So, here’s what could happen…

You wake up to a perfect summer’s day.  There’s not a cloud in the sky, the water is a virtual millpond, and the motor takes you slowly along.

You’re not far offshore, and there’s a gentle tide going out, so you turn off the engine consider putting down the anchor, but there doesn’t;t seem any need, break out the deck chairs, and you’ve decided to take an afternoon snooze.

Now read on…

20200217_131648

When you wake up the shoreline is no longer in sight.

The water is a little more choppy, but nothing to be concerned about.

Towards shore the sky is clear and the sun is just about gone.

You look in the other direction, out to sea, and…

It’s black and forbidding, bolts of lightning on display like a fireworks show, the sort of display best seen from shore, not at sea.

The first gentle nudge of a breeze rocks the boat slightly.

A few minutes later, a rush of air hits you like a ton of bricks, almost touching the boat over to the point of no return.

You try to start the motor, but, given the situation, fate is always on the other side.

It won’t start.

You race to put up a sail, but it has to be tightly reefed in, and as it goes up it flaps violently in the ever-increasing wind gusts.

The weather changed in ten minutes. eleven if you were to not split hairs.

What happens next?

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

 

 

So now I’m off the soapbox, back to the end of June report

Sorry, I just went off my head, just before…

It’s the problem with having the news channel on all day, listening to constant bad news.

That’s why, I suppose, it’s up to us writers to create something good, and with a happy ending.

I’ll be honest, I like happy endings.  You know, where the good guys win and the bad guys lose, emphatically.

My latest book, nearly through the 6th editing, and closer to publication than it was a month ago, has a happy ending, but not before a great deal of angst.

A bit like real life these days.

But there are other stories, with twists and turns, some predictable, others out of left field, but, still remembering that you can’t just pull a twist out of nowhere, it has to have hooks set up previously, but not necessarily discernable by the reader.

Until that moment when they realize, ok, so that’s why that piece of unrelated information was dropped back there in Chapter Three.  Of course, they don’t realize the author went back to Chapter Three much later and added it when he or she decided on this new twist.

A recommendation perhaps not to write by the seat of your pants, just the flying.

So…

I’ve finished one story, with 47 episodes.

Another is sitting at 33.

One that I’m particularly enjoying writing is at Episode 55, but I have 6 already planned, which is unusual for me, but it’s how excited I am about it.  I even know basically how it’s going to finish.

Another, my foray into WWII is going along, not quite as quickly as I hoped, but there’s a lot of research required, and thankfully there seems to be enough information about what I need to know about that period about on the internet and in books.

IT’s a part of writing that makes it difficult sometimes because you want to write, but it has to be plausible, and sometimes I’m ferreting about for a week, sometimes two, just to get the facts straight.

I’m also cognizant of the fact NANOWRIMO is coming, and it will sneak up on me.  To do it requires a plan of sorts because 50,000+ words don’t just write themselves, especially over a period of 30 consecutive days.  It requires discipline to write about 2,000 words a day.

Other than that, I have two other books to finish editing and two others that need finishing.

Ugh!

Maybe I should give up social media for a few months……….

What happens after the action packed start – Part 44

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.

 

I spent another hour trading stories of Army life, none of mine bearing any resemblance to the truth, before the party started.

I said to him, several times, that in my estimation, a part would start at a particular time. He seemed intrigued by how that could be possible when all my men were locked up and guarded.

The Captain, it seemed, was a man of limited intellect.

Or just plain overconfident that he had quelled the incursion and attempt to take the prisoners home.

I was under house arrest, just not in the house with the rest of the men. The Captain decided, being the ranking officer of our group, that I should be accorded facilities befitting my rank. It didn’t change my opinion of the Captain, but it did raise the respect level slightly.

As an officer and a gentleman, as he described himself, he was also a student of Army procedures and practices, not only of his own army but that of others. I admired his hobby out of working hours.

We were just discussing aspects of the first World War, and the part Africa played in it, when both of us suddenly heard gunshots. So did the guard and picked his gun and carefully went out the front door.

The Captain pulled his pistol from out of the top drawer and made sure the magazine had bullets in it. Just in case he needed to use it. All the men, suddenly increased to six, armed and dangerous, in that room had a gun, similar to the Captain. They were commanded by another soldier dressed in fatigues, perhaps a Colonel or higher.

I’d notice some Africa countries had a higher proportion of Generals, to say Lieutenants, and deduced from that, field promotions were a regular thing. That was not my experience here. So far.

I heard another gunshot, this time closer to the hut. Was it my people, mounting their attack? Or was it the Commander, back to retake what was his.

There would be no love lost between the Captain and the commander, and if was a betting man, in a fight, my money would be on the commander.

The sounds of gunfire continued for about ten minutes, then it became sporadic, then none at all. There were footsteps on the boards at the front of the hut, and then a cautious entry, gun barrel first, then, “if you have a gun pointed at the door, I suggest you put it down.” Monroe.

Having caught the Captain’s attention from the front, the Colonel came in the rear, and had his gun barrel pointing to the small of the Captain’s back. “Drop it now.”

The Captain did as he was told.

“You had more men on the perimeter?” he said with a sigh.

“Yes. I thought it prudent to have more than one sniper, a fact that the Militia commander hadn’t given a thought to.” I looked over at Monroe. “Have we secured the airfield?”

“Yes. 10 surviving soldiers, some of them in a bad way, are in the second barracks. They won’t be mounting a counterattack.”

I heard an engine; a large plane engine being started.

“That will be Davies playing with her new toy. Someone is on the runway lights; the rest are heading for the plane. Where are the hostages?” She glared at the Captain.

He shrugged.

Shurl burst in the door. “Out, back through that door,” I said. “Be careful there isn’t a guard waiting for you.”

Monroe looked at me. “Can I shoot the insubordinate bastard?”

A look of surprise, not terror, crossed the Captain’s face.

“Just take him back to the cells and lock him up.”

Shurl came out with the two hostages, just as the second plane engine fired. Monroe took the Captain back to the cells and returned a minute or so later. Shurl had taken the hostages to the plane. Baines would be waiting to switch on the lights at the last minute, and hopefully, the rest were on board.

They would be waiting for Monroe and me.

The both engines were running smoothly, and Davies was testing the rudder and flaps. Suddenly the runway lights came on, and Baines came running towards the plane. Monroe and I jumped aboard, then Baines followed, pulling the door shut behind him.

I heard the engine noise increase, and then we were moving.

I headed up to the cockpit and joined Davies. She was now in her element, her fact a picture of concentration. We were slowly moving to the end of the runway, and I could see her working her way through the preflight checklist.

I tried to speak to her, but she couldn’t hear. She had headphones on. There was a pair near the co-pilot’s seat. I sat down and put them on.

“Everything OK?”

“Nearly. Be quiet for a minute.”

We were at the end of the strip and she turned the plane. She would have checked the wind, not that I’d felt any, and adjusted the take-off direction accordingly.

Then, after what looked like a deep breath and slow exhale, she pushed the engine controls to maximum, and we started moving, slowly gathering speed. The runway surface wasn’t exactly flat, but it was enough not to impede forward motion. Not long after the rear of the plane rose, then in what seemed effortless, we were in the air.

Odd then, when we passed through 2,000 feet, I wondered who this plane belonged to.

 

© 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

 

 

“The Price of Fame”, A Short Story

I looked at the invitation, a feeling of dread coming over me.  It was not entirely unexpected but like a great many things that had suddenly come into my life, it caused equal measures of fear and excitement.

The gold edging and the perfect script displaying my name in the exact centre of the envelope made it almost unique.  Very few people ever received such an invitation.

I held it in my hand for a longer than necessary, then put it down on the desk carefully, as if it would explode if I dropped it.

My first instinct, driven by fear, was not to accept.

But, fear or not, there was no question of me not attending.  Circumstances had painted me into a corner; I’d agreed to go a long time ago when I thought there was no chance it would come to pass.

Way back then, I had been compared to the aspiring painter in an attic having to die before I made any sort of impression.  In those days people thought it amusing.  I thought it was amusing.  Kirsty, in particular, had thought it was as impossible as I had.

Now it was not amusing.  Not even remotely.

 

My life was once quiet, peaceful, sedate, even boring.  That didn’t mean I lacked imagination, it was just not out on display for everyone to see.  Inspired by reading endless books, I had the capacity to transport myself into another world, divorced from reality, where my boring existence became whatever I wanted it to be.

It was also instrumental in bringing Kirsty into my life.  In reality, I thought she’d never take a second look at me, let alone a first.  So I pretended to be someone else.  Original, witty, charming, underneath more scared than I’d ever known.

And yet she knew, she’d always known and didn’t care.

As we spent more time together, she discovered I liked to write, not finish anything, just start, write a hundred pages, then lose interest.  Like everything I did.  Start, and never finish.

Why not?  It would never be published.  It would never succeed.

So she bribed me.  If I didn’t finish my first book and send it away, I couldn’t marry her.  It didn’t matter if it was rejected, all I had to do was finish a book, and send it.

The thought of marrying her had not entered my mind, because I hadn’t thought she would.  Incentive enough, I picked out one of the unfinished manuscripts and humoured her.  She read bits of it, not saying a word.  Sometimes she’d put a note or two on the manuscript, her equivalent to sweet nothings, and with it I gained inner confidence in my own ability, not only to write but in many other aspects of my life.

When it was finished, it was Kirsty who sent it off.  She read it, packaged it, addressed it, and sent it before I had a chance to change her mind.  Once gone, I heaved a huge sigh of relief.  It was done. That was, as far as I was concerned, the end of it.

 

It was not possible that one letter could change a person’s life so dramatically.  I came home to the all-knowing smile, and mischievous whimsicality that had always suggested trouble.

Trouble indeed!

My book was accepted.  With a cheque called an advance.  For more money than I knew what to do with.

This was followed not long after by publication.  And a dramatic change to my life, one I didn’t want.  To become a public person, to face an enormous number of people, people I didn’t know.

I went back to being scared.

 

Kirsty smiled at me and told me how wonderful I looked in my monkey suit.  Why couldn’t I go in jeans and a dress shirt?  All the best actors in Hollywood did it.

“This is not Hollywood.  You’re not an actor.”  It was a simple, practical, answer.

The hell I wasn’t.  I could act sick, dying, fake a heart attack, anything.  “What am I going to say?”

“You could talk about books.”  Quiet, efficient, oozing the confidence I didn’t feel.

She didn’t fuss.  She took it in her stride.  She dressed in her usual simple elegance, in a manner that made me love to be seen with her.  I couldn’t tie my tie, so she did it for me.  She straightened my jacket because I couldn’t do that either.  Nerves.  Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.  Or was that a reference to wives, or mistresses, or something else?

The palms of my hands were sweating.  Meatball hands, I thought, the sort of palms that betrayed the pretenders.  Me, I was the pretender.  My neck felt too large for the shirt.  Beads of sweat formed on my brow.  Where was a sponge when you needed one?

“I can’t do this.”

“You can.”

We hadn’t even left the hotel yet.

“How long before the execution.”

She looked at me with her whimsical smile.  “Long enough for me to give you a hard time.”

 

I lost count of the number of times I had to go to the bathroom, for one thing, or another.  Nerves I said.  Perhaps a dozen Valium or something similar.  Did I have any?  Had she hidden them?  Why did she keep smiling?

In the car, I looked at my watch at least a dozen times.  I couldn’t breathe.  It was too hot, too cold.  She held my hand, and it served best to stop the trembling that had set in.  Why did I agree to this?  Why?

We were greeted by the Events Manager, who was polite and genuinely interested.  He took us inside where he introduced the interviewer, another woman who oozed confidence and charm, who went over the format and generally tried to set me at ease.

I didn’t let Kirsty’s hand go.  Not yet.  She was my lifeline, the umbilical cord.  When it was severed, I knew I was going to die.

Bathroom?  Where was the bathroom?  Hell, five minutes to go, and I felt like passing out.  No, Kirsty couldn’t come in.  Comb my hair.  Straighten my tie, no it was straight.  Maybe I could hide in here?  I looked around.  No, maybe not.

Time.

The cue man was standing beside me, hand gently on my back.  He knew the score.  He knew I would turn and run the first chance I got.  Kirsty was on the other side, smiling.  Did she know too?

Then the announcement, my cue to walk on.

The gentle shove, the bright lights, the deafening applause, the seemingly endless walk to the chair, dear God, would I make it without tripping over?

How many times had I made this trip?  I stood, facing the audience, waved, then sat.  It was the fifteenth.  You’d think I’d learned by now.

There was nothing to it.

 

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

 

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.

Let you imagination run free

20191216_175251

Suburbia, yes, reddish sky at night, yes, but what else might it be?

For just a moment, close your eyes, toss away everything you might accept as normal, and then, after a minute, open them again, and look at the photo with a new perspective.

Imagine…

 

It took two days for the dust to settle, figuratively and literally.

We heard screaming jet fighters overhead, followed by multiple explosions, then nothing but smoke and ash.  We assumed one of the jets had crashed.

Two days the media was saying it was an unfortunate accident.

On the third day, we discovered it was the result of multiple missile strikes on our power stations and oil refineries.  The jets had arrived too late to stop the attack.

And we only found out because an Army officer who lived in our street came home to collect his family and told us to leave, go anywhere but stay in the city.

The ash in the air was going to get worse, the sun was going to disappear altogether, and, well, he didn’t stay long enough to tell us the rest, but already the air was almost unbreathable.

But the leaving was easy, just take what we could in the car.  The problem was, everyone had the same idea, and by the time we reached the highway, it was a virtual carpark.

By then, it was day four.

That’s when the bombs started to fall.

 

It might not be an exact match for the photo, but that was the idea that came from it.

I’m sure there could be a far simpler and more pleasant story to be told.

 

 

 

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

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