Part 32 - Rain, Rain, Go Away

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GATTS HAD FINALLY arrived at Kanchanaburi. He had battled trains, crazy drivers, floods, and more rain than he had ever seen.

He called the local chief of police, to be told all the officers were evacuating homeowners to safety. There were only two people at the station and they were there to answer emergency phone calls.

Understanding, but unhappy, Gatts decided to start at the hotel.

"No, sir, they have not been back or left word with us," the receptionist told him.

"Do you have any idea where they were going?"

"Yes, the young man went out to find the older man. Then the ladies went out to find him."

"Yes, yes, but where?"

"I heard them talking about that Christian place," she pointed through the window. "Do you have an address?"

A pen and paper appeared, and the lady drew a map, and after checking her contact list she wrote a telephone number.

Gatts ran out of the hotel, jumped into the still wet plastic seats of the police truck. Turning the ignition, the engine belched out black exhaust fumes as if it was complaining about the long trip at too high a speed. The vehicle bucked, and Gatts was on his way to the church. A few street lights aided Gatts as he squinted through the rain. One hundred yards ahead he could make out an illuminated cross. He hastily pulled up outside.

Running up the pathway, Gatts panted as he reached the door. He was in plain clothes, but the car gave away his occupation.

"Yes, officer, how can we help you?"

"Let me in, I have questions for you."

The burly man in long black robes stood aside, allowing Gatts to enter.

"Now, please take a seat. You look as if you are in a hurry?" said the man.

"Yes, I am. You, on the other hand, look as if you just came in from the rain?"

An inquisitive Gatts noticed a trail of drips followed the man.

"I have been to minister to one of our flock," he answered.

"Somebody injured in the flood?" asked Gatts.

"What flood?"

"Oh, you have been so tied up with God's work, you don't know about the terrible disaster here?" Gatts senses were twitching, how would any resident here not know of the anguish the town's residents were going through?

The man looked puzzled as another man in robes wandered in.

"Officer, can we offer you some refreshment?"

"No, thank you. Have you two been together?" asked Gatts.

"Yes, we work as a team. The others are showering and changing into dry clothes. Why?" "I'm a little surprised you have not heard the news," said Gatts.

The two men looked at each other quizzically as an older woman joined them.

"We have been so busy with some of our congregation. I have just heard on the radio about the terrible happenings around here. Sorry, but it seems they will need us at the river," she said calmly.

"What was it you wanted?" asked the wet man. "Please allow my colleagues to assist you, I must get changed."

With that, he left a wet trail as he walked to the back.

Far was in the small kitchen area, listening to the conversation. O had gone to return the vehicle to his boss's home.

"I am searching for friends of mine, I wonder if you know where they are?" asked Gatts. "Friends, you say, why would we know about them?" Sister took a lead with the answers.

"I know they came here."

"Sorry, we have been out, as we said. We would have noticed if any falangs visited, all our flocks are Thais," she said.

Gatts decided not to mention he had not said they were foreigners.

"Oh, hello," said Far, as she breezed into the church with a welcoming smile.

Gatts was trying to weigh up his next move.

"Are you a member of the church?" Gatts asked, not that it interested him, he wanted to buy time.

"My name is Far, I believe in the power of Jesus Christ," she answered.

Gatts was unsure what she was trying to tell him, if anything, he noticed the looks that passed between the others.

"Have you seen my friends?"

He asked, wondering if she would make the same or another slip-up.

Far looked at her elders, they all stared at her.

"Err, no, I've seen no one. Why did they come here? Especially in this weather."

Gatts changed tack, to get more direct with his questioning, "Earlier, you mentioned falangs," he stared at Sister. "I had not indicated what nationality the people are."

"Don't get clever with me, who do you think you are?" Sister's colour was reddening. "I am a serving officer in the King's police force. You should..."

Gatts comments were quashed as they jumped him. He was powerless to move as they tied his wrists. His radio and pistol were removed and given to Far.

"Lock those away," said a black-clad man as he removed the radio battery.

Far took the equipment upstairs. The men looked at Sister.

"It's ok, she has been before, she's one of us now," she mouthed.

The men tied Gatts and moved him to the back of the room and out of sight if anyone else would visit. Tonight was to be a prayer meeting. One man stuck a notice on the door, 'Cancelled - because of bad weather.'

Now to prepare for the lord's arrival.

Kev was feverish in his attempts to cut through the nylon. Pru could not help because she was hyperventilating at the thought of Peter dying, even if she could control herself she had tape up to her wrists.

Every few seconds Peter gulped a mouthful of air, showing he was still alive. Which made Kev work harder to unstring the vicar. If Kev could see through the cave stone, he would have seen Skylab being moved to the operating trolley.

"Debbie, relax, don't panic. Leave her hands taped. Then strap across her chest and under the table. I will fix one of her legs to each of the table legs. We want no mistakes at this stage," Mat was pleased that he could get a reaction by opening a girl's legs. Everything was working.

Skylab's attempts to wriggle came to nothing, the Gaffer tape was too strong, she merely kicked her legs up and down until, one at a time, each calf was then taped to the table leg. She now lay on her back, arms taped above her head, her chest was clamped in place, as were her legs. She could only move her head from side to side.

A vote will stop the rain!

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