woensdag 19 augustus 2015
The Woman in Red: Chapter 39
39. Père Lachaise Cemetery
Katarina had specified one condition. She wanted to be there when Madame Thérèse would be interrogated. She had every confidence in Frau Bertha but not in the man the German woman had chosen to execute the abduction.
Helmut had blond hair and sky blue eyes and a body that was fully trained. It was his laugh, she didn’t like. She saw it didn’t reach his eyes and her knowledge of the human nature told her that this German Adonis in reality was as cold as ice and would not withdraw from anything. Even if you couldn’t call their plan for this abduction legal, Katarina didn’t want Madame Dupont hurt. Maybe even worse if she looked into those cool blue eyes of Helmut.
Of course, Jean-Pierre had made some remarks about that and he objected, she would have a part in this dangerous adventure. His resistance was of no use, Katarina had made her decision and nobody would change her mind. In that case, Jean-Pierre had added she had to take him with her.
Frau Bertha secretly had laughed a bit, when she saw the couple arguing. Maybe their first row, but with real love that has to be possible. Frau Hofmeister had interpreted their looks earlier that day very well. Nonetheless, she fancied him too, she thought they were a good match.
First, they had eaten something together and afterward they had left. Helmut with two of his men, Frau Bertha, Katarina, and Jean-Pierre. Both Katarina and Jean-Pierre opened their eyes wide when they arrived at the airport. They would make a short air trip with the Learjet 85 that was at the disposition of the Frau to the airport Charles de Gaulle in Paris. From there they would travel with a little van, extremely fit for the kidnapping, to the address where they hoped to abduct Thérèse Dupont.
Frau Bertha and Katarina were chatting to each other during the flight. From the comfortable plane, Jean-Pierre looked outside. Meanwhile, they had agreed he would be present with Helmut and his man during the real kidnapping. Frau Bertha and Katarina would lead the interrogation.
Fortunately, the wife of the German minister knew to tell them that their victim had a date in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, the most famous cemetery in France situated upon and around the hill Champs-l’Evêque. Her late husband was buried there and every month she visited his grave on the same day.
On the advice of Katarina earlier that day, Jean-Pierre had left the van together with Helmut and his men. He was surprised when he saw one of Helmut’s men take a folded wheelchair out of the baggage compartment. When he had asked Frau Bertha the day before how they practically would execute the abduction, she had reassured and convinced him to trust Helmut and his men and to follow their lead.
After Kurt had made the wheelchair ready they left for the cemetery. Now they stood a bit undercover after the large tombstone of Honoré de Balzac, waiting for their prey. They hadn’t to wait very long. Frau Bertha’s information was good. Thérèse Dupont, her head covered with a shawl and with dark sunglasses, came walking by. The advantage of this situation was that she always wanted some privacy at the grave of her late husband. It made their plan a lot easier.
When the woman was praying, Helmut walked through the many visitors in her direction. His friend Kurt followed him directly with the wheelchair with Jean-Pierre in his wake. Jean-Pierre didn’t want to lose Helmut out of sight and fasten his pace so that he passed Kurt and came walking at Helmut’s side. He saw Helmut turning his seal ring so that the thickest side was on the inside of his hand. This told him enough. He had seen enough espionage movies to know there was a little needle hidden inside the ring. Probably with a sedative. What he suddenly thought happened.
Helmut tried to walk in front of Madame Dupont and while he apologized to her he took her upper arm with the hand with the ring. Jean-Pierre heard a little shriek of surprise from Thérèse. Not more, because a few seconds later the woman staggered to her feet and before she could fall, Helmut had supported her efficiently while his assistant came closer with the wheelchair. The woman was set in the chair while Helmut friendly in his best French put the lady at ease. Nobody had noticed anything. Everything had happened in a minute. Madame Dupont got a belt around her legs and waist while Jean-Pierre and Kurt shielded the sight a bit. A blanket masked these attributes from the bystanders. If someone would ask some explanation they could always tell that their mother became unwell from emotion during her visit at the grave of her husband. But nobody thought the situation was suspicious. Then it was a piece of cake to drive her outside to their van that was parked a little further.
‘Everything went as planned,’ Helmut announced to his employer. ‘We will arrive shortly, are you ready in the shelter?’ Obviously the answer was what the blond kidnapper expected because a little laugh floated around his lips. Jean-Pierre noticed that Helmut’s eyes didn’t laugh at all and he got the goose bumps all over his arms, even as it was very warm in the little van.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere