Hornet Flight

Chapter 25

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Part Four

Chapter 25

Harald knew the police were looking for him.

His mother had phoned Kirstenslot again, ostensibly to tell Karen the date and time of Arne's funeral. During the conversation, she had said she had been questioned by the police about Harald's whereabouts. "But I don't know where he is, so I couldn't tell them," she had said. It was a warning, and Harald admired his mother for having the courage to send it and the shrewdness to figure out that Karen could probably deliver it.

Despite the warning, he had to go to the flying school.

Karen purloined some of her father's old clothes, so that Harald would not have to wear his distinctive school blazer. He put on a marvelously lightweight sports jacket from America and a linen cap, and wore sunglasses. He looked more like a millionaire playboy than a fugitive spy as he got on the train at Kirstenslot. Nevertheless he was nervous. He felt trapped in the railway carriage. If a policeman accosted him he could not run away.

In Copenhagen he walked the short distance from the Vesterport suburban station to the main line station without seeing a single police uniform. A few minutes later he was on another train to Vodal.

On the way, he thought about his brother. Everyone had thought Arne unsuited to Resistance work: too playful, too careless, perhaps not brave enough. And in the end he had turned out to be the greatest hero of all. The thought brought tears to Harald's eyes behind the sunglasses.

Squadron Leader Renthe, commanding officer of the flying school, reminded him of his old headmaster, Heis. Both men were tall and thin and long-nosed. Because of the resemblance, Harald found it difficult to lie to Renthe. "I've come to, er, pick up my brother's effects," he said. "Personal stuff. If that's all right."

Renthe did not appear to notice his embarrassment. "Of course," he said. "One of Arne's colleagues, Hendrik Janz, has packed everything up. There's just a suitcase and a duffel bag."

"Thanks." Harald did not want Arne's effects, but he had needed an excuse to come here. What he was really after was about fifty feet of steel cable to replace the missing control cables of the Hornet Moth. And this was the only place he could think of where he might get it.

Now that he was here, the task seemed more daunting than it had from a distance. He felt a wave of mild panic. Without the cable, the Hornet Moth could not fly. Then he thought again of the sacrifice his brother had made, and told himself to stay calm. If he kept a cool head, he might find a way.

"I was going to send the bags to your parents," Renthe added.

"I'll do it." Harald wondered whether he could confide in Renthe.

"I only hesitated because I thought perhaps they should go to his fiancee."

"Hermia?" Harald said, surprised. "In England?"

"Is she in England? She was here three days ago."

Harald was astonished. "What was she doing here?"

"I assumed she had taken Danish citizenship and was living here. Otherwise, her presence in Denmark would have been illegal, and I would have been obliged to report her visit to the police. But obviously she would not have come here if that had been the case. She would know, wouldn't she, that as an army officer I'm obliged to report anything illegal to the police." He looked hard at Harald and added, "Do you see what I mean?"

"I think I do." Harald realized he was being given a message. Renthe suspected that he and Hermia were involved in espionage with Arne, and he was warning Harald not to say anything about it to him. He obviously sympathized, but was not willing to break any rules. He stood up. "You've made things very clear - thank you."

"I'll get someone to show you to Arne's quarters."

"No need - I can find my way." He had seen Arne's room two weeks ago, when he was here for a flight in a Tiger Moth.

Renthe shook his hand. "My deepest condolences."

"Thank you."

Harald left the headquarters building and walked along the single road that connected all the low buildings that made up the base. He moved slowly, taking a good look inside the hangars. There was not much activity. What was there to do at an air base where the aircraft could not fly?

He felt frustrated. The cable he needed must be here, somewhere. All he had to do was find out where, and get hold of it. But it was not that simple.

In one hangar he saw a Tiger Moth completely dismantled. The wings were detached, the fuselage stood on trestles, the engine on a stand. His hopes rose. He walked in through the giant doorway. A mechanic in overalls was sitting on an oil can, drinking tea from a big mug. "Amazing," Harald said to him. "I've never seen one taken to pieces like that."

"Has to be done," the man replied. "Parts wear out, and you can't have them failing in midair. On aircraft, everything has to be perfect. Otherwise you fall out of the sky."

Harald found that a sobering thought. He was planning to cross the North Sea in an aircraft that had not been looked at by a mechanic for years. "So you replace everything?"

"Everything that moves, yes."

Harald thought optimistically that this man might be able to give him what he wanted. "You must get through a lot of spares."

"That's right."

"There's what, a hundred feet of control cables in each aircraft?"

"A Tiger Moth requires one hundred and fifty-nine feet of ten-hundredweight cable."

And that's what I need, Harald thought with mounting excitement. But once again he hesitated to ask, for fear of giving himself away to someone unsympathetic. He looked around. He had vaguely imagined that airplane parts would be lying around for anyone to pick up. "So, where do you keep it all?"

"Stores, of course. This is the army. Everything in its place."

Harald grunted with exasperation. If only he could have seen a length of cable and picked it up casually . . . but it was pointless to wish for easy solutions. "Where's the store?"

"Next building along." The mechanic frowned. "Why all the questions?"

"Idle curiosity." Harald guessed he had pushed this man far enough. He should move on before arousing serious suspicion. He gave a sketchy wave and turned away. "Nice talking to you."

He walked to the next building and stepped inside. A sergeant sat behind a counter, smoking and reading a newspaper. Harald saw a photograph of Russian soldiers surrendering, and the headline "STALIN TAKES CONTROL OF SOVIET DEFENSE MINISTRY."

Harald studied the rows of steel shelves that stretched out on the other side of the counter. He felt like a child in a sweet shop. Here was everything he could want, from washers to entire engines. He could build a whole aircraft out of these parts.

And one entire section was given over to miles of cable of different kinds, all neatly wound on wooden cylinders like cotton reels.

Harald was delighted. He had learned exactly where the cable was. Now he had to figure out how to get his hands on it.

After a moment, the sergeant looked up from the newspaper. "Yes?"

Could the man be bribed? Yet again, Harald hesitated. He had a pocketful of money, given to him for this purpose by Karen. But he did not know how to phrase an offer. Even a corrupt warehouseman might be offended by a crass proposal. He wished he had thought more about his approach. But he had to do it. "Can I ask you something?" he said. "All these spare parts - is there any way that someone, a civilian I mean, could buy, or - "

"No," the sergeant said abruptly.

"Even if the price was, you know, not a major consideration - "

"Absolutely not."

Harald did not know what else to say. "If I've given offense . . ."

"Forget it."

At least the man had not called the police. Harald turned away.

The door was solid wood with three locks, he noted as he left. It would not be easy to break into this warehouse. Perhaps he was not the first civilian to realize that scarce components might be found in military stores.

Feeling defeated, he made his way to the officers' quarters and found Arne's room. As Renthe had promised, there were two bags neatly lined up at the foot of the bed. The room was otherwise bare.

It struck Harald as pathetic that his brother's life could be packed into two bags, and that his room should then bear no trace of his existence. The thought brought tears to his eyes again. But the important thing was what a man left behind in the minds of others, he told himself. Arne would always live in Harald's memory - teaching him to whistle, making their mother laugh like a schoolgirl, combing his glossy hair in a mirror. He thought of the last time he had seen his brother, sitting on the tiled floor of the disused church in Kirstenslot, weary and scared but determined to fulfill his mission. And, once again, he saw that the way to honor Arne's memory was to finish the job he had started.

A corporal looked in at the door and said, "Are you related to Arne Olufsen?"

"His brother. My name is Harald."

"Benedikt Vessell, call me Ben." He was a man in his thirties with a friendly grin that showed tobacco-stained teeth. "I was hoping to run into someone from the family." He fished in his pocket and pulled out money. "I owe Arne forty crowns."

"What for?"

The corporal looked sly. "Well, don't say a word, I run a little book on the horse races, and Arne picked a winner."

Harald took the money, not knowing what else to do. "Thank you."

"Is that all right, then?"

Harald did not really understand the question. "Of course."

"Good." Ben looked furtive.

It crossed Harald's mind that the sum owed might have been more than forty crowns. But he was not going to argue. "I'll give it to my mother," he said.

"Deepest sympathy, son. He was a good sort, your brother."

The corporal obviously was not a rule keeper. He seemed the type who would murmur "Don't say a word" quite frequently. His age suggested he was a career soldier, but his rank was lowly. Perhaps he put his energies into illegal activities. He probably sold pornographic books and stolen cigarettes. Maybe he could solve Harald's problem. "Ben," he said. "Can I ask you something?"

"Anything at all." Ben took a tobacco pouch from his pocket and began to hand-roll a cigarette.

"If a man wanted, for private purposes, to get hold of fifty feet of control cable for a Tiger Moth, do you know of any way it could be done?"

Ben looked at him through narrowed eyes. "No," he said.

"Say, the person had a couple of hundred crowns to pay for it."

Ben lit his cigarette. "This is to do with what Arne was arrested for, isn't it?"

"Yes."

Ben shook his head. "No, lad, it can't be done. Sorry."

"Never mind," Harald said lightly, though he was bitterly disappointed. "Where can I find Hendrik Janz?"

"Two doors along. If he's not in his room, try the canteen."

Harald found Hendrik seated at a small desk, studying a book on meteorology. Pilots had to understand the weather, to know when it was safe to fly and if there was a storm coming. "I'm Harald Olufsen."

Hendrik shook his hand. "Damn shame about Arne."

"Thank you for packing up his stuff."

"Glad to be able to do something."

Did Hendrik approve of what Arne had done? Harald needed some indication before sticking his neck out. He said, "Arne did what he thought was right for his country."

Hendrik immediately looked wary. "I know nothing of that," he said. "To me he was a reliable colleague and a good friend."

Harald was dismayed. Hendrik obviously was not going to help him steal the cable. What was he going to do?

"Thanks again," he said. "Goodbye."

He returned to Arne's room and picked up the bags. He was at a loss to know what else to do. He could not leave without the cable he needed - but how could he take it? He had tried everything.

Maybe there was another place he could get cable. But he could not think where. And he was running out of time. The full moon was six days away. That meant he had only four days left to work on the aircraft.

He left the building and headed for the gate, carrying the bags. He was going to return to Kirstenslot - but for what purpose? Without the cable, the Hornet Moth would not fly. He wondered how he was going to tell Karen he had failed.

As he passed the stores building, he heard his name called. "Harald!"

A truck was parked to one side of the warehouse, and Ben stood half-concealed by the vehicle, beckoning. Harald hurried over.

"Here," said Ben, and he held out a thick coil of steel cable. "Fifty feet, and a bit extra."

Harald was thrilled. "Thank you!"

"Take it, for God's sake, it's heavy."

Harald took the cable and turned away.

"No, no!" Ben said. "You can't walk through the gate with that in your hand, for Christ's sake! Put it in one of the bags."

Harald opened Arne's suitcase. It was full.

Ben said, "Give me that uniform, quick."

Harald took out Arne's uniform and replaced it with the coil.

Ben picked up the uniform. "I'll get rid of this, don't worry. Now clear off!"

Harald shut the case and reached into his pocket. "I promised you two hundred crowns - "

"Keep the money," Ben said. "And good luck to you, son."

"Thanks!"

"Now get lost! I never want to see you again."

"Right," said Harald, and he walked rapidly away.

Next morning, Harald stood outside the castle in the gray gleam of dawn. It was half past three. In his hand he held a four-gallon oil can, empty and clean. The tank of the Hornet Moth would take thirty-five gallons of petrol, just under nine canfuls. There was no legitimate way to get fuel, so Harald was going to steal it from the Germans.

He had everything else he needed. The Hornet Moth required only a few more hours of work and it would be ready to take off. But its fuel tank was empty.

The kitchen door opened quietly and Karen stepped out. She was accompanied by Thor, the old red setter that made Harald smile because it looked so much like Mr. Duchwitz. Karen paused on the doorstep, staring around warily, like a cat when there are strangers in the house. She wore a chunky green sweater that concealed her figure, and the old brown corduroys that Harald called her gardening trousers. But she looked wonderful. She called me darling, he said to himself, hugging the memory. She called me darling.

She smiled brilliantly, dazzling him. "Good morning!"

Her voice seemed dangerously loud. He put a finger on his lips for quiet. It would be safer to remain completely silent. There was nothing to discuss: they had made their plan last night, sitting on the floor in the disused church, eating chocolate cake from the Kirstenslot pantry.

Harald led the way into the woods. Undercover, they walked half the length of the park. When they drew level with the soldiers' tents, they peeked cautiously from the bushes. As expected, they saw a single man on guard duty, standing outside the mess tent, yawning. At this hour, everyone else was asleep. Harald was relieved to have his expectations fulfilled.

The veterinary company's fuel supply came from a small petrol tanker that was parked a hundred yards from the tents - no doubt as a safety precaution. The separation would be helpful to Harald, though he wished it were greater. The tanker had a hand pump, he had already observed, and there was no locking mechanism.

The truck was parked alongside the drive that led to the castle door, so that vehicles could approach it on a hard surface. The hose was on the drive side, for convenience. In consequence, the bulk of the truck shielded anyone using it from view by the encampment.

Everything was as expected, but Harald hesitated. It seemed madness to steal petrol from under the noses of the soldiers. But it was dangerous to think too much. Fear could paralyze. Action was the antidote. Without further reflection he broke cover, leaving Karen and the dog behind, and walked quickly across the damp grass to the tanker.

He took the nozzle from its hook and fed it into his can, then reached for the pump lever. As he pulled it down, there was a gurgling sound from inside the tank, and the noise of petrol sloshing into the can. It seemed very loud, but perhaps not loud enough to be heard by the sentry a hundred yards away.

He glanced anxiously back at Karen. As agreed, she was watching from the screen of vegetation, ready to alert Harald if anyone approached.


The can filled quickly. He screwed on the cap and picked it up. It was heavy. He returned the nozzle tidily to its hook then hurried back to the trees. Once of out sight, he paused, grinning triumphantly at Karen. He had stolen four gallons of petrol and got away with it. The plan was working!

Leaving her there, he cut through the woods to the monastery. He had already opened the big church door so that he could slip in and out. It would have been too awkward and time-consuming to pass the heavy can through the high window. He stepped inside. With relief, he put down the can. He popped open the access panel and undid the petrol cap of the Hornet Moth. He fumbled awkwardly because his fingers were numb from carrying the heavy can, but he got the cap open. He emptied the can into the aircraft's tank, replaced both caps to minimize the smell of fuel, and went out.

While he was filling the can for the second time, the sentry decided to make a patrol.

Harald could not see the man, but knew something was wrong when Karen whistled. He looked up to see her emerging from the wood with Thor at her heel. He let go of the hand pump and dropped to his knees to look under the tanker and across the lawn. He saw the soldier's boots approaching.

They had foreseen this problem and prepared for it. Still on his knees, Harald watched Karen stroll across the grass. She met up with the sentry while he was still fifty yards away from the tanker. The dog amiably sniffed the man's crotch. Karen took out cigarettes. Would the sentry be friendly, and smoke with a pretty girl? Or would he be a stickler for routine, and ask her to walk her dog somewhere else while he continued his patrol? Harald held his breath. The sentry took a cigarette, and they lit up.

The soldier was a small man with a bad complexion. Harald could not hear their words, but he knew what Karen was saying: she could not sleep, she felt lonely, she wanted someone to talk to. "Don't you think he might be suspicious?" Karen had said while discussing this plan last night. Harald had assured her that the victim would enjoy being flirted with far too much to question her motives. Harald had not been as certain as he pretended, but to his relief the sentry was fulfilling his prediction.

He saw Karen point to a tree stump a little way off and then lead the soldier to it. She sat down, placing herself so that the sentry had to have his back to the tanker if he wanted to sit next to her. Now, Harald knew, she would be saying that the local boys were so dull, she liked to talk to men who had traveled a little and seen the world, they seemed more mature. She patted the surface beside her to encourage him. Sure enough, he sat down.

Harald resumed pumping.

He filled the can and hurried into the woods. Eight gallons!

When he returned, Karen and the sentry were in the same positions. While he refilled the can, he calculated how long he needed. Filling the can took about a minute, the walk to the church about two, pouring the petrol into the Hornet Moth another minute, the return journey another two. Six minutes for the round trip, then, making fifty-four minutes for nine canfuls. Assuming he would tire toward the end, call it an hour.

Could the sentry be kept chatting that long? The man had nothing else to do. The soldiers rose at five-thirty, still more than an hour away, and began their duties at six. Assuming the British did not invade Denmark in the next hour, the sentry had no reason to stop talking to a pretty girl. But he was a soldier, under military discipline, and he might feel it his duty to patrol.

All Harald could do was hope for the best, and hurry.

He took the third canful to the church. Twelve gallons already, he thought optimistically; more than two hundred miles - a third of the way to England.

He continued his shuttle. According to the manual he had found in the cockpit, the DH87B Hornet Moth should fly 632 miles on a full tank. That figure assumed no wind. The distance to the English coast, as best he could reckon it from the atlas, was about 600 miles. The margin of safety was nowhere near enough. A head wind would reduce their mileage and bring them down in the sea. He would take a full can of petrol in the cabin, he decided. That would add seventy miles to the Hornet Moth's range, assuming he could figure out a way to top up the tank in flight.

He pumped with his right hand and toted with his left, and both arms were aching by the time he emptied the fourth canful into the aircraft. Returning for the fifth, he saw that the sentry was standing up, as if preparing to move off, but Karen still had him talking. She laughed at something the man said, and slapped his shoulder playfully. It was a coquettish gesture that was most uncharacteristic of her, but all the same Harald felt a pang of jealousy. She never slapped his shoulder playfully.

But she had called him darling.

He carried the fifth and sixth canfuls, and felt he was two-thirds of the way to the English coast.

Whenever he felt scared, he thought of his brother. It was difficult, he found, to accept that Arne was dead. He kept thinking about whether his brother would approve of what he was doing, what he would say when Harald told him about some aspect of his plans, how he would be amused or skeptical or impressed. In that way, Arne was still part of Harald's life.

Harald did not believe in the obstinately irrational fundamentalism of his father. Talk of heaven and hell seemed mere superstition to him. But now he saw that in a way dead people lived on in the minds of those who had loved them, and that was a kind of afterlife. Any time his resolution weakened, he recalled that Arne had given everything for this mission, and felt an impulse of loyalty that gave him strength - even though the brother to whom he owed that loyalty was no more.

Returning to the church with the seventh canful, he was seen.

As he approached the church door, a soldier in underwear emerged from the cloisters. Harald froze, the can of petrol in his hand as incriminating as a hot gun. The soldier, half-asleep, walked to a bush and begin to urinate and yawn at the same time. Harald saw that it was Leo, the young private who had been so intrusively friendly three days ago.

Leo caught his eye, was startled to find himself observed, and looked guilty. "Sorry," he mumbled.

Harald guessed it was against the rules to pee in the bushes. They had dug a latrine behind the monastery, but it was a long walk, and Leo was being lazy. Harald tried to smile reassuringly. "Don't worry," he said in German. But he could hear the tremor of fear in his own voice.

Leo did not seem to notice it. Readjusting his clothing, he frowned. "What's in the can?"

"Water, for my motorcycle."

"Oh." Leo yawned. Then he jerked a thumb at the bush. "We're not supposed to . . ."

"Forget it."

Leo nodded, and stumbled away.

Harald stepped into the church. He paused a moment, closing his eyes, getting over the tension. Then he poured the fuel into the Hornet Moth.

As he approached the petrol tanker for the eighth time, he saw that his plan was beginning to fall apart. Karen was walking away from the tree stump, back toward the woods. She gave the sentry a friendly wave, so they must have parted on good terms, but Harald guessed the man had some duty he was obliged to perform. However, he was walking away from the tanker, toward the mess tent, so Harald felt able to carry on, and he refilled the can.

As he carried it into the woods, Karen caught up with him and murmured, "He has to light the kitchen stove."

Harald nodded and hurried on. He poured the eighth canful into the aircraft's tank and returned for the ninth. The sentry was nowhere to be seen, and Karen gave him the thumbs-up sign to indicate that he could go ahead. He filled the can for the ninth time and returned to the church. As he had calculated, this brought the level to the brim, with some left over. But he needed an extra canful to carry in the cabin. He returned for the last time.

Karen stopped him at the edge of the wood and pointed. The sentry was standing beside the petrol tanker. Harald saw with dismay that, in his hurry, he had forgotten to return the nozzle to its hook, and the petrol hose dangled untidily. The soldier looked up and down the park with a puzzled frown, then returned the nozzle to its proper place. He remained standing there for a while. He took out cigarettes, put one in his mouth, and opened a box of matches; then moved away from the tanker before striking his match.

Karen whispered to Harald, "Haven't you got enough petrol yet?"

"I need one more can."

The sentry was strolling away with his back to the lorry, smoking, and Harald decided to take a chance. He walked fast across the grass. To his dismay, he found that the tanker did not quite conceal him from the soldier's angle of view. Nevertheless he put the nozzle in the can and started to pump, knowing he would be seen if the man chanced to turn around. He filled the can, replaced the nozzle, screwed the cap on the can, and walked away.

He was almost at the woods when he heard a shout.

He pretended to be deaf and walked on without turning around or increasing his pace.

The sentry shouted again, and Harald heard running boots.

He passed into the trees. Karen appeared. "Get out of sight!" she whispered. "I'll head him off."

Harald darted into a patch of shrubbery. Lying flat, he wriggled under a rambling bush, dragging the can with him. Thor tried to follow him, thinking this was a game. Harald smacked him sharply on the nose, and the dog retreated, his feelings hurt.

Harald heard the sentry say, "Where's that man?"

"You mean Christian?" Karen said.

"Who is he?"

"One of the gardeners. You're terribly handsome when you're cross, Ludie."

"Never mind that, what was he doing?"

"Treating diseased trees with the stuff in that can, something that kills those ugly mushroom growths you see on tree trunks."

That was inventive of her, Harald thought, even if she's forgotten the German word for fungicide.

"This early?" Ludie said skeptically.

"He told me the treatment works best when it's cool."

"I saw him walking away from the petrol tanker."

"Petrol? What would Christian do with petrol? He doesn't have a car. I expect he was taking a shortcut across the lawn."

"Hm." Ludie was still uneasy. "I haven't noticed any diseased trees."

"Well, look at this." Harald heard them take a few paces. "See that growing out of the bark like a great big wart? It would kill the tree unless Christian treated it."

"I suppose it would. Well, please tell your servants to keep clear of the encampment."

"I will, and I apologize. I'm sure Christian meant no harm."

"Very well."

"Goodbye, Ludie. Perhaps I'll see you tomorrow morning."

"I'll be here."

"Bye."

Harald waited a few minutes, then he heard Karen say, "All clear."

He crawled out from the bush. "You were brilliant!"

"I'm becoming such a good liar, it's worrying."

They walked toward the monastery - and suffered another shock.

As they were about to leave the shelter of the woods, Harald saw Per Hansen, the village policeman and local Nazi, standing outside the church.

He cursed. What the hell was Hansen doing here? And at this time of the morning?

Hansen was standing still, legs apart and arms folded, looking across the park at the military encampment. Harald put a restraining hand on Karen's arm, but he was too late to stop Thor, who instantly sensed the hostility Karen felt. The dog erupted from the woods at a run, made for Hansen, stopped at a safe distance, and barked again. Hansen looked scared and angry, and his hand went to the holstered gun at his belt.

Karen whispered, "I'll deal with him." Without waiting for Harald to reply she went forward and whistled to the dog. "Come here, Thor!"

Harald put down his can of petrol, dropped to a crouch, and watched through the leaves.

Hansen said to Karen, "You should keep that dog under control."

"Why? He lives here."

"It's aggressive."

"He barks at intruders. It's his job."

"If it attacks a member of the police force, it might be shot."

"Don't be ridiculous," Karen said, and Harald could not help observing that she displayed all the arrogance of her wealth and social position. "What are you doing, snooping around my garden at the crack of dawn?"

"I'm on official business, young lady, so you mind your manners."

"Official business?" she said skeptically. Harald guessed she was pretending to be incredulous in order to get more information out of him. "What business?"

"I'm looking for someone called Harald Olufsen."

Harald murmured, "Oh, shit." He had not been expecting this.

Karen was shocked, but she managed to cover up. "Never heard of him," she said.

"He's a school friend of your brother's, and he's wanted by the police."

"Well, I can't be expected to know all my brother's schoolmates."

"He's been to the castle."

"Oh? What does he look like?"

"Male, eighteen years old, six feet one inch, fair hair and blue eyes, probably wearing a blue school blazer with a stripe on the sleeve." Hansen sounded as if he were reciting something he had memorized from a police report.

"He sounds terribly attractive, apart from the blazer, but I don't recall him." Karen was maintaining her air of careless disdain, but Harald could see the tension and worry on her face.

"He's been here twice at least," Hansen said. "I've seen him myself."

"I must have missed him. What's his crime, failing to return a library book?"

"I don't - that is, I can't say. I mean, it's a routine inquiry."

Hansen obviously did not know what the crime was, Harald thought. He must be asking on behalf of some other policeman - Peter Flemming, presumably.

Karen was saying, "Well, my brother has gone to Aarhus, and there's no one staying here now - apart from a hundred soldiers, of course."

"Last time I saw Olufsen, he had a very dangerous-looking motorcycle."

"Oh, that boy," Karen said, pretending to remember. "He was expelled from school. Daddy won't let him come here anymore."

"No? Well, I think I'll have a word with your father anyway."

"He's still asleep."

"I'll wait."

"As you please. Come on, Thor!" Karen walked away, and Hansen continued up the drive.

Harald waited. Karen approached the church, turned to check that Hansen was not watching her, then slipped through the door. Hansen walked up the drive toward the castle. Harald hoped he would not stop to talk to Ludie, and discover that the sentry had seen a tall blond man behaving suspiciously near the petrol tanker. Fortunately, Hansen walked past the encampment and eventually disappeared behind the castle, presumably heading for the kitchen door.

Harald hurried to the church and slipped inside. He put the last can of petrol down on the tiled floor.

Karen closed the big door, turned the key in the lock, and dropped the bar into place. Then she turned to Harald. "You must be exhausted."

He was. Both arms hurt, and his legs ached from hurrying through the woods with a heavy weight. As soon as he relaxed, he felt slightly nauseated from the petrol fumes. But he was ecstatically happy. "You were wonderful!" he said. "Flirting with Ludie as if he were the most eligible bachelor in Denmark."

"He's two inches shorter than me!"

"And you completely fooled Hansen."

"Not difficult, that."

Harald picked up the can again and put it in the cabin of the Hornet Moth, stowing it on the luggage shelf behind the seats. He closed the door and turned around to see Karen standing right behind him, grinning broadly. "We did it," she said.

"My God, we did."

She put her arms around him and looked at him expectantly. It was almost as if she wanted him to kiss her. He thought of asking, then decided to be more decisive. He closed his eyes and leaned forward. Her lips were soft and warm. He could have stayed that way, motionless, enjoying the touch of her lips, for a long time, but she had other ideas. She broke contact, then kissed him again. She kissed his upper lip, then the lower, then his chin, then his lips again. Her mouth was busily playful, exploring. He had never kissed like this before. He opened his eyes and was startled to see that she was looking at him with bright merriment in her eyes.

"What are you thinking?" she said.

"Do you really like me?"

"Of course I do, stupid."

"I like you, too."

"Good."

He hesitated, then said, "As a matter of fact, I love you."

"I know," she said, and she kissed him again.

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