Jonathan Powers, award-winning playwright, sits at his mahogany desk in his penthouse overlooking the Thames and stares vacantly into space.
Half an hour has passed since he heard the devastating news. It seems Miss Clarke lost control of her car, the policeman had informed him, and hit a tree. Sadly, she didn’t survive.
Miss Clarke, his dedicated personal assistant, who had idolised him and hung on his every word. Miss Clarke, who had devoted her life to him, attending to his every need. Miss Clarke, who had expected so little in return.
Miss Clarke’s working day began at 9 am. It would rarely end before midnight. Yesterday was no exception. The deadline for Jonathan Powers’ new play was looming and the vital twist in the final Act continued to elude him. He paced the floor in a foul mood; it was Miss Clarke who had borne the full brunt of it.
Driving home, mentally exhausted, what was uppermost in her mind? Her warm, comfortable bed? Or the memory of Jonathan Powers’ face, contorted with rage, spewing verbal abuse?
The shock of Miss Clarke’s death has temporarily shielded Jonathan Powers from the full impact it will have on his life.
He will not meet that deadline. And he will never again write a successful play.
How easy it had been to exploit the vulnerable and besotted Miss Clarke. Rob her of any recognition for the brilliant flashes of inspiration that, over the years, had injected humour and emotion into his lacklustre plays. Given them life, without which, they would never have enjoyed their long runs.
And, on that fateful night, when she’d struggled so desperately to summon the inspiration Jonathan Powers demanded, and was now so dependent on, how easy it had been to crush her adoring heart.
What was Miss Clarke’s state of mind as she headed home? How did she come to lose control of her car on a quiet, familiar road?
These are questions that will continue to haunt Jonathan Powers over the long years ahead. No longer the darling of the theatre… a reclusive and forgotten man.