“Whats the plan then, Monsieur?”
Two men were seated at a table in a restaurant in Vincenne, South-east Paris, unsuspiciously chatting over a pint of beer.
“Well, Masou, I must say that we have to go with Plan A after all. We’ve got the bombeand Plan B’s outlook looks bad.”
“Well, Plan B needs that stupid “thing” so we obviously can’t use it cos it wont work for a surprise one.” The man talking sighed, and his companion also groaned. The man who was talking was a short, fat, man, smoking a pipe, who was wearing a large suit. Everyone knew who he was: the leader of the UMP (one of the main political parties in France) , General Rastalous. However, he was disguised to lose attention.The other man, Masou, was his bodyguard, a fellow French, who was a well-built, strong, but still agile man. He seemed to be able to face up to anything except Rastalous’ pitbull.
“Oh well, Plan A wont be too bad. So when’s the attack gonna take place?” asked Masou, lowering his voice.
There was a short silence and then a voice.
“Ok,”replied Rastalous, and replied quietly, “Tomorrow.”
Half an hour before….
Richard Fletcher sighed. After his long cycling trip the previous day and now a running competition with his new French friend, Pierre, he felt worn out. He had come for a holiday in France as it was the school holidays in his home country, England. In France at the present time, it was just a few days before their General Election would take place and the party he was most against was the UMP, the party with the fat guy in charge, Rastalous, whose policies were unbelievably stupid, to Richard. He was now relaxing in a cafe, across the road from the hotel in Vincenne that they were staying in. He lay back. He hadn’t expected a busy holiday and suddenly found himself full of things to do. Little did he know how busy things would get in a little while…
Richard opened his eyes after finding himself dozing off, and saw his friend Pierre’s face grinning down upon his.
“Falling asleep were you?” Pierre said, with a laugh as he saw Richard’s tiredness. “Guess you must be tired after that race.”
“I’m not tired!” said Richard, hotly, though in his heart, he knew that he was, and very at that.
“Anyway, enough for arguments. We must save them for later.” Pierre replied with a laugh,”We are going for lunch now, across the road at that restaurant.” Pierre had a strong French accent but was fluent in English so could easily have a conversation with Richard. “Come on. Lets get going! I’m starved!”
Richard sat down with his menu in his hands at the restaurant, and looked at it unappetizingly. He knew a bit of French but most of the stuff on there he didn’t know. He hated French food anyway, besides baguettes so he decided to let his hosts, Pierre’s Mum and Dad to decide. As he waited, he looked around the restaurant. There were a bunch of men who were chatting to each other on their right, and also a family like them having their dinner – snails. Richard turned away – he hated snails – and looked around the whole room. He suddenly caught sight of two men on the other side of the room. He seemd to recognize one of them; but he couldn’t put a name to the face. He watched the man, and suddenly, an inner feeling inside him told him that he was up to no good. Though he tried to forget about the men and concentrate on something else, he couldn’t. He had to do something so he whispered to Pierre on the side of him.
“Pierre, can you do me a favour?” he asked, quietly.
“Yes. What is wrong?” asked Pierre puzzled.
Richard made sure his parents were too busy talking with Pierre’s parents to take note whether he would be away. “Ok, Pierre. I feel that those men across the room seem up to no good. I will go over there and see if I can listen to their conversation.”
“What’s wrong? I cannot see anything odd about them.”
Richard tried to think of an excuse but he could not, himself, even think of why he was suspicious of them. “I dunno,” he admitted,” But still I think that they are up to no good….”
Pierre was puzzled but decided that he would let Richard go.
“Ok. I’ll tell your parents that you are in the toilets. If you have to go to follow them, which I doubt very much…”Pierre added, with a look of worry,”Erm.. I’ll tell them you have had to go back to the hotel, to get something. You had better be there later if you have to go.”
“Ok. Thanks.” Richard bit his lip and went over as innocently as he could to the table.
Richard walked over across the room. It was a crowded restaurant with music blaring out across it, so it was easy to walk across without beind picked out. He saw the two men and moved across the room. He tried to look innocent but to listen hard in to the conversation. However, it was very hard as the men were being impossibly quiet. He caught a few words such as “attack…. tomorrow… bombe.” This last word made Richard all the more suspicious. He decided to move closer to listen easier to the conversation but by then the men has suddenly stood up and were walking to the doors exiting the restaurant. Richard sighed in dismay, but then a thought hit him. If he went and followed them by getting into his vehicle, he could listen to what these men were on about, although taking a risk of getting caught. He had eye-contact with Pierre and gestured to the door. Pierre nodded and did a signal for ‘Keep Safe’. Richard smiled, though in his heart, he was feeling scared. He remembered that he could just stay and forget the whole thing but in his heart, he knew he couldn’t. If something happened to do with these men were talking about, he would never forgive himself. Thus, he walked to the entrance, winked at Pierre, and then left for the entrance.
Richard followed the two men round the restaurant as unsuspiciously as he could, until they stopped next to a white van. They climbed into the van and sat there talking quietly though it looked like they were just preparing to go. He knew the safest thing to do was get a taxi and follow the men but he had not much money with him and if the men went too far, the taxi driver might charge him too much. However, he knew he had to act quickly. But first, he prayed to God, asking what God thought was the right thing to do. Once he had finished, Richard felt in his heart that God wanted him to go and follow the men. But what should he do? He thought about grabbing a taxi just as they left. However, just as he was about to decide, he suddenly saw the driver, one of the men, get out of his car and quickly open the car boot. He checked inside it and then sighed angrily and went back into the restaurant. Richard knew he could not miss this chance. He launched himself into the car boot as unsuspiciously as he could and hid behind a huge box in the boot of the car. Also immediately after he had got comfortable (which was not hard since the car was massive), the driver came back, chucked a hat into the boot and shut it. Richard sighed with relief. He sat back for a few moments, relieved, then suddenly realized he did not know what he was planning at all when he got to wherever their destination was. In fact, he had no idea where they were going. Richard suddenly felt very worried, and asked himself,
“What am I doing in a car boot of someone I have no idea is and it was my decision to get in here!
He was tapping about nervously wondering how long the journey would take and what would happen later and how he would get back to the hotel and…
He realized that being nervous would by no means help the situation he was in and tried to relax because he knew that there was nothing at all he could do till they arrived at the destination. He sat back, thinking what in the wide world he would do when the car finally stopped.
Richard woke up with a start and wondered where he was. He suddenly remembered about him getting in someone’s car boot and driving off. He was shocked but relieved (kind of) that he was still in the car boot and the car was still moving!! He checked his watch and saw the time: 22:00:24. “Whoa!” he thought. He had been in the car for… about 8 hours ?!? He kicked himself for falling asleep (it was very dangerous) but was glad in a way that he had used his time well. He might not have time to sleep later on.
“When is this car trip going to end?” he asked himself, annoyed.
He remembered Pierre telling him to be home by the time his parents were back in the hotel. There was no way that he would be able to do that now. They would have got home ages ago! He wondered what they must be thinking now that he was “missing”. He got even more worried every second he sat in the car.
“When am I going to get out of this car?”
He almost shouted it out loud for the two men in front to hear, but he stopped himself just in time. Suddenly, randomly he felt the car grind to a halt. He peered out of the window, and saw them parked in a drive with the rain falling down in the dark. He suddenly realized he know didn’t know what to do.
“How will I escape being seen?” He asked himself. He felt he was in a complete crisis. Which was true. He was. One of the men got out of the car and the other man did too. Richard got down and just as they got out of the car he jumped over the boot and got into the back seats. He lay down on the floor just as the boot opened and the driver man got out the huge box with the help of a man who had just come out from inside the house. Then he closed the boot and flashed the car to lock it. Richard had escaped – again.
Richard sighed with relief. He had a few seconds to dwell over what he had to do. His mind automatically wandered over to his parents and Pierre and he wondered what they must be thinking…
Pierre’s words hardly comforted Richard’s parents as they searched their flat for their missing son. He had “apparently” gone back to the flat for some reason during the meal and when they got back in the flat they just could not find him. After 10 minuites of searching they gave up hope that he would be in the flat.
“Maybe he’s gone out”, said Pierre, “He must be allowed to go to some places on his own, can’t he?”
“I suppose he could just be down at the shops…” Richard’s Dad said, unsure.
“There’s no way at all that he’s there, he must have been kidnapped!” Richard’s Mum said and started crying.
Pierre was shocked. He had never seen an adult cry before. He tried to comfort her but had no idea how to comfort adults so he minded his own business. He was thinking in his own head where Richard could be and was getting very worried too. Those men must have seen him now; he may even have already…. He tried to forget but still wondered: where was Richard andwhat was he doing?
Richard slowly creeped over and unlocked the doors keeping low. He took a deep breath and quickly opened the door, dashed out and shut the door, locking the car in the process. The rain was starting to pour down now but that was not the main worry for Richard. He creeped towards the front window of the large house. It was detached – totally apart from any other house. It was well kept and pleasant. However, Richard didn’t take any notice of this.
Richard jumped in fright. He realized he had just stepped on a stick lying on the ground. “At least, there’s no-one else outside”, he thought. At that very second, he heard a dog barking from inside the house. He suddenly realized what he had done. The dog had heard the piece of wood crack on the ground!
Richard quickly thought and realized,” Now someone is gonna come outside from the house and they might see me!” He quickly hid inside a bush just beside the front door. His heart pumped faster and faster as he heard muffled voices inside and a dog barking his head off. Suddenly, the door opened and a man stepped outside with the dog.
“I’m sure there ain’t gonna be anyone out here but Boss says so,” Richard heard the man say, in a bass, annoyed tone. He came out with the dog bounding at his heels and went straight past the bush. Richard sighed with relief, and then suddenly realized his opportunity. The front door was left slightly open by the man and this was his chance of getting inside. He could not believe his luck. First the man and dog walk straight past him (the dog must have a great sense of hearing but a very bad sense of smell) and then he gets a chance of getting indoors! He crept in as silently as possible, wiping his shoes vigorously, to make sure there wouldn’t be any footprints on the shiny, wooden floor. Then, he ran up the stairs. He looked around just to guarantee there was nobody around upstairs, then searched for a hiding place in the house. He found one inside a storage cupboard in a bedroom. It was large and lots of decent hiding places. He didn’t have time to think about what he was doing; he was dead tired and fell asleep immediately.
The man came back in after his search “someone” who had been outside. Obviously, he had never believed that there was anyone outside. I mean, who would after going out like that about 100 times without any result. He sighed but realized it was his job and he was getting a good salary for doing practically nothing. He was about to walk into the room when he noticed a faded footprint on the carpet. He stared at it. Neither Rastalous or his little assistant wore their shoes inside and that was definitely not his boots. Not only that, but no-one was meant to wear shoes on the carpet. He looked at it, then thought,
“There’s no point going to look at every tiny thing that probably don’t mean nothing.” He told himself but then remembered a fact.
“If this is actually someone who’s got in the house and I catch him… Then I’ll be given extra salary.” He decided just to check whether there was actually somebody who had sneaked in. He tried to convince himself that there could be, but he knew there there was nobody ever going to be in the house. He tracked up the stairs and suddenly saw another vague footprint in the carpet. He suddenly felt a sense of excitement and walked into one of the bedrooms. He looked around and then opened the cupboard. He jumped in shock. There was a boy in the cupboard!
Pierre was very worried. It was already two hours since Richard’s parents had come home, and now it was already 10:00 in the evening. He knew that his Dad and Mum knew he was hiding something from them. He was wondering what was happening to Richard again. He felt so annoyed that there was nothing he could do to stop what was happening to him, whatever it was. He thought back to the moment Richard left the restaurant and remembered seeing him jump into a van. His face looked serious about what he had heard in the conversation so this might be something important. Very important. He thought back to Jack and what might be happening.
What if they had seen him? They could be torturing him….. He might even be… Pierre knew he had to do something and very quick. He just had to. His friend’s life could depend on it.
Wait…. I think there is something I can do…” he thought…
Richard rubbed his eyes hearing voices.
“When’s breakfast, Mum?” he said, drearily.
“When’s breakfast, Mum?” he suddenly heard someone say, taunting him and imitating his voice. He suddenly remembered! He was in a cupboard. At least, he was meant to be…. He suddenly sat up straight and opened his eyes to the full. He wasn’t in the cupboard ! Where was he then? He turned around and almost jumped in shock. There was a man in the corner of the room he was in. Richard panicked immediately, not knowing what to do.
“I know you’re awake and I know you want to know why you’re there.”
The man spoke in a emotionless voice, which freaked Richard out. He was totally lost for words. He suddenly realized the situation. He had come to investigate about this strange man he recognized who kept talking about abombe . But he had been so tired, and had fallen asleep in a cupboard after a long long car-journey. And now, HE HAD BEEN CAUGHT!
“So you think that you know anything about this vehicle?”
“Could you wait a few minuites?”
Pierre was about to tell them he had very little time but he knew it would do little good. He had suddenly remembered that he had the car registration number of the car that the two men had drove away in with Jack stowed away in the boot. Pierre waited very impatiently, almost begging for an answer. Eventually after two minutes that felt like an hour, the woman on the phone returned,
“Erm…. Well, put it this way,” the woman said whispering,”I’m not to tell you this but…. well, this is the UMP leader’s car and he should be in….”
Pierre heard loud voices in the background and a man shouting. The lady continued with a stuttering voice, “A town near Marseilles, its called Aubagnnnnnn…” The lady suddenly screamed and the phone was slammed down on the other side. Pierre was stunned. He did not know what to say. Richard had got into the UMP leader’s car. It was that ugly fat man who didn’t know what he was talking about when he spoke and no-one apart from idiots should want as their President. But he knew the town where he had to go to, Aubagne. He knew that was definitely the place the lady was trying to point out to him. But there was one huge problem. This was really far away, about a 7-8 hour drive. But if he took the fast train down, he could get there by 3 hours. This was not cheap at all, but who cared about paying a bit more money when his friend could be killed. But that was not the main thing going through his mind.
Why, oh Why was that lady arrested for telling him it was the UMP leader’s car it was and where he would be? Surely many others would ask that question sometimes, so why…..
To be continued….