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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6. Tails

 And she was off on her first, and she hoped not her last, mission. Since she had arrived at Highway House and been introduced with the possibility that before long she could be taking someone’s life she had thought that it would bother her that this mission was to kill another human being but now, knowing who her target was, she realised that in killing this one person she would be saving millions of lives and that thought eased Lizzie's conscience enough to attempt the task that she has been set.
She swapped taxi four times on her way to the airport, each time being dropped a few streets away from where she walked to catch the next one, the idea was that in doing so she would make it hard for someone to trace her. She wasn't in Germany but that didn't mean she was safe from tails, the Germans had as many spies in Britain as Britain had spies in Germany, most likely more, and she didn't want her journey to be traceable to anyone she met later on. Eventually she arrived at the airport with an hour to spare before her flight, and deciding that if anyone were to search her suitcase in customs they would find no trace of Mary Jenkins she decided to add a bit of Mary's personality to her luggage. She purchased a small leather-bound note book and a couple of pens; knowing that Mary was a journalist, and also a small bottle of perfume, a compact mirror, a pair of chandelier earrings and a little makeup. She was not Lizzie the maths genius anymore, this was her chance to break out of any boringness that had surrounded her life before; she was Mary Eliza Jenkins an exciting, glamorous and confident young woman, thrilled at the prospect of what Germany had to offer. She felt nervous and excited but most of all she felt free.
Once in the ladies bathroom, she applied some of her new mascara, batted her lashes a few times and put in the chandeliers. She then turned to the small brown package that was stowed in the bottom of her handbag. Slowly she tore open the seal and found Mary Jenkins' passport and plane ticket. There was also multiple large wads of Deutschmarks totalling more than she was sure anyone could spend in a lifetime, a piece of paper with a phone number scrawled on it along with only phone in an emergency, and a business card of a motorcar dealer in Berlin. She didn't have time ponder over the possible meaning behind this last item before her watch told her that it was ten to nine, causing her to hurry to catch her flight.
She was free of the airport at not long after eleven o'clock German time as her taxi driver informed her. The mysterious business card would have to wait until the morning and instead she turned her attention to the new country around her. The city seemed fairly empty for a Friday night compared to London where she had done her degree; no, she mentally corrected herself, where she worked as a journalist, but maybe people preferred to stay at home these days since they were at war.
"Strange." mumbled the taxi driver about a quarter of an hour later.
"Sorry?" asked Lizzie confused.
"It's nothing really, just a little strange that's all. A coincidence I'm sure."
Lizzie who had been taught at Highway House never to believe in coincidences was immediately alert. "What's strange?" she asked whilst maintaining a calm exterior.
"Just that I'm sure that car has been behind us the whole way from the airport and this isn't a particularly common route we've been driving."
"Probably just a coincidence as you said." Lizzie smiled and refrained from turning round in case the people in the car behind realised she was onto them. Instead she pulled out the small compact mirror she had bought at the airport and used it to watch out of the back windscreen. There were two men driving it but all she could see were their silhouettes. Mentally cursing herself for not noticing sooner she asked the driver to circle the block instead of immediately pulling in at the hotel.
"Just drop me here, this will be fine." She smiled at the driver indicating to a small pub a few streets from her hotel.
"Are you sure?" He asked alarmed. "This is not the nicest place for a young lady such as yourself, a little rowdy."
"Here will be fine." She smiled. "However might I ask one small favour?"
"Of course." he said.
"Might you drop my suitcase at the hotel we passed a few streets back? Just leave it in the reception."
The driver looked extremely bemused but agreed.
"Thank you." Lizzie smiled, pulled out a red scarf from the case and shoved it into her handbag before stepping out into the cool night air.
As she had predicted the car that had been following them the whole journey had pulled in on the opposite side of the road and the two men watched from the pavement as she strolled towards the pub. Now that they were out in the open she was able to get a better look at them. There was a taller one with dark hair slicked over to one side and big burly shoulders, the other was shorter, blonde and had ears that stuck out quite unattractively. She took care not to stare at them and hurried inside the pub heading straight for the ladies bathroom. Once locked inside a cubicle she pulled the red scarf out of her bag and draped it over her head before slipping off her brown jacket, leaving her blue cardigan on show, and stuffing it inside her handbag. Quickly she washed off the makeup she had applied earlier and took a deep breath hoping her appearance had altered enough, before walking back into the pub. She made sure to change her walk from the brisk confident stroll of Mary Jenkins to a hunched slow walk resembling that of a woman triple her age. She had barely walked a few paces before she recognised the dark haired man stood at the bar ordering a drink, his eyes were flicking across the room searching for her, but thankfully his gaze swept past her without hesitation. The blonde man was waiting just outside the door of the pub as she exited. "Alright miss?" He called to her in German as she brushed past his. She answered in fluent German, making her voice sound tired and older than her years. He didn't glance at her face and her German accent seemed to assure him that she wasn't foreign. She hurried away down the street careful not to walk directly to the hotel, instead taking detours and even doubling back once to check she wasn't being followed. Finally she reached the hotel entrance to find the taxi driver waiting with her suitcase.
"I didn't think it safe to leave them on their own." He told her with a smile.
"Thank you very much." She said gratefully and tried to tip him.
"No no," he said as he turned to leave, "it was just a favour."
She smiled as he left; she had made into Germany.

 

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