Charon chapter 1
Posted: 02 October 2013
Word Count: 892
Chapter 1 Charon It begins 10/41
The Kommandant stood, relaxed at the edge of the ancient sandstone dock in Chania looking out over a black sea to the harbour mouth. He threw the stub of his glowing cheroot into the gently lapping Mediterranean. As he started to turn towards the sentries, clicking to attention at his Headquarters, the hiss from his cigar extinguishing was matched by another as the hunting arrow sped through the air to plunge deep into his chest.
Karl, the Kommandant’s driver and bodyguard, whirled round at the sound of the thud to see his charge crumple onto the jetty. He threw himself across the groaning body and screamed to the guards to fetch a medic and sound the alarm. The eerie wail of a klaxon was soon joined by others as the night cried a general alert. A squad of soldiers clattered down the steps. Some formed a protective cordon round their officer. Others dashed to shine their torches onto the water as Karl yelled out orders and pointed to where the attack had come from.
Two medics rushed down from the guard office closely followed by Feldwebel Brandt, the duty officer. One knelt and gently turned the Kommandant onto his side then onto his back. He winced as he saw the fast-spreading stain of dark blood welling through the uniform around the shaft of an arrow buried deep in the left breast. Ambulance now! he shouted then reached forward. It took all of his strength to slowly withdraw the well-embedded arrow. His companion pressed a thick swathe of bandage directly on to the wound and pushed down firmly .
The ambulance raced through the streets of the town led by two motor cyclists, each with a screaming siren. It swerved into the courtyard of the military hospital where the waiting team of Doctors and nurses grabbed the stretcher and rushed it in to the emergency surgery theatre. Over two hours later Dr Erich Rafael, Surgeon Commander, emerged looking drawn and grey-faced. His medic’s overalls were steeped with the blood of their Kommandant. Right Erich will he make it? asked the waiting officers. Gentlemen you have done well. Your Kommandant has lost a great deal of blood and the wound was deep. But he is a very fit man and because of the speed at which you and the medics responded to the attack I am confident he will make a full recovery although it will be some time before he will be strong enough to return to his duties.
More than one whispered a, Nazi un-approved, Goddt ser Danke.
Back at the HQ the operations room was a hive of furious activity. Officers barked out a stream of orders to their radio operators who sent messages out to the squads of soldiers hunting the assassin, Female secretaries placed red marker pins in the large scale map of Chania as squad after squad reported back that another block had been searched and cleared.
On the floor above, a group of SS officers were carefully examining their only evidence - the blood-stained, hunting arrow. One used a pair of surgical tweezers to carefully pick away the thin band of cloth tied tightly around the head of the feathered flight. As it came loose he saw writing on it.
‘Gruppenfuhrer look at this, it is marked with a name, Charon, and has a sign next to it.’
The Gruppenfuhrer examined the writing then turned sharply at the gasp of alarm from his deputy who had been peering closely at the arrow’s metal head with a powerful magnifying glass.
‘Goddt im Himmel, a hole has been drilled in this and it looks as if a wax has been used to seal in some liquid until the shaft struck. Radio the hospital now. Tell the surgeon in charge our leader may have been poisoned!
The surgeon dashed into his patient’s room and instructed the nurses to start emergency resuscitation. But he knew it was useless. It was obvious from the patient’s cold, waxy skin that the deadly toxin had done its work.
Across the bay, by the entrance to the harbour, a black figure slid out of the sea
and climbed up over the rubble of rocks which protected the foundation of the ancient lighthouse. It had been built by the Venetians during their long occupancy of Crete. In days gone by watchmen would keep a signal fire blazing in the cast iron brazier on its roof to signal the approach to Chania. Now a long shaft of white light from the searchlight on the platform high above the rocks probed the bay and the jetties. The Wehrmacht sentries did not think to look directly down below them to where the frogman removed a locking pin then pushed one of the sandstone blocks into the dark interior on greased rollers.
Charon climbed into his hideout, pushed the block back into place, removed the rollers and secured it again with the pin. He then pulled a thin plank of wood from a gap facing into the harbour and looked out at the increasing frenzy as the search for him mounted.
He slumped onto the cane bed, exhausted. Charon did not feel excited nor elated, just relieved that all the time he had spent preparing had been worthwhile. His campaign of vengeance had begun.
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