A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 3

This is a story inspired by 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…
And sadly when I read what I’d written, off the plane and in the cold hard light of dawn, there were problems, which now in the second draft, should provide the proper start.

 

There were eleven stormtroopers and Wallace, eighteen in Johansson and Jackerby’s group. One of those would be in the communications center, leaving, at worst, twenty-nine men out looking for me.

I also assumed that Jackerby would approach the search in much the same manner as I would, the men in pairs, as singly, he knew that I would have an advantage.

Eight pairs would be inside, doing a room to room search, from the top down.

Five pairs would be outside, one group in the center, one group at each of the corners, all working the perimeter, all in constant communication with each other.

In normal circumstances, I would be caught.

These were not normal circumstances.

 

Jack padded his way just ahead of me, stopping every few yards and both sniffing and listening.  At a junction he would stop, waiting, then make a decision which way to go.

I had to trust his instincts.

Just ahead of me there was a cracking sound followed by falling rocks and a shaft of light.

An opening in the roof where it was too close to the surface.

Jack went quite still.  Voices.

“Be careful.”  German.

Followed immediately by “Speak in English you fool.  You were saying,”

The man switched to careful English, “Be careful, or you’ll fall down that hole.  They should have told us the ground around here is on top of an old mineshaft.”

“Better, Corporal.  Remember. English at all times.”

“Could be where they buried the bodies hastily before they left.”

The man was referring to the story the previous custodians of the castle had killed about a hundred of the nearby villagers and buried them in a mass grave near the castle.  No one had been able to verify the account, nor had anyone found any skeletal evidence.

Yet.

“Let’s get out of here.  The last thing I want to see is a ghost.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

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