The Great Escape!*

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

He is in great danger. He has to run away somehow. What is he going to do?

 

 

The Great Escape!

 

 

“Son of a bitch!” he almost shouted. “I think I’m goino strangle that guy!”

The girl laughed. “That’s no way of getting revenge!” she said after her burst of laughter receded. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! Remember?  Nothing more!”

“I know, darling,” the man said wearing a smile, sounding embarrassed, “I’m sorry that I used a dirty name. But, that guy is really getting on our nerves! He has stung everyone so often that some of our guys have started calling him ‘The Eichmann’! That’s why, when I talk about him, I lose control of my nerves!”

“I understand quite well, Henry, dear,” the girl retorted, “I’d probably get just as mad if I were in your shoes. Serving in that disgusting garrison under such a horrible commander for so long without getting leave! How could anyone stand that!? But…”

“I know what you’re going to say, Linda, honey,” interrupted Henry. “But I’ve got to find a solution to this darned problem…fast!”

“Patience!” mumbled Linda. “If you stay a bit cooler, the solution will appearto you much sooner. Killing the guy will only make our situation more complicated! Imagine for a second that we have just killed the dupe and come home. What are we going to do next? Run away from the country…?”

“I know! You’re absolutely right,” murmured Henry. “But this problem has to be resolved before it gets out of hand.”

“Apart from killing the guy,” said Linda, “I’ll go along with any scenario that comes to your mind, no matter how hard or dangerous it might be!”

She gently rose to her feet. “Let me go get you some coffee or something,” she muttered thoughtfully, “Then, maybe, we can sit down and make a comprehensive plan of action, together!”

She sauntered away and disappeared in the kitchen.

 

Henry was now looking around nervously. “Should I or…shouldn’t I,” he kept mumbling to himself. His heart was whacking on his ribs.

Ages later, Linda returned wearing a far and wide smile on her lips “Could you…think of something different…while I was away?” she asked as she put the a of coffee and pastry down on a small side table next to Henry.

“Well,” mumbled Henry after some seconds, “The thing that…is on my mind…may sound weird…or even crazy to you…” he mumbled without finishing what he was saying.”

“It’s okay,” murmured Linda. “Tell me anything that comes to your head. We can work on the idea together to remove its flaws…if there are any...”

“Well, what is on my mind,” muttered Henry, “is… the simplest and the most straight forward way out, that is…running away and going into hiding!”

“Huh,” said Linda after a minute’s thinking. “What do you…exactly mean?” she asked then. “And why?”

“Well,” began to explain Henry, “As you know, the commander of our Company was suspecting that there was an informer of some sort…in our barracks. For some reason, he has lately begun thinking of me…as his main suspect….My friend Hossein told me a few days back that the guy had talked to someone about this admitting that he was going to get his  revenge…!”

“So,” mumbled Linda a bit confused, “Why should you run away for…a small thing like this? I don’t quite…understand!”

“Well,” replied Henry, “For two reasons! First, that the guy has sworn to get a very tough revenge by making me his own prisoner for the rest of my military service period, which means wasting a big chunk of my life!” He stopped, shook his head and made a grimace, but didn’t say anything.

“And second?” asked the girl, watching him with inquisitive eyes.

 “And second,” started Henry again, “that I will, in that case, lose all my chances to take part in our struggle against our tyrannical regime and its foreign supporters!” He stopped again, took a long breath before he added firmly, “Since, to do that, I would have to go underground sooner or later, anyway, I thought…I might as well do it sooner…rather than later…!”

“I see,” mumbled Linda after a long pause. “What about us, then?” she asked. “I had begun to think that…I was going to have a sort of… place…in your future…”

“Well, you do, in a way,” mumbled Henry. “What I mean…is that, since my life is not going to be a normal one…our life together will not be all that normal, either.” 

“Huh!” the girl said before she rose to her feet! She picked up the tray containing the empty coffee cups, and sluggishly walked towards the kitchen.

The apartment grew dead quiet for some time before Linda returned carrying a tray with a bottle and two wine glasses. “I think this is what we probably need right now!” she mumbled wearing a smile.

Henry stared at what she was carrying and smiled.

“Well,” she said as she put down the try on a small table in front of Harry and sat down. “I gave it a little thought,” she muttered, “I’ve decided to…go with you!  That is, if we reach the conclusion that it is logical enough for us to go into hiding at once!”

“Okay!” said Henry wearing a grin. “I think that is a great idea, especially since was away from the country for so long and….”

“Wonderful!” cut in Linda. “Now,” she added after a pause, “The first thing for us to do is to make sure that…the time to go into hiding is…now rather than later.” She took a sip at her wine before she went on. “Would you tell me why you could not wait for another two months…to finish your military training…before you go into hiding?”

“Well,” replied the man, “The main reason is that it is too risky!” He cleared his throat, nodded a few times and then went on. “You see,” he said, “someone has heard the commander say that he is planning on asking the army to assign me to serve at his own house. You know that the officers here have the right to have a sort of military orderly in their houses. The orderly has to spend his military service period working in the officer’s house as a domestic servant.”

“Yes, I know all about that,” said Linda nodding her head. “My own uncle used to have a military orderly all the time until he was retired from the army.”

“Okay,” said Henry softly before he continued, “You see, since I have a background of spending some time in jail as a political prisoner, when our military training is over, they will most probably make me a private  second class instead of a lieutenant! In that case, our commander can have the army assign me to work in his house as his orderly. Since he’s planning to get his revenge, he will most probably lock me up and put me under so much pressure that I’ll end up killing him or something!”

“What if…,”mumbled the girl, “they don’t make you a private…considering the fact that you have a number of high ranking officers in your family. Like ‘Uncle General’, for instance? Can’t they do…something to stop that?”

“Well,” said Henry after a pause, “Judging by what happened while I was in jail, I should say that…they either can’t do anything, or that they don’t want to!  So we can’t count on them at all.”

“What if,” muttered Linda then, “we spend the next two months working, firstly, on finding a way to prevent you from becoming a private, and, secondly, on making a comprehensive plan for our going into hiding if they did?” She paused to clear her throat before she added, “That way, there will be enough time for us to set up a safe hiding place and to prepare a good sham identity for you under which you can do your underground work…”

“Huh,” mumbled Henry after a few minutes’ thinking. “For all I can say, it may be a rather good idea. The only weakness of your plan is that… if they make me a private and I don’t get a chance to escape, I’ll most probably become that bastard’s orderly…and have to stomach its consequences!”

“Well, you’re right!” said Linda firmly. “We must, therefore, have a very comprehensive plan…for your escape …!”

“Great!” muttered Henry. “In the meantime, I can talk to my friend Hossein at the garrison to, perhaps, work out a supplementary plan to help get me out of the place ...”

“Done!” said Linda with a wide smile on her lips. “I’m going to call a cousin of mine….who used to work for the security forces to get him to help us in working out our plan of action. 

She nodded as she rose to her feet, with a wide smile on her lips. “I think that’s enough for today,” she almost whispered, “Let’s forget about what may or may not take place in the future for  now. All right?”

“By all means!” said Henry as he gently rose to his feet. “Let’s!”

**

As he entered the barracks, he began looking around for his friend, Hossein. The man, however, was nowhere to be found because he was actually lying down on his own place, the top section of their common bunk bed!

“Silly,” exclaimed Henry. “I looked for you all over the place! How come you’re in bed this time of the day?”

“Well,” Hossain said wearing a smile. “I was a sort of hiding! I didn’t want someone to see me!”

“I see,” said Henry looking at him sideways shaking his head.  “Have you seen Eichmann today?” he then asked.

“Yeah! Didn’t you!?” Hossein asked. “When I came in, he was outside the barracks…looking around. That’s why I came up here and hid myself.  I didn’t want to be interrogated. I think he was searching for you…to sting you somehow!”

Henry smiled. “It’s possible,” he mumbled. “Fortunately, he failed,” he added as he placed his sack in its place. “Did you get to…talk to our guys about me?” he then asked.

“A little bit,” said Hossein as he moved his torso nearer to the edge of the bed so he could see Henry better. “I’m glad you have decided to react!” he said softly. “Since you called me this morning, I have talked to four of our guys. We are thinking of…making a detailed plan …for your getaway.”

“Thanks,” mumbled Henry. “What did you tell…our guys about…this …?”

“Not much,” cut in Hossein. “There is no need for them to know much. I just said that we may want to get someone out of the compound on the day we’ll receive our officer ranks. I think they probably guessed who I had in mind. Almost everybody knows about Eichmann’s vicious plan for you.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” said Henry nodding his head. “What sort of a plan…did you have in mind, though?” he asked. 

“Well,” began to explain Hossein, “I’m not exactly sure, yet! But I think we will set up phony clashes two or three times during the next few weeks. Then, on the day of our operation, we will have the third fight, perhaps involving a few more people, to distract the attention of the guys in charge of the ceremonies so that your aids or our other men can get you out of the compound. If your people are ready outside the garrison to take over from there, our escape plan has almost a hundred per cent chance of success.”

“Huh!” mumbled Henry. “What about the sentries on…the towers?”

“We will have to make sure that …they will be off guard,” replied Hossein wearing a smile. “My pals have already made a few suggestions. We will prepare a full plan in our next session. The guys are very excited about this. They say it sounds like taking part in an action movie…or something.”

“Who knows!” muttered Henry. “Maybe someone will make a motion picture out of this, one day! It would be exciting enough!”

“Someday, when this regime is dead and gone,” said Hossein with a smile, I’m going to make a movie out of this myself.” He suddenly began to laugh. “I think,” he added as he chuckled, “I’ll choose you as its main actor, to play your own role!”

They both began to cackle.


“What’s so funny, fellows?” a voice said a minute later from somewhere nearby. “You sound like you’ve heard a hilarious dirty joke, or something!”

“Yes, sir! It is very funny,” Henry said as he turned half way around.

The commander was standing sideways not very far away. He was acting like he had been going around checking the barracks and had just happened to notice them.

“We were talking about a funny movie, sir,” said Hossain as he jumped off the top bed and stood at attention.

“Relax, soldier,” said the commander. “I was just taking a look around to make sure that everything was all right...”

“How much longer, sir,” said Hossein wearing a grin, “are we going to be …soldiers, sir?”

The man looked at him askance for some seconds before he answered, nodding his head. “Some of you…will never be officers,” he said with an angry snort. “The rest, of-course, will become second and third lieutenants…eventually!” he mumbled as he moved away.

Hossein began to laugh. “He sure sounds like he wants us to know what he’s planning to do!” he said. “He probably came here just to let you know that, so you would start suffering sooner…”
 

“Yeah,” mumbled Harry. “I’m sure of that,” he added. He shook his head for some seconds before he continued, “I just hope that he will not succeed in carrying out his vicious plan because in that case I may end up strangling him with my own hands!”

Hossein laughed. “There’ll be no need for that kind of a thing,” he mumbled as he chuckled. “I’m sure our plan is going to work and you’ll be out of here safe and sound,” he added as he climbed up to the top of the bunk bed. He lay down and made himself comfortable before he added, “I just hope that he wasn’t eavesdropping when we were talking about all this…earlier!

***

His heart was thumping. The Colonel, commander of the garrison, was giving a speech which would, like always, be clear-cut and short. He would then step aside and give his place to the company commander who would probably brag about his own work for some minutes before he wished everybody luck. They would, then, call on the army cadets, one by one, to step forward to receive their military ranks. Those who were not going to be commissioned, of-course, would be left alone until the very end.

“Don’t worry darling,” Linda’s voice rang in his ears. “Our group is…well prepared! We have already fixed a wonderful hiding place for you and we have completed making the necessary official papers to give you your new identity. What’s more, my cousin, Al, has faked the necessary order form for your sham arrest. All we have to do is to enter your military compound when your friends are causing distraction, show our documents to the people in charge, and take you out of the place before anybody gets a chance to further check up on the forged documents.”

“What about entering the compound?” he heard himself whisper. “How are they…going to…do that?”

“Don’t worry about that either,” Linda said. “Our guys will send the garrison commander a ‘top-secret’ note saying that the SAVAK secret police agents may come on that very day to arrest an ex-political prisoner who is carrying out covert activities against the state.” She took a long breath before she added, “Even if your friends in there can’t do any distracting hubbub, we still have a big chance of getting you out of the place!”

“What if…,” he murmured, “if the commander contacts someone at the SAVAK agency and…”

“It’s extremely unlikely,” answered Linda “The commander has very little time to think about that because he will most probably receive the note right before the beginning of the ceremonies. What’s more, since the note is stamped ‘top secret’, there aren’t so many people that he can contact.”

 “Such a lot of complications!” he murmured disconcertedly. “I could’ve gone into hiding much more easily two months ago!” 

“But remember!” retorted the girl, “At that time, we had made no preparations for any of this! So, if you had escaped then, they would have caught you soon after; and you would, most probably, be in jail right now!”

“Well, this is the sort of a risk we all have to take in our type of struggle,” he heard himself mutter. “The risk you have taken to tell me all this on a public phone placed in the middle of a military base isn’t any less! For all we know, someone might be listening to our conversation right now, and…”

“Yes, yes! You’re right!” said Linda worriedly. “We’d better cut off. Good luck!” she added before she hung up.

 

He turned his face and took a look at the podium where the commanding Colonel was standing, now summing up his speech. He soon stepped back and stood aside waiting for the company commander to begin calling the cadets to come to the platform, one by one, and receive their officer ranks. 

Henry gently closed his eyes and began listening carefully to the names called and the clapping and the hurrah sounds that followed after every single cadet received his rank. “If they are not going to give me an officer rank,” he mumbled to himself, “they won’t call me until the whole ninety some odd cadets have received theirs.”  The only hope he now had was to hear the sound of someone knocking on the outside gate of the garrison and come in with the fake order for his sham arrest. “It really is like playing in a silly movie,” he mumbled to himself. “I should’ve escaped when I had a real chance to do it, two months back!”

Ages passed before he dared to open his eyes.  The place was not as crowded as before now.  Those who had received their officer ranks had left the line and were standing aside forming an assemblage of their own. He took a quick look around. Fortunately, Hossein was still among the people who had not been called. “I’ll stick around no matter when they give me my officer rank,” he remembered Hossein say.

“What if…someone orders you to…leave the place?” he had asked Hossein.

“I’ll raise hell!” Hossein had retorted. “I’ll tell them that I want to watch the rest of the ceremony and I will not leave. That may become a very good excuse to make noise and distraction to give your friends coming from outside a better chance to take you away without much hassle.”  

 

“It all sounded pretty logical at the time,” he mumbled to himself. “But nothing seems to be working…now that we are putting their crummy theory into practice!”

He took a quick look around him. More cadets had now received their ranks and joined the other group watching the ceremony. The commanding Colonel seemed to be tired and somewhat nervous. The company commander, in contrast, looked quite cheerful and energetic. Ten or twelve more people and there would be no one left but him! “I may be the only person…who will not receive an officer rank. A private second class!  God!” he mumbled to himself. “No wonder the bastard is so cheerful!” 

He took another quick look around. There were no signs of Linda’s group; and Hossein was moving about nervously obviously getting impatient. “Silly game!” he murmured to himself. “The poor guy may get into a whole lot of trouble trying to carry out our stupid plan. The whole thing was doomed right from the start!” 

He suddenly heard someone knocking hard on the garrison gate, and a few seconds later the bell of the building near where they were standing began to ring.  Then he heard, Hossein and another cadet begin shouting and calling each other names as loudly as they could while as they grabbed each other’s necks and began pulling and pushing each other.  A number of other cadets rushed towards them, apparently meaning to separate them.

“Hey you, guys!” yelled the company commander. “Behave yourselves if you don’t want to end up in jail!”

More cadets, however, were now rushing towards the place were the two were fighting not paying much attention to the company commander.

The commander was soon screaming at the top of his voice but at the same time staring at a small group of people who had just entered the compound. “Who are they?” the Captain shouted as he stood near the place where the two cadets were fist fighting.

“They have an order from SAVAK, sir, the sergeant walking ahead of the group said loudly. “They have come to…arrest somebody.”

“What!?” the company commander shouted. “What do you mean?”

“That’s okay, Captain,” the Colonel interfered. “Let them come close!”

“Who are…they?” the company commander shouted again looking at a young officer and an elderly man who were following the group.

“They have a letter from the War Ministry, sir,” the sergeant said. “It is for the commander in chief of the base.”

“I thought you said they’ve come from…SAVAK, you fool!” shouted the Captain.

“It’s all right,” the Colonel said tensely. “Let them come forward!! Didn’t you hear what I said?”

The whole place went dead quiet all of a sudden. Even Hossein and his opponent were standing aside holding up their fists watching instead of fighting.

The sergeant ordered the group to halt near the place where the Colonel was standing and took the order form from the SAVAK group.

“Who’s the person…you are to arrest?” the Colonel asked while examining the order form.

“We have the name and the photo, sir,” the SAVAK agent said looking around.

“Why didn’t you let me know…in advance?” the Colonel mumbled, obviously annoyed.  

“They did, sir,” the man standing in the front said loudly. “They sent you a note…this morning!”

“Huh!” mumbled the Colonel. “What note?” he then asked irritably, looking up at the man.

“The note…we sent…to you…this morning…sir,” muttered the man somewhat taken aback. “You mean…you haven’t…seen it?”

“No, I haven’t!” answered the Colonel sternly, frowning. “I came here directly,” he then said. “I didn’t go…to my office!”

There was a rather long pause before the Colonel asked, “Why didn’t you…give me a ring, or something?”

“Why don’t you, sir?” said one of the people in the group, loudly, “fetch the letter from your office now…if you have…doubts?”

“Huh!” mumbled the Colonel staring at the Captain. “How many more cadets are there…left?” he asked.

“Nine, sir,” the Captain answered. “Eight are to get ranks. The ninth…is not getting…and officer rank.”

“Okay,” muttered the Colonel, “You can go on, then! Let’s finish the ceremony first…before seeing to what these agents want.”

“But, sir,” said an elderly man stepping out from behind the group of newcomers, “I…have something for you…too, sir!”  He was now standing a few feet away from the Colonel, stretching out his hand.

The colonel stared at the man’s face, smiled, shook his head confusedly and sluggishly moved forward to take the envelope. He then opened the letter disinterestedly, nodded his head as he read it before he rose his head and almost shouted, “Who is…Henry Davenport?”

“It’s I, sir,” Henry stepped forward standing at attention saluting the Colonel.”

“Huh!” the Colonel said. “It looks like…your family have bought your military service for you,” he added. “You must go to the base office, get your clearance papers, take off your uniform, and go! You’re no longer a military man…as of this minute.”

“There must be a mistake, sir!” almost shouted the captain stepping forward. “He has not received a rank, sir,” he added. “He is a private second class, now. I’ve taken all the necessary measures…They’re going to send him to my house…as my orderly, sir.”

The Colonel looked at him askance, examined the letter a little more carefully, frowned, made a grimace and asked, this time far more loudly, “Henry Davenport !?”

“Yes, Colonel, sir,” almost shouted Henry still standing at attention.

“You don’t need to change your clothes, boy,” the Colonel said commandingly. “You can go home as you are, right now! But remember! You must come and get your clearance papers, soon. Understand!”

Henry nodded his head before he saluted with his hand. “Yes, sir!” he said loudly. “I understand quite well, sir!” he almost shouted.

He then waved to Hossein and his friends who were gently walking away from the scene, and made a U-turn to say hello to his Dad….and his brother waiting for him.

When the Captain was calling on the next cadet to step forward and receive his officer rank, the guardsmen opened the gate for Henry and his kin to leave the military base. Henry, then, gently turned his head to take a pick and see what had become of the phony SAVAK agents who had come to rescue him. They were nowhere to be found out there, however, because they were walking right behind Henry’s brother and Dad, sneaking out of the compound!  

“What a really great escape!” he mumbled to himself, smiling. “Slipping out of a horrible jail without even causing a single drop of blood drip from anybody’s nose!”

 

 

 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: December 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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