Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beresford at Bay

By Kev Richardson
Beresford Branson Series Book Four
Historical, 327 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald

At the end of World war II, the Allied Control Council is given leave to decide on the rebuilding of Germany. Political infighting however, makes headway difficult as the Big 3 trip and stumble over each others’ feet.

Democracy and Communism cannot find a common path in leading Germany out of Nazism into a more meaningful nation in terms of international unity.

Can Beresford’s Red Cross influence help save what seems an inevitable failure of the Zoning system?

We left as the early sunset began plunging Düsseldorf into darkness, arriving at our stake-out house and half groped our way into the room with its roof mostly intact, even though two of the brick walls had gaping rents. Even the door had been quite shattered. Scattered rat-shit was the only evidence of the room having been, at some time, inhabited by squatters. A sole blown-out window alone gave clear sight of the Ubahn entrance.

Already we were shivering.

“You guys were on the roof last night?”

“On the bit that remains, yes,” they said as if in chorus.

I shivered at the thought.

Wow, I was beginning to feel a real sleuth—my first such opportunity to help discover a covert operation, one of the very purposes Force 8673 was founded.

We were lucky. Five fellows drove an ancient pick-up to the station entrance. All alighted, proceeding to haul stuff out of the back. One item was all we needed to see and there it was, one end showing through a rent in its wrapping, a brass banner, its apex the circle encasing what was today’s illegal emblem, the Nazi Swastika.

Oh! In our first few minutes of watching? Already here is proof enough to call in MI5’s muscle-men!

Tremors were coursing through me.

“Come on fellows, that’s all we need. Let’s get to safety. I’ll buy wine for celebrating!”

But had Ego been right, again?

~ * ~

I couldn’t help but feel it had all been so easy.

The very first arrival?

Yet an ominous sound reached all our ears, for we looked at each other in surprise. From the empty doorway came lights of several torches.

Too many, was my instant fear!

Much German swearing and guttural oaths broke the night’s quiet.

All at once, we realised the portent, fearful to say the least.

Philip had been on duty with the binoculars, Daniel and I crouched on the floor side-by-side close by. Daniel grabbed my arm.

“Quickly, Berry,” he whispered loudly enough for Philip to also hear. “Out the window.”

Philip, already on his feet, despite being near twice Daniel’s and my ages, was first out. I ushered Daniel out after him, and as I followed, I saw out of the corner of an eye, Philip drop the binoculars. In the dark he couldn’t see them.

“Forget them,” I called as I loped off after Daniel, expecting Philip would follow.

Daniel had dashed into the ruins of an adjoining building.

“They might think we ran down the laneway,” he whispered back at me.

I couldn’t hear noises close behind me, but could only wonder what might still be happening back in the room we had just abandoned.

But oh? Where is Philip?

Even Ego couldn’t answer.

Daniel kept running across the room we arrived in, to disappear through a half collapsed doorway. I had a snatch view of Philip struggling with two other dark forms.

I saw no option but to follow Ego’s advice.

“Run,” he was now urging me. “Follow Daniel. You can do nothing to help Philip. More of the critters are already coming through that window.”

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