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.
I knelt down to Jack’s level and whispered in his ear, “Time to go mate. Things are about to get a little sticky here, and one of us should get away.”
I’m not sure he understood what I was saying.
I pointed towards the trees that ran along the wall. “Go, now.”He walked slowing in the pointed direction, then turned to look at me.
Another hesitation, he headed towards, and then disappeared into the trees.
Behind me I could hear the sound of boots on the rock floor of the tunnel. The men had broken through and cut off my escape. I didn’t believe for a minute that Jackerby was there to help me.
Well, out of the frying pan, I thought.
I walked through the gap between the trees, getting a scrape on the side of my face from a prickly branch, then burst into the open. Jackerby had taken about twenty steps down from where he had called to me, and hearing the trees, turned and took a few steps back towards me.
Seconds later the two men from the tunnel came through the same gap, and took up positions so I couldn’t escape. Guns not drawn but ready in case they were needed.
“Where’s the dog?” Jackerby asked.
“Rats desert a sinking ship, why should dogs be any different. Guess he knew I was for the high jump.”
“Didn’t have to be that way.”
I don’t remember getting an offer to betray my country and decline. Significantly, he had made no more mention of his offer to help. But, I had to ask, “Which side are you on?”
“The right side, of course.”
It was hard to tell what version of the truth that was. He had one of those faces I associated with a professional poker player.
A nod of his head, and we headed back towards the castle. Jackerby walked beside me, the two guards about three yards behind. Running wasn’t an option, I’d get two bullets in the back before I got ten yards. There was little cover to hide in, so that was out as well.
I wondered what fate awaited me back at the castle.
© Charles Heath 2019