I walked back to the Admiral’s quarters in silence. My guard, taking his cue from me, kept a respectful distance and said nothing. It was dusk and the men who had abused me were gone. I was relieved, there was too much going on in my head already to have to deal with them. He saluted as he delivered me back at the Workhouse building and vanished into the blackness.
I’m not sure whether I thanked him; all I knew was that Hitch had given me much to think about; much to ponder. Whatever had happened to Time, it was clear that our adversary was far clever than the Armstrongs! Time had been manipulated; folded in on itself to such an extent that nothing could be taken for granted. Indeed, this time there would be no simple save one person solution. This conundrum required some serious unravelling.
A light was on but, as I entered the Admiral’s quarters, it became clear no one was waiting for me.
I wasn’t sure if I should be disappointed or relieved by this state of affairs. Still the emptiness of the room matched my mood, so I suppose I was grateful for their tact.
I stood at the door watching the night time, then, as the chill of October became unbearable, I shut the door; took my coat off; hanging it next to the Admiral’s overcoat on the hat stand and took a good look around the room. Hitch had told me to be observant; that this skill would save me. I couldn’t see what he meant, but I’d do it.
There wasn’t much to go on… Two unused glasses and a decanter of brandy sat on a table, an open copy of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca next to them. An ironic choice? Or yet another thing designed to put me off balance? I had no way of telling. I picked up the book but could see nothing significant in it.
Walking over to the desk – a beautiful mahogany construction, I let my hand trail across the beautiful and highly polished wood. Certainly the Admiral lived in luxury.
Mind you, I suppose because the War had been won earlier than in my version of reality, the destruction hadn’t been so great, or – for that matter – the cost so high.
There was a letter in German; documents with the Official military seal; a faded picture of the two of us, hand in hand and smiling. Everything in its place and yet again unnerving. But not as unnerving as my earlier discovery. I moved away from the desk and sat down in one of the wing back chairs. I went to pour brandy into one of the glasses and thought better of it.
I thought back to what Hitch had revealed during our conversation. To say the least… it was… bizarre. We’d been sitting at the table; he’d explained everything as though it were a movie. And then he’d said what he did.
Which had me reeling.
If it were true?
Dear Gods, if it was true… then… it was…. unsettling to say at least!
Actually, if I were being honest; Hitch’s warning had turned my world upside down.
I didn’t want to believe him but Hitch had been so insistent.
“They all have secrets, Lucy. You will have to decide – out of all of them – who you can trust.” Hitch had told me. “But, believe me Lucy: you can’t trust Mark. He will… betray you.”