[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Hunched forward, hands tightly clasped, he looked embarrassed and stood up as Partridge appeared.'Sorry, sir.It's just that I can't go up there alone.I'm waiting for Clanger Wilson, my room-mate.''Let's go up together.I'm on the way to the roof myself.' Partridge hastened to put the burly sergeant at his ease.'Why Clanger?''It's his nickname.Nothing malicious.He's always knocking things over.Bit like a bull in a china shop.Everyone likes him.Just a bit of fun.Calling him Clanger.''I think you're sensible to wait for company,' Partridge assured him as they climbed the staircase together.Think I'd have done the same thing myself in your place.After all.we still have to catch the blighter.Does Colonel Barrymore work this late often?''He's still here?' Higgins sounded surprised.'Never known that to happen before.Not that any of us have a clue what that lot do.We call them the Hush-Hush Boys.''Let's look in on him before we go on the roof.'Partridge opened the door to the office where a light shone from beneath it without knocking.Barrymore was bending over a file behind his desk.He looked up, closed the file quickly and laid a hand flat on it.'I saw the light,' Partridge explained quickly.'What the devil do you mean invading my quarters without so much as a warning knock?''I've just explained that.I saw the light and thought maybe someone had forgotten to turn it off.And I smell smoke.Is that mineral water, sir?'A metal wastepaper basket stood by the side of the desk with smoke drifting up from inside.Partridge had pointed to a large glass jug on the desk next to a tumbler.'Yes.Your powers of detection are extraordinary.' Barrymore noticed Higgins standing in the corridor.He jumped up, strode towards him.'What are you doing? Snooping around at this hour?'Barrymore's back was turned when Partridge picked up the jug, doused the papers burning inside the basket.Stooping, he retrieved an intact remnant with a few visible words.Report on Siros raid.He turned to face the door.'Higgins is with me.We were just making our way to the roof.'Then kindly make your way.'As Partridge, cap under his arm, walked back into the corridor Barrymore slammed the door behind him.Going back to the hie, he emptied more sheets into the basket and set light to them.Partridge was walking alongside Higgins towards the corner of the building when a door opened.A man of slim build wearing a pale civilian suit emerged from an office and locked the door.'Who is this?' Partridge whispered.'Professor Guy Seton-Charles.Boffin type.'Twenty-three years old.Partridge recalled from his study of records at GHQ.Rejected for military service on grounds of poor eyesight.The thin-faced man walked towards them hugging a green file under his arm.Everything was thin.Hands, his long studious face.He wore rimless glasses.'A word with you, sir.' Partridge produced his identity card.'SIB.We haven't got around to interviewing you yet.What is your precise job here?''Difficult to be precise about anything.All problems have shades of meaning.I am concerned with propaganda to the mainland.''Mainland?''Greece.The authorities are getting it all wrong, of course.The left-wing ELAS andartes are the real guerrillas fighting the Germans.The Republican EDES lot are hopeless.But can I convince people here? Even if ELAS are Communist?'He spoke in a pedantic petulant tone and was obviously launched into a lecture.Partridge stopped him.'Propaganda? Greece? Then you must have worked with Ionides.''Never, my dear chap.No idea why those two - Gavalas and Ionides - were here.Making jobs for themselves, I suspect.''We must go,' Partridge interjected.'We'll talk later.' He headed for the end of the corridor.'Funny type.''We've given him a nickname.Cuckoo.' Higgins chuckled.'I'll lead the way,' Partridge suggested tactfully and began to climb the stone spiral staircase.It was very narrow, curving sharply, and there was no lighting.He felt his way up the wall with one hand, emerging suddenly on to the rooftop.It was flat, enclosed by a waist-high wall with an iron rail on top.Higgins led the way, heading for one of a row of cabin-like structures erected on the rooftop.Taking out a key, he opened the door, switched on the light and showed Partridge his sleeping quarters.Alongside either wall leading from the door to a window at the far end was a camp bed neatly made up with Army blankets.Higgins indicated the one to his right.That's where Clanger sleeps.Luckily we arrived at the unit early enough to grab a cabin.Better than being billeted in Kasr-el-Nil Barracks across the road.No privacy in that madhouse.I'll show you round.Not a great deal to see.Except the Pyramids.'Partridge made for the side of the roof at the back.Behind him he heard Higgins relocking the cabin door.His macabre experience had shaken the ex-tank commander to the core.Partridge placed a hand on the iron rail perched half a foot above the wall-top, gripped it, tested its strength and peered over.The dark canyon facing the squalid tenements of the native quarter was like an abyss.It was very quiet as Higgins joined him and made his remark.'I heard you hadn't been out here long, sir.Going into the native quarter is forbidden.For a very good reason.Lord knows how many squaddies have staggered in there dead drunk.They never come out.The body is found days later by Military Police patrols.Throat slit.Wallet gone.''So it would take a brave man to go in even stone cold sober?''Sober - and armed - he'd probably be all right.Let's look at something more savoury.'They walked across to the wall overlooking the front entrance.Below, Humble was smoking behind the wheel of his jeep.Higgins pointed south.'There they are.'In the far distance, by the light of a waxing moon, Partridge saw the dark silhouettes of the Pyramids of Giza.He pulled at his shirt.He was sweating but the temperature seemed to have dropped suddenly.'My Gawd! Look at that.Here she comes,' Higgins commented.What seemed like a black cloud was blotting out the moon, the Pyramids below.Partridge had the impression smoke from a huge forest fire was sweeping into the city [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]