I couldn’t think of her like that. I put my head in my hands, running my fingers directly through every curl. "What's happening to me? I'm tired of it all, and I just feel anger towards you. All the time we meet now."

Carrie lay a hand upon my arm. I flinched.

"It's my fault really," she said, "and we both know it. I'm sorry; I should have written back sooner, but I was selfish – I worried about the English police. I made a fuss of it all, and I forgot about you...dear friend. We are still friends, aren't we? Will you forgive me?"

I looked up from my hands at her earnest face. I'd never tested much forgiveness before, and now it was lingering on the tip of my tongue. She seemed sincere enough. Sorry enough. I was glad that she had certainly reached into the main reason I had ignored. Perhaps she was imperfect enough to be good. I licked my lips.

"Of course, Carrie. We are still friends. Look, I'm sorry for lashing out at you. I guess I thought you were trying to muck me around. And you how it is at my age.... No, that's hardly an excuse! What I'm saying is that I know you're on my side; I was foolish not to see it all along."

“All right.” It was a relief to know that I was no longer hurting her. “Can we talk about the mystery now?”

A smile crept onto my lips. “I’ve not got much to say. Unless you have any more information….”

“Maripose is acting too cheerfully – though, that is nice; Gustaf suspicious of everything and everyone still. I finally got Elsie to talk again – her English has suddenly increased fabulously, which I suppose is just due to the amount of English speakers in the house.” As she paused for breath, I smiled to myself. “Ivor is even making some effort. You wouldn’t think…. The only thing that strikes me as odd is that I don’t believe Marina or Mr. Thomason have been chatting lately. She’s all breezy, but he has been ever on edge.”


“Yeah: ‘hmm’. I haven’t seen Nicky, though, have you?”

I was about to reply, but a knock at the door cut off my thoughts. The grand Inspector Simnova barged in.

“Excuse me, ladies, but Mrs. Cunningham has gone missing.”

“What?” cried Carrie.

“That can’t be right,” I said. “She was just popping over to a friend’s. Or the friend of her son.”

Inspector Simnova crossed his arms. “Isla, Rhys, and David Cunningham were sent to England to stay with their grandmother four days ago. Mrs. Cunningham felt that she was already too involved in the murder to take them herself.”

I gasped. Now that explained why her house had been so threadbare.

“She lied to me! Nicky, what are you doing?”

“When the police find her, they will remind her of her obligation to stay in Moscow,” the Inspector said.

“It would have been easier to stay,” Carrie added.

Inspector Simnova bowed his head in a nod. “For the others, it might have been better to leave. Mr. Thomason, now his reaction was odd. From the tension, I believe that he wanted to stay to prove something to the Karkroffs.”

I sat up, staring at them both. Whilst my foremost thoughts were jumbled, the subconscious pieces operated without much assistant. Without needed to hear anymore, I pushed my chair aware and stormed out of the office.


The End

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