[Music treat at the end. This story will be posted in full after the Challenge for those of us that like to read everything in one complete telling,]
TREACHERY – Tuesday 1 AM
Tossed. Tumbling through turbulent water toward treacherous rocks. Thunder in my head. Eyes seared by the explosion. Nothing, not even stars.
Dead. That was their intent. Arms around me, tugging me. Kama towing me.
“Don’t thrash.” A shout penetrates the storm that tramples my mind. “I can see. I’ll get us ashore.”
“Where? A cove? I remember only rocks and cliffs.”
“There has to be one nearby. I glimpsed Bardsey Island from the yacht.”
Doubt. Before we sailed to the dive site. Then cliffs. Cold and tired.
“Relax, cariad. We’re a team – survivors.”
“If you can see, I’ll swim behind. I can hear – sense you ahead. Swimming will keep me warm – alert. Please, thozhi.“
Kama fastens a tether strap around my wrist. “I’ll attach the other end to my ankle. Safety 101.”
Tremble and smile. Warmth. Her ankle with a rose tattoo that matches mine. Our eternal love.
We swim together. Trust.
A sound. Waves slapping on a clinker-hull. A voice – robust. Welsh.
“There. Alive and swimming.” Guto Thomas, and he shouts at us. “Genethod, we heard the explosion – muffled but definite. What happened?”
“Rescue us and we’ll tell,” Kama says. “But officially we are dead. In reality, wounded. Sparkle was blinded – still is.”
Arms pull us aboard. A second voice says, “Back to Port Meudwy then.”
“Padrig. We must vanish,” I say. Smiling in the total darkness.
“Your new secret is safe with me,” he says. “Just as your earlier ones were – cousin. Us Pughs are a smart family.”
Even if I feared his kinship, he’s true. Not every Pugh is as prejudiced as my thaid, my grandfather Hywel Pugh.
Plan. Move ahead of the Swedish smugglers – and the traitor in NWP. Lure them out.
In front of the fire in Guto and Padrig’s cottage, we eat bowls of Cawl – lamb and vegetable stew. Warmth, and with my eyesight returning, we devise tactics.
“First, messages to our DI, Ffion Baines and to Inspector Uthyr Varley to activate tracking of our concealed transponders.” Kama writes the coded message. “Officially, we have to be missing or dead.”
“We can retrieve some of the wrecked boat,” says Guto. “Evidence – your people will know what sort of bomb.”
“Forensics will come.” Kama anticipates what I suspect. “Then some detectives – perhaps even the one that betrayed us.”
“Kama and I can’t stay here. We have to get to Tyn-y-llyn.”
“Ivor Pugh’s farm,” Padrig says. “I’ve been there a few years ago. I’ll take you. Covert?”
We all laugh.
“My family are used to my weird ways. So, if we turn up at the Pugh farm hidden in some trailer – no surprise.”
N for Nightmare and Nemesis. K for Killed and Kinship. P for Pugh and Protection. U for Unseen and Uncle. I for Ivor and Intent. C for Covert and Code.
UNPICK. Unscramble the tangled threads hiding our traitor.
When we make sense of Pia’s parting words.
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And now for something completely different.
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve – The Mourning Bride