A matter of life and … what’s worse than death – Episode 12

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 worlds 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…

 

I had walked quite fast in my attempt to distance myself from our pursuers if they were, in fact, chasing me.  In doing so I had tried to make my escape as quiet as possible.

Now, between Jack and I, hiding in the undergrowth, the only noise I could hear was our laboured breathing, and mine in particular.  I hadn’t been expecting to be doing this sort of exercise when I signed on for the job.

Now, I think, exercise was going to become a priority.

If I made it back alive.

A crack and I saw Jack go very still, ears cocked, and looking in what was the direction of the sound.  He’d know, better than me, where the noise came from.

Another minute before I could hear muffled voices, then as if they had stepped into a room, I could hear them.

“So, you’re telling me you let him hit you?”

“I had to, for the sake of making it look good.  I was told he was no fool.” 

The voice of the man who had orchestrated my departure.  I shook my head, very disappointed in myself for not seeing through what could have been a very cunning plan.  It also explained why they hadn’t summarily shot me.  I could see Jackerby gloating over the cleverness of his plan.

So perhaps for a few moments there, I was a fool.  Not anymore.

“What do we do if we find him?”

“We’re not supposed to find him, remember.  You were at the same meeting, or was that your ghost I saw with me?”

“Observe and report back.”

“Exactly.”

The voices were very close, and I could hear their boots of the rocky path until they stopped.

“Which way?”

The voice sounded very close, in fact, I thought they were just on the other side of the undergrowth, but that couldn’t be right, I could see through it in places, and no one was standing on the other side.

Sound must travel very good in this part of the forest.

“Follow the main river.  He won’t be looking to deviate from his objective, which by now would be to find the other members of the resistance and organise his departure.”

“And leave alone what he saw?”

“There isn’t much he could do about it.  By the time he’s reported back to London, we will have found the underground members and eliminated any threat.”

“Aha, so he’s leading us to the resistance?”

“That’s the plan.”

“And it was your idea?”

“I do have my moments, thank you.  Now, let’s get on, or he’ll get too much of a start on us, and I don’t want to be the one to explain how we lost him to Jackerby in particular.”

A minute passed, then two before I heard the sound of boots receding.  Johansson, or maybe Jackerby, had correctly guessed I might know where the other resistance members were, and, after escaping, go straight to them.

Pity, I was going to disappoint them.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

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