Jack Higgins – The Savage Day

‘I’m frightened to death,’ Binnie told him.

‘You will be,’ Barry told him genially and turned suddenly as the Brigadier groaned and tried to get up.

‘What’s this then, one of them still kicking?’

He took a revolver from inside his coat and I said quickly, ‘Seems like a hell of a waste to me, Barry. I mean, Brigadier Generals aren’t all that thick on the ground.’

He lowered the revolver instantly and crouched down. Is that what he is ? By God, you’re right.’ He straightened and nodded to a couple of his men. ‘Get the old bugger on his feet. We’ll take him with us. I might find a use for him.’

Someone brought the handcuff keys found on Stacey’s body and Barry slipped them in his pocket. Then he turned and peered inside the Larid-Rover where Norah Murphy still sat.

‘Are you there, Norah, me love? It’s your favourite man.’

A large van came round the corner, reversed across the road and braked to a halt beside us.

Barry pulled her out of the Land-Rover and put an arm about her. ‘Nothing mean about me, Norah. See, I even provide transport to take you home – my home, of course.’

She struggled in his grasp, furiously angry, and he

tightened his grip and kissed her full on the mouth.

‘We’ve such a lot to talk over, Norah. Old times, you, me, the Small Man, cabbages and kings, ships and sealing wax – gold bullion ?’

She went very still, staring up at him fixedly, shadows dancing across her face in the firelight as he laughed softly.

‘Oh, yes, Norah, that too.’ Then he picked her up in his arms and carried her across to the van.


Spanish Head

Our destination, as I discovered kter, was only a dozen miles along the coast from Stramore, yet such was the circuitous back country route we followed that it took us almost an hour to get there.

There were a couple of small plastic windows in the side of the van. For most of the time there wasn’t much to see, but then the rain stopped and by the time we turned on to the coast road it had become 3 fine, clear night with a half moon lighting the sky.

The road seemed to follow the contours of the cliff edge exactly, and, as far as I could judge, there was a drop on our left beyond the fence of a good two hundred feet.

We finally took a narrow road to the left and braked to a halt so that one of the men could get out to open a

gate. There was a notice to one side. I craned my neck and managed to make out the wordsSpanish Head andNational Trust before the gate opened and we drove through.

‘Spanish Head,’ I murmured in Norah’s ear. *Does that mean anything to you?’

‘His uncle’s place.’

One of the guards leaned forward and prodded me on the shoulder. ‘Shut your face.’

An inelegant phrase, but he made his point eloquently enough. I contented myself with the view from the window after that which was interesting enough. We went over a small rise, the road dropped away to a wooded promontory. There was a castle at the very end above steep cliffs, battlements and towers black against the night sky, like something out of a children’s fairy tale.

It was only as we drew closer that I saw that I was mistaken. That it was no more than a large country house, built, from the look of it, during that period of Victoria’s reign when Gothic embellishments were considered fashionable.

The van came to a halt, the door was opened, and when I scrambled out I found myself in a courtyard at the rear of the main building. Barry himself came round to hand Norah Murphy down and he also unlocked her handcuffs.

‘Now be a good girl and you’ll come to no harm, as my old grannie used to say.’ He took her by the arm firmly and led her towards die door. ‘Stick the others in the cellar,’ he said carelessly over his shoulder. ‘I’ll have them up when I need them.’

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