A Traitor's Loyalty: A Novel

A Traitor’s Loyalty

A Traitor’s Loyalty

A Novel

Ian C. Racey

A Traitor’s Loyalty

Ignition Books

Published by arrangement with the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Ian C. Racey.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. For information please contact
[email protected]
or write Endpapers Press, 4653 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite 308 PMB 212, San Diego, CA 92130-6650.

eISBN:  978-1-937868-24-6

ISBN:    978-1-937868-25-3

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013942755

Cover design by R’tor John Maghuyop.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, corporations, or other entities, is entirely coincidental.

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Desdemona:
Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong for the whole world.

Emilia:
Why, the wrong is but a wrong i’ the world; and having the world for your labor, ‘tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right.

—William Shakespeare

Othello
, Act IV, Scene iii

PROLOGUE

Berlin, Greater German Empire

July 9, 1967

WHEN HE regained consciousness, the only sounds Simon Quinn heard were the dripping of a drainpipe and a stray cat or dog rummaging through the garbage. He lay on his left side, and his right shoulder ached dully. His head and upper torso lay in a puddle of something wet and sticky.

He opened his eyes. He was in a dark alley, in a pile of refuse against the side of a rubbish bin. The cat was nosing around in the garbage at his feet. He had no idea how he had gotten here, and he wondered why his right shoulder ached.

He took a deep breath and rolled onto his back. Without warning, pain exploded in his shoulder and surged out through his entire body, overwhelming any other sensation. His vision blurred and darkened at the edges, and he contracted into a fetal ball. The cat screeched and ran off, but he did not notice. Now he remembered why his shoulder hurt.

He felt the bullet punch through his shoulder, a freight train slamming into him from behind. A fraction of an instant later, barely long enough for his brain to register that he had been hit in the first place, it exploded through the front of his jacket in a small shower of bone and blood. His pistol dropped to the ground. The bullet’s impact knocked him to the side and carried him forward, one step, two steps, three, and he fell over the railing and plunged into the open air beyond
.

When the pain had receded, he took a deep preparatory breath, closed his eyes, and pushed himself up against the wall till he was on his feet. At the first sign of movement, the pain burst forth once more, assaulting his senses and threatening to overwhelm him again, but he was expecting it this time.

He was on his feet. The alley’s nearer end led out onto the River Spree, from where he had staggered up before collapsing here and losing consciousness. At the other end, light spilled into the alley from the street beyond.

He took another deep breath and pushed off, heading towards the street. Sweat had plastered his hair to his forehead, and he leaned against the brick wall, letting it support his weight. He held his hand clamped over his shoulder, but it did very little good. Blood continued to gush from the wound at an alarming rate; he would have to see to it soon.

He paused for a moment to check his watch. It had stopped working just after half past ten.

Quinn sat on the park bench across the street from the exit to the
U-Bahn
station and checked his watch again. He had been sitting here for over an hour now. Karl was almost half an hour late. About twenty minutes ago, a green-uniformed
Orpo
street cop had asked him what his business was, but the sight of his false Gestapo ID had been enough to scare him off
.

A glimmer of movement across the road caught his attention: someone coming up the steps from the
U-Bahn
station. It was a man, short, stocky, wearing a hat and a heavy dark coat, with his head bowed down as if to divert attention from himself. Karl. He emerged from the station, looked around, spotted Quinn, stared at him for a moment to confirm who it was, and started across the street
.

A sudden thought struck Quinn. He reached into his pocket, his fingers searching desperately. His heart skipped a beat as he thought he might have lost it in the river, but after a moment he found it. His fingers closed over the roll of photographic film with relief.

Karl sat on the bench next to Quinn, still looking around nervously
.

“Do you have it?” Quinn asked
.

Karl nodded. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small object, which he handed to Quinn without making eye contact. Quinn took the photographic roll and dropped it in his jacket pocket. Karl’s eyes continued to dart about
.

Quinn collapsed against the wall and peered round the alley corner. The street was dark and deserted, lit at well-spaced intervals by streetlights. A few hundred yards down the road, a trio of long-haired teenage boys slouched against the wall in the shadows of a shop’s awning. No sign of any lone skulker who might be Gestapo. Unless the teenagers were Gestapo, of course.

There was a telephone box across the street. Quinn stared at it for a moment. The far side of the street seemed a hundred miles away, but he had to make it. He took a deep breath, pushed off from the wall, and staggered in the box’s direction.

His breath came in ragged gasps; his shoulder screamed at him to stop, give up, collapse. His vision blurred as tears clouded his eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Quinn asked
.

Karl blinked, shook his head, and stared at his feet. “I don’t know. It’s just . . .” His voice trailed off, and he suddenly started looking around again. “I feel odd. Like it went too well. They didn’t even check my security pass when I was leaving the building.”

Quinn shrugged. “Just be thankful for small blessings. Look, you know what to do. Get the bus to the British embassy, and you’ll be fine.”

Karl nodded, took a deep breath, and squared his shoulders. “Yeah. Yeah, OK.” He was staring straight ahead
.

Quinn patted him on the arm. “I’ll miss you, Karl. See you around.” He stood, looked around, and walked away in the direction of his car. Behind him, he heard Karl get up and walk in the opposite direction
.

The car waited a hundred yards down the street, parked on the curb next to the sharp fifty-foot drop down to the river. He was almost there when he heard the screeching of a car’s wheels down the road behind him, and everything ahead of him was suddenly thrown into eerie relief by a car’s headlights
.

He spun around to see what was happening, but the headlights glared so brightly that he had to throw his hands up in front of his eyes to shield them. All he managed to catch was a glimpse of Karl, standing transfixed in the headlights’ beam
.

With a final, Herculean effort, Quinn staggered forward and fell against the side of the telephone box. He caught a fleeting glimpse of his reflection, ghostlike, in its glass wall: black hair plastered to his sweaty forehead, eyes lost in shadow above a beaklike nose highlighted by the streetlights. His knees buckled and finally gave out from underneath him, and he slid slowly down the side of the box, leaving a trail of crimson smeared across the glass. He crouched on his hands and knees in front of the telephone box, struggling to get air into his lungs, as his vision blurred and a cold sweat beaded on his forehead and chest.

After several minutes, he clawed the door open and crawled inside, then pulled himself up onto his feet and, leaning against the wall, dug into his pocket for the few pfennigs the call would cost. He dialed a number from memory.

Somebody answered at the other end, even before the first ring had finished. “This is Aiello,” a tense voice said.

“Lancelot,” Quinn identified himself. His voice came out a tortured rasp.

“Jesus Christ,” said Aiello at the other end, “what in hell happened to you? The SS bands have been jammed with traffic for two hours. We thought you’d been shot.”

“I’m on Rundstedtstrasse, across the river.” He strained to make out the street number on the nearest shop. “In front of number thirty-seven. Bring a first aid kit.”

“What—erm, right. Give me twenty minutes.”

“Ten,” Quinn said and hung up the phone. Then, closing his eyes and letting out an agonized groan, he collapsed against the door. It opened under his weight and he fell out, hitting the ground with a heavy thud. He lay sprawled on the pavement.

He turned back around, preparing to run for his car, but there was somebody coming from that direction too. The Gestapo had found them
.

Quinn had his pistol in his hand in a second, as he turned back towards the first car and fired two quick shots at its windshield. He must have hit it, because it swerved out of control with a shriek of tires and crashed into a streetlight. But more came behind it, heading for Karl
.


Karl!” Quinn shouted. “Run
!”

He glimpsed Karl heading down the tunnel into the
U-Bahn
as he turned and started running himself He had only one chance—he had to make it to the river before the Gestapo got to him. Behind him, he could hear the cars screeching to a halt and their occupants getting out. There were shouts in German and the sound of gunfire. He felt the bullets whiz past him
.

He was almost there—just a few more feet. Then, suddenly, another gunshot. He felt the bullet punch through his shoulder, and he fell over the railing and plunged into the open air beyond
.

He came awake with a start. He was sitting with his back against the telephone box. How long had he been out? He checked his watch, forgetting momentarily that it wasn’t working. He looked down the street. The adolescent boys had gone.

He had to try to keep himself lucid. The shop front nearest him belonged to a record store, and in its window hung a giant poster. He focused on the poster, studying it in detail. It was a black and white image, a photograph of the Führer receiving the Beatles, presumably during their goodwill tour of Europe the previous summer. A bright, sunny day, the Reichstag visible in the background, festooned with swastika banners. John and the Führer clasping hands, smiles all round—beaming Beatles, beaming Führer, behind them an excited, beaming crowd of blond teenage Aryan girls and boys waving small paper swastika flags and Union Jacks.

A car came round the corner and drove slowly up the street. Quinn tensed for a moment, expecting it to be a Gestapo Focke-Wulf sedan, but it was a nondescript little black Volkswagen. As it drove past, Quinn saw who was in the driver’s seat—red hair, mid-twenties, American air-force uniform: Aiello. He waved. The action sent waves of pain radiating through his body. Cold sweat ran down his back and his throat felt dry.

Aiello saw him wave and pulled up next to him. He got out of the car. A look of shock passed over his face.

“Christ, man, what the fuck happened?” He hurried over and helped Quinn to his feet. “We’ve gotta get you outta here.” He put Quinn’s arm over his shoulder and together they staggered over to the car. Aiello opened the back door and helped Quinn in, then got back into the driver’s seat.

“Did you get the first aid kit?” Quinn asked, as they pulled out into the street.

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