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Subject: Chapter 306 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 306)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 07:34:11am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

It was all of this which he was telling himself, as a discreet cough sounded somewhere behind him; Kane shivered, knowing in his bones who it was. He turned, making his way slowly outside the pub, going to meet his fate, his mind spinning. How the man managed to make such a tiny sound heard in the overcrowded room, he had no idea. But it was only another of the reasons why he wanted to make this meeting as brief as possible.

He found his contact somewhere around the dark corner of the building, the man managing to blend into the shadows and look like the dapper English lord, just happening to be passing by, all at once. It made Willie hate him even more. But his feelings had absolutely nothing to do with what was happening here.

It was his life which was at stake, which had been ever since he had first listened to "Carlita." What a sap he had been; his eyes met his contact's cautiously, fearful of what he wanted this time. But it wasn't like he was any less of a sucker now.

This life path had been determined irrevocably six months ago, just before the Brits and Canucks started signing men up--his only piece of luck since. Since there was no way out, he just stared at the man, far more petulantly than he realized. "What is it this time?" he muttered. It wasn't like he had to be *nice*.

His contact let out a small, arrogant snort, his look sweeping over the serviceman in a way which suggested that his every detail was severely lacking; Willie bristled slightly but only waited. This had always been part of the game.

When the man spoke at last, it was with the sort of tones which could only be found in those who had had their accents refined in the best of Britain's "public schools"--as though the general public would have ever been let near the places. "You're late again, Kane." The man's forefinger tapped slightly irritably. "Do we need to have another little chat about punctuality?"

Willie sighed but said nothing, his gaze landing for only a second on the man's hand. He had a cane, for Christ's sakes! And not because of any sort of limp. He repressed his own snort but only barely. Next thing he knew, the guy would be arriving with a fucking crown on. But he held any retort. It was only too clear his contact took such a tone solely to annoy him.

Such a plot was certainly working, the man smiling all the more broadly at the knowledge. Still, he deigned to continue--even started with a compliment which he knew would be poison to the informer. "You've done quite well so far. Your information has proved accurate in every case." Willie bristled but said nothing, making the man's smile broaden, as the verbal axe fell. "We believe it's time you took things a step further."

The words alone brought a chill, but Kane found more courage than he had thought possible. "Who's 'we'?" From the start, he could easily guess where the man's information was going; the British government already had it, after all. But that didn't mean that he ever fully admitted the fact to himself.

It wasn't that Willie wanted to hear the real answer now, either; he was only trying to get under his contact's skin. It seemed to work, the man's smile turning into a frown for just a moment, before he erased all emotion from his face. "That's irrelevant, Willie." He let his gaze skewer the man briefly before going on. "Unless you'd like your whereabouts to get back to some certain gentlemen?"

This was the usual threat--and it worked again, as little change as was visible in the navigator's mood. "Whaddya want?" he growled once more, the sounds of New Jersey more evident in his accent. All he could really do was get this over with. Then, maybe he could go back to bed.

His contact almost visibly considered chiding him but decided against it, moving onto his real business here. "Your unit is flying over Belgium tomorrow, correct?" Kane shuddered, nodding, wondering how he could possibly know--before realizing that it had only been a guess before, was probably an easy one; the Nazis had invaded the country yesterday. The man smiled, holding out a piece of paper. "Then I suggest that you fly your unit toward these coordinates." Willie's look of alarm only made his contact smile further. "There'll be some people waiting to talk to you."

Jesus! The guy couldn't mean . . . "Now, wait a minute!" Information was one thing, but this . . .

But the protest did no good, the well-bred man leaning closer. "Do I need to remind you what will happen if . . .?"

Willie didn't even let him finish, his eyes wide. "No . . . no." His head shook wildly, body starting to shake. If the mafia knew where he was, even in England, even on a military base, he was dead. How this man knew, how he might contact them, went unchallenged. Only his life mattered. And that, as it turned out, was all the encouragement he needed to send all of his comrades into Hell.

It never occurred to Kane to question the man, to wonder how this refined English gentleman could have such contacts. After all, his blackmailer had known who Willie was, what he was wanted for. It wasn't like the cops and society were the ones looking for him; you had to be in the know to even have heard about it. If he had figured out that much, he must know the rest--must know how to get him killed. It never even occurred to the navigator that it might all well be a phenomenal bluff.

"Good," his contact nodded. His eyes went to the paper. "Memorize those coordinates." Willie did, quickly--good enough at his job not to have to linger over them. "There are also some directions there. Lead what's left of your unit toward them, once you evacuate the plane."

Jesus. Willie shuddered again, all his rationalizations just starting to fail, as the other man retrieved the paper, putting it in his pocket. His contact didn't let him wonder what he meant by the statement, either. "Be sure Samuelle is among the living." His smile broadened, as Willie shook. "He's more valuable than you realize."

Kane didn't question this, didn't even want to think about it. Maybe if he just forgot what he was doing, maybe if he just denied that any of this happening, maybe if he just pretended that he didn't know any of this, none of it would really be his fault; the rationalizations began. After all, Samuelle had had a hell of a lot more advantages than he had, had never done anything for him--probably deserved to know a little discomfort, for once. It wasn't like the refined man's contacts would hurt him or anything; he was too well-known for that. This little bit of--not treachery, never that--misdirection would only be a temporary snag in the man's life. It wasn't like he was going to get any of them killed.

This thought directly contradicted the man's previous statement, but Willie managed not to notice. Instead, he jumped, when he heard Sikes' voice behind him--trying to pretend to be friendly, like always. "What're you doing out here, Willie?" The fake smile the young guy wore made Kane's stomach roil. "Got a new friend?"

The navigator watched, as the pilot and the gentleman exchanged anything but friendly looks. His contact answered smoothly. "I was just asking this gentleman for the time." He held up a pocket watch, of all things. "I'm afraid that my man forgot to wind it this morning." When Sikes looked anything but convinced, the smile broadened. "It was a present from grandfather."

Henry was practically glowering, but his answer was only internal: "And I'm the queen of Siam." He wanted to do something, wanted to rush the man and drag him inside--but it was only too obvious what reaction he would get, if he did. Willie's "friend" was an aristocrat--and that cane wasn't for show. While the navigator clearly didn't like the man beside him, Sikes couldn't rely on his help in beating him, either. He already looked like he might piss himself in terror. Push him any farther, and things were bound to go very badly--fast.

He knew he could only retreat, then, tried to plot out a new course. Tomorrow, after the mission--there wouldn't be time before--he would go to the commanding officer, would tell him what he had seen. Hopefully, someone would listen to him. His words were supposedly convivial. "Come back in soon, Willie. I'll buy you a drink." It was about the only course he could see just now.

It was enough of one to make him retreat, however; the gentleman's smile disappeared the instant he was gone. "As I said, not everyone has to survive." Willie's terrified eyes met his. "I suggest an equipment failure." The pleased look returned. "Parachutes are always so unwieldy."

He waited only long enough to know that his lackey had understood before making his way imperially down the street--leaving Kane to gape after him, far more terrified than before. Up to now, he had only had to give a little information--dumb stuff, really, probably interesting to no one. But now . . .

He watched the man go, dumbfounded, before turning to go back inside--the evening proving too much for him, making him focus on only one thing. He had been offered a drink. And he was probably going to need a thousand of them, if he hoped to get any sleep tonight.

Extra notes: A "willie," in British slang, is a penis. Since I'm not a scholar of such slang, I may be making a mistake in this part; I don't claim to know whether the term existed in 1940. Sorry, if this is an anachronism. As much as I try, it's probably one of many.

About the aristocratic British man working as a Nazi spy, as well, let me say a couple of things. First, I mean no insult to the English; there were Americans who were pro-Germany, as well. Charles Lindbergh--the great aviator--even went on a lecture tour around America promoting peace with Germany, actively denying the "rumors" about their treatment of the Jews. Still, there was also a certain part of British society who fit into this category. Most notable was Oswald Moseley's fascist party, who were active supporters of Nazi Germany, but many others thought that the Nazis had the right idea in their firm treatment of the lower classes, the Jews, and other "undesirables." The just-abdicated Edward VIII--then Duke of Windsor--was among them. In other words, there are always those in every country who feel that "firm control" of those they think of as inferior is in the best interests of humanity--with little interest in where such ideas inevitably lead.

[End of Part 306]

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