Another story inspired from a visit to an old castle in Italy. It was, of course, written while traveling on a plane, though I’m not sure if it was from Calgary to Toronto, or New York to Vancouver.
But, there’s more to come. Those were long flights…
“You have got the guards set up on the back wall,” I asked Jackerby, the officer in charge of the rearguards.
“Can you see them?” he said in a tone that dripped sarcasm.
I didn’t like Jackerby, he seemed far too sure of himself and his men, and so far, we hadn’t had to rely on them.
But that time was coming, and sooner than any of us wanted to believe.
“Then no one else will either. Trust me, no one will be coming over the back wall. I’ll be in the command post, and it has a clear view of anything coming.”
“Excellent,” I said, trying to sound more confident that I felt.
Jackerby was Johannson’s man. He had recruited him, in circumstances that seemed a little too coincidental for my liking. Johannson was too easy going for me, and although he had not made a mistake, yet, I felt sure one was going to happen on my watch.
I think that’s why I’d been sent to keep an eye on operations.
There’d already been one attempt at an incursion, and we’d been saved by a dog, one I found on the roadside, injured by the same roadside bomb that had nearly killed me as well, and brought him with me. The thought of doing so, at the time, had been on the end of a single idea, a dog could not betray me, men and women could.
And the fact its name was Jack seemed to me to be rather poetic, if not somewhat ironic in the circumstances.
There was a coded communication in my pocket, one I’d received earlier in the afternoon, uncoded from the signal room. My special code. A warning of a second incursion.
Jack and I were in the guard tower at the south-western corner of the castle. It overlooked the valley and gave a clear view of anyone or anything coming from that quadrant.
Of course, if it came by air, you’d expect to hear it.
I didn’t, but Jack did. He suddenly stood and made a small moaning noise, as if he knew quiet communication was needed. The stiffness in his body told me it was danger.
I heard it, before I saw it, a glider, and following the swooping sound, the land of men on the gravel walkways just down from the tower. A precision flight and precision landing of a dozen stormtroopers.
And Jackerby’s guards were nowhere to be seen.
© Charles Heath 2019