Chapter 22: Ken swoops on Jan as Tom's life hangs in the balance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 35

Solentville  Tales Chapter 22- Ken swoops on Jan as Tom's life hangs in the balance

It was still raining quite hard and the wind was making life difficult for Tom as he held on to his car's bumper.Then suddenly in an instant he lost his grip and was flung towards the swollen river downstream.

The river had completely engulfed most of the local roads and only some of the branches on the tallest trees were visible above the vast swollen river.

Tom was becoming desperate as further and further he was dragged away from dry land and it appeared that he was only a matter of minutes from certain death from drowning in the dangerous river.

Suddenly out of nowhere he heard a voice call out to him in the distance,there appearing in front of him was a canoeist who who had earlier been paddling furiously away from Tom's location.

Just when everything seemed lost for Tom he had a tiny hope of self preservation to cling on to.

The boat was only now a matter of feet away but appeared to be trapped between two stumps and it wasn't going anywhere soon but that was just as well given the awful torrential conditions the canoeist would have to navigate in order to pass through safely.

Darkness had long since descended upon this small pretty hamlet which was just south of the city centre.

Visibility was non-existent and he could barely make out the canoeist's features who was within his grasp.

He was now holding on to a branch for dear life not even daring to think of sanctuary,he just needed to focus on preserving his own life right now.

It was difficult not to focus on his family,in an instant his whole life flashed in front of his eyes and then soon help was at hand as the two men finally came in to contact with other.


Canoeist- Are you alright mate?,I'm going to pass you a rope which I have in the canoe,you need to tie it around your waist and then I'll attempt to pull it towards me ok?.

Tom- Yes I think I am ok,nothing broken,I'm just a bit sore and bruised.What a lucky break you being at the right place at the right time,ok pass me the rope and we'll give it a go.

Canoeist- We don't have much time as the high spring tide will only increase the river levels so we had better look sharp and try to make a move soon.

Tom- Right you are,ok I've got the rope now what?,I daren't let go with my other hand otherwise I'll lose my grip and end up downstream.How can I tie myself to the rope one handed?.

Canoeist- You are going to have to hold on to the branch with your feet and ankles or it's not going to work.

Tom- Ok here goes,phew !!!! I made it.

Canoeist- Ok that's the trickiest part done now I will need to pull you in.

Tom- By the way I was just curious to know why you were out tonight in these awful weather conditions,it's dangerous even for an able skilled canoeist.

Canoeist- One of my son's was out on a field trip with his friend before all of this bad weather started and I've been looking for him and his pal for over 24 hours.

They were camped in the woods just over there but that's all under water now and right now I am  fearing the worst for them.

Tom- Oh my goodness I'm so sorry you must be worried sick,right here we are what next?.


Tom settled into the boat along the canoeist and both decided that it was now safe to paddle towards the hamlet end.

The local St.Cuthbert's church was only 5 minutes away from them now,the wind and the river current were proving a real hazard as both men paddled furiously to attempt to make the location.

Tom noticed that there were lights on in the main hall of the church nearby where a service was held each Sunday.

The thought of a warm bed and a nice cup of tea was helping him to retain his focus as his teeth began to chatter with the biting cold night air.

It had just gone 3am in the morning when finally both men had managed to navigate it safely arriving near to the church's graveyard.

Tom was still concerned about Liam but he wasn't about to put his life in danger once again so Liam could wait.


Tom- Phew !!!!!! that was a close run thing,I wouldn't want to experience that again anytime soon.
My name's Tom by the way,i don't know I can ever thank you and am just so relieved that I'm alive,how can I ever repay you sir?.

Canoeist- Nonsense Tom I'm sure you would have done exactly the same for me given the circumstances had the roles been reversed.

My name's Mike by the way am pleased to make your acquaintance sir.Now if you don't mind I must continue the search for my lost son.

I think the church might be as good a place as any to stay for now,at least you will be safe and warm,I'll bid you farewell and stay safe.

Tom- Right you are sir and thanks again for coming to my rescue.

Tom made his way towards the church grounds from a very wet and muddy embankment,he noticed how quiet it was in the area.

This was not too unusual given the time of day but there was a distinct lack of wildlife.It was not uncommon to hear the sound of a night owl in the local dark woodland.

Finally he entered the church's main entrance wiping his muddy shoes on the floor mat before he began to climb the few short steps towards the main hallway.

He had half expected to hear the sound of voices but there was only a deathly silence that greeted him in the hall,there wasn't a soul in sight.

Tom decided that he would attempt to make contact with Jan if the phone in the church's office was in working order.

As it happened he was in luck as he managed to obtain a dialling tone,why was it taking her so long to answer the phone?.

It was 3.30am in the morning however so perhaps she was fast asleep in bed and reluctant to answer the call.

Still he waited but there continued to be no reply until at last the receiver was picked up and a person spoke,but it was not Jan's voice at the other end of the line.

He soon realised with absolute horror that it was Ken who had answered the phone and he was in residence at his families home.He composed himself before engaging in conversation.

Ken- Hello is there anyone there?.

Tom- Ken is that you?,what the hell are you doing in my house and where's Jan?,I need to speak to her urgently so I'd be grateful if you could ask her to come to the phone.

Ken- Ok calm down Tom,we were just catching up on old times,now don't keep me on the line for too long my bed is getting cold and I'm in the pink right now if you know what I mean nudge nudge wink wink ha ha.

Tom- Just put her on the bloody line you moron,I'll swing for you one of these days Ken.

Ken- Ok mate hold your horses,here she is now.

Tom- Jan what the hell is Ken doing in our house?,don't tell me you have been sleeping with that pond life,well have you?.

Jan- No of course I haven't he's sleeping  in the study,in the bed I had prepared for Liam,what happened to you and where's Liam?.

I thought you were only going to be half an hour but it's been hours since you left.

Tom- Ok love it's a long story and I'll fill you in on the details at a later time,now please get him out of our house or I won't be responsible for my actions.

Jan- Tom he was in a terrible state when he came round here earlier this evening.
His ground floor apartment is under water like most of the properties in the area,I was just being neighbourly.

Frankly I'm disappointed that you could even think that I would end up sleeping with him,come back home when you're more reasonable and can treat me with the respect I deserve and not have the thought of suspicion preying on your mind,goodbye.


The conversation ended somewhat abruptly and Tom was now left with much food for thought as he looked for a mattress and bedding in order to make himself comfortable for the remaining hours before daylight.

It was an age before he finally fell asleep in the dormitory, he was soon having nightmares about his earlier ordeal.

His rapid eye movements suddenly caused him to wake up in excruciating pain as he was been afflicted by a dry eye condition which was something that was not too uncommon for him of late.

His eyes were becoming watery and the stinging sensation had just started to kick in,there wasn't much that he could do but to wait until it settled down before attempting to go back to sleep.

He was just about to close his eyes when suddenly he was startled by a noise,it was a loud crashing sound which appeared to come from the kitchen downstairs.

He now feared the worst as his mind began to race thinking that the church was about to be consumed by flood water.

He quickly made his way towards the kitchen and noticed that the rear window had been left open.

There sat in the corner of the room with a rather smug looking face was Mylene,what was she doing in the church at this hour?.

She had a smile like a Cheshire Cat which was the only thing that she was wearing and only her flamed coloured hair covered her modesty as she pouted her ruby red lips at him.

Was he dreaming or was this for real?.

Submitted: September 05, 2019

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