This is a story inspired by a visit to an old castle in Italy. It was, of course, written while travelling 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.
A voice with a German accent, a male, middle-aged. A scientist? He sounded very frightened.
“Apparently I’m on the wrong side.”
“Englander?” The voice sounded very close, perhaps the cell next to mine.
“Yes. Seems the men upstairs are not, even though they look like my fellow soldiers, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered they were German. Did you come here looking for a better life away from the Reich?”
“I heard rumours of such a place in Italy where if you had certain information, they, the British and Americans would help you escape. I thought it was another SS ruse, but a friend told me he believed it was true, and we came together.”
“Is he still here?”
“No. He was granted safe passage with another group who left a week ago, or so I was told.”
“And why are you still here?”
“Waiting to be sent in the next group.”
I arrived a week ago, probably just after the last group had been dispatched, more than likely to their deaths, or back to the Reich. No more had been processed since I’d arrived. No one had come or gone.
“How did you specifically get here?”
“The Resistance. We had a name to contact in the town not far from here. He then arranged for us to be brought here.”
Not the resistance that may have originally been involved, but a collaborator. I’d been having problems communicating with the resistance cells in this area, and now I think I knew why. They’d been informed on by one of their own. Because of the problems, we’d decided not to use the normal channels to get, and because they didn’t know I was coming it was the reason why there ‘d been the last minute botched attempt on my life in transit.
The problem was far worse than any of us had imagined.
And there was a lot less hope for a rescue by the local resistance.
“How many others are here?”
“Three. There have been no new arrivals for several days. And I think there are a few prisoners who are being tortured by the sound of it.”
And if Jackerby gets his way, I might be added to the list of suspects to be questioned. I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before they realised I had usable information, especially about the resistance cells. It certainly gave credence as to why Jackerby hadn’t been so rough with me.
It looked like it wasn’t going to be long before being asked a few sticky questions.
© Charles Heath 2019-2023