THE HEART OF DANGER
Croats, the
    fascists in their Ustase movement, used to gouge the eyes out of their
    Serb friends' faces, sack them up and send them back to their hero
    leader in Zagreb .. . My father says the Ustase could make the SS
    blush. I mean, it wasn't just genocide, it was good fun thrown in.
    My
    father said that it wasn't just a matter of killing people, they
    enjoyed it, most of all they enjoyed causing pain. Incredible
    people,
    barbarians. Should leave the blighters to it .. ." It might have
    been
    the wine, could have been the company, but Arnold offered a
    confidence.
    He spoke quietly, without restraint, of his neighbour and his
    neighbour's second wife, and his neighbour's stepdaughter. '.. .
    who
    must have been a right bloody fool to have let herself get caught
    up in
    that lot. What I'd call a self-inflicted wound." "And a wound for everyone else," Arnold said. He waved to the waiter for more coffee, and the bill. "And, she, the mother, wants to know what happened?
    If
    you want my opinion, she should let it rest. It's like scratching
    a
    bite, yes? You end up with blood and pain. It's different values
    there, their values and ours don't mix .. ." "Not the sort of woman to
    let it rest. Sad, really, but she won't let it go until she's got
    the
    full picture .. . Actually, I put her in touch with a private detective
    .. ." "What on earth for?" Arnold was brought the bill. He paid cash, and it would be a month before the money was reimbursed by
    Accounts. "I thought that if she had something on paper, some
    evidence,
    then she might just be able to detach herself, disengage, rejoin the
    living." "Where did it happen?" Accounts would not wear gratuities.
    Arnold scooped the change from the saucer. "The daughter was killed near Glina, the territory is now occupied by the Serbs. I believe
    it's
    called Sector North .. ." Georgie Simpson laughed out loud, a real good belly laugh. "It'll be a pretty thin volume then, this joker's report .. . Nice meal, thanks, puts me on my mettle, where to go next
    week .. . That would be a pretty bloody place to be sniffing." "It's 48

    only a bromide job, of course; it's not sharp-end work .. ." They
    had
    their coats on, they were out on the pavement, their voices drifted.
    "Come on, Arnold, what would you have ever known about sharp-end work
    .. . ?" Arnold Browne sniggered. "Same as you, Georgie, damn all of
    nothing ..." It was the late afternoon, and a thin sun was through the
    cloud, and the garden grass was drying. The child played between
    the
    apple trees that spread above the vegetable patch. Marko had the
    plastic pistol. It had not been out of his sight since his father
    had
    brought it to him, taken to school, laid on the pillow of his bed.
    He
    weaved among the old tree trunks and saw the old Ustase enemy, and
    fired on them and killed them. It was the game he played every day,
    with a wooden stick that made the shape of a rifle before his father
    had brought him the plastic pistol from Belgrade, killing the Ustase
    enemy. He played alone. In the village there was the scream of a
    car
    horn, sounded like an alarm, and Marko heard the shouts of men. He
    played alone, because his friend, the one friend of his life, was
    gone.
    It was as if he no longer trusted that he could find a good friend
    again. He was six years old, and his birthday would be the next week,
    and although it was many months since his friend had gone he could
    still remember, so clearly, the knowledge that his friend had
    betrayed
    him, his friend had been a part of the Ustase enemy. Where Marko
    played, ducking, running, throwing himself down onto the grass to
    find
    shooting cover beside the apple trees, he could see across the field,
    and across the narrow stream, and across more fields, to the village
    where his friend had lived. He could see the house in the village
    across the stream, and there was no roof on the house, and where the
    side wall of the house had collapsed he could see the bright

Similar Books

Dead Lock

B. David Warner

Boy Meets Nerd

Leia Shaw

A Thing of Blood

Robert Gott

If You Were Mine

Bella Andre

Destined for Two

Trista Ann Michaels

Meridian Six

Jaye Wells

Murder On Ice

Carolyn Keene