Daniel was stood outside the front door of you know who, arm poised ready to lift the heavy brass knocker. One thing for certain was, his superior had a considerably nicer abode than he did. He paused for another beat, fighting the rising angst and bile filling up his throat, then lifted the knocker and gave one loud knock. He resisted the urge for a friendly rat a tat tat.
After a short pause, the hallway light turned on and after some shuffling of locks and latches the door was opened by an older woman.
“Can I help you sir?” Her voice was as creeky as the door knocker was sonorous.
Without hesitation, Daniel pushed past the old lady and stormed down the corridor. It was late, not so late that everyone would be in bed, but late enough Daniel hoped for the children to be out of the way.
He found his boss sat in his study, nursing a large glass of something that looked like scotch. He looked up as Daniel entered and it became apparent that it was not his first drink of the night. Daniel shut the door quietly and pulled up the chair opposite him.
“I’m sorry friend, but I don’t recognise you. Were you an old acquaintance of my wife?” Asked Charles.
The other man smiled. “No not an old friend of hers, I only came to know of her very recently in fact. It is very sad what has happened to you. I have had similar experiences myself. Perhaps we may talk about them?”
Charles looked at the man in an effort to assess whether his instincts were correct, or whether, he was just very drunk. Well, he knew he was very drunk, but he wasn’t sure whether this was impacting his instincts.
“Could you hold on a moment, I just need to get someone.”
Charles walked back to Alex.
“Alex, could you come with me and meet someone please.”
“Charles, I’m busy here.”
Charles grabbed Alex and dragged him away from the group.
“Hold on old chap!” Alex protested, but Charles had him well held until they reached the man at the other end of the room. By now, the whole room was watching.
“I’d like you to meet my cousin Alex.”
“Ah yes Alex, we have crossed paths, a lifetime ago.”
“Apologies, I don’t remember you at all sir!” Alex responded.
“Just keep walking” Charles said under his breath to his colleagues.
“Well there isn’t much else we can do is there!” The pilot replied.
“Es tut mir leid, papieren bitte?” The voice behind them came again, this time followed by the familiar metallic crunch of the bolt being drawn on a German Gewehr 98 rifle.
“It’s no use, we’re going to have to stop.” Charles said slowing and turning on the spot.
“Guten abend, der nacht ist sehr schon mein hehr. Meine papiere sind zu hause.” Charles hadn’t had to use his German for a while, but hoped the fact that the uniform he was wearing, outranked that of the guard questioning him, combined with the fact that the pilot was wearing a German police officer’s uniform, would help disguise that.
“Wo ist deine hause? Kapitän?” The four men were now stood facing each other.
“Oh come on, it’s three to one, let’s stop messing around.” Alex said in English, before, with lighting speed, slamming the butt of his pistol into the German’s gawping face.
“Come on let’s hide him before he wakes up.”
They dragged the man down a side alley, tying him up with his own boot laces.
The arrival at the house had been met with some fanfair, which was a little shocking to Charles as he was not expecting it. Kath’s icy response to Alexa, had also led him to believe that she would have poisoned the soup before they appeared, however, this was not the case and the full staff met them at arrival.
Charles was currently being dressed for dinner, well really, he was being dressed for cocktails before dinner, but the attire was the same, full black tie. Alexa had feigned concern that she would not have anything smart enough to keep up with her English counterparts, but Charles had experienced Alexa’s wardrobe in full swing and knew that she would leave the English women in awe and a little jealous.
“What’ O’ Charles, knock knock. Quite a woman you bought back with you from the colonies dear brother. Don’t suppose you bought one for me?”
Charles turned to meet the half dressed vision of his brother, Thomas, stood in the doorway.
“I thought you would have the girls hanging off you with your cricket prowess dearer brother and you’re about to sit your finals, so your mind should be on higher things.”
Charlie’s newly found power had gone a little to Charlie’s head. He was currently sat in a very nice German luxury car, driving at speed down a country road. He wasn’t really sure where he was going, he couldn’t work the Sat Nav in the car as it didn’t recognise his voice and unbeknownst to him, the car had called the police to tell them it had been stolen and would shortly be providing them ongoing GPS references of its location.
In short, Charlie was fucked, but was having far too much fun driving fast to care.
At the quite literal rate he was going, he would make it back to the city in no time at all and was looking forward to getting back to his flat, to hopefully spend at least one night there before they came for him. He had realised that there was no hope of escape and had decided to just push the envelope until it broke, or someone glued the flap closed on him.
The scenery was glorious. British countryside at its finest. Completely useless for anything other than looking at, but it was excelling wonderfully at this purpose as Charlie hooned through it.
Red apologised for being late, circumstances out of her control at the agency, had delayed her. They had eaten dinner together, but at separate times, due to the disparity between when they ordered and were now walking arm in arm down one of London’s back streets.
“The job has been called forward.” Daniel said.
“Oh.” came Red’s reply. “What are you going to do?”
“Do? What do you mean? I’m doing as we discussed, I just need to work out a way to get the target to believe what I am saying.”
“You’ve told him then?”
“Yes today, he reacted as I expected, perhaps I just need to go and explain again in person. Fancy giving me a ride?”
“Sure, the car’s around the corner. Where do you need to go?”
“I’m going to visit our man at home. Make sure he understands the weight of the situation.”
“Well I can think of worse ideas, you’ll have to direct me.”
They jumped in Red’s car and were soon parked in the very nice bit of West London, that Daniel’s boss called home. Red leant over and kissed Daniel on the cheek.
“Good luck, I think you’ll need it.”
The wake had consisted of all the usual tropes and well worn commiserations and was now winding down. Charles and his immediate-ish relations, had drunk the correct amount and were now stood, slightly aside from most of the other guests, reminiscing on their lives as people often are wont to do.
Alex was currently relaying his and Charles’ misadventures in France during the first war. He was making it funny, but Charles’ recollection was anything but humorous. He was not however going to put a dampener on Alex’s monologue, as it was enthralling those around him and distracting them from what Charles was doing.
Charles had spotted someone he didn’t recognise. This wasn’t altogether unsurprising, as there were a lot of people present in his house, but this person wasn’t mingling with the other guests as would be expected.
“Excuse me, one moment.” Charles said to the small group. They barely moved their attention from Alex.
Charles moved slowly down the room, pretending to check his guests were well refreshed, making a beeline towards the unfamiliar man.
“Do you need a top up old chap?” Charles asked the man.
“I think I am fine, thank you.”
The man sounded German.
The three survivors of the downed plane, had made their way to a barn of a nearby farm to assess the situation and try to work out where they were. Remarkably the three of them had received no major injuries in the crash and other than the bruised ego of the pilot, all were fighting fit.
They had come down a little east of an occupied village, which itself was about 20 miles behind the German front line. The three had decided that the best bet, being that they were in German military uniforms. Would be to head to the village, try to commandeer a vehicle under the guise of getting back to their unit, then use that to get to an airfield, steal a plane and get home. There was no way they would be able to complete the original mission as planned now.
“What can go wrong?” Alex said to the other two men as they readied themselves to leave the barn.
“You said that about the plane.” Charles responded.
The pilot finished marking up his map, detailing where the plane had gone down and joined the cousins by the door.
“After you.” he said, gesturing to Charles.
The days the couple had spent in London, had been as pleasurable to Charles as the time they had spent in New York. Seeing the city with Alexa, made the place seem fresh and new again. Her joie de vivre was catching and Charles’ entire staff, after a cool start, had grown to love the yankee house guest. Even cook, despite several attempts to persuade Charles of the dangers of the American’s loose morals, had eventually succumbed to Alexa’s warm charms.
They were now at Paddington Station, awaiting the arrival of the train that would take them into the country and on to Charles’ family seat. Most of the staff had gone down the day before, to ensure the house was ready. So Charles and Alexa were travelling alone, something both were revelling in. During his time in America, Charles had forgotten how many staff were actually in his employment and how little privacy this meant he really had.
“So Charles, what excitement awaits me at Casa Del Yates?” Swimming, Polo?” asked Alexa.
“Swimming! Christ, there’s no swimming bath at the house, don’t think they were invented when Capability Brown designed the gardens.”
“Capability who now? What a delightful name!”
“Oi, you gonna pay for that mate?”
Charlie froze in the doorway. “No” Charlie continued walking.
As he walked down the road a smile spread across his face, he could get used to this life. Before the smile spread too far though, he heard the sound of running feet behind him, he turned to see who it was, just as the hand that was meant to land on his shoulder reached out to grab him. Luckily, this caused the pursuing shopkeeper to miss grabbing Charlie completely and now, being caught off balance, meant Charlie, with the gentlest of pushes, sent the shopkeeper clattering on to the pavement.
Charlie looked at the man on the floor with quite a sense of achievement. It had been a long time since he had been taught that move and he was surprised to have pulled it off so effortlessly.
Charlie and the shopkeeper exchanged looks for a moment.
“Don’t do that again.” Charlie said. “I don’t want to have to hurt you.”
The shopkeeper took his advice and stayed on the ground, watching as he walked past him. Charlie had never felt this powerful in his whole life, the smile began to creep back.