“Well, I was in full bally black tie and some other guests weren’t wearing a tie at all Jack!”
“Yes sir, it seems that standards are a little lower on this side of the Atlantic.” Jack replied, whilst assisting his charge in removing his immaculately pressed dinner jacket.
“And what did you get up to this evening Jack? Get a taste of the ‘Big Apple’?”
“Something like that sir. I believe I will find this city most amenable.”
“Good good, need to make sure you get something out of this trip too. Oh, I met this extraordinary fellow at dinner, a chap called Woodhouse, English chap, writer. I’d never heard of him, but apparently he is quite the upcoming thing. Do you know of him?”
“I think that might be P.G Wodehouse sir. He has a novel, entitled, Love Among the Chickens. It was published recently in America and one would assume he is here to promote the work. May I enquire into Miss Alberforce sir?”
“What would you like to enquire into?” Charles said, handing Jack his socks.
“She seemed to be quite keen on you sir.”
Charles gave Jack a sideways glance.
“Keen you say. How rum!”
A few days had passed since Charlie’s tied to the bed episode and his life was settling down to a nice magnolia peace. The first peace he had really experienced since finishing his studies at Trinity, which he had found out subsequently from his ex employers, was where his biological father and grandfather had studied.
It was true that Gina, did, occasionally disappear and he found it strange that there was no regulation of the timetable for trains in the station, but it affected his life little, so he paid little attention. He was a far cry from the uptight, stressed, borderline alcoholic of a few weeks before.
He was however. keen to get his phone charged. Several weeks had now passed and whilst he didn’t have many friends or family left alive, he assumed someone would be looking for him. He got up off the sofa to find Gina.
Crossing the front garden, he noticed something odd near the front gate. It looked like a small beetle, but as he got nearer he noticed the telltale glint of a lens. It was a bug2. His heart pounded, he had seen these at the office. Someone was watching the house.
Whilst Daniel excelled at observation, languages and communications; the killing and physical coercion side of his job was always hard for him. Adding to this was the fact that his target was an Englishman and he was going to have to kill him in cold blood. The only respite, was that he had been given free reign over the method he could use to assassinate him and unbeknownst to the general public, MI6 had many varied and clever ways to end life. The hard bit in this case was making it look like an accident.
This ruled out shooting hs target with a sniper rifle, it also ruled out most of the poisons available to him, as these would leave telltale signs to any medical examiner, who due to the seniority of the target, would almost certainly be assigned to investigate. He could pay a thug to beat him to death, or run him over in a car, but Daniel wasn’t a fan of these due to the excess of pain they created. What Daniel needed was a quick, relatively pain free and untraceable method.
“Push him in front of a train.” Red said from the pillow next to him.
Charles and Kath had sat in the pub until closing. Charles had nursed a single scotch for the entire evening, whilst his sister had devoured most of a bottle of gin and yet surprisingly was not that worse for wear.
“Perhaps you should lay off the drink a bit Kath? That bottle seems to have hardly touched the sides.” Charles said.
“Yes, I don’t think I’ll be doing that. A life without drink, is hardly a life at all.” she replied.
They were now walking down the village street, towards the guesthouse they were booked into that evening.
“Charles, that letter was written and sealed on your birthday, your actual birth day. This is getting serious now, surely you need to involve the police?”
“Kath, this is blackmail pure and simple, there are no ghosts in 1953 for Christ’s sake. This is the nuclear age and this is some Johnny upstart, who thinks they can get something out of me. Well they’ve got another thing coming, I can tell you.”
Despite being in his 60’s, Charles was still a sinewy aggressive man. Two wars and a career in intelligence had taught him a thing or two. The game was afoot.
Charles and Alex were waiting, had been waiting for most of the day and were now starting to get desperate. for a piss and, ironically, a glass of water. Life often throws these little two handers at you.
If they’d been thinking objectively, they may have taken a moment to absorb the grandeur of the room they were in and maybe asked themselves why the overall commander of the British forces in France, required a gold encrusted Chateau for his H.Q. when there were men at the front, quite literally drowning in mud, under the weight of sodden military fatigues.
They weren’t thinking objectively however and as both came from upper class stock, neither questioned their locale. It looked similar to places they had frequented before joining up, indeed Alex had actually recognised a long deceased relative in a painting on the walk through to their waiting area. The relative in question had been executed during the French revolution, a fact that made Alex smile smugly, as he had never really liked the French side of his family.
“Psst.” Alex turned his head to look at his hissing cousin sat across the hall.
“Shall we get out of here?”
Charles was, by using a pair of binoculars, just about seeing the upheld arm of the Statue of Liberty, appearing majestically out of the fog. They’d be docked into New York before nightfall. He handed the glasses back to the ensign who had been using them previously and began walking back to his cabin, where his valet would be finalising the packing of his possessions, ready for them leaving the ship.
He had returned to the plush carpeted internal corridor, when he heard his name called behind him.
“Charlie boy! Wait for me.”
He turned and was met by the vision of a gracefully running Alexa Alberforce.
“Miss Alberforce. Lovely to see you again.” Charles said, offering his hand.
“Oh please, less formality Mr Yates, Alexa is fine.”
“Very well, Alexa. Are you excited to be returning home?”
“Yes I have had quite enough of the British weather and this ghastly boat, it is quite cramped. Tell me what are you doing this evening Charlie?”
Charles was gobsmacked that she found the boat environ cramped, he had found it vast.
“Tonight, I have, as yet no plans.” Charlie responded.
“Well then you simply must come to dinner with my family.”
“It’s simple really, my dad, who owns this house. Works on the railway managing the booking office. We get so few people coming this far down the line, that he usually lets me know if they sell a ticket, just so I can keep an eye out.”
Charlie thought for a moment.
“That’s all very well and good, but what were you then doing all day, whilst I was stuck upstairs?
“It wasn’t all day silly, it was only like six hours.”
“I don’t think you’re really getting the point of all this. What were you doing with whoever got off the train, for six hours? You must have known who they were, to have spent that much time with them?”
“Oh it was no one really, just someone interested in the railway and this house and all the history and stuff. Do you want a cup of tea?”
She stood and moved over to the kettle, picking it up and waving it at him with a grin. Charlie knew, deep down, that something wasn’t right with this situation, but was still too blissfully happy to question any further.
“Yes, a tea would be lovely.” he replied with a smile.