The Sunday Serial: Episode 5 – Scarf Ace

The captive is handcuffed and bound on Sarah’s floor under the strict orders of Cassandra. But what is that photo of Sarah in her pocket? And will Cassandra ever move away from emerald? Read on with OLD DAL…

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“We secured him in your room.”

“What do you mean secured?”

Sarah’s eyes filled with tears and she burst through her door. The stranger was sitting in the middle of the floor, his hands secured behind his back with a pair of pink, fluffy handcuffs.

“Guilty!” giggled Cassandra. Jamie and Sam forced a smile.

The stranger had been gagged with a college scarf, yet he made no protest. In front of him, someone had placed a laptop which was playing the season one of The Wire. How compassionate, thought Sarah. A real cushy deal this captive has.

“You explain everything,” came Cassandra’s imperative. “Or he leaves. You know the amount of trouble things like this could get us into. He’s told us everything.”

Sarah missed a breath. “Everything?”

No one noticed the black Corsa circling the college on the road outside.

Catch up with episodes one, two, three and four here.


“How would I know everything?” Sarah stammered. “There’s every chance that you know more than I do…”

Sarah’s eyes darted between the captive and Cassandra. Despite the tightening vice of Cassandra’s arms as they folded further in on themselves, showcasing ever more dramatically her sturdy bust of morality, it was the handcuffed mess on the floor that was provoking her anger.

“He really hasn’t told me much. Just that he needs help… that he can’t be found… that he’ll tell us everything later…”

Cassandra raised an eyebrow at Jamie, who was gesturing agitatedly towards Sam for a sip of his Big Tom. The prissy threesome – in every sense the village elders of The Sleepy Corridor – seemed oddly satisfied with this admission of half-innocence. Jamie took a swig of the red juice, closed her eyes in mock agony and let out a fluttered trill à la Lesley Garrett. “Bit sharp, that.” Sam sheepishly took it back, fumbling with the bottle top.

“Show her, Cassandra. Go on…”

The captive’s eyes rolled in frustration, yet his mouth made no attempt at protest beneath the college scarf. The coarse material in his mouth was already too much; anything too brash and he would be sick. His mind skipped through past memories of the window displays at Ryder and Amies he had seen as a child. He had always wondered how the clothes tasted. He laughed in his head at his own joke.

Cassandra, in two sharp, triumphant movements, thrust a hand into her emerald cleavage and back out again holding a small photograph.

“Quite a nice one of you really Sarah…” she trilled. “He really got your good side!”

Sarah, hands shaking in agony at Cassandra’s growing smugness, grabbed the paper. She attempted to let no sign show on her face of the horror brimming below the surface. Cold panic pulsed in her temples, and something pulsated in her stomach. “Oh.”

It was a photo, printed out on a piece of torn A4 paper. Yellow lines began to appear on the image towards the right hand side where the printer had slowly begun to run out of ink.

Smiling in the centre of the picture was Sarah herself. The camera had zoomed in on her face, but you could see the shoulders of two girls standing either side of her, and the hair of a boy standing in front, but a bit below. Sarah remembered the day, but she could not for the life of her remember the photo. It had been the national final of a debating competition she had been involved in at Sixth Form. They had been runners up, but had posed for the photos all the same and featured proudly on their school’s website under the dropdown menu “Excellence Outside The Classroom”. The boy in front of her had ruined it for everyone with his shaking hands and scrunched up bullet points. “Ladies, Women and Gentlemen on the floor…” he had begun his speech. Sarah had known them to be doomed from this point onwards.

“We found it in his trouser pocket.”

The captive’s eyes rolled once again and this time he let out an audible groan.

Sarah played the even through in her head. There had been a good few people taking pictures at the time. Her mother had been there with the disposable, the local Gazatte… The photo on the paper didn’t look like one of the official ones, that was for sure.

“You said you had picked my door at random…” Sarah began, despite herself, to interrogate the captive. “Because the door was open, you said. Because my room had a light on…”

The captive’s eyes were back to watching The Wire by this point. He had clearly lost interest.

Sarah turned to address The Village Elders. “He told me he needed protection, but that he couldn’t tell us why just yet. He said he would repay us if we hid him… just for a while. He has inhuman amounts of money. He can cook and clean, he says. He has a degree in history from Durham, he says. He…”

Sam spluttered into his Big Tom, much to the hassled embarrassment of Jamie. “And you believe all this?”

“I certainly did last night…”

“Look, here.” Cassandra was about the lay down the law. “I have a supervision to go to now. Someone keep an eye on him today. We will all talk about the situation tonight, and decide whether or not he stays.”

“Why not just turn him in straight away? I have other things to be doing!” This was Sam.

“Trust me. I think we’re going to want to think about this one.”

With that, Cassandra turned on herself and left the room. Pulling open her emerald dressing gown, she revealed that she had in fact been fully dressed underneath all along. A black blazer and black jeans.

Leaving college, she nodded slyly at the circling Corsa which then came to a slow stop in front of her. She leaned in through the window, kissing the woman in the passenger’s upon both cheeks. He shook the driver’s hand, and giggled politely at a joke he made.

“So where did she go with him last night, eh?” Cassandra asked. “They know each other better than they’re letting on didn’t they?”

“Not exactly…” said the driver of the Corsa. “I think you should hop in for a moment.”

Back in the room, Sarah had agreed to look after the captive on her own for a while. As Sam and Jamie returned to their room, she slowly undid the scarf, pulled it out of his mouth, and laughed.