I’m back home and this story has been sitting on a back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.
The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritizing.
But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.
Chasing leads, maybe
Darkness fell in a noticeably short time, and we left the pub at about six. In the hour so we have been there I’d been keeping a close eye on the comings and goings, and in particular, if O’Connell came in, or someone else that might look like him.
He hadn’t, nor had any mythical family members. Well, it had been a long shot.
Jennifer hadn’t volunteered anything more to the conversation and sat working her way through a piece of fried fish and a bowl of chips. Neither had looked appetizing. I would have bet she’d have the chicken, but I was wrong, and probably it wasn’t going to be the first time.
“Do you have a gun?”
It was after ten minutes of silence. It worried me that she didn’t ask how far it was or how long it would take. And then, out of nowhere, the gun question.
“No. Why would I have a gun.?”
“We were issued with weapons. I still have mine.”
“Did you bring it with you?”
“No. Like I told you, I didn’t think I was still working for the Department. They didn’t ask for it back, so I didn’t give it to them.”
“Or the identities?”
“No. It was odd though; they didn’t ask about them either.”
“Maybe they were going to wait a while and then ask you back.”
This was a weird conversation to be having. By this time we were in Peaslake Lane, and not far from the house I pulled over to the side of the road, under a tree.
The houses were set back in a rural setting. Between the darkness and the undergrowth, the chances were we could get to the house without being seen. From where I was sitting, no windows or doors were visible.
I made sure the car’s internal light didn’t go on the moment the door was open.
“Are you bringing your cell phone?”
“Why. I’m not envisaging having to call anyone, nor am I expecting a call.”
I shrugged, and slipped mine into a pocket where I could easily reach it I needed to.
I got out of the car, and she followed. She left he bag in the car. The first sign of training kicking in; eave all un-necessary baggage behind. Perhaps having a gun might have been a good option if we ran into trouble.
Oddly enough, now that I thought about it, Monica hadn’t asked for mine back either, but it was sitting at home in a safe, along with the five other identities Severin had issued each of us with.
I locked the car, equally as silent and invisible as she joined me.
“Three along. Follow me and keep your eyes and ears peeled.”
I didn’t have to tell her, but it didn’t hurt to emphasize the importance of stealth. There were people home in other houses, lights in windows just discernible through the trees, one house a window without a curtain, a view into the dining room, but there was no one at the table.
If we were visiting them, perhaps we’d be in time for dinner.
The house we were looking for was in darkness from our approach.
“You keep an eye open this side, and I’ll go around the other, then come back. I’ll see if there’s an easy entry point.”
“What if someone is home?”
“Doesn’t look like it from here, and I’ll be surprised if there is.”
A moment later she had disappeared into the shrub line and I was heading across the front of the house, heading for the other side. I kept well away from the front door, just in case there was a motion light, or worse, a motion detector that might set off a silent alarm.
But, that might already have happened, and if it had, no one had made a move inside.
Down the side was walls and windows, no doors or French doors leading out into the garden. None of the windows were at a decent height for us to clamber through, and if we had to, it was going to be difficult.
I continued on, around the back, where there was more success. French doors leading onto a patio, and then the lawn. In the corner was a greenhouse, and next to that a rose garden. Or at least that was what both looked like in the dark.
The moon, for the moment, was hidden by dark clouds.
Perhaps it would rain, though it had not been in the forecast, but, this was England, and it could rain at any time, especially when you didn’t want or need it. There was no light, or motion sensor over the French doors, so I crossed the patio and looked through the doors.
I had expected curtains, but these hadn’t been completely drawn. No large light or lamp on, but there were indicator lights, several red and one a particularly bright blue, casting a rather long shadow over furniture and what looked to be a carpet square.
Out of curiosity, I tried the door.
It was open.
Then I had the blind panic moment of thinking it might be alarmed.
I shut it again and waited.
© Charles Heath 2020