A FLIGHT HOME
Casper Watkins was an internationally famous author. His political thriller ‘A Flame in the Sky’ had topped the best seller lists all over the world and won him critical acclaim. Then for no apparent reason he disappears.
Jenny Millington had recently started work in the fiction department of his London publishers, Knott and Pearson. Under pressure to improve the departments sales figures her inquisitive nature leads her into the trail of intrigue and innuendo that surrounds Casper’s life.
Trying to establish a reason for his disappearance she arranges to meet his agent, Henson Littlewood, a known homosexual who dabbles in drugs. Before she can find out much he is murdered. In North Wales, Jenny discovers Casper has an illegitimate brother, Trevor, who only his mother knows about. Caroline Di Angello, one of Casper’s ex girl friends, is a page three pin up actress, who found fame in a ‘soap’. Together they were going to make a film of ‘Flame in the Sky’. He was said to be putting up some of the money, then he disappeared.
A chance encounter brings Jenny Millington into Casper’s life. His new book is a novel of love and passion, based on the stories of the Mabinogion; a collection of eleventh century Welsh tales of romance and drama. When he realises his heroine in the story is Jenny Millington, he has to make her his muse.
Meanwhile, Anthony Rathenberg, tall, handsome, wealthy, Managing Director of Knott and Pearson takes a fancy to Jenny. A weekend at his Sussex mansion clouds many issues.
Somehow, Jenny and Casper combine to put together the pieces of improbity that led to the death of his dear friend and agent Henson Littlewood.
Night time evokes so much the daylight shuns. An owl hoots in a distant tree. A fox lopes from a sand dune, looks left, then right and continues on. Breakers echo off the harbour wall, the silence draws attention to their roar.
Raucous laughter, mixed with muffled sounds of conversation, drift out of the Ship Inn. He hurries by, with collar up and cap down. Enshrined in a Norman tower, the church clock chimes ten. The alleyway behind the shop is dark like ink; his leg jars on the pedal of a bike. Cursing he feels for the door. Three knocks and wait, then another two; it’s their agreed signal. A scrabble of hands on the other side, then he hears the bolt slide across.
'Are you all right?' he whispers.
'I suppose so,' is her hushed reply.
Darkness engulfs the kitchen. Now it’s all familiar touch and feel. Inside her gown there’s warm supple flesh. He comes alive, but there’s still a maze doors and passageways to negotiate. The haven of her bedroom is a long way away.
'I thought you’d know the way by now,' she chides as she quietly guides him through.
It’s midnight when he tramps back across the bay. The moon is up, the roller coaster waves are a long way off. A folk tune he used to sing in school floods into his head. He mouths the words as he strides along. He is content on this rocky windswept shore.
Born in North Wales, Richard Jones has written numerous novels and short stories that draw on the colour and texture of the places he has lived in. The Western Highlands of Scotland, The Wye Valley, Pembrokeshire, Spain and Majorca have all featured in his work.
He was employed in the Financial Services Industry but is now retired and lives with his wife in Monmouthshire and Spain.