The Adventures of Nathan Sunnybank and Joe Greenfield
Book 1: Poison
TONY stared back at the creature as it moved off along the riverbank road behind the three humans. He looked again at the profile of the taller of the two boys and gulped.
“Blimey, that is Master Joe and I’ll be a Dutch man if that isn’t his wolf with him,” he muttered to himself.
Quietly, the 20-year-old opened the leather lined car door and stepped onto the pavement next to the Bed and Breakfast. He felt a burden of guilt towards Lady Felicity that compelled him to investigate further.
Meanwhile, 100 yards away on the riverbank road, Amy climbed back over a wooden fence with a look of relief on her face.
“Well, that’s those horrible guns taken care of,” she said. “Now I want to introduce you to Gertrude,” she added, pointing to a large parking bay opposite.
“Gertrude?” exclaimed Joe.
“Yes, she is TJ’s – and my – pride and joy. She is awesome,” Amy enthused.
Across the road was parked an old brown and cream VW camper van, which even at first glance looked like it had seen better days.
“We have been to six music festivals in her,” said Amy, “and this summer we had planned to take her to France… but I guess things have changed.”
“So does she still go?” asked Joe eagerly.
“Yes, of course she does,” Amy replied with a hint of hurt in her voice. “I have not driven her in a couple of weeks and she needs some petrol, but I reckon she will get us to London.
“And, yes Joe, you can bring your wolf with us, if you promise it won’t eat us all on the way,” she added, smiling at the young boy.
Joe grinned. “Did you bring that cheese,” he asked, “cos Blue is hungry.”
“Cheese!” exclaimed Amy. “A wolf eats cheese?”
“Yep, he loves it,” Joe volunteered, “seen him eat two pounds of cheddar in one sitting.”
“Yeah, and he was sick all over your mum’s floor right afterwards,” Nathan reminded him.
Joe grimaced at the memory of being forced by Joy the scullery maid to clean up the mess before his mum found out.
“Anyway, I think we all need to get away from here before that blonde haired guy breaks free and follows us,” Nathan added with renewed urgency.
Amy unlocked the camper van and the boys bundled their belongings into the back and battled over who would sit in the front. Amy stopped a row developing by insisting that both Joe and Nathan sit in the back and keep Blue company.
Once inside, Amy pulled out the choke and turned the ignition key. It took three turns before the engine spluttered into life and a loud rumbling sound emanated from beneath the bonnet.
“Exactly how old is Gertrude?” asked Nathan.
“Ooh, she was born in about 1978,” replied Amy. “She is a later model, you can tell by the big bay windscreen,” she added.
“Wow that makes her over 30 years old,” exclaimed Nathan, “You sure she will get us to London?”
“No problem,” said Amy as the camper van pulled out along the riverbank road in the direction of the old prison.
Just 50 yards away, behind a large rhododendron bush at the corner of Albert Avenue, Tony was watching everything. He had noted down the registration number of the camper van and was convinced he heard the girl say ‘London’.
He knew he needed to move fast.
Inside 24 Severn Avenue, Klaus had pulled the parcel tape, which had bound him to the bannister newel, from his left wrist and hand and was carefully unwrapping the tape from his other wrist. He squirmed in pain, as the wolf’s bite had gone deep and blood was still oozing from his wrist and leg. He glanced across at the body of Rolf and considered himself lucky.
“Those verdammf kids,” he said aloud. “They, and that wolf, are going to pay for this… this is now personal,” he added with menace in his voice.
Three minutes later, he had freed himself from the amateur bindings of the parcel tape and pulled himself to his feet, crying out in pain as he straightened his right leg.
He looked down at Rolf, bent over and felt for a pulse. But his colleague’s purple face betrayed the fact that he had been dead for a while.
Klaus limped to the front door and walked gingerly across the road to his parked black BMW.
He opened the driver’s door and climbed inside. The car felt cold and stank of cigarette smoke and stale sweet and sour chicken.
He look at his mobile phone in the door pocket. It told him he had received eight unanswered calls from headquarters, two voice mail messages and three text messages. He read the texts first then listened to the voicemails. His face whitened some more and his lips tightened.
Carefully, he lifted the laptop out from under the passenger seat and switched on. The machine beeped four times and the familiar face of the controller peered at him from the 14 inch screen.
“What the hell is happening Klaus?” the voice of the grey haired man demanded.
“And why have you not answered my calls?”
Contrition battled with reason as Klaus spent the next 15 minutes explaining to his boss the night’s events. He used the words “I’m sorry boss” at least eight times as he recounted the story.
“Right, Klaus, you are now on borrowed time,” demanded the boss.
“You need to do three things… first get Rolf’s body out of that house and dispose of it somewhere where it will not be found. Make sure you take any identification from him before you do that. We don’t want the bungling British police crawling all over this, do we?”
“Then you get yourself cleaned up and get back to London as quickly as you can, while I call in some back-up for you.
“Finally, you make it your one mission to get the evidence left by that blasted girl and eliminate the other girl and her accomplices.
“Failure to do any of that and you will end up as fish feed… I will see to that personally.
“Do I make myself clear… we must protect the company.”
“Ya, I mean yes, boss, will see to it right away.”
And with that he closed the screen, dabbed at his leg and began the first task.
Outside the Bed and Breakfast, Tony sat in his Porsche and texted Clara his news.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the teenager had decided the leave a reply to her mother until the morning and try and grab a bit of sleep in the meantime.
Suddenly, her mobile beeped again and she glanced down to see the new message from Tony.
She read it twice and leapt out of bed to look out of the window. She waved down at the red car parked below. Tony looked up and waved back.
Her phone rang and Tony talked through everything he had seen and heard on the riverbank road a few minutes earlier.
“Oh crikey,” Clara exclaimed, “We need to follow them.”
“Bit late to do that now, but they won’t go very fast in the old van they are in,” he added. “And I have the registration number. There surely aren’t that many brown and cream bangers around like that anymore.”
Clara was already getting dressed while balancing her mobile phone between her chin and shoulder.
“I have had to pay for this blinkin’ room in advance, so I have no worries about leaving without saying goodbye. And if the breakfast is anything like the room, the old bat downstairs can keep it,” she said.
With that, Clara quietly opened her bedroom door and crept downstairs. She left her keys on the hall table and gently unlocked the front door.
On the street she and Tony hugged each other closely and kissed quickly.
“Come on darling, we need to move,” he urged. “A bag of things for you is in the back and we can stop at a service station soon, so you can freshen up. Anyway, I am low on petrol and need to fill up as well.”
“I reckon that to get to London, they will go by motorway all the way, unless that van falls apart before it gets to the M6,” he laughed.
Clara laughed with him and held his left hand tightly as they moved towards the Porsche.
They climbed inside and kissed briefly again.
The engine roared and soon the car was pulling onto the riverside road in the direction of the prison.
Back at Greenfield Mansion, Nicolas slept soundly in the Elizabeth Room. On the other side of the house, Felicity was not so lucky. She sat upright in her four poster, stewing over her daughter’s failure to respond to her text message and the fact she had seemingly now switched off her mobile phone. She also began to worry deeply about the safety of her darling Joe… and Nicolas’ rather lovely boy, Nathan. Then she thought about Nicolas himself and felt warmed by his kindness and resourcefulness over the past 16 hours. He was actually rather a handsome guy, she mused.
Sometime later, at an all-night service station off the M54 near Wolverhampton, a red Porsche Boxster pulled up at the pumps.
Tony turned to Clara, who was asleep next to him. “Hey girl, do you want to take this bag into the ladies room over there and change and things? I’ll fill up with fuel and get some snacks and drinks from the service area. Anything you fancy?”
Clara nodded: “A strong coffee please… and thank you Tony.”
She kissed him on the cheek, grabbed the leather holdall from behind the passenger seat and made her way across the forecourt.
Tony got out from the driver’s side and selected high performance green from the fuel pump.
Less than 200 yards away in the overnight parking area of the service station, two green eyes watched every move from the shelter of a brown and cream VW Camper van.