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 with 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…
I woke to the sound of a cracking sound behind me, and, when I rolled over, I found myself staring up the barrel of a gun.
The number one rule broken, don’t fall asleep in enemy territory.
But something else bothered me in those few seconds as I struggle to wake up and comprehend what was happening. Where was Jack? If he’d been here this would not have happened.
But still bleary-eyed from just waking up and in that initial confused state of not knowing where and when, all I could see was a uniformed shape holding the gun standing over me, and feel, in those few seconds that I was not going to survive this.
I braced myself for a bullet, wondering if death was going to be instantaneous. I had hoped I might die in a less inglorious manner.
“Sam? Is that you?”
It was a rather dumb question to be asking an enemy soldier because my mind hadn’t adjusted to the fact the soldier was not in a German uniform, nor in work clothes, but quite possibly the uniform of a soldier from the castle, and if it was, why be asking the question and not just shooting me?
Then, finally, my eyes focussed and I could see clearly who it was, and breathed a sigh of relief. Whoever it was, knew me but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. But in the next second, I saw the gun retract and the man behind it come closer and crouch down beside me.
He was not a soldier from the castle, but a soldier in the familiar British uniform. From somewhere else entirely. An Army Captain if I was not mistaken, which, for another second, I also thought was odd.
And then recognition of a face I hadn’t seen in years.
OK, so it was a strange nickname, but it was apt, William O’Reilly blinked a lot, hence the nickname. And Will had been on the same training course as I had three years before, only he had ended up in administration. Bad eyesight.
“It is you, Sam.”
“What the hell are you doing here?”
I dragged myself up from the ground to sit up. I did a quick scan around me, but Jack was nowhere to be found. It was not like him to desert me when trouble arrived.
“Apparently rescuing your sorry ass. Now that I’m here, I can see why the Colonel said you needed help.” He held out his hand and pulled me up.
“Forster? You work for him?”
“No, but he asked for someone who knew you by sight, and I was the only one available. Besides, I was getting sick of sitting behind a desk while the rest of you were out in the field doing heroic shit.”
I brushed the undergrowth off my uniform and straightened my clothes. It didn’t make me feel any more comfortable.
“I don’t think falling asleep is very heroic. When did the orders come through?”
“Yesterday. A message was sent and received, a rendezvous at an old church. I came with three others, including a very serious sergeant major who had absolutely no sense of humor. I saw this farm; thought I’d check it out.”
“You’re lucky you didn’t get your head shot off.”
“By the man-mountain. Nearly, yes, until I told him who I was. Said you were up here. Waiting for something?”
“Then enemy. We were hoping they turn up so we could deal with them.”
“That would be the traitors up at the castle, or the turncoat resistance members working with them? Carlo, he told me his name, he reckons it’s not happening. Said once I found you to come down and we’ll catch up with the others at this church.”
I picked up the weapon and then we headed towards Carlo’s position.
I could see the Colonel’s reasoning. Send someone I knew who couldn’t be working for the other side. It worried me that the message from Thompson hadn’t been received, because if it had, Martina would have got someone to tell us.
That she hadn’t concerned me.
© Charles Heath 2020-2023