TITLE: Work In Progress 8/12/2020
By Debra Brand
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The crack from the rifle broke my morning reverie. It won’t be long now.
I hurried to make the cold bed to limit any possibility of visible habitation. We let the fire die before morning for we feared the smoke would alert them to our presence deep in the forest.
I looked around the cabin trying to remember what it originally looked like when we had arrived.
The picked wildflowers drooping in the chipped glass needed to go. I replaced the dishes in the cupboard with the unhinged door. A quick wipe down destroyed the prints on the table, chairs, and doors.
I would have loved a cat but that was a complication of life that we had to avoid.
Something or someone had alerted them.
I prayed to God, the shot was sure and hit its target.
It had been a long six months. Always being alert and on guard wears on your soul. Tiredness seeps into your bones.
Now is finally here. We always thought this would be the conclusive end to our journey to avoid the enemy. I guess what you think is what comes true.
Peering out through the holes in the curtain, I scanned for signs any movement, any slight twitch of the grass in the stillness. The morning mist obscured the sunrise.
There! Someone was coming. Too far away to recognize the shape, I grabbed my bug-out bag and got ready.
Closer and closer he approached, weaving in and out amongst the trees. He would be out of cover soon when he reached the creek.
Ah! He made it. Just a few more yards and he’d be there.
Another rifle shot! He stumbled but continued his forward motion towards the cabin. Reaching and struggling he landed on the front step.
Tired and panting, he left a bloodied footprint.
He tried the knob … locked. Shoving his shoulder against the aged wood, the door burst into the room. Empty.
Where are they? Catching his breath, he scanned the room seeking any sign of movement or life.
They couldn’t have gone far. He backed out the door opening and circled around the cabin. No evidence that they had gone this way.
The sun burned through the mist revealing a brilliant sky.
Each day she lingered in the train terminal watching and waiting. Days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. She hoped. She feared. She…
She knew he would come. Their planned reunion would be one of joy mingled with the trepidation of imminent capture.
The station was busy today with commuters and travelers hurrying to their destined departure. People, from all walks of life, had daily cares and concerns, without knowledge of the underlying terror and intrigue that surrounded them.
Eight am. Wait ten more minutes, then leave.
I didn’t see him but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t there, watching and seeking me.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, went the big clock. Amazing what our brain remembers when we are concentrating on something else. Tick, tock sticks in my memory, waiting and waiting for the gong to follow.
… Time to leave.
I slowly turn and followed the plan to the next stop a block away to the hidden niche in the park.
It’s starting to rain. That’s good for cover but not pleasant for a welcome.
The streets were crowded with business people headed to their tiny cramped offices in the surrounding tall buildings. Again, I melt into the crowd and head southward.
Before stepping off the curb and on to the street, I duck into an abandoned entrance.
Turning so I could see if I was followed, I glance at the passersby. Everyone looks normal, which was not normal.
I knew I was followed. He may have seen me stop because no one was looking as if they lost someone.
Assured of my safety, I emerge from the doorway and cross the street to the park.
I wove in and out of the trees, gardens, and statues. Turning around, I scan the grassy areas but the park seemed empty.
There, ahead of me, was the ivy-covered niche. Darkness claimed the doorway. I step inside.
“Halt! Papers, please!”
I turn and pull out my documents. I watch as drips of moisture fell from the brim of his plastic protected cap. His expert hands flipped open my passport and read off my identity.
“Jacquie Knight, what is your business in Brussels?”
“Sales,” I answered. “… sales of cigars.”
“Really? It says here you have been many places within six months, very often. Cigars are very popular, no?”
A loud burst of backfire muffled the next exclamation of surprise from his lips. My partner caught his body before it fell and we hustled his body into the niche.
“That was too close.”
“How long before he awakens? He saw my face.”
“We’ll be on a flight out of Brussels before he awakens. Time to go ...”
We slip out of the niche, assured the officer’s body would remain hidden, and head towards a parked vehicle.
There was no time.
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