I’ve always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt – Part 15

Here’s the thing…

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

Five minutes past the appointed time, I sat on the end of the clean bed and waited.  The single chair didn’t look very comfortable.

It didn’t worry me she was late, she had not specifically stated how long she would be, but to be there in an hour.  If she had business with dark glasses, then she might be a while.  Giving me the key to her room suggested she was not bringing him back with her.

There was a light rapping on the door, hinting at a sense of urgency.  Without looking,. I opened the door, and she slid through and I closed it quickly and quietly.

“I thought you might not be coming?”

I went to switch on the light, but heard her say, “No lights.”

My eyes were already adjusted to the light, or lack of light, and I could see her standing by the door to the bathroom.  Everything about her manner suggested she was ill at ease, or perhaps frightened of something or someone.

Or waiting for Vince, and had to string me along until he arrived.

“Why?”

“No one knows I’m here.”

“Not even Vince?”

“No.  Especially him.”

“He was here about twenty minutes ago, went into the office and came out with a briefcase.”

“I suggest you forget you ever saw that.”

Drugs then, or protection money, or…  OK forgotten.  “Duly forgotten as requested.”

“Is this pace one of the Cossatino’s places?”

“If you saw Vince, then it is.  It never used to be.  The Benderby’s used to bring their clients here, back in the day.  Vince had some of the rooms wired, you know, blackmail, that kind of stuff.”

I could imagine.  I’m sure the ‘clients’ never brought their wives here to have a good time.

“Why are you staying here?”

“Can’t stay at home.  Things have changed.  I’m not interested in working with the family business.  It’s why I left in the first place.”

Imagination running wild, I think I began feeling sorry for her.  Beautiful girl, stupid men, caught in a seedy hotel.  My respect for old man Cossatino just took a dive.

“Why come back then?”

“Alex.  He’s a bastard, just like his father.  All those Benderby’s are the same.  You say you’ve got a plan that might help get him off my back?”

She took off her coat and threw it on the bed with the other clothes.  It wasn’t that dark I couldn’t see her outline and had to look away.

“A possible plan.  One that might kill two birds with one stone.  I have to look out for Boggs because he had got himself into a mess that he doesn’t realise the full potential of yet.”

“The treasure map?”

“I wish people would stop calling it that.  It’s just a piece of paper with a drawing on it.  I’m sure the whole myth was concocted by Boggs’ father as another one of his schemes.”

Everyone knew Boggs father was a touch crazy and had come up with a number of schemes, some even calling the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, and one had landed him in jail.  He never quite understood the nature of the schemes he’d bought off other people in the hope of getting rich himself.  The treasure map, that was a new one for him, but one of his previous customers had caught up with him, and he’d not lived long enough to play this one out.

Boggs unfortunately, was doing it for him.

“You don’t think it’s real?”

“What I think is irrelevant.”

She moved closer and sat on the side of the bed, not far from me.

“So what is this plan?”

“I get you a copy of the map, you give it to Alex, see what he says.  You know you can’t trust him, or anything he says.”

She was too close, so I moved, trying to look like I was not moving.  But at the same moment, I had no idea what it was about her that scared me.  It was apparent she hadn’t told Vince about this meeting.

“It’s a chance I have to take, and you are right, I don’t want to cosy up to Rico.  I have had previous dealings with him, and he is not nice.  But, if you are willing to do this for me, what do you want in return?”

The inevitable question and I think I could guess what she thought I might want.  And that thought did cross my mind.

“Nothing.”

“That is not possible.  All men want something.”

“I’m not all men.  I owe Alex a little payback and this will be a small cog in a big wheel.  If it helps you, good, but I know the Benderby’s and nothing is easy with them.”

“This plan…”

“The less you know the better.”  I stood, and then moved to the door.  “I’m only going to be able to see you in the early hours of the morning.  I’m working an afternoon shift till midnight, and I don’t want to come here in the daylight.”

She stood and came over to join me.

“You are going to have to do something about Rico because Alex will ask him.”

It was something that also occurred to me just before she raised it.  I knew there was going to be a problem, I just hadn’t realised it at the time.  Now, it seemed like another of those insurmountable things.

“I’ll think of something.”

“Then soon.”  She put a piece of paper in my hand.  “My cell number.  Send me a text before you come.”  

Our hands touched briefly and it sent a shiver down my spine.

“I will.”

There was a moment, looking into her eyes where I didn’t want to leave, but fortunately, common sense kicked in, I opened the door and slipped out in the cold night air.  As it shut behind me I shivered.

It had nothing to do with the cold.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Earth to …

You know how it is, you’re sitting at the lights waiting for the green, and everything is calm around you.

It’s a warm day, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and because they’re taking so long to change, you’re almost drifting off, somewhere else than in traffic.

Bang!

That awful sound of two metal cars crashing, short, sharp, incisive, intruding.

Lights changed, driver next to me, in a lane that ends on the other side of the intersection, pushes his foot to the floor, trying to get in front.  Another driver running a red light hits him.

I sit in stunned silence before moments after the scene bursts into life, people getting out of cars to help.

My eyes are on the car than ran the red light.  The door slowly opens, and a person is getting out.  I look closer, it’s a woman, bright red hair, and blood running down her face.

She is standing, stunned, looking around, then sees a man coming towards her.

Is that panic.  She looks in my direction, our eyes meeting for a brief second, then she’s running.

Towards my car.

Seconds later the door opens, she gets in, and the door slams shut.

Two men are now running towards my car.

“Drive,” she yells.

“You’re injured, you should wait for …”

“Drive, now, or I’ll shoot you.”

I see the gun, now pointing at me.

“You’re joking.”

One of the men is pounding on her door, which I noticed she’d locked.

“Drive.”

I did, pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor.

The two men were now running towards another car, reaching it before I’d got more than 50 yards.  My car was tired, old, and not very quick in a standing 100.

I didn’t tell her she’d picked the wrong car and driver if she hoped to make a getaway.

Before I made a 100 yards, there was a large black 4×4 hurtling towards us.

“Turn left here,” she commanded, pushing the barrel of the gun into my side for emphasis.

I did, nearly losing the rear end of the car in a slide towards the curb, just touching it before moving forward.

My heart was now in my mouth and pounding.

Death by a bullet or an accident, both were high probabilities.

Who was this woman, now indistinguishable because her face was covered in blood.  She should be bleeding out.  Perhaps she might, and that would save me from an ignominious death.

I could see the 4×4 closing the distance between us quickly.

Perhaps there was another way to die.

“Right,”

Another swerving turn.

“Left,” she yelled almost instantly after the last order.

A few seconds later, “Right”.  Then another “left, then floor it.”

The wrong car, I muttered under my breath.

No sign of the 4×4.  Had we lost it?

At intersection coming up, one I recognized.  The railway station.

“Don’t slow down, straight across.”

“Are you mad?”

Prod.

Apparently so, and with a death wish.

The front of the car crunched on the driveway, as I hit it at speed, the slammed my foot on the brake.  A train was waiting at the platform.

She was out and gone before the car had stopped, and the doors of the carriage had closed, all just before the 4×4 pulled into the station carpark.

 

Tap, tap, tap.

I looked over at the passenger side and saw my granddaughter looking in.

“Have you been daydreaming again, Poppy?”

 

© Charles Heath 2018

 

A progress report of sorts

This month is ticking by like all the months have this year, very rapidly and with little to show.

That, I’m guessing, has something to do with the fact I’m not satisfied with what I’ve written, probably the bane of every writer’s existence, but a line has to be drawn.

Of course, I’ve been saying that for years.

Perhaps the other problem, if it could be called that, of writer’s is their inability to admit their work is good enough and doesn’t require any more tinkering.

If only.

Right now I’m on the clock to finish off the final draft of “The Things We Do For Love”.  I have been saying, for almost a year now, that it is about to be published.  And yet, here I am, stuck at page 64, trying to get past a small bump in the road.

It is small.  Whether or not I need to provide background for one of the characters.  It comes out slowly over the course of the first two parts of the story which up until now I thought was fine.

The jury will not be out for much longer on that one.

The other book had had the final draft submitted to my editor who has it in hand.  That had several complete re-writes over the last two years and just needs to make sure the continuity is correct.  Sometimes, something is missed and when you get to a point you start scratching your head.

Hopefully, It won’t require surgery.

Then,. there’s another, a more light-hearted book of basically short stories inspired by photographs I have taken over the years.  It’s also currently at the editors, looking for a clean bill of health.

This month also saw the completion of Harry Walthenson, the private detective’s, first case, and that is going through the third draft, before also being sent to the editor for comments and suggestions.

I already have part of the plot worked out for his second case.

All in all, it’s busy, busy, busy.

Next cab off the rank, the second Zoe novel entitled, “First Dig Two Graves”, which is about two-thirds completed.

So much for taking a few days off.

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:

lovecoverfinal1

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:

lovecoverfinal1

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:

lovecoverfinal1

A matter of life and … what’s worse than death – Episode 8

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