zondag 19 juni 2016

Chateau Rouge: Chapter 15

15. One for all, all for one

            Katarina was a bit shaken by the intervention of the mysterious shooter. In her ear, she still heard a sort of ringing. An effect caused by the shot that had wounded her enemy and fired just alongside her ear.
            She didn't know if she could call the marksman a foe or a friend. Had this person shot the man to rescue her from an unforgivable mistake or had he another agenda? She heard the wounded man moaning while he tried to drag himself further. He kept his leg meticulously stiff, afraid to bounce into something. She saw he had lost a reasonable amount of blood. The shooter had been right that this man was severely hurt, but he would have to give her some information before she would warn the emergency services. Jean-Pierre's live was a priority.
            With the Sig Sauer, she had fished out of the bushes she followed the blood trail that brought her to the man who saw it was useless that he was dragging himself further.
'Where's Jean-Pierre,' Katarina went straight to the point while she pushed the gun against the forehead of the gangster.
            A hideous smile appeared on the grim face of the wounded man. 'Shoot, do it Baroness Katarina. Just finish it. I'm not afraid to die. I would give everything for the Master, everything for my Lord and the Brothers and Sisters who serve him. Even my life.
            For a moment, Katarina was thrown out of balance. She thought the man would sing another song now that she hold the gun against his head, but there was no spark of fear that she could read in the man's eyes.
            'I promise to  do a good word with the police if you tell me where Jean-Pierre is.' An uncomfortable feeling started to nestle in her belly. It was as if her bowels turned into stone, and became stone cold. Maybe it was because he suspected she wouldn't hurt him. Was she prepared to go further and to pass that line from where she maybe couldn't return? How big was her love for Jean-Pierre?
            The man looked at her with a grin on his lips. 'You mustn't point with a weapon if you don't dare to use it. It doesn't fit a woman to act like a ruthless man. You'll never see your friend again, and you won't live long enough to complain about it. Your death already is written in the stars, and the Master will take care of it that it happens soon enough.
            Katarina felt the doubt slipping into her heart. Not because she was afraid of the bandit, but because of what he foretelling. This prediction of Jean-Pierre's impending death was the thing that pulled her over the line. Without asking something more, she shot the man in his other leg.
            A sudden cry witnessed of his pain but also of his surprise she eventually had fired. He cursed as a heretic between his gritted teeth while he twisted from the pain.  A short moment after that he started laughing like a madman.
            'My life for the Master,' he shouted, and he was bringing something to his mouth. Too late she realized what he had done. His eyes almost bulged out of his head, and his body started to shake spastically. Foam appeared upon his lips, and a moment later he fell backward, as dead as a doornail.
            Obviously, he had poisoned himself by taking a pill or capsule. Who was this enemy of her? She had gone from frying-pan into the fire.  It would be impossible now for her to still save Jean-Pierre.  
            A sound from the direction of the secret corridor made her startle. With her gun pointing to it, she saw two women she knew, appearing out of the opening. Cecile and Marie-Anne were looking with fear at the scene that laid out before them. A dead man with foam on his lips laying in a pool of his blood, while Katarina was swaying on her legs.
            'Katarina, is everything okay with you?' her twin sister asked as the first who came out of her astonishment. 'Are you hurt?'
            Marie-Anne looked with wide-open eyes at the gangster. Her pale face in the moonlight told that she couldn't cope with this a few seconds. The question marks were on her face, and her glances wandered from the dead man to Katarina and back.
            'No..., I mean I'm not wounded.' Cecile was just on time to capture her before she hit the ground as a result of the endured emotions. Cecile gave her the time to recover but then asked for some explication.
            After Katarina had told her story, Cecile comforting rubbed her on the back, telling her how they had landed here. Given the fact that nor Cecile, nor Marie-Anne found Katarina in the castle and that she didn't answer her mobile, they had questioned everybody and called around.
            It was Cecile that had suggested since nobody had seen her leaving, she might have crept out, using the secret corridor. When they were walking through the passageway, they had heard a shot. Eventually after the first fear they had decided to go further, so they discovered Katarina with the gun at the side of the dead gangster.
            When they talked about how to proceed from here on, Cecile got a call from François. While listening to her friend, her face changed color and became even paler. 'Alright, François, I'll wait for you on the road at the border of the forest, where the chapel is.'
            'What's that all about, Sis?' a worried Katarina asked. She had seen the fear gliding on her sister's face. She knew that face as if it was her own, and in fact, actually it was so.
            'François told me just now that he was suspended and taken off the investigation on the Chateau. They have appointed a new inspector, a certain Jean Demarets and it seems he's on his way to apprehend you for complicity in the murder at the castle. It's common knowledge that this man is a hardliner and a woman-hater. François told me his three failed marriages probably were a reason for this. He also told this man was a rival of General Tavernier.'
            'But what do we do now?' Marie-Anne asked, being rather silent till now. 'What will happen to Jean-Pierre, how...' She was very emotional. Her renewed friendship with her brother would end here abruptly before it had any chance to grow. Tears were standing in her eyes, and her lips were trembling.
            Suddenly Katarina got an ice-cold look inside her eyes while she bent to frisk the victim. She had seen him smoking. So, with a bit of luck... 'Ha,' it sounded. She got a little square packet out of the pocket of his pants and showed them the front of the box of matches. 'The New Lagoon' was a well-known nightclub from the neighborhood.
            'This doesn't concern you, but I know where to go now. You must go back to the castle, but don't tell a thing,' a grim Katarina said.
            'Out of the question,' Cecile answered immediately. 'I've asked François to pick us up at the chapel at the border of the forest. He's sure you're innocent and will help us. He's a valuable ally, Katarina. Trust me. He even wants to risk his career for you and me. That has to significate something after all.  
            Katarina hesitated but then nodded. 'We have to disappear from the radar. Marie-Anne, you stay as a guest of the Chateau Rouge, and you can stay as long as you want. You have to go back now and...'
            'Sorry, Katarina, I don't want to be impolite and forgive me I'm straightforward, but I'm not planning to stand on the sideline. Certainly not if the life of my brother depends on it. You'll have to knock me unconscious to stop me from going with you.'
            That was the other side of Jean-Pierre's sister, Katarina and Cecile suddenly started to know. A devilish smile appeared upon Katarina's face. 'Okay, then. Just like the three musketeers: one for all, all for one. Let's go the road and wait for François, our d'Artagnan. Maybe all hope is not lost yet.'
            That was the other side of Jean-Pierre's sister, Katarina and Cecile suddenly started to know. A devilish smile appeared upon Katarina's face. 'Okay, then. Just like the three musketeers: one for all, all for one. Let's go the road and wait for François, our d'Artagnan. Maybe all hope is not lost yet.'   
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

Back with new chapters half september. Till then!!

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