Danger In Havana – Episode 28

NORELVIS jumped off and tethered the two horses to a tree, well hidden by tall bushes.

“It is best we approach house on foot, and from side. Here will be less likely for us to be seen.”

“Wait,” Mark said. “It would be madness to go in daylight. We need the cover of darkness. Besides, we’re hot and tired and hungry. It’s been a long day. Let’s just hunker down here where we can see the house but stay hidden.

“We’ll take it in turns to keep watch while the others take a nap. That way, we can keep an eye on the place and try to suss out who might be around before we go creeping around there unannounced.

“But before that, let’s have something to eat.”

From a leather bag slung round his shoulders which Carlos had given him, he took out some picadillo-filled empanadas.

Norelvis took a blanket from his saddlebags and laid out the food.

“I have home-made lemonade, cassava doughnuts and oranges.”

“It’s a feast!” Bryony exclaimed. “Thank you guys so much. I was too nervous this morning to think about bringing food and drink.”

“When you have been in these hills from a child, you remember always to bring sweet things and water to keep up energy. If not, you can always cut down sugar cane to eat. It is good, sweet and chewy. But you have to have machete.”

At this point, Norelvis whipped out a long bladed knife.

Mark urged him to put it back, realising Norelvis could be a bit too hasty and Latin in his hot-headed approach.

“We definitely won’t be needing that,” Mark told him.

It was a feast, and Mark felt much revived after it. He could tell Bryony was beginning to flag, but was delighted to see her take her fill of the spicy mince and pepper pasties.

“You two get comfortable and take a nap first. I’ll keep lookout. I’ve bought some binoculars.

“So far, all I can see is some horses in the paddock in front of the house and an old man bringing out feed. There’s little else happening. Get some rest.”

“Are you sure?” Bryony asked.

“I can stay awake with you,” Norelvis offered.

“No, you get some sleep, you’ll be more alert that way when we break in.”

“Break in?” Bryony looked alarmed.

“Yup, we’ve got to if we’re going to rescue Anna.”

“But shouldn’t we call the police?” Bryony asked.

“The police? Hah, do not bother with those in Havana,” Norelvis scoffed. “They will do nothing. With a fine big house in Havana and a business making money, the police in my city will be very slow to do anything to upset the Big Man Otto Weber. He will have friends in high-up places.

“You would be better to bring in the Trinidad police, if any. This man is keeping his head, how you say, under the radar here, in this little town. He is hiding from everybody, the police included. He do not want them to know what bad business he does.”

“I think he’s right, Bryony, let’s just do this our own way for the time being. We’re not even sure Anna’s in there. If she is, we’ll get her out. If not, at least we might find out some clues to where she is.”

* * * *

Bryony and Norelvis settled down on the rugs and in a very short while, they were both fast asleep. Now, Mark thought, he could properly get to work.

This bit he needed to do on his own, so as not to endanger the others.

With great care not to disturb them, he crept away into the darkness. In the dark was the time to move towards the house, to discover its secrets.

Making his way with all the stealth of a panther, he stepped among the undergrowth. Dressed all in black, he faded well into the jungle undergrowth.

Outside, the house was quiet but inside, he could hear voices. Pressing himself to the wall at the front of the house, he edged his way along. The voices, gabbling in Spanish were coming from the kitchen.

He peeked through the window, and there was a cook dishing up steaming bowls of soup, and a maid placing them on a tray.

At the table in front of them was a beefy Cuban, tall and with hefty muscles, ripping open a loaf.

Without ceremony, he helped himself to one of the bowls of soup on the tray and was immediately told off by the cook. Obviously, she expected him to wait for his, when he had no intention of doing so.

He stuffed food into his mouth, waving their criticisms away. Mark saw a pistol strapped to his hip, and on the chair next to him a sizeable firearm. Otto Weber’s guard was not a man to be messed with.

Backing away from the kitchen, Mark noted a pool of light to the front of the house. Bending down so as not to be seen from any windows, he made his way around.

When he got to the front, he could hear voices speaking alternately in German, Spanish and, more importantly, in English. His ears really pricked up when he heard a young girl’s voice. Holding his breath, he strained to hear.

“It’s not fair to lead her on like this. I won’t do it any longer. I can’t!”

“Yes, you can, and what’s more you will. Don’t you dare let that miserable look come on your face again. Keep smiling. Make out like we are having a chat about the jolly days back in Germany. Any moment now, she’s going to take you into her confidence, I can tell. She likes you. You have played your part well.

“As soon as I get what I want, you can go. But not before. Remember that. Until I get what I want, you stay here.” There was a pause.

“That’s better, you are so much more pretty when you smile, dear Anna. Now, I can hear her coming back down the stairs. Laugh, like we are sharing a joke together.”

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!