Part Three

Chapter 17


The quiet village of Jansborg was creepy by twilight. The villagers seemed to go to bed early, so the streets were deserted and the houses dark and still. Harald felt as if he were driving through a place where something dreadful had happened, and he was the only person who did not know about it.

He parked the motorcycle outside the railway station. It did not look as conspicuous as he had feared, for next to it was a gas-powered Opel Olympia cabriolet, with a wooden structure like a shed over its rear roof to house the giant fuel bag.

He left the bike and set off to walk to the school in the gathering darkness.

After his escape from the guards on Sande he had got back into his old bed and slept heavily until midday. His mother woke him, fed him a vast lunch of cold pork and potatoes, pushed money into his pocket, and pleaded with him to tell her where he was living. Weakened by her affection and his father's unexpected mellowing, he had told her he was staying in Kirstenslot. However, he had not mentioned the disused church, for fear she would worry about him sleeping rough, and he had left her with the impression he was a guest at the big house.

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Then he had set out to drive across Denmark from west to east again. Now, in the evening of the following day, he was approaching his old school.

He had decided to develop the film before going to Copenhagen to hand it over to Arne, who was hiding out at Jens Toksvig's house in the Nyboder district. He needed to be sure that his photography had been successful, and there were clear images on the roll. Cameras could go wrong, and photographers made mistakes. He did not want Arne to risk his life traveling to England with a film that turned out to be blank. The school had its own darkroom, with all the chemicals necessary for processing. Tik Duchwitz was secretary of the Camera Club, and had a key.

Harald avoided the main gates and cut across the neighboring farm to enter the school via the stables. It was ten o'clock. The younger boys were already in bed, and the middle school was getting undressed. Only the seniors were still about, and most of them were in their study-bedrooms. It was graduation day tomorrow, and they would be packing for home.

Threading through the familiar cluster of buildings, Harald fought the temptation to skulk furtively along walls and dash across open spaces. If he walked naturally and confidently he would appear, to the casual glance, to be a senior boy heading for his room. He was surprised at how difficult it was to fake an identity that had been genuinely his only ten days ago.

He saw no one on his way to the Red House, the building where Tik and Mads had their rooms. There was no way he could conceal himself as he climbed the stairs to the top floor: if he met someone, he would be recognized instantly. But his luck held. The upper corridor was deserted. He hurried past the rooms of the housemaster, Mr. Moller. He quietly opened Tik's door and stepped inside.

Tik was sitting on the lid of his suitcase, trying to close it. "You!" he said. "Good God!"

Harald sat beside him and helped him snap the catches closed. "Looking forward to going home?"

"No such luck," Tik said. "I'm being exiled to Aarhus. I've got to spend the summer working in a branch of the family bank. It's my punishment for going to that jazz club with you."

"Oh." Harald had been looking forward to having Tik's company at Kirstenslot, but now he decided there was no need to mention that he was living there.

"What are you doing here?" Tik asked when they had the suitcase shut and strapped.

"I need your help."

Tik grinned. "What now?"

Harald took the small roll of thirty-five millimeter film from his trousers pocket. "I want to develop this."

"Why can't you take it to a shop?"

"Because I would be arrested."

Tik's grin faded and he became solemn. "You're involved in a conspiracy against the Nazis."

"Something like that."

"You're in danger."


There was a tap at the door.

Harald dropped to the floor and slid under the bed.

Tik said, "Yes?"

Harald heard the door opening, then Moller's voice saying, "Lights out, please, Duchwitz."

"Yes, sir."

"Good night."

"Good night, sir."

The door closed, and Harald rolled out from under the bed.

They listened while Moller progressed along the corridor, saying good night to each boy. They heard his footsteps returning to his own rooms, then his door closing. They knew he would not reappear until morning, unless there should be an emergency.

Keeping his voice low, Harald said to Tik, "Have you still got the key to the darkroom?"

"Yes, but first we'd have to get into the labs." The science building was locked at night.

"We can break a window at the back."

"When they see the smashed glass, they'll know someone broke in."

"What do you care? You're leaving tomorrow!"

"All right."

They took off their shoes and crept out into the corridor. They went down the stairs silently and put their shoes back on when they reached the door. Then they stepped outside.

It was now after eleven, and night had fallen. At this hour, no one would normally be moving about the grounds, so they had to take care not to be seen from a window. Fortunately there was no moon. They hurried away from the Red House, their footsteps muffled by grass. As they reached the church Harald glanced back, and saw a light in one of the senior rooms. A figure crossed the window and paused. A split second later, Harald and Tik had turned the corner of the church.

"I think we might have been seen," Harald whispered. "There's a light on in the Red House."

"Staff bedrooms all look out onto the back," Tik pointed out. "If we were seen by someone, it must have been a boy. Nothing to worry about."

Harald hoped he was right.

They circled the library and approached the science building from the rear. Although new, it had been designed to match the older structures around, so it had redbrick walls and composite casement windows each made up of six panes of glass.

Harald took off a shoe and tapped a window with its heel. It seemed quite strong. "When you're playing football, glass is so fragile," he murmured. He put his hand inside the shoe and hit the pane hard. It broke with a noise like the last trump. The two boys stood still, aghast at how loud it had been; but silence descended as if nothing had happened. There was no one in the nearby buildings - the church, the library, and the gymnasium - and, when Harald's heartbeat quietened, he realized that the smash had gone unheard.

He used his shoe to knock out the jagged edges from the frame. They fell inside onto a laboratory bench. He put his arm through and unlatched the window. Still using the shoe to protect his hand from cuts, he reached inside and swept the shards to one side. Then he climbed in.

Tik followed, and they closed the window behind them.

They were in the chemistry lab. Astringent smells of acids and ammonia stung Harald's nostrils. He could see almost nothing, but the room was familiar, and he made his way to the door without crashing into anything. He passed into the corridor and found the door to the darkroom.

Once they were both inside, Tik locked the door and switched on the light. Harald realized that, as no light could get into the darkroom, none could escape either.

Tik rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He ran warm water into a sink and busied himself with chemicals from a row of jars. He took the temperature of the water in the sink and added hot until he was satisfied. Harald understood the principles, but had never tried to do this himself, so he had to trust his friend.

What if something had gone wrong - the shutter had not operated properly, or the film had been fogged, or the image was blurred? The pictures would be useless. Did he have the nerve to try again? He would have to go back to Sande, climb that fence in the dark, sneak into the installation, wait for sunrise, take more pictures, then attempt to escape in daylight, all over again. He was not sure he could summon up the strength of will.

When all was ready, Tik set a timer and turned off the light. Harald sat patiently in the dark while Tik unrolled the exposed film and began the process that would develop the pictures - if there were any pictures. He explained that he was bathing the film first in pyrogallol, which would react with the silver salts to form a visible image. They sat and waited until the clockwork timer rang its bell, then Tik washed the film in acetic acid to stop the reaction. Finally he bathed it in hypo to fix the image.

At last he said, "That should do it."

Harald held his breath.

Tik turned on the light. Harald was dazzled for a few moments, and could not see anything. When his vision cleared, he peered at the length of grayish film in Tik's hands. Harald had risked his life for this. Tik held it up to the light. At first Harald could not make out any images, and he thought he would have to do it all again. Then he remembered he was looking at a negative, on which black appeared white and vice versa; and he began to make out the shapes. He saw a reverse image of the large rectangular aerial that had so intrigued him when he first saw it four weeks ago.

He had succeeded.

He looked along the row of images and recognized each one: the rotating base, the clustered cables, the grid taken from several angles, two smaller machines with their tilting aerials, and finally the last picture, a general view of all three structures, taken when he was on the edge of panic. "They came out!" he said triumphantly. "They're great!"

Tik looked pale. "What are these pictures of?" he said in a frightened voice.

"Some new machinery the Germans have invented for detecting approaching aircraft."

"I wish I hadn't asked. Do you realize what the punishment is for what we're doing?"

"I took the pictures."

"And I developed the film. God in heaven, I could be hanged."

"I told you it was this kind of thing."

"I know, but I didn't really think it through."

"I'm sorry."

Tik rolled the film and put it in its cylindrical container. "Here, take it," he said. "I'm going back to bed to forget that this ever happened."

Harald put the canister in his trousers pocket.

Then they heard voices.

Tik groaned.

Harald froze, listening. At first he could not make out the words, but he felt sure the sounds came from within the building, not outside. Then he heard the distinctive voice of Heis say, "There doesn't seem to be anyone here."

The next voice belonged to a boy. "They definitely came this way, sir."

Harald frowned at Tik. "Who . . . ?"

Tik whispered, "It sounds like Woldemar Borr."

"Of course," Harald groaned. Borr was the school Nazi. It must have been he who saw them from the window. What bad luck - any other boy would have kept his mouth shut.

Then there was a third voice. "Look, there's a broken pane in this window." It was Mr. Moller. "This must be how they got in - whoever they are."

"I'm sure Harald Olufsen was one of them, sir," said Borr. He sounded pleased with himself.

Harald said to Tik, "Let's get out of this darkroom. Maybe we can prevent their learning that we've been doing photography." He flicked off the light, turned the key in the lock, and opened the door.

All the lights were on, and Heis was standing right outside.

"Oh, shit," said Harald.

Heis was wearing a shirt without a collar: he had obviously been on his way to bed. He looked down his long nose. "So it is you, Olufsen."

"Yes, sir."

Borr and Mr. Moller appeared behind Heis.

"You're no longer a pupil at this school, you know," Heis went on. "It's my duty to call the police and have you arrested for burglary."

Harald suffered a moment of panic. If the police found the film in his pocket, he would be finished.

"And Duchwitz is with you - I might have known," Heis added, seeing Tik behind Harald. "But what on earth are you doing?"

Harald had to persuade Heis not to call the police - but he could not explain in front of Borr. He said, "Sir, if I could speak to you alone?"

Heis hesitated.

Harald decided that if Heis refused, and called the police, he would not surrender gracefully. He would make a run for it. But how far would he get? "Please, sir," he said. "Give me a chance to explain."

"Very well," Heis said reluctantly. "Borr, go back to bed. And you, Duchwitz. Mr. Moller, perhaps you'd better see them to their rooms." They all departed.

Heis walked into the chemistry lab, sat on a stool, and took out his pipe. "All right, Olufsen," he said. "What is it this time?"

Harald wondered what to say. He could not think of a plausible lie, but he feared the truth would be more incredible than anything he might invent. In the end he simply took the little cylinder out of his pocket and gave it to Heis.

Heis took out the roll of film and held it up to the light. "This looks like some kind of newfangled radio installation," he said. "Is it military?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you know what it does?"

"It tracks aircraft by radio beams, I think."

"So that's how they're doing it. The Luftwaffe claim they've been shooting down RAF bombers like flies. This explains it."

"I believe they track the bomber and the fighter that has been sent to intercept it, so that the controller can direct the fighter precisely."

Heis looked over his glasses. "My God. Do you realize how important this is?"

"I think so."

"There's only one way the British can help the Russians, and that's by forcing Hitler to bring aircraft back from the Russian front to defend Germany from air raids."

Heis was ex-army, and military thinking came naturally to him. Harald said, "I'm not sure I see what you're getting at."

"Well, the strategy won't work while the Germans can shoot bombers down easily. But if the British find out how it's done, they can devise countermeasures." Heis looked around. "There must be an almanac here somewhere."

Harald did not see why he needed an almanac, but he knew where it was. "In the physics office."

"Go and get it." Heis put the film down on the laboratory bench and lit his pipe while Harald stepped into the next room, found the almanac on the bookshelf, and brought it back. Heis flipped through the pages. "The next full moon is on the eighth of July. I'd bet there will be a big bombing raid that night. It's twelve days away. Can you get this film to England by then?"

"It's someone else's job."

"Good luck to him. Olufsen, do you know how much danger you're in?"


"The penalty for spying is death."

"I know."

"You always had guts, I'll give you that." He handed back the film. "Is there anything you need? Food, money, petrol?"

"No, thanks."

Heis stood up. "I'll see you off the premises."

They went out by the main door. The night air cooled the perspiration on Harald's forehead. They walked side by side along the road to the gate. "I don't know what I'm going to tell Moller," said Heis.

"If I might make a suggestion?"

"By all means."

"You could say we were developing dirty pictures."

"Good idea. They'll all believe that."

They reached the gate, and Heis shook Harald's hand. "For God's sake, be careful, boy," said the head.

"I will."

"Good luck."


Harald walked away in the direction of the village.

When he reached the bend in the road, he looked back. Heis was still at the gate, watching him. Harald waved, and Heis waved back. Then Harald walked on.

He crawled under a bush and slept until sunrise, then retrieved his motorcycle and drove into Copenhagen.

He felt good as he steered through the outskirts of the city in the morning sunshine. He had suffered some close shaves, but in the end he had done what he promised. He was going to enjoy handing over the film. Arne would be impressed. Then Harald's job would be done, and it would be up to Arne to get the pictures to Britain.

After seeing Arne, he would drive back to Kirstenslot. He would have to beg Farmer Nielsen for his job back. He had only worked one day before disappearing for the rest of the week. Nielsen would be annoyed - but he might need Harald's services badly enough to hire him again.

Being at Kirstenslot would mean seeing Karen. He looked forward eagerly to that. She was not interested in him romantically, and she never would be, but she seemed to like him. For his part, he was content to talk to her. The idea of kissing her was too remote even to wish for.

He made his way to Nyboder. Arne had given Harald the address of Jens Toksvig. St. Paul's Gade was a narrow street of small terraced houses. There were no front gardens: the doors opened directly onto the pavement. Harald parked the bike outside fifty-three and knocked.

It was answered by a uniformed policeman.

For a moment, Harald was struck dumb. Where was Arne? He must have been arrested -

"What is it, lad?" the policeman said impatiently. He was a middle-aged man with a gray moustache and sergeant's stripes on his sleeve.

Harald was inspired. Displaying a panic that was all too real, he said, "Where's the doctor, he must come right away, she's having the baby now!"

The policeman smiled. The terrified father-to-be was a perennial figure of comedy. "There's no doctor here, lad."

"But there must be!"

"Calm down, son. There were babies before there were doctors. Now, what address have you got?"

"Dr. Thorsen, fifty-three Fischer's Gade, he must be here!"

"Right number, wrong street. This is St. Paul's Gade. Fischer's Gade is one block south."

"Oh, my God, the wrong street!" Harald turned away and jumped onto the bike. "Thank you!" he shouted. He opened the steam regulator and pulled away.

"All part of the job," the policeman said.

Harald drove to the end of the street and turned the corner.

Very clever, he thought, but what the hell do I do now?

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