Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
Elke to the Rescue …
It is 5:00 am Friday when Elke arrives at Richards Bay, South Africa. Benito has prearranged for someone to meet her and then she will be chartered to the chateau. However, she receives a call from her Patrocinare. His voice sounds urgent.
“I have gotten communication from an extremely reliable source.” Benito begins. “There will be a raid of sorts on the chateau.”
“A raid?” Elke repeats in horror. “This does not sound like the work of S.T.O.P.”
“It is not—a separate vigilante has discovered that Jonas Fischer and Finn Schulz can be found on Baron Heinrich Schröder’s secret chateau. Ever since their involvement with that raid on your village—” Elke cuts him off.
“You need go no further, Patrocinare. I guarantee that I am not the one who disclosed the information.” Elke reassures him.
“I did not think so but I needed confirmation from your own lips.” Benito breathes a sigh of relief. It would do his credibility no good if a member of his team was untrustworthy.
“It could only mean that there are spies everywhere. I am glad that Luis Wagner had no part in the massacre.” Elke asserts.
“He and the Baron were definitely not participants.” Benito is emphatic regarding this. “Just get yourself in and out. The staff have also been informed and will be leaving with the two of you. Good luck!” Benito replies, ending the conversation.
By the time Elke has finished her conversation, a tall, attractive blonde gentleman is hurriedly making his way toward her.
“My name is John Fitzpatrick and I am with S.T.O.P.” He says by way of introduction. “We don’t have much time. We need to be at the chateau and on our way back here before 8:00 am.”
“True. The other two gentlemen must not suspect a thing. Although neither physically participated in that massacre, to supply the necessities is still horrible. If my mother had not been informed—” Elke shudders involuntarily and John grabs her hand, giving it a firm pat.
“Mustn’t think of that now. Our top priority is to get our informant and the chateau staff out of there. What happens to the others is out of our hands.” John rejoinders as he guides Elke in the direction of an immaculate Cessna Citation Mustang.
“Impressive!” Elke exclaims as they near the plane.
“Compliments of the Baron.” John relates. “That man is notorious with the women—also with his unparalleled lifestyle. However, he is not really a bad sort, just walks an extremely thin line between right and questionable.”
“His nephews and very powerful brother-in-law have managed to keep him out of prison.” Elke reminds John as he helps her board the aircraft.
“To be specific, brother-in-law Baron Marko Balogh and nephew Andor. The twin Andris is nothing short of being a hot-tempered playboy—but not to be underestimated either.” John chuckles and in a matter of moments they are off.
The flight is very pleasant and there is a co-pilot along with a steward who serves her a very refreshing Kirschwasser. It is 5:45 am when they reach the island where the chateau is. Luis, Hilda along with the three other chateau staffers are waiting inside a small service shed. When viewing the approach of The Golden Maid—the Baron’s aircraft, they carefully gather their belongings and rush out to meet it.
“You remain here while I take care of the other passengers.” John informs Elke. After talking to the co-pilot and steward, he leaves the plane to assist Luis and the rest of the travelers.
“Hilda told me what is getting ready to take place. I don’t know how it all came about—I’m just happy to be out of there although—” John stops him.
“Don’t worry about your friend Jonas, Luis. He is crafty and his cousin Johannes will see to his safety.”
“And Finn, what of Finn?” Luis questions and John just drops his gaze to the ground.
“No!” Luis laments, as he thinks about the fate of his long-time associate.
In the Nick of Time …
Jonas is awakened at 7:00 am by the ringing of his cellphone. He recognizes the caller. It is his cousin Johannes.
“Good morning—” Before Jonas can say anything more he is interrupted by Johannes.
“Don’t bother to pack a bag. Just head for the back of the chateau and into the dense forest. There you will find a caretaker’s shed filled with gardening equipment and a small automatic revolver in the top left drawer under some documents. Take the gun and stay there until I arrive later. It is of the utmost importance that you remain there until I give you word to do otherwise. Assassins from the local underground are coming for you and Finn.”
“What about Luis?” Jonas queries as the throws back the covers.”
“He has been taken care of by the Baron’s men. There is no hope for Finn.” Johannes explains solemnly.
“I see.” This is the response Jonas gives. He is not as concerned regarding Finn’s fate as Luis had been. His attention is solely on getting away alive.
“Leave quickly and quietly. If Finn is still sleep, all the better for you. Just get out and get out now!” Johannes almost yells into the receiver before releasing the call.
Obeying his cousin’s instructions to the letter, Jonas carefully gets out of bed and begins to find clothes to wear. Splashing warm water on his face and body, he quickly showers and puts on brown cargo pants and a green polo top. Finishing his ensemble is a pair of tan rugged boots and thick socks. Grabbing a sun visor and a pair of shades, he stuffs his wallet into his back pocket, buttoning it, and tip-toes out the door.
As he passes Finn’s room, he notices light snoring when he puts his ear up to the door. Resisting the urge to peek into the bedroom, Jonas rushes down the stairs and towards the back veranda. As he heads towards his means of escape, he hears the sound of vehicle motors and then the slamming of doors.
Jonas ducks behind a very large potted plant as he spies men heading in all directions toward the chateau. Silently, he waits for his opportunity and when it comes, with the speed of a gazelle he heads toward the wooded area behind the edifice. Although one of the men thinks he sees something, he quickly dismisses it and heads towards the stairs.
There are totaling five men and each carry a large kerosene bucket with boxes of matches. With the swift, silent speed of assassins, the men begin to pour the mixture on furniture and stairwells. Each bedroom entrance is given a fine coating and the outside and walls of the chateau are soaked in the mixture as well.
As if on cue, each man strikes matches and swiftly flee. In a matter of minutes, the chateau is engulfed in flames.
The smell of kerosene and burning awaken Finn with a start. He looks around his room and there are flames everywhere. He lets out a bone-chilling scream to summons either Luis or Jonas.
“Help me, Help me! Luis, where on earth are you? Jonas, are you aware of what is happening?”
Throwing back the comforter, Finn rushes to the door. The handle is much too hot for him to touch. He moves to the balcony to find flames climbing up the outer walls.
“Oh heaven, help me!” Finn further shrieks. He decides to run into the private bathroom. Looking around, he finds several towels which he begins to dampen in the shower and put them over his head. When he opens the door, his bedroom is draped in smoke and fire. There seems to be no escape!
With no other recourse, Finn heads to the balcony and attempts to throw himself over the railing. But somehow, one of the towels get caught in the balustrades, flinging him back into the room. Instantly, a heavy drapery rod lands on him—pinning him to the floor. He is knocked unconscious. Soon after, he is engulfed in flames. Motionless, Finn lies on the floor burning beyond recognition.
To Be Continued …
Silent Assassin 13
- Silent Assassin 13
The remains of Finn have been found. Unlike Luis and Jonas, Finn failed to plan ahead for what was to come. Also, Elke is finding an attraction for Luis that is NOT 100% job related!
© 2022 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS