“Let’s see what we can see,” he said, pulling binoculars out of the glove compartment. He leapt on to the gate and stood tall, training his binoculars towards the coast. He scanned back and forth a few times, like a narrow-minded lighthouse training its beam on just a few yards of the shore.
“There’s no one down by the safe house, at least as far as I can see, which is a good sign. The people who are there, Smithers and Ralphie, are trustworthy in my book, so we should be OK.”
“I thought I saw a helicopter over the fields in that direction,” said Filly, pointing northwards, “but I think it was heading away from here and didn’t appear to be circling.”
Tompkins handed her the binoculars and then turned to look down the road he would soon be travelling along. It looked clear to him and he hoped it would remain so, as there were only a few passing places. It would be easy for another vehicle to block his progress. He felt nervous as Filly was now with him. She came up to him smiling and threw her arms around him.
“Has it gone, Filly?” he asked.
“Yes, I believe it has,” she replied holding him close, “this is a bad business, Tomcat, our friends are being killed and we might be next.”
“No, I don’t believe so, Filly, I think Mrs. Stark and her honchos were hoping we’d respond by attacking East Europeans, but I think we will have to do the opposite, as we’ve lost one of our vehicles. I am hoping the police will detain those four, so we can mop up the rest. The problem is – I don’t believe Mrs. Stark is the leader, she was their main assassin, but I think there’s people above her in their set-up. I think I know who they might be, but I need proof. Anyway, we’ve been here long enough, we should leave. Smithers and Ralphie might have news from Aunt Jemima’s.”
They piled into the car and Tompkins drove down the narrow lane keeping in a low gear. He knew where other vehicles might lie in wait. A single cyclist powering up the hill caused him to swerve, but the lady waved at him in thanks as she moved past.
“Did you recognise her?” asked Tompkins.
“No, not with the helmet and the sunglasses,” replied Filly.
“She’s pumping hard up that hill,” said Alex admiringly, “she must be fit.”
“Well, good luck to her,” replied Tompkins keeping his eyes fixed on the road.
They arrived at the safe house without further encounters although a Nissan Micra followed them for longer than was comfortable before turning into a driveway.
Tompkins pulled his car off the road and placed it behind the house. He threw a tarpaulin over the car and placed pieces of wood at various angles, trying to disguise the shape. He hoped he didn’t have to make a quick departure.
Smithers and Ralphie had introduced themselves to Filly and Alex when Tompkins came around to the front of the house.
“Tomcat, how are you?” shouted Ralphie.
“I’m very well, thank you,” he replied, “and yourself?”
“I am well, thank you, old Smithers here has news that might surprise you.”
“Hello, Tomcat,” said Smithers waving a hand in welcome.
“Smithers, yes, what news from the front?”
“Well, we’ve heard on the grapevine that the police arrested Mrs. Stalky Stark and three of her friends in a lay-by, for possession of a handgun with intent to endanger life. It seems you are a person of interest, but only from the point of view of enabling the police to make the arrest. I think the word the police used was ‘incapacitated’.”
“It was a strike,” said Filly, laughing, “he knocked them all flat.”
Smithers and Ralphie shook with laughter as Tompkins tried to look modest.