I’ve always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt – Part 37

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 installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.

 

I took a moment longer to study the differences in the maps, trying to see what our edge was.

“So, according to this map, Alex would be looking for a stretch of shore with two rivers going inland, which you say are no longer there.”

“I do because they’re not.  Well, they’re not visible these days from the seaward side, and not really visible from shore either because I think one of the two might have started where the mini marina is.”

The mini marina wasn’t as marina as such, rather an area of seawater surrounded by a promenade with a bridge over the entrance from the ocean, and a lot of expensive Italian tiles.  It was part of the redevelopment of the old marina when the shopping mall had been built.

“Wasn’t that the old marina, which was part of the old navy yard for PT boats?”

Everyone knew the potted history of the town and the navy yard that put it briefly on the map.  There had been an inlet where a marina was built in the early days.  Then with war looming, the navy was looking for a place to build PT boats, carry out repairs to medium-sized warships, and train PT crews.

“One and the same.  There’s very little in the archives about what happened back then, but I did manage to find a document, mentioned in my father’s notebook, about the navy set up a base.  Attached to it was a geological report that stated two facts, the first, they would be building over a watercourse which at the time was believed to be underground, and secondly, deep foundations would be required.  In the event all of it was ignored, they built the port and it was operational up until the end of the war.”

After which as everyone knew they shut the facility down, put up fences and signs with the words hazardous and dangerous, and trespassers would be shot, and it sat there like a festering eyesore until a plan was mooted to turn the site into a mall.

It was a favorite place for us children to go and play, having the fearless mentality that every child was born with.  Yes, there were hazards on the grounds, in for form of rusting metal and hundreds of barrels holding what must have been hazardous material, but best of all, there were two nearly intact boats moored there, and I remembered being captain at least once on a vessel that had taken on everything the enemy had.

“And then they built a mall.”

He nodded.  “My father always said that it was doomed to failure. There’s a section in his notebook about an earlier plan to rebuild the marina with facilities to repair those new larger ocean-going yachts that proliferate in Bermuda and places like that, only he couldn’t find anyone to back the project.  The Benderby’s at the time didn’t like the idea, and since they basically owned the town nothing was going to happen without their approval.”

The mall, however, was something the Benderby’s could get their hooks into, in the building of it, then a slice of every business that moved in.  It would also be good for employment, and people employed mean customers for their other criminal activities.  Deals were made with the Cossatino’s and everyone was happy.  For a few years anyway.

That’s when a newspaper expose on the mall was published.

Exposes were never plucked out of thin air and presented, there had to be a catalyst.  There had been allegations of corruption regarding all aspects of the mall, from planning through the opening day, and especially in the building.  Allegations of payoffs to get approvals, substandard materials used, and the worst allegation, that the builder had not properly cleaned up the site before building commenced.

All of this came to a head when, not long after the tenth anniversary of opening, large cracks started to appear in the floors and walls, so bad that nearly half the mall, that part that had been built over the old navy base, had to be closed, and now was in danger of collapse.

The mini marina, the focal point for the mall, had also been closed because the pool had become polluted from the old navy base waste that had been improperly disposed of in the foundations rather than being properly removed and stored in a special dump.  But there had also been other problems like excess water continuously flooding the lower level carparks, and flowing into the sea pool making it unusable, and at times, very smelly.

Boggs’s father had discovered at the same time as his research for the treasure maps, that the water came from the underground river that had been mentioned in the geological report made before the naval base had been built.  Just because it hadn’t been there at the time, didn’t mean it wasn’t there at all.  It just depended on rainfall back up in the hills, and the year the problems started for the mall coincided with the wettest period for the area in more than 50 years.

His father’s notebook was a goldmine of information, Boggs said.

“It appears there was a lake right where the map says it was, about a hundred years ago.  Since then an earthquake caused a fault line that drained the lake and makes a river instead.  That river ran from the hills to the sea.  Until someone decided to build on the old lake, raised the level and piped the river underground, and drawing from it for the towns and sounding areas water supply.  That in effect reduced the water flow from the lake to the sea to a trickle, or rather a stream.

“But every now and then when it rains heavily and for a long period, the stream becomes a river, and it backs up until with nowhere else to go, it floods the mall carparks.  The lowest level carpark is actually the lowest depth of the river, and it comes out at the sea where the pool now is.  Unfortunately, with the old naval waste rotting in those old rusting barrels, it collects that waste and not only stinks up the mall but also the pool area which is why it’s now closed.

“And the bad news is, it can’t be fixed.  But that’s got nothing to do with our quest.  It’s just an aside to our quest, proving that three of the landmarks on the treasure map actually existed once, and in some form still do.  The thing is, neither the Benderby’s or the Cossatino’s will realize that which means we have a clear run at getting past the first hurdle and with any luck we will be able to identify the river from the hills which is the starting point.”

A simple job, no doubt in Boggs’s mind.  He never had any trouble coming up with hair-brained schemes, only the logistics to carry them out.  This one required proper transport because there was no way we’re going to be able to cycle there and back in a morning, the only time I had free for exploring.

“How do you propose we do this?”

“Rico’s car.  It’s sitting in the marina carpark.  The keys for it are on his boat.”

“Do you know how to drive?”

“I’ve had a few lessons.  How hard could it be?”

Ⓒ Charles Heath 2020

What happens after the action-packed start – Part 39

Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in, and because of it, he has now been roped into what might be called a suicide mission.

 

“Are there?  How many should I have?”

The only way he could know there was not a full complement as if he had been told by someone how many people were in our group from the outset.  I looked at Jacobi, and he shrugged.

“This is not a good time to be playing games, Sergeant James.”

The guards gripped their weapons a little tighter and looked ready to use them.

“The only one playing games here would be you.  It would be irrelevant if I had more or I had fewer people here because you have more than enough to cover us, and then some.  But you would agree it would be imprudent for me to put all my eggs in one basket as it were, and yes, there are several others, but they are waiting for me to call them, further down the track.  Not to put too fine a point on it, distrust works both ways.  We don’t come back, I can assure you, your losses will be bigger than ours.  Oh, and a word of advice, don’t go looking for them, not unless you want good men to die needlessly.”

Tough talk, and could get us killed, but I was hoping that until he had the diamonds in his hands, he would humor me.  A minute or so passed where I assumed he was making a calculation on what the odds were, then he shrugged.  There was merit in what I’d told him.  Monroe and Shurl had plenty of ammunition and would have a foxhole that wouldn’t be over-run or penetrated.

“I think you might be right, so let’s not get bogged down in an argument that’s going nowhere.  We have what you want, and you have what we want.  Let’s go inside and talk.”

Was that a sigh of relief moment?  Perhaps.  But it was clear he needed us out of the way before his men could search the cars.  I was happy to let him think he had the upper hand.

“Lead the way.”

We all filed into the building and sat down around a large table.  There were bottles of water out, and we might have drunk from them but I could see the seal had been broken on min so it looked like we would be going thirsty.

The commander drank from his, no doubt as a gesture that the water was safe.  None of my people were buying it.

“I’ll kick it off,” I said.  “Are our people in good health?”

“Of course.  Healthy enough to walk out of here of their own accord.  Did you bring the compensation with you?”

“I did.”

“Can I see it?”

“Can I see our people.”

Friendly, and time-consuming double talk.  I could see he was waiting impatiently.  “All in good time.  “Did you have any trouble getting here?” he asked casually.  “I heard there were some local militias on the road collecting road taxes earlier today.”

“If there was, we didn’t see any.  Smooth run, except for the state of the roads.  I hope the road taxes those people are collecting are to fix the roads.”

He smiled.  “It is what it is.  This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not the United States of America.  Things are done differently here.  We put the people first, and the roads second.”

There was a discreet knock on the door, followed by a cowering man coming into the room and walking up behind the commander.  He took a few seconds to whisper into his ear, during which the commander’s expression turned very dark.

I had to assume that they had found all the weapons we had left for them to find, and not done a very close inspection to find those we did not want them to find.  It was a bold assumption and could make a difference once we left, and if we were attacked.  I was sure that was part of the message the man had relayed to his commander.

The man almost ran out of the building, slamming the door behind him.

The commander looked at me.  “Where are the diamonds?”

That was as direct as he could get.

“At this point, that’s for me to know until I’m assured you intend to honor your part of the agreement.  Searching our cars for the diamonds tells me you are not a man to be trusted, and, you should have realized in making that discovery, you’re not dealing with fools.”

The dark expression eased, and he tried to look like the man who held all the cards.  He probably did, but it would be interesting to see to what extent he would press his advantage.  We had nothing to lose, though it didn’t send a very good message to the team that I was willing to sacrifice them.  This was after all supposed to be a suicide mission.

“What’s to stop me from just shooting your people one by one until you tell me.”

“The same reason I told you at the gate.  You will lose a lot more than I will.  Something you might not be aware of is that the people who sent me have control over satellites.  You might not be familiar with satellite technology, but be assured that we are being observed, and have been on this little odyssey.  It also means that they, sitting in a bunker somewhere in the world, also have access to nasty drones, you know, the sort that leaves craters where villages and settlements once were.  This place would not withstand a direct hit, and there would be no one left alive after it.  Killing any or all of us will incur wrath you really don’t want to deal with.  Put simply, if I don’t drive out of here with my people within half an hour this whole area will become an uninhabitable crater.”

Bamfield had said as one option, not that he could order such a strike, was to threaten them with a drone strike.  I hadn’t done that in as many words, but the commander looked as though he got the inference.

“You could do that anyway.”

“I could, but that’s not the way I work.  For some odd reason. The people I work for seem to think you might be useful to them in the future, and Jacobi here will be happy to stay and talk about it.  Now, the clock is ticking.”

He took a moment, then stood.  “Let’s go meet your people then.”

 

Ⓒ Charles Heath  2020

Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 28

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

 

It was rather an anti-climax to see the cat, Herman, come slinking out of the bedroom, down the passage, and then stop just at the edge of the room to look at the visitors.

He must have been hiding in her room all this time, and when he’d heard the door close, he thought it was safe to come out.

Jan saw him and held out her hand, “Come on, Herman, you’re safe now.”

He didn’t seem to agree and sat down just back of that invisible line in the sand that he wasn’t, yet going to step over.

But he did meow a few times, just to let us know he wasn’t pleased.

“Now that you’ve seen the cat, what were you thinking might be of significance?”

“I don’t know.  The fact he considered the cat his might have been significant in some way.”

Herman was back on his paws and taking tentative steps towards Jan.  Each time he stopped, he looked sideways at me, waiting.  Perhaps he thought I might attack him.  It would be the other way around.

“Doesn’t trust me, does he?”

He took a step back at the sound of my voice.

“Don’t listen to him Herman, you’re safe here with me.”

He looked at her, the same expression on his face he gave me.  Talk about the original poker face.  I doubt anyone could guess what he was thinking.  

A few more steps, then about a yard away he stopped again and sat.  He then spent the next few minutes looking at me.  Was this a test to see who blinked first?  I knew who would win that contest.  Not me.

Jan moved slightly and he jumped, and moved back several steps, looking warily at us both now.

“We’re not going to win him over, are we?”

“Maybe, maybe not.  There are a bowl and some food in the other room.  Put some in the bowl and bring it to me.”

Ah, the way to a cat’s heart is through his stomach.  I think the only thing relevant to that statement was that he was male.  I did as she asked, and handed her the bowl, and resumed my position, far enough away for him not to consider me a threat.

He watched me leave the room and return again, and I think he recognized the bowl, and that we were about to trick him into submission.

She put the bowl down next to her and patted the floor.

“It’s your favorite, Herman.”

Yes, head movements, and was he sniffing to see if he could recognize what was in the bowl?  Maybe he was hungry after being hidden away.  Would starvation overcome a fear of strangers?

A minute later we had the answer.  He was hungry and tentatively came over before smelling what was in the bowl before starting to eat.

Jan patted him.

“Works every time,” she said.

Both of us realized at the same time that Herman had a collar, slightly lost in the fur.  And she had the same idea as I did, that the collar might be significant.

She removed it as gently as she could without startling him, and then looked at it, around the outside, and then on the inside, and a sudden change of expression told me she found something.

“VS P4 L324.  What do you think that means?” she asked?

“Whatever it is, it’s a reminder that’s significant to O’Connell, or it is a message to someone if anything happened to him.  I expect that might mean it was a message to you.  You shared the cat so, clearly, he thought at some point in time you would look.”

“If he was expecting me to decipher it, then he must have seen something in me that I can’t.”

“You would work it out in time.  The point is if he hid that in plain sight, believing that if anyone came, they would take no notice of the car, then what else might he have hidden.  Does the cat have a bed?

“Not at his place, he used to sleep at the end of his bed.  But I put out an old blanket.”

How did she know the cat slept on the end of O’Connell’s bed?  I wasn’t going to ask, but if they were more than just friends, perhaps he had confided some details of what he was doing.

“In your room?”

“In the spare room where you found the food.”

I went back to the room found the blanked tossed in a corner, put there by the person who searched her flat no doubt, because I couldn’t see the cat doing it, not unless he was extremely bad-tempered and had super cat powers to move objects multiple times heavier than he was.

I picked it up and immediately had cat hair on my clothes.  Good thing then I wasn’t allergic to cats.

Then, I had a feeling someone was watching me.  I was right, Herman had come back to see what I was doing.

“Just straightening it out for you,” I said.

The death stare didn’t change.  He just stood there looking at me.  Or was he looking through me at something else, like a ghost?  It was slightly un-nerving.

I felt around the edges and suddenly, in the middle of one side, where the manufacturer’s label was, it felt like something was under it.  On closer examination, I could see the stitching had been removed for several inches in length and then crudely sewn it back together.  Inside what would be a pouch, I could feel something under the material, and with a little more twisting I thought it might be a tag.

I’d seen a pair of scissors in the kitchen and came back to get them.  Jan was busy trying to position the wet part of the towel over her head.  After I’d finished with the blanket, I would fetch her some Panadol.

I gently cut the crude stitches and then wriggled the item out.  It was a card with a number on it, 324.  That was all that was printed on the card.  Not what it was, who it belonged to, or what it represented.  I went back into the room where the cat was now sitting on her leg.

“There was a card sewn into the blanket.  It has the number 324 on it.  That would make it…”

“… a check for a post box, or safety deposit box, or a storage locker.”

Not exactly what I was going to say, but close enough.

Then she said, “It’s the same number on the collar.  L324.  Locker 324.  Somewhere defined by VS and P4.”

“Do you have a computer?”

“Not here.  Do you?”

“No.”

“Then I’ll go into the office and use one of theirs.  I assume you can do the same?”

I could, but I wasn’t quite sure what or who would be waiting for me,, now that I knew I couldn’t trust Nobbin.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s safe for me.  It’s probably better if I don’t, not until I can find out who is who.”

Either of the two, Nobbin or Severin could be on the wrong side, maybe even both of them.  I was surprised that Severin didn’t drag me off when he came for Maury.  Perhaps I was still useful to him in the field as a second-string to finding the USB.

I helped her to stand.  

“No time like the present.  I’ll let you know what I find if anything.  Are you going to stay here?” she asked.  

“No.  Severin knows about this place and might come back.  We’re done here.  I’ll make sure the cat gets out.  I don’t think you should come back here unless you have to.”

“Then I’ll see you at the hotel.”

© Charles Heath 2020

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 29

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…

 

They reached a point a few kilometers from what was known as Brenner Pass at four in the morning, having navigated their way through patchy snow, icy roads, and bitter cold.

Progress at times was slow and the roads were difficult, the driver, at times, nearly losing control of the car.

The checkpoint appeared almost when they were on top of it, one that hadn’t been marked on the map, so they had not been prepared for it. Too late to turn back, they had to stop.

Once again the soldier that came out of the hut beside the boom was an army Unteroffizier who was more concerned about the cold than those in the car.

The Standartenfuhrer once again explained the nature of their business, and again the sentry went back to his hut and made a call.

While he was there the driver was checking the number of other soldiers were in attendance and had pulled his weapon out from under the seat and had it ready to use.

The Standartenfuhrer had done the same, also having checked the extent of the staffing of the post.

Then the driver said, “This looks like one of several. I think we may have walked into a hornet’s nest. The Brenner Pass is very important to the Germans for supplies from Germany to its soldiers in Italy.”

“You think our luck has finally run out?”

They had both seen the guard change expression, from the languid guard worrying more about the cold than a lone car at night, to a soldier who looked like he was about to attend a Nazi rally.

“I think they’ve finally discovered that our friend Mayer is missing.”

“Which means we’re about to get a small platoon of soldiers down on us. OK. You keep them off as long as you can so Mayer and I can get into the woods.”

The Standartenfuhrer turned to Mayer. “This is it, then end of the line for driving. We’re about to get a lot of unwanted visitors.”

He thrust the folder of plans into Mayer’s hands along with a coat.

“Let’s go.”

“Where?” Mayer was almost panic-stricken. The situation was deteriorating with each passing second. He, like the others, could see six men jogging towards them.

Their only advantage was the lack of illumination.

The driver said, “See you on the other side.”

The Standartenfuhrer leaned over, opened the door, and said, forcefully, “Get out, now.”

Mayer tumbled out almost slipping on the icy surface, and the sudden cold hitting him hard.

The Standartenfuher was right behind him, closing the door, and then literally dragging him off the side of the road and towards the tree line about 50 meters away, just barely visible again the dark sky. Thankfully there was no moon peeking through the clouds.
But light snow just began to fall, and it would hide them behind an artificial white wall.

They made it to the edge of the forest just as the soldiers reached the car.

Mayer turned to look and could see the sentry now with a torch, probably checking the car which was now barely visible to them. He had seen three people before, now there was only one.

No time to see the inevitable, the Standartenfuhrer dragged him away with, “We have to go before they bring out the dogs.”

Further into the trees, and moving as quickly as they could through the trees and undergrowth, and at times slipping and sliding on both snow and ice, it was five minutes before they heard six shots in rapid succession, followed by the sound of a machine gun.

“Let’s hope he killed at least six of them before he died.”

The problem was, Mayer thought, there was probably another hundred others waiting to take their place.

 

Mayer had come totally unprepared for the snow, and the cold. At least he had a coat.

Another problem was that he was hungry and that only added to his discomfort. And now they had no means of transport, it was going to take a lot longer to get to Florence, or anywhere for that matter.

An hour passed as they worked their way steadily through the trees, and cover. The dreaded dogs had not been unleashed on them, but they had to assume that someone at the border checkpoint would raise the alarm that there were fugitives in the area, and probably wait until morning before looking for them,

They could calculate how far they had walked and sent in search teams from there.

Or not.

Four hours after they’d left the car, they stumbled upon a cabin. It was not much, having been abandoned quite some time ago and left for the forest to reclaim, but it was shelter and a place to rest. It was not long before first light, and then they could assess their situation.

It was also time for the Standartenfuhrer to give Mayer all the information he needed once he got to Gaiole because at some point they were going to have to split up and Mayer would have to go alone.

Just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse.

 

© Charles Heath 2020

In a word: will

Now that I’ve hit the age of 65, I now have to give some consideration to creating a will.

You know, that document that specifies which child gets what, or if you think any or all of them don’t deserve what’s left of the hard-earned millions, which cat or dog will inherit a fortune.

A will is both a reason for siblings or beneficiaries to kill to get a reward or the fact you have to make one so that the state doesn’t inherit your fortune.

This is only one use of the word.

Another might be that it’s possible to have something like the will to carry on.

Carry on what?

Life, a marriage, a business relationship.

Does it require will power, or is it a matter of where there’s a will there’s a way?

I will come over. I will turn up tomorrow.

In this sense, it is promoting futility.

Of course, seeing is believing.

And as a bit of self-serving advertising, I’m going to promote a new story, actually titled, The Will.

Inheritance can resolve monetary problems, and not only that, set one of the siblings up financially for life. All they have to do is wrest the family home from the dying fingers of a mother who had seen it all.

Into the mix comes the grandson, a man who sometimes is a son but mostly a grandson, someone who doesn’t fit in, who doesn’t want to follow family tradition, and who prefers to go to his grandmothers rather than going home to his family.

He is constantly appalled at his mother’s lack of respect for her mother and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a battle between his grandmother and her daughter, his mother, over the family estate.

Who will win?

That’s a question that will be answered when you read the book.