Being Inspired, maybe - 100

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, then, the words:

It would come as a surprise to anyone who knew me that I would be able to track Madeleine on my phone, or, for that matter, do anything other than making a call or send and read messages.

Madeleine was one of those women who knew everything and anything about the technology and had stated more than once that I had to change my Luddite ways, and had been making it her mission to bring me out of the dark ages.

That included making the necessary changes and updates on my phone to make it more useful for me, and over the course of a few months when our paths crossed, she would give me a short lesson on certain aspects she thought would be useful for me.

Like the calendar and keeping appointments, particularly with her.  I had no excuse to forget.

The last lesson of sorts had been on the way back down on the peak tram, and that was in relation to looking for and using apps.  And, it seemed, she had made some changes at the same time.

Madeleine had been explaining something about them and I now chastised myself for not listening

But, just the same I was able to scroll through a number of screens until I reached the last page where there was one icon with the name Madeleine under it.

A smiley face with exaggerated pigtails 

I tapped it, and a second later a map appeared with a pulsing green light, what I suspect was her position.

I hadn't seen Suzanne get out of her chair and come up behind me, and got a slight jolt when she said, "Intriguing young lady.  It's almost as if she wants you to find her, not only now, but all the time,"

She may have said it in a non-interested tone, but the was an undertone to it which suggested she was surprised, or worse, might be jealous.

I went over to the room's phone and called the front desk.  When the clerk answered, I said, "I need a car, as soon as possible."

A moment's silence then, "We have one free, it will be out front in five minutes."  Greasing the wheels had its rewards.

I thanked her, and looked at Suzanne, "Coming?"

"How long have I got?"

"Downstairs, five minutes."

"See you then."

A green Rolls Royce was waiting, the driver by the back door ready to open it for me.  It was six minutes and I was going to give Suzanne four more before leaving.

She was there in nine.  A quick change into something more comfortable; a shock because Suzanne was not one of those women who could be ready to go anywhere in under two hours.

That she was prepared to make herself available in such a short time was an interesting development.

While waiting for her, I gave the phone to the driver and asked him where the green dot was heading.  Apparently, it was in the direction of Hong Kong Disneyland, a rather odd place for her to be going, but he did add later that it might also be the airport.

Madeleine hadn't mentioned a desire to go to either of those destinations in any of our conversations, so it was concerning.  She also hadn't mentioned meeting anyone else, and I thought I'd clearly heard her say she was heading back to the hotel.

Suzanne briefly took in the interior and luxury of the car before asking, "Do we know where she's going?"

"Either Disneyland or the airport." 

The driver eased out into the traffic.  I had impressed on him the urgency of getting there as soon as possible, and I was assured he would do the best he could.

"I hardly think she'd be going to the airport.  Disneyland?"  She looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, "Isn't there a huge statue of a Buddha out that way?"

Tian Tan Buddha, the driver said, along the same road we would be taking to Disneyland or further on to the airport.

Not knowing which of the three, it was simply a matter of waiting, and watching the green dot.

"Where do you think she going?"  Suzanne had been quiet, leaning back in the seat, and, for a minute or so, had closed her eyes.

"Perhaps the driver, thinking she might have money, is taking her to a compound with retail stores.  Many years ago when I was in Singapore, I asked for a private driver to go to the zoo, and, on the way back, he took me to a jade factory.  For a while, I got the impression I was being kidnapped."

"Let's hope not.  I suspect if that was the case, she would have texted it, and where she's going."

It was plausible.  "I'm not quite sure what to make of her text."

"Well, she is a bit of a dark horse after all," Suzanne muttered.  "I'm sure this will be nothing but a wild goose chase."

That was my hope.  But, who came to Hong Kong at Suzanne insistence, by herself which was totally out of character, and as far as I knew, not all that confident to be going anywhere by herself, so I didn't think she had met up with or brought along anyone else, either of whom could know precisely the moment that she'd get to the bottom Peak tram terminus.

But as for being a dark horse, no; simply because I have never considered Madeleine the sort to throw caution to the wind.

"It's the quiet ones you have to worry about," Suzanne added, just for emphasis.

Was I worried?  Yes.  And perhaps more than I should.  Was that a sign of something else, and, perhaps a reason for Suzanne to be making excuses for Madeleine?  I didn't think I meant that much to her, well, not in a romantic sense.

Another glance at the phone showed the flashing green light had stopped, and taking a closer look at the map it looked like it was outside Disneyland, perhaps the car park.  Had she got out, or was she waiting for someone?

I kept an eye on the blip.  It wasn't moving.  Had she got out I would expect the car to drive off, not wait, not unless the driver didn't have another job to go to.  Just another curiosity.  I told the driver the car had stopped outside Disneyland and asked how long it would be before we arrived.

Five minutes.

It was going to be a long five minutes.

It was a large carpark, but not full.  On one side there were a number of buses, and a set down/pick up point.  The driver stopped about 50 yards from the front entrance, and we got out.   Suzanne asked him to wait.

By the time she joined me I had scanned to the whole carpark, and moved onto the entrance.  Her phone was still pinging, and as accurate as it might be, it was still saying she was quite near, and not inside.

Or maybe still sitting in the car that had brought her here.

I tried calling her, but the phone went to her message bank.  At least it was still on, which, in a way, was reassuring.

Then Suzanne saw her, just inside the building that was the entrance.  Waiting.

It took less than a minute to reach her, and she was surprised to see us, though probably more surprised to see Suzanne.

"You gave us a scare," Suzanne said.  "Are you in trouble?"

"I was beginning to think so.  I asked the driver to take me back to the hotel, and instead, he said he had instructions to bring me here.  He gave me a note that said I would be met, and given an explanation."  She took the note out of her handbag and gave it to me.

Exactly as she said.  Typewritten on a computer, and not signed.

"You seem to have a secret admirer."

"I don't think so.  No one knows I'm here."

"Which," a voice from behind us said, "is what is worrying us."

We all turned.

I heard a sharp intake of breath from Madeline, the identity of her visitor was a shock rather than a surprise,  "What are you doing here?"

© Charles Heath 2020


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