Friday, March 12, 2010
An Irish Mystery--Part Five by Margaret Daley
"I left you at the altar?" Had Patrick heard Caryn right? Surely she was daft or maybe she'd been hit over the head like him and didn't know what she was saying.
She moved several feet from him. "We were supposed to meet up in New York. I wanted you to meet my parents. I phoned and left the directions to the restaurant, but you never came. I tried to call you again, and your roommate told me you were gone. Went back to Ireland."
"I never went back to Ireland until I graduated. Why would Brad tell you that?"
"That's a good question, and one I would like to ask your roommate."
Rubbing his hand across his nape, he stared at the stone wall where the small window let in slivers of moonlight. The storm must have passed quickly. "I called you, and your parents wouldn't let me talk to you. They said you were traveling."
"Yeah, as a nanny. I was traveling with a family, but my parents never told me you called. Probably because they knew how upset I was when my letters were returned from Ireland unopened."
"I don't understand any of this." He rose slowly to his feet and keep his hand on the wall nearby to steady himself. The cold chill of the stones iced his blood and the feeling of the room growing smaller sent his heart pounding against his ribcage as the waves pounded against the rocks below.
"Neither do I," Caryn said in a voice that for the first time didn't hold anger.
"Who hit me from behind? Have you seen the person who put me in here?" Their cell spinning before his eyes, Patrick leaned more heavily against the wall, his hands gripping its rough edges.
"I never saw his face. It was always hidden. And I don't recognize the voice. A man--that's all I know."
Patrick scraped his hand across the stone as he tried to straighten and get his bearings. His forefinger hooked into a hole and pressed against something cold. Suddenly the wall shifted, and he nearly fell through the opening. He caught himself. The creaking sound of the gears moving reverberated against the prison they'd been trapped in. He'd known there were secret passages in the old castle that his ancestors had used for escaping, but he'd never found one until today.
"Let's get out of here before that man returns." Patrick held out his hand for Caryn.
She fit hers in his palm while he used his light on his key chain to fumble his way down another narrow tunnel. He pushed the uneasy sensation from his mind and kept going. Their lives might depend on it. At a bend there were two ways he could go.
"Left? Or right?" he asked, glancing back at Caryn's beautiful face, pale in the dim light.
She pointed right, which led upward, while he waved toward the left. Caryn chuckled. "We still can't agree. I concede. We'll go left."
"Down it is."
The sound of footsteps coming quickly filled the narrow corridor. He gripped Caryn's hand and practically dragged her down the path to the left. Sweat beading his brow, Patrick ran as swift as he could without stumbling on the uneven surface.
Moonlight poured in through a wide entrance. "The way out," Patrick said, the salt air spurring him even faster toward the exit.
All of a sudden, noting the dark void ahead, he skidded to a stop, one foot sliding off the side of the cliff. Pebbles he'd dislodged, crashed to the sea below, frothed with angry waves. Caryn clung to him, holding him from teetering off the ledge to his death on the rocks below.
He struggled back from the opening, getting his footing on firm ground.
Caryn threw her arms around him. "I thought I'd lost you."
"Not that easily."
"I hate to break up this little reunion, but I want the brooch. NOW."
Patrick spun around, pushing Caryn behind him, and came face to face with his old roommate, Brad, with a gun in his hand. Pointed at his chest.