we celebrate with a beer?" asked Kev.
"It's early to celebrate. I want to see what's going on at that church," said Peter. "Oh, why can't you relax for a while? It's work, work, work for you. The church has nothing to do with us. We only went there because of a car salesperson, for God's sake." Pru stamped her foot.
"Let's go back to the hotel and decide what to do over a snack," suggested Skylab. Nods all round they got back in the car. When they reached the restaurant, the ladies studied the menu at the front, Kev offered Peter his thoughts on Thai beer.
"Excuse me, I need the bathroom, I think the one in our room will be best if you know what I mean?" said Peter.
Kev guessed Peter was suffering from too much chilli in his food. He waited to order his beer and joined the ladies picking out something to eat.
"Peter is taking his time, I hope his stomach is okay?" Pru worried.
"It happens often, people struggle with our spicy food. Plus his stomach is probably in turmoil with all the stress you two must have suffered," said Skylab.
They all chuckled and enjoyed their deep-fried fish cakes.
Pru, daydreaming and hoping to see Debbie again soon lost the track of time, until Kev mentioned, "Peter really is taking his time?"
"I had better check on him."
His wife nipped off upstairs.
They could hear her raised voice in reception.
"What do you mean our key is here?" Pru quizzed.
"Mr Peter went out the front door, not go up," stated the receptionist.
Skylab joined the older lady and checked with the hotel girl. They both rejoined Kev. "He's gone!"
"What? Where?" asked Kev.
"He must have returned to the church?" thought his wife.
"Come on, we'll find him."
"He will get a piece of my mind, I can tell you," the angry wife said.
They raced through the rain, expecting to see a drenched vicar rushing on the footpath. There was no sign of him.
"There's the church. Shall we all go in?" Skylab asked.
"Let me go alone, there is no point in you getting wet too. Besides, I don't want you to hear me swear at him," Pru's rage was boiling.
A wet Pru returned to the car, "They haven't seen him."
"Really? Wait a minute, look at the car just arriving behind us."
Kev had spotted a dark Mercedes parking back a few spaces. He swivelled the mirror to get a better look.
A black umbrella restricted Kev's view, Pru must have noticed something as she jumped out and ran through the downpour.
"Where is my husband!" she shouted.
The man stopped and turned.
Pru screamed, "And my daughter!"
Kev and Skylab were soon by her side. The man stared at Skylab's wet t-shirt and how it hung over her stomach.
"I do not understand what you are talking about."
He spoke without taking his eyes away from Skylab's small bulge.
They had opened the church door; the man ducked inside. Kev hammered on the door. There was no answer. Eventually, the trio gave up and went back to their hotel.
"Did you see how he was looking at me?" asked Skylab, "Creepy."
Without changing his soaked clothes, Kev phoned Gatts, asking for help.
Thirty minutes later the call was returned, "The local police checked the church. Everything in order, nothing to make them suspicious."
"What about the Merc and its owner?" asked Kev.
"There was no one fitting your description, and no fancy car outside. Sorry."
"Have you checked the registration?"
"Of course, it is owned by Second Cars, a reputable dealer in Kanchanaburi."
"What should we do, Gatts? We are not only looking for Debbie, now we have lost her father."
"Look, I have to ask, is there any marital problems, or any other reason he may have wanted to leave?"
"Nothing I can see, they seem a close pair. Do you want me to risk a slap by asking?" Kev asked.
"No, but keep your eyes and ears open. He may be back tomorrow?"
"I feel he won't be."
Kev gave the ladies a slimmed-down version of his call with Gatts. Pru was openly crying, Skylab trying to calm her.
Mat had already asked one of the church regulars to move his car to a back street. Upstairs at the church, Mat was pacing back and forth.
"What shall I do with you? I wonder, would Debbie drop you off in Bangkok like the others? No, that's for later," a slight giggle escaped," or now, you can be my guest." He now chuckled to himself.
The three men in black and the tattooed lady joined him upstairs. They spoke only in Thai, Peter understood none of the conversations.
"You have been loyal and faithful followers. My reason for coming tonight was to tell you great news. Stage one is complete, a total success. Now we will move forward, making our church the strongest in Asia."
The small gathering knew better than to ask questions.
They shouted, "Völkisch, Völkisch" over and over and over again. Peter spoke no German, but he knew somewhere in his memory it meant 'folk', but with a very limited number of people, those who were not Jews of that he was sure. He wracked his brain. There was more, "No please, no," he thought to himself. "It has something involving Devil worship. God help us," he whispered.
Mat looked at Peter, "How does that collar help you? These guys wear one," he laughed at the vicar's face. "Do you want to see your daughter? She is my wife, married by the dark lord. Will she save you, I wonder?"
"Whatever evil hold you have on my girl, release her into the Lord's arms."
Mat turned to his followers. They all collapsed in fits of laughter. Peter prayed long and loud, "Our Father..."
The laughing continued.
No phones in church, but you can vote!
YOU ARE READING
Skylab is pregnant, bodies of stillborn babies are going missing. Not a great job for an investigator! The story is set initially in Hua Hin but moves to Kanchanaburi, well-known for the famous River Kwai. The children's fathers' are guilty, but, do...