Daniel felt his way along the deserted road, one arm outstretched feeling the way through the darkness, the other arm wrapped around Helena as he helped her to walk. After everyone had left, Daniel had found an old abandoned road that led past an old ghost town. Max followed closely behind, the dark and silent world hiding the three. The sudden the sound of hoofbeats caused Daniel to freeze, then hurriedly duck into the doorway of an old cafe. Max followed, his steps making no sound.
“Daniel? What is it?” Helena asked, her voice barely a whisper. Daniel shook his head, motioning her to be quiet.
“Let’s look over here. Those two kids gotta be around here somewhere. Them and that Jew that helped the escape.”
Helena froze. That was one voice they all recognized. He was back. She felt a shudder go through her. It was Major Ubel.
“Private, Vhere is Wilhelm?” That too was another familiar voice. “I telegraphed to the office in Innsbruck to have him come.”
“You’ll remember he had taken the weekend off, sir. To visit his parents.” Private Ralph reminded him.
“Ack! The one time I need him ze most, he is not here! Alright, ve vill split up and look for them. You go down here and check these buildings vhile I go and check closer to ze border. I’ll take Ralph with me. Vould that work?”
Major Ubel nodded.
No! Please, Jesus. Don’t let him find us. Not him! Helena silently prayed. The sound of galloping hoofbeats filled the air as Major Ramond hurried away from where they hid. But a greater dread filled them as they heard another set of hoofbeats move closer.
Major Ubel took his time going down the road, shining his light thoroughly across the abandoned stores. Daniel pressed himself deeper into the shadows, pulling Helena with him. As he did, the door fell back with a clatter. All three froze as the hoofbeats stopped.
“I know they were here.” There was the sound of someone dismounting, then, suddenly, the bright beam of a flashlight shone in their faces.
“Well, now we will see what happens when you disobey the Reich!” The evil in Major Ubels face was clearly evident. “And this time, you will die, jew!” Before anyone knew what was happening, he had pulled his Steyr M1912 pistol from his holster and fired a shot. Helena fought to keep her balance as Daniel collapsed in a heap, nearly pulling her down with him.
Major Ubel walked over and roughly grabbed her.
“No, Daniel!!” she screamed, as Major Ubel dragged her from the building.
“You better come along too, boy. Unless you want your friend here hurt.” Major Ubel sneered.
Max shakily stood up and, taking one last glance and Daniel’s body then hurried to follow the Major.
Max slumped against the cold brick wall, trying to erase the events of the last couple hours from his head. After killing Daniel, Major Ubel had taken them to, what Max assumed, was the Nazi’s post in Surfaus. Major Ubel had then thrown them in a room, locked the door, then hurried off down the hall. That was over and hour ago. The room was small consisting of only a desk, the chair behind it, a bench and the two chairs he and Helena sat in.
Helena sat on the chair next to him. She had fallen asleep, her leg stretched out in front of her. It was swollen from the walking, even though she had depended heavily on Daniels help. The walk with Major Ubel had proved to be very different. He dragged her along and hit her if she didn’t keep up. Max knew it hurt. She had told him as much before falling asleep.
He sighed. He was responsible for this whole mess. It was his fault Helena was here. He hadn’t wanted to go alone and had asked if she could come with him. It was his fault her leg was broken. He almost chuckled at the irony of it. He was responsible and she was the one hurt.
That was how it always seemed to turn out.
Suddenly there was the sound of a key in the lock. Max hurriedly sat up. In all his life, there was no one else he had ever met that he feared as much as Major Ubel.
The door opened the Major Ramond walked in. Max let out a sigh of relief. The Major closed the door behind him and locked it once more.
“Vell, I see ve meet again.” the Major said as he walked over to Max.
The Major bent down, picked up Helena and laid her down on the bench. The he carried the chair over and placed her leg on it.
“Zat should help bring down the swelling.” he explained as he sat down in the chair behind the desk.
Max nodded, thankful for the small gesture of kindness.
“Thank you, Major Ramond. I know it was hurting her.”
‘Yes, I can imagine as much. She should never have tried to valk on it so soon. Vhich brings me to the small matter of vhy I’m here.” he leaned forward.
Max inwardly chuckled. The Major seemed to have a habit of doing that. Leaning forward whenever he wanted to make a point about something.
“Who vere you vhith? Who helped you escape?”
Yep, here it was again. The endless round of question after question.
“We were with a young man. But that shouldn't’ matter much anymore. He’s dead.”
“I’ll be the judge of vhat matters! Vhat vas his name?”
What does it matter? Max thought. He’s not coming back.
“Daniel. His name was Daniel.”
“And vat vas his last name?”
“I don’t know.” Max honestly answered. “He only told us his first name.
“And vas he your contact?”
“I didn’t even know we had a contact.”
The Major sat back, tapping his riding whip against the edge of the desk in a rhythmic manner.
“I believe you. I’ve been around you long enough to know vhen you’re lying.”
Great, that’s just terrific. The Major knows whether I’m telling the truth or not.
Major Ramond stood up. “Come, I’ll take you to a room vere you can rest until ve figure out vhat to do vith you tomorrow. Then I’ll come back and get Helena.”