Nov 6, 2015

Chapter 36 - Finding Celia

Oide Wies'n
 How disgraceful, April 19 was when I posted my last chapter! And I left poor Celia all that time locked up with the bad guys ... I can't imagine she'll ever forgive me. I hope to post again before 10 November.

The story so far ... Celia meets up with Jeremy Fisk at the Oktoberfest and shows him the material she and Franz have collected concerning Ned's investigations into the British government's involvement in arms smuggling to Croatia during the independence war in '94-95. Jeremy tells her he has somebody who will publish her claims and they arrange to go to meet him. As Celia stands up she feels very dizzy and confused and Jeremy is able to take her with no resistance to a small storeroom where they are joined by Morpheus Herman. But what is Jeremy's connection with Morpheus?

Chapter 36 – Finding Celia
It was Max who guessed that Celia had gone to the Oktoberfest.
‘I saw her from the window heading towards the underground,’ he said. ‘She had a dirndl on. Where else would she be going?’
‘It seems an odd place for a meeting,’ said Franz. ‘So many people and so noisy.’
‘Yes, and that makes it difficult for anyone to find her. Phone her immediately! Maybe they haven’t met up yet and we’ve got time to warn her,’ said Tante Ilse.
Franz rang, but Celia ignored his call and by the time Max tried with his phone she’d turned hers off completely.
‘Call the police,’ said Timothy. ‘It’s our only chance.’
They weren’t particularly helpful. With the Oktoberfest on and a football match scheduled for that evening their resources were overstretched and Franz was hampered by not being to explain properly why Celia should not be meeting Jeremy.
‘They just think I’m a jealous husband whose wife’s having an affair. I’m going down there to look for her myself. You lot wait here and warn her if she calls back.’
Max insisted on going too, so they left Timothy in one flat and Tante Ilse went back to hers.
‘Bring Celia back safely,’ she said to Franz, gripping his arm as he bent to kiss her goodbye. ‘I love her so much!’
Franz nodded, his eyes suddenly stinging, and left.
‘If you could see the look on your face!’ said Jeremy. ‘Priceless!’ He drew up a chair the other side of the desk from Celia while Morpheus remained standing behind him.
‘What’s … what’s going on? Why is he here?’ asked Celia. The smelling salts Jeremy had given her had helped to clear her head, partially at least.
‘Ah, Morpheus is a good friend of mine. We’ve been working together on and off for many years. First of all with the Colonel and then - when he started getting all idealistic about how he wanted to fund his adventures in politics - without him!’
‘But Ned …’
‘Ah, dear old Ned. He was much too interested in the arms deals that I was organizing for the Colonel during the war.”
“That was you?” asked Celia. “Not … not Timothy Arnold?”
Jeremy laughed. “What? That fussy old woman? No, no, it was me. And your brother was starting to be a real nuisance with his questions. Very unpatriotic of him. I had the unofficial blessing of the British government itself! Or at least the Department for British Export Development.’
‘Did you kill Ned?’
‘No, but we might have had to if it hadn’t been for that Croatian tank shell landing in the right place at the right time. Just extremely good luck – for me at any rate!’
‘But …but why did you believe me when I said I’d seen him?’
Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. ‘Best way to know what you were up to. And there was always the remote possibility that you were right. There were just bits and pieces of body in the building after the shell hit it. I could see you weren’t going to give up looking for him and if we kept an eye on you then maybe you’d lead us to Ned. But that’s not going to happen now.’
‘What do you want though? What are you trying to achieve? I don’t understand.’
Jeremy waved the bundle of material Celia had brought with her.
‘Well, first of all this stuff. I have no intention of being prosecuted for helping the British government break UN embargoes. And then secondly, Morpheus here is very unhappy at the damage you and your husband have caused to his business operations.’
‘The prostitution rings?’
‘Exactly. Though you don’t need to sound so judgemental. Very bourgeois of you.  By destroying his relationship with the Colonel you’ve lost him his friend and protector, the only one he had left after his family was wiped out. And as perhaps you’ve heard, Morpheus believes in revenge.’
‘Have you poisoned me, is that why I feel so ill?’ said Celia, her voice shaking.
‘No poison, just a little drug in your beer to make you cooperative. A pity, if you’d only just given everything to that sleazy boyfriend of yours, Tomislav Lederer, none of this would have been necessary.’
Celia felt dizzy again, and again Jeremy put the small bottle under her nose.
‘You know about Tomi?’ she asked finally.
‘Of course! Tomi approached Morpheus a short time ago, wanting to sell him Ivana’s information which he believed he could get from you, thanks to those most artistic photographs that he took of you two. Morpheus told me and we hatched this little blackmail plan for Tomi to try to get hold of everything without anybody getting hurt. But then you spoilt it by being all noble and refusing to hand it over. Very foolish of you! It’s going to lead to two deaths.’
‘Morpheus will explain. It was his idea.’
‘One is already happen,’ said Morpheus. ‘Sometime soon police find Lederer’s body near Ostbahnhof . With nice photos. Two will be you, also with nice photos. Look like you murder him, then suicide with same gun.”
“The shame you see, Celia. You couldn’t live with yourself,” added Jeremy.
“But … but the police will know you’re involved. I told Franz I was meeting you!”
“And I shall tell them all about it! You rang and said you had a story from my good old friend Ned about UN embargo busting. Because I’m so good-hearted, I agreed to try and help Ned’s poor little sister.  I came to see you, found you had nothing and left again, very annoyed at how you had wasted my time.”
He looked at his watch. “Speaking of which, Morpheus, I need to leave now if I’m going to get my plane. Give me about an hour’s start before you kill her, there’s a good chap,” he turned back to Celia. “Perhaps I’ll hear about this on the news tomorrow night back in London, eh?”
He got up from the chair and patted Morpheus on the back. “I’ll be in touch again soon. I think we can use this material against our good friend the Colonel in due course.”  He opened the door and looked at Celia again. “Sorry about this Celia. It’s nothing personal with me, just business. Morpheus on the other hand … I think it’s very personal!” Then he left.
Morpheus pulled out a gun from his pocket and sat down in Jeremy’s chair. His Grand Inquisitor’s face had developed dark rings under the eyes since the last time she’d seen him and they made him look pitiless. Celia shrank back in the chair behind the desk, her heart beating faster than she’d have thought possible, tears starting to trickle down her face.
“Maybe you pray. We have time. Nobody come here until much later. Pray!”
Celia fell to her knees and put her elbows on the desk and started to pray like never before. At first just random words, but then she began to whisper all the prayers she could remember one after another, over and over again, like a chant. The repetition gradually calmed her down and she started to think. She had to try to make a connection to her captor.
“I know what happened in the war to your parents and your wife,” she said eventually, her hands still clasped in front of her and her elbows on the edge of the desk. “It was very terrible!”
Morpheus said nothing. He kept his eyes down and the gun steadily pointing at her. After a moment, Celia carried on.
“What kept you going? How did you manage to survive that?” At first she didn’t think he’d respond, but then he spoke.
“Anger. Hate. Revenge. Very powerful emotions. Makes many things possible,” he said.
Celia was silent, thinking what to say next.
“But … but those emotions eat you up inside if you can never let go of them,” she said. “They can make you ill, give … give you cancer …
As she spoke she saw his eyes flicker up to her face with a look of surprise in them. Then she realized.
“Oh …it’s happened to you, hasn’t it? You have a cancer, don’t you?”  she asked. Again there was a moment’s silence.
“That’s what doctor say.”
“So it’s serious then?”
Morpheus nodded. “Nothing can be done anymore, but …” he shrugged his shoulders. “… we all die some time.”
“How much time do the doctors say you have?”
“Longer than you. I think you should …”
Celia never heard what he thought because at that moment something crashed against the wall of the store room and she heard the sound of German voices arguing outside.
“Ich hab’ doch gesagt, wir müssen die …”
Surprised, Morpheus half-turned in his chair to see what was happening behind him. Celia seized the chance and with all her strength tipped the desk up and over so it toppled onto Morpheus and knocked the gun out of his hand. She leapt for the door, wrenched it open and was outside and running before he could stop her.

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