Danger In Havana – Episode 29

MARK heard a small laugh, but it was strained. What the devil was going on? Anna laughed again, then he heard her speak.

“I hate you! No wonder she never trusted you, you filthy pig.”

Otto Weber let out a huge belly laugh, then abruptly stopped.

“Hello, Aunt. Come on, the soup is just about to be served.”

Mark, crouching on the ground, didn’t understand the rest of the conversation which took place between Anna and what sounded like an old lady.

That must be the old woman he’d seen Otto Weber accompanying in Havana. She had looked very frail.

He heard the soup being brought in, then the mains and after a while, a dessert.

“She’s tired now, darn it,” Mark finally heard Otto Weber say. “She’s fallen asleep in her chair. We won’t get anything more out of her tonight.”

There was gentle snoring as the old lady dozed.

“I’m tired, too.” Anna had come over to the window for air and Mark could hear better now, even though she spoke softly. “I’m tired of all this. It’s wrong, so wrong.”

“Rubbish.” Otto Weber came to join her. “You’re young and idealistic. You’ll learn when you reach my age that you have to take what’s yours, by whatever means you can. She has stood in my way all my life. But you, you are my golden key.”

“I’m nothing of the sort and you’ll regret what you’ve done once you’re found out.”

“No-one will find out. I’ll be long gone once I get what I want.”

“Please!” Anna was pleading now, and it made Mark’s blood boil to hear it. “Just let me get back to my mother. She’ll be desperately worried about me, it’s cruel to let her suffer like that.”

“What do I care about your foolish mother? If she had more sense, she wouldn’t be in the position she’s in now. Listen to me.” Mark heard him hiss through gritted teeth. “You’ll do my bidding or you’ll disappear from your poor dear mother’s life for ever.

“There are lots of deep mountain pools in these hills. You don’t want to end up with a boulder tied to your ankles at the bottom of one of them, do you? I could get Manuel to snuff you out like a candle between his finger and thumb, so you’d never see your mother again.

“Get up, I’ve had enough of you. Manuel will escort you to your room.”

“Escort me? March me like a prisoner you mean.”

Anna sniffed, close to tears, but her spirit clearly wasn’t broken.

Mark heard him Weber get up, open the door and yell at the top of his voice. The sound of clumping boots and a grunt heralded the arrival of Manuel and Mark heard their footsteps die away.

The sudden filling of the air with cigar smoke told Mark that Otto Weber had decided to sit with the old lady and smoke while he worked out his next move.

Mark knew he must find out where Anna’s bedroom was. Slowly, carefully, he stretched his limbs, which had stiffened up through standing still for so long.

He moved from the front of the house round to the side, peering up at the rooms in the house, desperate to see a light which would indicate which room Anna was being taken to.

All the rooms on the ground floor had wrought-iron bars at the windows for security. Mark hoped she wasn’t being taken upstairs.

Bingo! He saw a ground floor light come on at the back of the house. Very carefully he made his way to it.

The windows were open to try to make the most of the little night breeze there was on the air.

From the darkness, Mark saw Anna enter the room and then her jailer close the door and lock it. He heard bolts being shot, at the top and bottom of the door.

It was obvious that Manuel would be sitting on a chair outside the door, guarding it in case Anna should try to escape.

Mark lay in wait, listening to Anna move around, getting ready for bed.

In the night air, along with the sound of crickets, he could detect a slow, heartrending sobbing. The poor girl.

He must let her know somehow, but without alerting anyone else, that he had found her.

He walked carefully, silently, and looked around him. There, at his feet was a small tree, covered in white fragrant bell-like flowers. He reached up, plucked a bunch and pulling his hand back, hurled them through the open window.

There was a gasp, a moment’s silence, then he saw her very gingerly approach the open window, a light cotton dressing-gown clutched tightly around her.

“Anna, don’t say anything,” he whispered. “Don’t make any noise, just come closer to the window. I don’t mean you any harm, I’ve come to save you.”

The sobbing had stopped. She approached the window and Mark stepped forward to make his presence known.

“Who are you?” She peered at him in the darkness.

“My name’s Mark Greenstreet, I’m a policeman. Do you remember me from the hotel in Havana?” he whispered.

“Vaguely.” She held on to the wrought iron bars at the window. “You were there the day we checked in, I remember now, at the reception desk. How did you find me? Is Mum OK?”

In a low whisper, he gave her the essentials, then listened as she unfolded to him everything that was going on.

The main thing was she was well, she wasn’t harmed. Though it was clear that she was in danger.

“It’ll be dawn in a couple of hours,” Mark finally said. “We’ll be back. Don’t despair, just stay cool and play your part. Stay strong, you’re doing great.”

And with that he was off into the night.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, I have found my perfect place on the “Friend” as I’m obsessed with reading and never go anywhere without a book! I read all of our stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!