Friday, August 14, 2015

Gathering Clouds--Part 3

As they stepped outside the hotel, Mr. Autenburg turned, “I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Martin, Martin Autenburg,” he extended his hand.
Wilhelm clasped it in a firm grip, “It’s good to meet you, Martin. I’m Wilhelm, but I’m assuming you already knew that.”
Martin smiled, “Yes, I’d gathered as much. What can I help you with?”
Wilhelm shifted and there was a slight pause as he seemed to search for words, “I can’t think of any way to say this gently, so I’m just going to get to the point. I’m here about Arnold.”
Martin raised an eyebrow, “Arnold? Is there a problem with him?”
Wilhelm nodded, “There might be. You see, Arnold was arrested two years ago for being an accomplice to an attempted bank robbery. The actual robber served his time, then went to Germany. Arnold followed, but not after he served time. He was running from the police and escaped into Germany. While there he committed several small crimes and he is now wanted by both the Austrian and the German government. The only reason I can think that he hasn’t been arrested yet is because of the relations between Germany and Austria at this time. The two countries aren’t exactly on friendly terms if you know what I mean and not much attention has been paid by either country to looking for a wanted man.”
Martin stared at him in astonishment, but then his eyes took on a questioning look, “How do you know all this?”
“I was one of the men who was there when they were arrested. I’m also a lieutenant in the Volkswehr. I made sure of this before I came to see you.”
Martin shook his head as though not able to believe his ears, “Well, I have to say I never would have thought of Arnold as a person like that. Thank you for coming and telling me, it was an act of God that you ran into them yesterday.”
Wilhelm nodded, “I believe you’re right. In fact--” A movement to the left caught Wilhelm’s eye and he turned. Arnold was just entering the hotel, a bouquet of flowers in his hand.
Martin’s face took on a determined look, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Mind if I come along? I have some unfinished business with him as well.”
Martin was already striding toward the door, “Be my guest.”
Martin opened the door and strode toward the small sitting room where Mrs. Autenbug, Leisel and Max had retired for tea. Glancing around the room, Martin quickly spotted Arnold standing comfortably behind Leisel’s chair.
“Arnold, may I have a word with you? Outside.” The last word made it clear that this was a command, not a request.
Arnold looked up, clearly startled until he located Wilhelm. Then a look of contempt stole over his face, “Mr. Autenburg. If you believe everything a stranger says, I’m afraid you don’t have very good judgment.”
Time seemed to stand still as everyone waited to see how Martin would respond to the direct attack on his character.
“I would rather have this conversation outside, Arnold.” If Martin was disturbed or upset by what Arnold had just said, he didn’t show it.
“No. If you want to tell me something it can be done here.”
Both Leisel and her mother gasped at such an outburst.
“Very well, I am forbidding you from courting my daughter. And I never want to see you around here again.”
“On what grounds, sir, if I may be so bold,” Arnold asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I think I can answer that,” Wilhelm stepped forward from where he had been standing in the shadow of the door.
“Arnold, I’m here to arrest you on grounds of attempted robbery and then running from the Austrian government. I’m sure if there was a German police here he’d have a few more changes to add.”
“You just couldn't let it go, could you? I knew when you saw me yesterday that you were onto something. Well, see if you can get me.” Arnold turned and dashed toward the second door, but not fast enough. Max quickly closed the door and slipped the lock in place as Wilhelm drew a pair of handcuffs from his pocket. Clipping them on one wrist, he brought both of Arnold’s hand around and secured both hands behind his back.
“Now, I think I’ll take you into the office. I dare say there is someone there who will be happy to see you.”
“You just wait. You’ll pay for this, Daniel. If it takes me my whole life, you will pay.”
Wilhelm glanced up sharply at the use of his Jewish name. How could he have known my secret?
Martin, Leisel, Sabine Max’s eyes all turned on him in confusion, but Martin spoke the question, “What did he just call you?”

1 comment:

  1. Great part! Arnold knows, Daniel,err, Wilhelm. ;)