Maurice left us before noon. He would attempt to find more information, but I feared his efforts were in vein. Sitting in a corner opposite me was the woman we had rescued. We had traveled through the night, keeping silent to avoid detection, first on a horse cart, then in a coach, the last five kilometers we walked. I guessed that Maurice saw the long walk in the mountains coming and elected to head north. Before dawn my traveling companion and I were in the chalet near Jaca.
“Nous sommes sûrs ici. Sont comment vous vous sentant.” I asked her how she was doing after our trip, and I let her know that she was safe in the chalet.
Her eyes brightened. “Mon français est pauvre. Parlez-vous l'anglais ?”
My laugh must have frightened her. She pulled her knees up against her body.
“Oh, don’t worry, you are safe here,” I repeated, this time in English. “Who are you? You never gave us a name.” She had not uttered a word the entire trip.
“You men were all speaking French so fast I couldn’t keep up. I thought maybe you were just another part of the same group. If you are not them, who are you? Other than my kidnappers.” She did not release her knees.
I avoided her question directly, hoping to see her reactions as I explained. “I am Charles Garris, and I am searching for my daughter who was possibly captured or arrested.”
“Is that why you dragged me up a mountain to this camp?”
“Would you rather we left you on the beach?”
She released the grip on her knees. “I don’t know yet.”
“Still don’t know your name.”
“Sheri, that’ll do for now.”
“Fair enough Sheri, now we know each other.” She seemed to relax a little. I probed again. “So how did you come to be in that beach house.”
“Who are you first, I mean, really, who are you people?”
A fair question, I was avoiding her questions like she was avoiding mine, we must have both been trained in the art of diversion. I took a chance. “We are part of the Christian underground in France, like I said, we are looking for my daughter. We had heard that you were she.”
She smiled. “Hmmm, nope not her. But, I think I am glad you saved me.”
“Well, that’s a start.”
“We were missionaries in Ethiopia when the unrest started. My husband put me on a plane to Paris. Those men met me at the airport and the next thing I know; some big lummox is throwing me over his shoulder and dragging me out onto the beach. And then I got here, you know the rest. French underground? You gotta be kidding.”
“Missionaries, and you haven’t heard from your husband?”
She looked at me and glared. “I told you, those guys grabbed me as soon as the plane landed.”
“Oh, I am just tired. I hope we are camping here for a few hours.”
“We will probably be here a couple of days. I have some connections; we will try to find your husband too.”
She walked over to the stove. “This may be the blessing I as praying about.”
The chalet was hidden among the trees on the mountain side; therefore, a traveler passing on the nearest road would miss it entirely. Only a few of our friends knew the little cabin, so, visitors were rare.
My new companion found her way to a couch in the back of the chalet. I looked out the window and picked up my binoculars. In the distance I thought saw movement on the trail below on the opposite far ridge. If something or somebody was coming our way it would be at least an hour before I could see them clearly with binoculars. If someone was approaching they would have to cross the face of cliff. I was glad that Sheri only witnessed the drop off in the dark. I looked back at the couch, she had pulled an afghan over herself and was fast asleep.
I did not stoke the stove, so the small fire would burn out quickly. I closed my eyes -- my nap would be restless.
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