The Secret of Highway House

Highway House is a name that, if things had been different, every one of you would have heard of, every one of you would marvel at and every one of you would know the story of. Why there might even have been a Highway House day, or a Lizzie McMorely day! But you don't and there isn't, and this is why.

Lizzie McMorely, newly graduated from Oxford, is recruited to train as an assassin at Highway House. But when sent out on her first ever mission; the assassination of Adolf Hitler, several factors Lizzie hasn't been trained for come into play: luck, betrayal and love.

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15. Night of the Broken Glass

Lizzie tried to keep her guard up she really did, but when Karl picked her up at seven o’clock on Friday evening and drove the two of them deep into the countryside, she found that her guard had been left behind back in Berlin. Darkness had already settled when they reached what was apparently their destination, but didn’t much look like it could be to Lizzie. It was a field, plain and simple; grass, a couple of hedges and not a building in sight. Lizzie glanced nervously over at Karl. “Is this it?” She asked trying not to sound too sceptical as she got out of the car.
“Sure is.” He grinned at her less than impressed face.
“Well I must say Mr Fuerst, if this is how you try and impress a lady then I think you were doing better with the dinner date.” she said.
“Don’t write it off too soon.” He winked. “And I had you down as an adventurous sort of girl! But don’t worry if you’re not willing to give it a go we can go back and do something more regular and traditional and well boring, if you want to.”
“It seems Mr Fuerst that I had better stay here and teach you how to talk to a girl that you’re supposedly “utterly spellbound” by. Calling her boring is not a good place to start.” She exclaimed with mock horror.
“Well pardon me Miss, let us start again. This is our location for tonight, it doesn’t look much I know but I want to show you something.” He opened the boot of the car and pulled out a rug and picnic basket. Using the torch-like beam of the car’s headlights he set out the rug, placing the basket in the middle and sat down.
“Well aren’t you going to sit down? I’d have thought with all your English relatives you’d at least have been on a picnic before?”
“Not one in the dark I haven’t!” she said as she settled herself down beside him.
“Well you’ve been missing out.” He pulled out a bottle of champagne from within the basket and poured her a glass.
They were silent for a minute, sat sipping their champagne by the light of the headlights. “So what was it that you wanted to show me?” Lizzie asked.
“The stars.” He said simply and pointed. “For example, look at that group over there, tell me what you see?”
Lizzie looked blankly at where he was pointing. “I honestly have no idea.” She sighed.
“Do you see those four there making a loop and then the two coming off the end as a tail? That’s delphinus, the dolphin constellation.”
“Well yes but it looks more like a tadpole than a dolphin!” Lizzie giggled.
“Imagination Julia, that’s the key here.” He grinned. “Ok let’s try again. You see the stars over there? There’s a line with two lines forking off of it. That’s the arrow constellation, Sagitta.”
“But it looks nothing like an arrow!” protested Lizzie. “It looks more like a split end to me! No one would ever guess that’s what it was supposed to be!”
“I can tell my knowledge and wisdom is wasted on you.” Karl teased. “So narrow-minded Julia!”
“I’m not narrow-minded!” Lizzie exclaimed indignantly. “Look up there; you see those four stars up there in a ring. Guess what that constellation is?”
“Hmmm a football?” He guessed.
“A football?” Lizzie cried. “It’s a donut! Do you not see the hole in the middle of it? It’s the donut constellation also known as Donutitus.”
“Sounds more like a disease than a constellation.” Karl laughed. “But ok I take it back you’re not narrow-minded!”
Lizzie tested him on a few more invented constellations until they both collapsed laughing when she announced that a cluster of randomly scattered stars was in fact a depiction of the seeds in a jar of raspberry jam.
Everything was surprisingly perfect considering their location and Lizzie’s inability to appreciate or even see the constellations which Karl seemed to know so much about. She was so wrapped up in their conversation that it took her far too long to realise that the headlights which had so recently been something in the distance were rapidly approaching the road which they were sat not too far off the side of. Much later than she should have Lizzie asked Karl. “What’s that car doing?”
“Just passing by I suppose.” He replied.
“But we’re in the middle of nowhere. This can’t be a very common route!”
He frowned. “Well I suppose not but it’s probably just one of the farmers.”
He brushed it off but Lizzie was by now on high alert. If she had had a personal code red button she would have hit it by now. As the car got closer it appeared to be slowing down and that was when Lizzie became sure that something was wrong. “Something’s wrong.” She didn’t question this time she just stated it. “Let’s get over by the hedge, quickly!” Karl glanced at the approaching car and hesitated, but as she began to run he followed her.
Once they were hidden, crouched behind the hedge Lizzie heard the car pull up and the car door slam. “They must be here somewhere.” came a gruff man’s voice. “We could see them as we were driving and all their stuff’s still here.”
“Let’s take a look around.” Another voice said.
At this point Karl made to stand up but Lizzie dived on him to prevent him giving them away. “We could explain to them that we’re not spies or anything and we don’t mean any harm.” He whispered.
Lizzie shook her head frantically. “You stay here and make sure you aren’t seen.” she whispered.
She snuck away from him and round to the corner of the hedge. There were two men and they were heading away from her towards the back of the field each holding a large shogun. As quietly and stealthily as she could she crept closer to where the men’s car was parked by Karl’s. She reached it unnoticed and slid a hairpin out of her hair. They were just as sharp as Clara had promised; she slit through each tyre with ease but then came the tricky part, she had to wait until the men were far enough away. When their silhouettes looked small enough she clicked open the door to Karl’s car and slid into the driver’s seat. She knew it was going to be impossible to start the engine without them hearing so she just had to hope they were far enough away not to make it back in time.
She took a deep breath, turned the key which was still in the ignition and revved the engine. Through her peripheral vision she saw the men’s heads snap around and she could hear them shouting as they began sprinting towards her. Slamming her foot down on the accelerator as hard as she could Lizzie began speeding across to the hedge which Karl was crouched behind. She pulled up next to him as the sound of gunshots began ringing out. She reached over and thrust the passenger door open practically dragging Karl in as the rear window of the car shattered behind them. She revved the engine once more and they began to move just as a bullet hit the window next to her sending a shower of broken glass driving into her hand. She didn’t wince, she didn’t even breathe, she just focused all of her energy on getting the car out of the field and speeding away down the roads back to Berlin.

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