Bridge Number Nine

Pont Nuef

In the middle of the bridge, in the middle of the night, no sun shone on his despair. The Seine flowed steadily underneath as soldiers emerged from the Pont Neuf boat terminal. Leo waited and waited, but no one approached. He deliberated; an illegitimate son of two English actors had many regrets and a distance to jump. The enemy had cornered him.

In the distance, cars raced down each side of the river and turned onto the bridge. Simultaneously, they braked in front of him and the drivers jumped out.

“You have a choice,” both said in unison.

“What is the offer?” said Leo.

“In the north we will restrict your future. Your past and present will be removed,” said Driver One.

“In the south we will renew your past, change your present and begin your realignment with the world,” said Driver Two.

“Difficult, but I will go south,” said Leo.

Driver One laughed loudly, bowed, entered his car and drove up the northern side of the Seine.

Driver Two smiled and led Leo to his car. They sped off at 100 Km/hr and soon entered Boulongne-Billancourt. Le Parc des Princes appeared off the Boulevard Peripherique and they entered Avenue Foch. They stopped at 84 as a surrounding flash of lightening lit the area.

“We are here,” said Driver Two.

Two Gestapo men drew Leo from the car and dragged him into the building and took him to the fourth floor. They stopped outside the office of SS Sturmbannfuhrer Josef Kieffer.

“What’s all…,” said Leo.

“Do not ask, we do the asking,” said the guards. “Come in here and you will see.”

The door opened and Kieffer stood looking at Leo.

“You might be ok. We will have to see. Take him to the rooms.”

The guards moved Leo quickly along the corridor to where an officer sat at a desk beside three rooms; Red, Green, Blue.

“Red,” said the officer.

The guards opened the Red door, took Leo in and sat him down on the only chair. They departed. Gradually, the room filled with red visuals and sound pounded in his ears. The sound went on and on.

“You have no past worth knowing, not for telling, not in mind, just for you a past behind…” repeated the rising sound.

Suddenly, the sound stopped, the guards entered and dragged Leo to the Green room and sat him in the chair. The room was full of green and popping sounds rose and dropped. Voices came in a slow muttering.

“Building up in times of new, there is life to bend on you. On the top we bend and add almost to your nearly mad. We will change you to the new. Future person comes to you…..” repeated the sound rising and falling. Suddenly, a bell sounded round the room. Leo felt nauseous.

The guards entered and took Leo’s hands and led him to the Blue room. He sat down and faced Kieffer.

“You chose well, I think,” said Keiffer. “Difficult when the only other chance was death.”

“What have I chosen?” said Leo.

“You are to transform the future. You’ll be the death knell of Britain.”

“What do you mean?” said Leo.

“You,” said Keiffer. “Will be our legacy, our piece that will destroy a British presence abroad and within its country. It will buckle and crumble just because of you and the power we give.”

“Why do I want to do this?” said Leo.

“Because then you can then be in the history of time. Your kind will prevail. Nothing else will last.”

“I’ll have money,” said Leo.

“Yes, lots of it,” said Kieffer. “Odessa will keep you supplied.”

“Ok, let’s go for it. A new beginning, a future for me and for my family,” said Leo.

“In 1952 you will meet Hazel in Edinburgh. She is from our Irish friends and is suitable. You will have a son who you will call Anthony. He you will educate and put to Oxford, where he will infiltrate with similar others, which will pollute the political parties and make all at Westminster look much the same throughout. Wars with our American people will rage and he will set the peoples to rebel and demand yet unsought freedom. He will be downed by his political partners but not until too late, when the one-eye will complete the action and a new order will reign for us.” said Kieffer.

“You see far ahead,” said Leo.

“Yes but sometimes we screw it up,” said Kieffer. “See that Mussolini! What faith we had in Paton. All wasted. You can now return with the guards. Go and complete the task.”

Leo departed 84 Avenue Foch and climbed into the car.

Driver Two headed back on the Peripherique, past Saint Cloud and along the Seine. It was again midnight has they stopped on the middle of the Pont Neuf. Leo got out of the car as the other car again arrived.

“I’ll now take you north” said Driver One.

“Why not,” said Leo.

Driver One took both of them along the river and north through Arras. They passed through lines of soldiers marching through them as they wound their way to the coast. Along the route many men lay dead; they had no future now. Their present had been given to the future they wanted for others. Poppies filled the adjacent fields around them.

At the harbour, a boat was waiting to take Leo back to Britain. Leo felt uneasy and spent his journey at the deck rail. He was unsure of his arrangement, but pleased to have the money inside his haversack.

“You ok?” said the purser. “Get home and calm down for a bit. Find a girl, relax and the world will be your oyster.”



Author: Lindsay Craik

Writer & Poet Poetry, plays and short stories

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