Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Extract - The Wewelsburg Covenant

Autobahn 5
The rider’s mechanical horse was black as the night, a ‘vintage’, dangerously fast, modified version of the 2000 Suzuki Hyabuso. The man riding it had been called by Wolfschanze HQ with an urgent assignment. Enemy agents were arriving at Frankfurt Airport. They’d had been followed there from Vienna and his brief was: ‘Kill the men, take the woman alive.’
The BMW M3 straddling the road ahead was surprisingly fast. But his shock was replaced with confidence as he cranked up the throttle and marvelled at how quickly he caught the M3 as they reached Kessel and then veered left towards the countryside of North-Rhine Westphalia; the small dancing lights of the farmhouses bobbing like illusions at the dizzying speed.
‘He’s still on our tail.’
Anna was peering out of the back window and made out the figure in leather, glowing red in the tail lights of the car dangerously close behind them. She’d never been in a car as fast as this, and leaned sideways to look at the speedometer which clocked 295 kph.
Now, they were gambling, Anna thought. The other player at the table was a dark rider, while death played Bank, handing out an inevitable hand.
‘Hold on, we’re going to make a sharp turn. A short cut.’
Anna clutched the door handle and closed her eyes against the pull of the car as it veered onto an off ramp and Heydrich slammed on brakes. Anna felt as if she were about to be sick, but swallowed hard and forced her eyes open. She looked back to see the rider still dangerously close on their tail.
Heydrich swung the car through the apex of the turnoff perfectly and the road narrowed to a country track as he pushed the pedal down and the car roared through its lower gears. Anna breathed in short breaths of cold air that did nothing to loosen her chest. Now there would be increased hazards on the country roads – cows, tractors, dogs and people crossing and sharp kinks, potholes …
‘Don’t worry!’ shouted Heydrich, seeming to read her thoughts. ‘I know these roads well.’
Anna felt the car rise up onto a hill and knew what was coming. As the car crested the hill it took off and they were airborne for a few split seconds before the car touched down again with sparks flying out from beneath the chassis.
‘He’s still there!’
The red eyes of the back of a truck loomed up ahead on the road that twisted like a snake through the farmlands. Beside it and some distance away was a pair of glowing yellow lights – an oncoming car. The road seemed to veer off to the right and the approaching car was rounding the bend. As the BMW neared the truck, so too did the pair of yellow lights.
Heydrich slowed the car deliberately. Anna saw the biker catch up.
‘I have a plan,’ Heydrich shouted madly as he brought the BMW dangerously close up behind the truck and straddled both lanes. The approaching car’s lights were too close for comfort. It flickered in warning. Heydrich seemed frozen. Suddenly they lurched forward and veered into the oncoming lane.
‘Heydrich!’ Anna screamed. He flicked a switch beside the steering wheel again and Anna felt the car kick up yet another gear as the nitro came into effect. Flames erupted as they pulled in front of the truck just in time as there was the terrifying ‘pop’ of the motorbike smashing into the car behind them.
They travelled the rest of the way in complete silence and ambled into the village of Wewelsburg like stricken dolls strapped into their seats.
Tree branches closed over the road like the fingers of a bony hand. It was winter and the bright stars of a country sky glittered through the branches. Heydrich drove off the road onto a gravel track, slowed up and pulled off into an open field.
The car beeped as the doors opened and they got out. They crowded over the open boot that glowed yellow in the surrounding gloom. A fine mist had rolled in over the plain and in the distance, Wewelsburg Castle was impressive. The north tower poked through the mist ominously. On top of the tower, the searching torch beams of Trevellian Enterprises guards scanned the surrounding countryside.
Heydrich took out Anna and Ben’s bags, held down a latch and pushed the back seats forward to reveal a vault filled with every imaginable weapon Anna and Ben could want.
‘Take your pick,’ said Heydrich as Ben whistled softly.
‘Impressive,’ Anna commented, holding up an MP5 machine gun. She turned aside, pulled off her coat and jersey, put on a bulletproof vest and pulled her jersey and coat back on. She also pulled out some C4 packs made of a putty-like substance with small charges, and strapped them onto her waist beneath the bulletproof vest along with a detonator which she tucked into her belt. She also took an innocent-looking pair of gloves. Ben selected a sniper rifle with a silencer, a large knife and a Beretta. Heydrich opted for an AK-47 only.
They closed the car’s boot and doors and slipped into the shadows of a forest on the western side of the castle leading up to an embankment. Ben led the way, followed by Anna and Heydrich. They crept north, carefully, and stopped in a wooded area above the north tower. Ben whispered quietly as they huddled together. Ben raised his rifle, switched the night-optics on and looked.
‘Three men, patrolling in the moat, at the entrance to the crypt.’
Anna raised a pair of binoculars, flicked the night optics on and scanned the moat that ran along the eastern edge of the castle. The three guards outside the door to the crypt were tall, with semi-automatic machine guns held out in front of them, undoubtedly Trevellian Enterprises soldiers, Anna thought. One stood on either side of the door and another was directly in front of it, patrolling a short stretch that ran parallel to the castle’s walls.
‘If we get rid of them quickly enough,’ said Ben, ‘no one will notice.’
‘But how?’ Anna asked. ‘The minute one falls, one of the others will shout and notify those guys on top of the tower.’
‘Watch and learn.’
Ben raised the rifle again and paused, waiting for the perfect moment. The rifle stung with three quiet whips. Anna watched through her binoculars. The guard closest to them beside the door fell, and before he’d hit the ground the one on the opposite side of the door crumpled. A second later the third patrolling man fell to the ground. Anna turned to look at Ben in awe.
‘What?’ he said. ‘I haven’t been in an office my whole life, you know.’
They hurried, crouching, to the bodies and began to drag them towards the arched wall that ran over the dry moat that led to the castle’s main entrance. In the middle, beneath the moat, was a hollow between the arches. They dragged the bodies into the darkness and rushed, in single file, along the eastern wall of the castle, pulling up short of the door that led to the crypt of the north tower. Ben motioned for Anna to move across to the other side of the doorway. Anna moved quickly and quietly. Then Ben motioned to her that he was going in. Anna nodded. Ben crouched and slipped inside, followed by Heydrich and Anna.
They descended some steps into the cavernous crypt, Himmler’s hall of the dead. It was empty. Anna pressed into the middle of the chamber while Ben and Heydrich fanned out along the walls.
‘There’s no one here.’ Anna’s voice echoed around the chamber. She turned around.
Guns were pressed into Heydrich and Ben’s heads and one was aimed at her.
‘We’ve been expecting you,’ said James Trevellian.