Part 2: The Middle

The new car felt powerful, while he gripped the steering wheel with relish.He pushed his foot a little harder on the accelerator, and felt the speed increase almost at once.

Stephen Bosch had just bought the new car, was only just leaving the Tesler dealership.

It would have cost most normal people an arm and a leg, but Stephen was not a normal person. Twenty years ago – he had been a nobody – but now… things were different. Time had just named him “The most influential writer of the decade” after all.

The thought brought an unwilling grin to his face.

The car was of a deep red colour, and was, in Stephen’s eyes, at least, perfection. Mr. Pitt had tried extremely hard to get him to pay an extra fifty-thousand for it – for it was an early model, and very, very, hard to find. He had managed to get it from Mr. Pitt for what he considered was a steal.

Stephen drove along the Californian streets, drinking in the dazzling sunlight. Heads turned as he drove down the sunlit pavement, which made him appreciate the tinted windows that surrounded him, very much. He definitely did not need the paparazzi following him. Not again. He had moved three times in the last year alone, because the paparazzi, always managed to find him. He hated them, with all his heart. They had driven his family away from him. His wife had said that she and her children couldn’t deal with the attention.

The thought caused the smile that had just been on Stephen’s face a few minutes before – was gone, as quickly as it had come. He told himself to not think about that. It had been thirteen years ago. He was past it.

As he drove the thought of his wife and children from his mind, he drove into his driveway at exactly the same moment. His house was… well, there was no other word for it. It was gargantuan. Much bigger than any house needed to be. Although, if he hadn’t bought this house, there was no way he could have installed the indoor football pitch, nor have a home theater put in.

He stepped thought his front door, looking around after he had locked the front door behind himself. Lining the hallway, were all the books he had written, all first editions, of course. It had all begun with ‘The Starving Games’, twenty years before, and his collection had gradually grown to include his critically acclaimed ‘Goosepimples’ Series. They had been a massive hit for children. The profits of the first 3 had bought him his house, and the last 2 had just bought his new Tesler which was safely in his garage now.

The first ‘Goosepimples’ book, had also been the first of his books not ti be published by Blah Blah Publishing. Everything was handled by Wingdings agencies, now. He’d had a rather sticky end with Blah Blah Publishing, soon after the third and final installment of ‘The Starving Games’. Apparently, Mrs Thomas had been quite ‘taken’ with Stephen, even though Stephen had a thing for her assistant, Karen.

Mrs Thomas didn’t like this at all, and had one day in a rage when she had heard the news of her client and assistant dating, had thrown the vase that usually sat on her desk at him. Stephen phoned his agent that same day, and refused to go back to Blah Blah Publishing. Karen had also quit out of solidarity for Stephen. The two ended up getting married, and having two children, Grant, and Devon. The three of them, were now gone. Apparently she had moved to South Africa, to where her parents were.

A few weeks passed uneventfully. Stephen had just moved onto writing his last three chapters of the latest ‘Goosepimples’, when he received a phone-call while he was sitting in his study, researching Ancient Egyptians, for the ending of his story.

He answered the phone-call, and a familiar voice spoke through the speaker. It was Mrs Thomas.

“Stephen. How are you?” Her tone was cold and blunt.

Stephen was aghast. Why was Mrs Thomas calling after all this time?

“Stephen?”

“Um, Hi, Mrs Thomas.” His tone was calm, but inside he had no idea what he was going to do.

“We need to meet. Tonight. You won’t want to miss this, I promise you. Seven ‘o clock. M&B.”

The phone hung up abruptly.

Feeling bewildered, Stephen wondered what on Earth could have made Mrs Thomas phone him now, after all these years. He had no intention of not going. Her tone had made it clear enough, that we would not want to miss it.

He walked into M&B, and looked around for Mrs Thomas. She was never late for anything, so he knew she was here, somewhere. He spotted her sitting at a table right at the very back. He made his way over, slow as he could manage.

“Hello, Stephen”

“Mrs Thomas, whats going on, why did you call -”

His voice trailed away, for she had just thrown something down onto the table in front of him. It was a brown, A4 sized envelope.

Puzzled, Stephen hastened to open it.

What he saw made him gasp.

“Yes. I know.” Her thin mouth curled into an ugly smile.

Stephen was still in shock – there was no way that she could have possibly known, no way she could have possibly found out. But there was no denying the photos that were held clutched tight in his hand.

He raised his head slowly up to her, and she broke into a small laugh.

“Ah, Stephen, you’re going to do exactly as I say. Do you understand me?” Still chuckling slightly as she spoke.

All Stephen could do was nod.