Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
Too Close for Comfort ...
As Luis prepares to settle back on the sofa with his drink, after thanking Hilda and apologizing for is abruptness, his cellphone rings. He immediately recognizes the special number.
“Patrocinare!” Luis cries.
“Yes.” This is Benito’s response. “Marcus Whitaker and Frank Atkins are under close observance by S.T.O.P. Who are the others?”
“There are only two others—Kevin Archibald and Oliver Sterling.” There is a long silence. Then, Benito speaks.
“Oliver! I should have known that he would have something to do with this. The late Secretary’s nephew. Ambitious to a fault and he was always trying to advise his uncle of political matters. However, I never thought him to be a traitor.”
“Money and power have been known to tip the scale.” Luis interjects.
“Right you are! I can understand why Baron Heinrich Schröder values your friendship so much.” Benito marvels.
“And Baron Marko Balogh, you! It is a wise man who allies himself with rich and powerful benefactors!” Luis counters which makes Benito chuckle.
“Then let us toast to two extraordinary men and their loyal friends. Find yourself a glass, Luis.” Benito orders.
“Already in hand, Patrocinare—to friendship!” Luis replies, retrieving his glass and briefly holding it in the air.
“To friendship!” Benito affirms. Then after taking a long sip he returns to the problem at hand. “With the additional information you’ve just given, I believe that those assassins who burned the chateau worked for Oliver Sterling.”
“I assumed they were villagers out for revenge!” Luis becomes alarmed.
“That is what we were led to believe. They may have been indeed men who suffered losses from the raid but to have such information regarding the Baron’s secret chateau—that would take someone who possesses something additional.” Benito surmises.
“But of course, you are right!” Luis explodes. “I can remember on at least two occasions Roger Sterling and his nephew were in a huddle. I dismissed it as just trivial but they seemed rather close to the Colonel—especially Roger.” Luis reminisces.
“This being the case, you may not be completely out of the woods, Luis.” Benito asserts. “Don’t leave your suite until this is settled. Hilda and the rest of the staff can attend to your needs. Trust no new individuals.”
“Thank you, my new friend.” Luis whispers and Benito is slightly touched.
“Don’t thank me yet, Luis. The road is still perilous; however, I promise to see you safely through it.” Benito proclaims soberly.
“I trust you with my life.” Luis declares and the conversation is at an end. Hilda returns into the room and notices the somber look on Luis’ face.
“Is there a problem?” Hilda questions.
“Have a seat next to me and I will explain everything.” Luis responds as he begins to enlighten the woman.
Johannes Fischer small plane lands in Cape Town where they will take a commercial flight to Cairo. Johannes speaks first.
“I have this sun visor and dark glasses for you to wear until you can be equipped with the proper disguise.” Johannes informs his cousin.
However, Jonas is spotted before he can alter his appearance. Two men rush toward them, exposing their weapons. Johannes is not unprepared for such an encounter. The pilot and his assistant are also bodyguards. There is exchange of fire and, both killers lie faceup on the private runway. Jonas immediately panics.
“What was that about?” His voice almost hits the level of hysteria.
“I am not sure but perhaps some remnants of the arson chateau affair.” Johannes offers.
“Thank the heavens you were prepared!” Jonas replies in a much calmer voice.
“A crowd is heading this way. Pretend to have fainted so that we can get you away from here and out of prying eyes. My associates will handle everything.” Johannes relays as security forces emerge on the scene.
“What has happened here?” One of the officers questions the men.
“Please, we need to get my cousin some medical assistance. My pilot will give you the necessary information. We must move with all expediency!” Johannes yells as he and Jonas are rushed away.
Luis is in his suite watching a movie when it is interrupted.
“There has been some gun fire near the airport in Cape Town. Two men are dead and one is being rushed to Emergency Care. There are no details regarding the victims except they are known predators from Germany.”
Luis bolts straight up in his seat as his cellphone rings. This time it is Elke.
“There would seem to have been an attempt on Jonas’ life.” Elke explains.
“Is he alright, is he safe?” Luis is in a panic.
“Johannes was able to get him away from the scene before the police or nosy journalist could identify him. This is all the more reason for you to remain vigilant. We have the name of the perpetrators in charge and they will be brought to a swift and permanent justice.” Elke reassures him.
“S.T.O.P. Style?” Luis queries.
“Right, S.T.O.P. Style.” Elke responds and then Luis is greeted by a dial tone.
A Closed Chapter but not the Book ...
Benito receives a phone call at the same time Elke calls Luis to reassure him that all will be well. The man recognizes the voice immediately.
“That was intense.” The Voice replies.
“I am sure it was for Jonas. Although it would seem that our friend Johannes is pretty much used to this sort of thing.” Benito smiles in spite of the circumstances.
“This is why he has proven to be extremely invaluable to S.T.O.P. when a cool head is needed. Not to mention his connections on both sides of the law.” Now the Voice is smiling as well.
“So, what is our next move?” Benito inquires.
“We nip the tail of the serpent.” The Voice answers.
“Not the head?” Benito raises a brow.
“That will take a bit more strategy considering we are now dealing with the newly interim appointed Senator Oliver Sterling.” The Voice announces to Benito.
“Well, I’ll be—just when did this take place?” Benito is filled with questions.
“When the old Senator decided he needed to fill his remainder of time with his wife in hospice than trying to be a hero.” The Voice responds drily.
“Okay, so we make Marcus Whitaker and Frank Atkins go bye-bye and leave the other two for another day?” Benito sighs heavily.
“Kevin Archibald has ties with some royals across the pond so yeah, we just spank his hand and send him packing. The other two must go bye-bye. They know too much.” The Voice explains.
“So who’ll do it, my men or yours?” Benito picks up his imported port and takes a long sip.
“Mine. Have a nice day, my friend.” The Voice says.
“You as well.” Benito rejoinders and the call is completed. “That is until next time.”
© 2022 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS