Mysterious new arrival

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 12:00am

Chapter 3

DOCTOR RUMSAM never called himself a doctor and he always referred to his patients as guests. That was the way he chose to do things at Star Spa. He was not running a hospital here because his guests were not ill in the true sense of the word. They had just lost their way a little and Rumsam and his staff were there to help them get back on track.

Rest and pampering packaged together with a little over-the-top professional attention is a great medicine. Better than any liquid in a bottle or pills in a box.

Rumsam's guests were rich and paid heavily for what they got at Star Spa. Only occasionally was Rumsam faced with a failure, and then he acted quickly and moved the guest on to somewhere else before any damage could be done to Star Spa's unblemished reputation.

The black limousine moved quickly along the winding lanes leading to Hundred Hill. The silent uniformed chauffeur was a careful driver. Lost in the back of the car, his single passenger sat bolt upright staring out of the window. She could see out, but no one could see in. The limousine windows were black, one-way glass.

Slowly the road rose from the valley into a thick wood. The trees seemed to appear suddenly out of nowhere. It was mid-afternoon, but a dark mist was climbing up their trunks and clinging onto their low branches. By the time the car drove out of the wood a dense fog had dropped over the countryside but the solitary passenger continued to look out of the window even though she could see nothing.

Suddenly the limousine swung off the road and turned into a drive leading up to a dark square house dotted with brightly lit windows. The chauffeur stopped in front of a closed iron gate. He wound down the window and spoke into a metal box hanging on a pole.

'Miss Kelly is arriving. May we proceed?' He had obviously done this before and showed no impatience as he waited for the gates to swing open.

The car carefully crunched over pebbles as it drove up to the entrance of the house. Someone had already opened the door and a bank of yellow light cut through the fog as the car drew to a halt.

On the first floor, in Room 37, care assistant Rose Thyme was putting the finishing touches to everything before the new occupant arrived. She walked into the small bathroom and adjusted the heavy mirror over the sink. She smiled as she stood back and looked at her own reflection. Everything was ready. Perfect.

Bella Emthy would be very pleased.

To be continued tomorrow