Danger In Havana – Episode 15

MARK had clearly been thinking, all the while seeming to study the guidebook, while Bryony studied the house.

“Wait a minute.” Her voice was charged with excitement. “There is someone inside. Look, it’s a woman, opening the windows and wiping them down.”

“Brilliant, she must be his cleaner. Right, come with me, you’re going to have to hone your acting skills while we find out a bit more about this Mr Otto Weber.”

It seemed to take a lifetime for the maid to answer the door, and when she did, she was very cautious, only opening it a fraction.

“So sorry to disturb you,” Mark said with a broad smile. “We’ve been wandering for ages. We were looking for the art museum, we’re sure it’s round here somewhere but the street is so quiet there’s no-one to ask.”

The maid’s face softened a bit as Mark worked his magic on her. For the first time, Bryony realised that Mark had a lot of charm. It was just that most of the time he hid it behind a stern exterior.

The maid seemed to melt, as well she might. Mark had blessed her with a gentle smile and an open countenance, his grey eyes appealing and his forehead graced by the quirk of a questioning eyebrow.

The maid smiled at him.

“It is not far. You walk down here.” She opened the door further to point down the street.

As Bryony paid attention and nodded, she decided to ask more questions as she realised that this would give Mark the chance to peer into the house, taking in everything.

“Sorry,” Bryony said, “I didn’t quite catch that. Can you repeat it?”

“You go two blocks down, then you go a la derecha, how you say?” She hesitated. “I do not know . . . ” she pointed to the right  “. . . then three blocks and a la izquierda.”

“Ah, right, then left? OK, you’re very helpful, thank you. And if we want the Museum of the Revolution, is that far? Could you show me on the map?” Bryony asked.

The woman peered at the map for a while then shook her head.

“I do not know, I do not think it is close to here. You will have to ask someone else.”

“Maybe the householder is in, perhaps they will know?” Mark suggested.

“No, he is not in. He is gone to the country. Sorry, I do not know. I must go now, I am busy.”

They let her shut the door then walked away.

There wasn’t much more they could get out of the poor woman, and besides, she was busy. It would take a long time to clean a house that large.

“Come on,” Mark said, turning left quickly once they were out of sight.

He grasped Bryony’s hand and ran with her round the block, in a circle, to come out again on the corner where they could see Otto Weber’s house again, but still be hidden.

“What do we do now?”

“Well, at least we know he’s gone away. I don’t want to frighten you, Bryony, but we have to face up to the fact that, for some reason, Otto Weber could have kidnapped Anna and taken him with her into the country.”

“Oh, good heavens, why would he do that, and how on earth will we ever find her if she’s not in Havana any more?”

“There are ways,” Mark said. “Look, I’m starving, and there was a woman selling home-made malanga fritters from a stall we just passed. Let’s pick up a few of those and we’ll wait here for a while and see if anything happens. I don’t know what, but it’s the best lead we’ve got.”

As they sat and munched the tasty fried snacks, Bryony looked questioningly at Mark.

“Are we on a stake out?” she asked.

Mark smiled.

It was a terrific smile. Bryony hadn’t seen it much, and it suited him. He should do it more often.

“Sort of. Loads of police work is just watching and waiting. It’s tedious but you get used to it, and most of the time it pays results.

“Back home, I’d have other resources. I’d be checking CCTV cameras and looking into people’s backgrounds but here, well, we’ve no option except just the good old tactic of watch and wait.”

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!