Friday, 15 April 2016

The Journey

This is part four of the postman, for part 1 click here part 2 here part 3 here, part 4 here part 5 here
When Karel came to, he was back in his cell, slumped on the cot. The memories of his latest meeting with the murderous interrogator slowly came back to him. He was in deep shit. Deep, deep shit. He was beginning to think that being alive wasn’t such an advantage after all. The lies were so good, so convincing that he was beginning to believe them himself. He stared at the ceiling contemplating his fate. Would there even be a trial or would they pronounce him guilty and having him swinging by a rope before the week was out? Or would they do things by the book, the most crooked book ever.
 He remembered the list. Maybe he should put a tick next to some names, any names and see if that saved him. But he’d never worked with real names, only codes and aliases, so he’d be sending innocent men to the slaughter whilst saving his own skin. And of course who’s to say he would save his own skin.
His mouth tasted of blood and vomit and he could smell his own body odour. He’d give anything to have a shower, clean his teeth, have a cup of tea. He ran his fingers through his hair, it was thick with grease and sweat. He stared at the ceiling counting the cracks.
“C’mon,” Karel woke up at the sound of the voice. He didn’t remember falling asleep. He rubbed his eyes and saw the policeman with the nose hair beckoning him. Standing up was easier said than done. His body was stiff and the world lurched this way and that.
“What time is it?” he asked, although he wasn’t sure what that mattered.
“Put these on,” the policeman said, handing Karel some clothes. “you’ll need them.” They weren’t his, but Karel was in no mood to argue. He slipped the large woollen jumper on and climbed into the jeans and then put the thick winter coat on over the top. He was immediately too warm.
“Come with me,” hairy nostril said. Karel was in no mood to argue.
They walked quickly down the dark maze of corridors. The policeman put his finger to his mouth, Karel understood but there didn’t seem to be anyone around to disturb. He led Karel through three locked doors, carefully locking them behind him and then they were outside.
Karel drank in the fresh air like it was water in a desert; gulping it down with relish.
“Get in,” the police man said pointing to a car. Karel did as he was told. Christ knows what was going on. Were they taking him to a proper prison, or to a place where torture could be best applied? Maybe he was just going to be shot somewhere where no one would ever find him.
“There’s water in the side of the door,” the policeman pointed, and then started the engine and reversed. “Seatbelt,” he said.
Karel juggled the bottle and the seatbelt, finally mastering both. The water tasted like the finest champagne on Karel’s dry tongue.
They drove in silence. The fog over the city similar to the fog on the night Fritz was shot. When was that?
The policeman was a good driver. The type that make it look natural. The roads were empty and they glided along through the city and then up onto the motorway and out into the countryside. Karel snatched glances at the dashboard, it was three thirty and they were doing 140kph. He looked at the policeman whose eyes were glued to the road. Each time Karel wondered if the driver was sleeping, he moved his head or twitched his mouth to show he was still alive. Karel scratched his stubbly face. Why wasn’t he in handcuffs? Where were they going? Where was the female officer?
They were off the motorway now. Hedges and trees flashed by them. Their headlights the only light. The fog swirled around, Karel shivered. He felt an overwhelming loneliness. It looked like there was forest on one side and fields on the other but Karel couldn’t be sure. The policeman pulled into a lay-by.
“The border is three miles in that direction.” He pointed to the west. “Good luck my friend.” He leant over Karel and opened the car door. A blast of cold air hit Karel.  Karel didn’t really comprehend. He looked at the policeman.

Karel went.

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