Fiddlestix has the troubling thought that maybe Varin’s motivation for finding his wife is because he wants revenge against her. She goes to Deacon and Jasper with her concerns.
“I think,” Jasper rubbed his nose with the back of one hand, “that before you come in here or make any calls, we need to debug you and your pals.”He even spoke in a slow, Southern drawl.
“Debug?” Deacon was incredulous.
“Anything you were wearing or had with you, even your sidearms. It all needs to get scanned. You aren’t coming in this room without you do that, Hannah.”
“Jasper, come on!” Deacon was incredulous.
Jasper’s dark eyes riveted his older brother. “You put me in charge of communications security for a reason, Deacon. Don’t make me remind you why.”
“He’s right, Deacon,” Fiddlestix said, her natural paranoia kicking into high gear.
The only person Fiddlestix had ever met more wary than she, was Jasper. He had his reasons, and she respected that. She agreed to the conditions, sending word to Blacksmith and Buzzard to meet her in the security wing of the mountain complex. A few minutes later, belligerent and bleary eyed, the two bodyguards arrived, accompanied by several of the Shine Clan security team. The one nearest Buzzard had a nasty black eye, and the one by Blacksmith was limping. They hadn’t taken kindly to being woken. It took several tries before they understood her, but once they did, they agreed readily to the search.
Fortunately, nothing was found on their persons, but their cell phones had been bugged. Any calls from them would have been tracked. These were disposed of and replaced by better phones of Shine Clan manufacture.
Deacon turned to his younger brother. “Happy now, Jasper?”
The young man nodded curtly, opening the door for her to enter. Blacksmith and Buzzard weren’t invited. In the communications room, Fiddlestix sat down in front of a console, preparing to begin the long process of contacting Karl. At least the most recent number Karl had given her before she left would connect with his personal staff.
After three rings, she hung up, called back and let the phone ring until it was answered. The voice on the other end was unfamiliar, but spoke in clipped English. Her reply was in Dutch, giving the appropriate confirmation code.
“Thank you, Miss Braun. One moment please.”
There was an abrupt click and then silence. The Harlichs didn’t believe in the fripperies of playing music when a party was on hold.
Another click sounded, and a voice she did not know answered. “State your business,” the man said calmly.
She gave the second code.
“One moment please.”
The phone clicked a third time, and Karl’s secretary answered. Identifying herself once more, Fiddlestix spoke the final code. She was immediately connected with Karl.
“Hannah, I hadn’t expected to hear from you so soon,” Karl sounded concerned.
She wasted no time, explaining her forebodings. Karl waited in silence, only the sound of his breathing showed he was still on the line.
“Sadly, all this fits. Dirk’s men reported the attack on the road. We have initiated the evacuation of women and children from the compound.”
“Karl, I’m so sorry to bring this upon you.”
He sighed, and she could picture him rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“It’s not your fault, Hannah. This has been coming for months. In an odd way, I’m grateful. The waiting has been interminable.”
“You’ve never liked waiting for anything, Karl.”
He chuckled. “No, Hannah, I haven’t. May one ask where you call from?”
“I think you know, and Dirk can give you details when he returns. Karl, I could be wrong.”
“That’s what worries me. I have never known your hunches to be wrong. Goodbye, Hannah.”
“Bye, Karl.” She dropped the headset, suddenly exhausted.
“You’ve done what you can, it’s time for bed,” Deacon said.
“Thanks Jasper,” she hugged him briefly, kissing his cheek.
Fiddlestix and Deacon walked back to his quarters. She leaned against him the last few yards. She undressed and collapsed on the bed. Deacon lay down behind her as she curled on her side, slipping his arm around her, holding her close. It felt good to sleep like that; safe, secure, loved.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes