K2 Series - Book 5.
The castle is attacked - and almost destroyed. Dozens are dead, many more wounded. K2's enemies think they have dealt the group a lethal blow.
'The water has risen!' a young Wehrmacht soldier shouted though the dark to his unseen comrades. 'We are trapped.'
He ran back down a set of ancient stone steps, his lamp held ahead of him. The sound of his boots on the old carved stone echoed around the chamber above him, a supervising priest now just as terrified as the rest of the onlookers. Prison labourers risked whispered comments, the guards preoccupied with the thoughts of their own mortality. Ignoring their supervision of the prisoners, the two remaining guards hurried to the steps, a need to see for themselves.
'We're trapped,' echoed up the stairwell. A splash signified a vane attempt to swim through the access tunnel, now flooded with black icy water.
The prisoners edged closer, daring to see for themselves and bringing their lamps closer. Another splash echoed up, another desperate and futile attempt to swim free. The priest soon realised he was surrounded by prisoners, their gaunt faces ghost-like in the yellow light from their lamps.
He could think of nothing else do. 'Guard!'
The remaining guard knew that he was not a strong swimmer and bolted back up in time to see the priest hit over the head with a rock and fall. He fired upwards from the hip whilst holding awkwardly onto his lamp. A loud, clanking re-load echoed up the stairwell, a second shot without aim, a second prisoner down. In the state that they were in, emaciated and exhausted, any wound would be quickly fatal for the men.
The remaining three prisoners ran into the adjoining chamber, knowing only too well there was nowhere for them to go; they had searched this cave at length for days, their purpose in being here. The guard exited the stairwell and checked the priest, finding no pulse. He ran inside.
Halting in the middle of the chamber and breathing heavily he slowly re-loaded and fired from the hip; three shots, three sharp echoes, three prisoners dead, the last prisoner stood definitely staring back.
After an hour of pacing, cursing and then praying the young soldier dragged the priest to a small anti-chamber and lay him down. He straightened the priest's legs then, after a moment's consideration, crossed the body's arms. After several minutes of calm reflection knelt over the priest he scribbled a message on the wall above the cleric's body.
Sat with his back to a damp rock face, his knees held tight up to his chest, he watched the reassuring flicker of his lamp's yellow flame. Thirty minutes later he began to shiver, and not just from the cold. He stood. Back in the main chamber he bent over, his rifle's muzzle now in his mouth. 'Forgive us for what we have done here,' he muttered.
England, 2007. The Hunt.
Guards stood and watched as the final cable was attached to the house mains. Spread across the wet lawn stood dozens of metal stakes set into the ground in pairs. Each pair rested six feet apart, cables snaking across the grass to a junction box, a large cable then leading inside Broadlands. They glanced at each other expectantly before standing on the wooden boxes they had already laid out.
'Alles clar?' came a voice, repeated over the radios. Guards glanced around at each other, confirming that all were insulted from the ground, stood now on the wooden boxes.
The senior house guard lifted his radio. 'Alles gute!'
The switch was thrown, but nothing happened. They watched and waited. After a few seconds a man pointed. Then they could all see steam and smoke, the odd spark of light and a feint crackling sound.
The senior guard lifted his radio. 'Ende!'
They waited a full minute before stepping down, cautiously stepping onto the wet grass, testing it with boot toes. The crocodile-clips attaching cables to the metal stakes were cautiously knocked-off with wooden sticks held in rubber gloves.
Two days later the house guards were sad. They sat facing a lawn that was now devoid of molehills. Their dogs looked on, sensing the downbeat mood in their handlers. All the moles were dead, no new mounds were sprouting up.
'Intruder!' a guard whispered, pointing. 'Get the sniper rifles.' Guards focused on the intruder, many lying down.
A minute later a telescopic site focused on the blatant invasion of K2 territory, the intruder fixed in the crosshairs. A single shot rang out, the intruder sliced in half, its body
parts sent flying through the air. That was one grey squirrel that would not bother K2 again.