“Chapter 1”

‘Here use this.’ He handed her a handkerchief to dry her eyes. Taking her arm he pushed and shoved his way with their luggage through the crowd to a taxi waiting well away up the concourse. The driver seeing them approach ran and grabbed their gear and hurriedly stowed it in the boot. He jumped behind the wheel slammed the door and looked back at them in his rear view mirror.

‘Where to sir?’ he asked eyes wide, tone frantic. He just wanted to get the hell out of there.

‘Go!’ shouted Conway squeezing in beside Pim. ‘We’ll tell you in a minute.’

They moved out toward the exit only to be stopped by two hard-eyed, dark brown uniformed police with revolvers drawn. One ordered the driver to open his boot while the other stared unblinking at the occupants. Finding nothing but a Farang (foreigner) and his girlfriend they were brusquely waved on.

‘Where do you live Pim? Where do you want to go?’ asked Conway as they joined the traffic on the expressway to the city. He took in her torn jacket, the skirt dark with stains where she’d lain on the concourse, the cuts and abrasions on her arms and the trickle of blood on her neck where she had been cut by slivers of glass, the beautiful face white with shock.

‘First I think I better get you to a doctor and…’
‘No, no, please, take me home, my family doctor will attend to me, oh my God!’
‘What’s the matter, what is it?’
‘You, Khun Steve you! There is blood on your face and glass in your hair. You need to see a doctor too.’ She reached up and touched his face; a gesture of genuine concern. It warmed him.
‘Don’t mind me Pim, just give him your address.’

She drew a deep breath and spoke to the driver in rapid Thai. He nodded and the old Toyota leapt forward increasing speed.

‘Khun Steve what about you, where is your hotel? Or do you live here?’
‘I’m just visiting for a while. I’ll drop you off then take this taxi to my hotel, don’t worry about me. Now where are we going?’

A thought just occurred to him. ‘Not Chiang Mai I hope,’ he grinned crookedly, referring to the popular tourist city in the far north of Thailand.

Somehow she managed a smile. It transformed her. For a moment she looked radiant. ‘Please don’t worry Khun Steve, I live in Bangkok in an area called…Bang Na.’

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