A matter of life and … what’s worse than death – Episode 10

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination in what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…

 

We walked slowly towards the end of the passage, each time I passed a cell I had a look in, and noted if it had a prisoner or not.  By the end of the passage, I counted six prisoners, and one was a woman.’

She just looked at me sullenly, and I guess if it was light enough, that look would be with pleading eyes.  Sadly, I couldn’t save her, or the other five.

At the end of the corridor, we retraced our steps towards the hall, along the passage where I counted another three prisoners, then up the stairs to the ground level.  We came out into a better-lit alcove with arches leading in three directions.

Straight ahead was the hall.

We turned to the left.  Along another passage that seemed to run the length of the wall, what I thought was the stone battlement that made up one side of the castle, looking out over fields, with a village in the distance.

What I thought was the opposite side to the guard tower I’d been in earlier.

I tried to figure out if that’s where we were, and if my memory served me correctly, we were heading towards the wall that was built into the mountainside, in which case we’d go up another set of stairs, at the top of which would be an exit, or turning right, to a room that once served as the guards quarters, now used for kitchen supplies.

What else was here?  My mind was blank.

Up the steps, so far I was right, ahead of a thick wooden door, locked, so we turned right and passed a small room.  I’d forgotten it, but it was the radio room, wires leading out a small arrow slit window to the aerial.   The man in front stumbled, then regained his gait.

I could hear the man behind me shaking his head.

“Halt,” the man behind me barked. 

The man in front stopped dead, and I crashed into him.  I felt rather than saw the fist come towards me; it was not for me, but the other guard, who, preoccupied with not falling, never saw it coming.

He went down like the proverbial ask of potatoes, no idea what happened.

My turn?

A hand landed on my shoulder, thrusting me towards the door to the storeroom.  “Go, now.  The door on the other side is open, head down to the creek and follow it.  Someone will meet you.”

I half turned, “Who…”

“No time.  Go.  And shut the door behind you.”  I felt him thrust a gun in my hand.  “Hit me.”

I hesitated.

“Do it, or I’ll be shot.”

I shrugged and hit him.  He slowly slid to the floor.  A second glance, no, I didn’t know who he was, the headed for the back of the storeroom.  The door was open.  A cautious look before stepping out, I  saw no one but heard breathing.  Jack.  How did the dog know I’d be here?

I closed the door behind me and heard the lock engage, then after a pat on Jack’s head, he led the way.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

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