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SXAR Challenge: Brush of Danger

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The last rays of the sinking sun had disappeared, leaving  behind the gray and black shadows that play between lighted streetlamps.  Soft fat snowflakes had started to fall as  the sun had set, adding a light dusting of white on every flat surface.   A slight wind had picked up, causing the snowflakes to whirl about in a drunken dance as men, women and children of all ages hastened their steps to be home before curfew. 

Along the Quai de Vaimy there were fewer people on the street, as many people seemed to be avoiding the area.  Those who had no choice but to pass that way were walking with hurried steps, trying to appear as small and unthreatening as possible due to the parked German troop transport with its unit of armed German soldiers under the watchful eyes of two SS commanders.

One of those scurrying past was a man who held the top of his heavy knitted woolen coat closed against the cold winter wind with one hand while his other hand clutched the handles of a shopping bag.  The man’s face was mostly hidden by the collar of the coat, but with the way the wind was blowing it did not make him stand out from those around him even to the suspicious eyes of the SS. He appeared to be any other middle-aged workingman hurrying to get home before curfew and out of the bitter cold as well.

Lieutenant Callen huddled in his thick sweater-coat, wishing that he had instead worn his overcoat, hat and gloves.  He had been in Paris long enough to know that when the sun went down so did the temperature, but in this instance he had decided – mistakenly - that he wouldn’t be out long enough to need heavier clothing.  That was until he’d noticed that people were avoiding Quai de Vaimy, and since that was in the direction he needed to go in order to get back to the apartment he shared with his team, he had decided to check it out.

Keeping pace with those around him, Callen trying not bring attention to himself but at the same time his sharp blue-gray eyes watched the German soldiers through the growing darkness.    Reaching up he pulled the collar of his sweater together trying to keep the cold out at the same time partially hiding his face from the enemy.  His other hand firmly the handled of the sack carrying what little bit of food he could purchase to bring back to his teammates.

Lieutenant William Murdock was a French Canadian and the one that normally interacted with the resistance and gather supplies.  William’s accent had a provincial sound to it, allowing others to assume he had come from the surrounding countryside.  His on the other hand was more Parisian with a slight Austrian accent that had raised a few questions.  Callen had been working with William to correct it and the hard work seemed to have corrected the problem. 

Murdock would have been the one that normally have gone for supplies, but he had slipped on some ice the day before and had twisted his ankle making it difficult for him to move about.  So he had volunteer to go instead, leaving the third member of his team , Private Jake Foley another American, to see to it that William stayed off his ankle allowing it to heal.  Foley was their radio expert and really their expert on anything electronic.  He had taken French in school but his accent was very cultured and it was a dead give-away that he had learned it from somewhere.  William was also working with Jake on it and he had improved over the six months that they have been in Paris, but it was not a good idea to allow him out by himself.
 
Glancing around Callen noted that a few of the shops and cafes had a few off-duty Germans far less than in other districts, until a door of a café half a block up from where he was open and an obvious high ranking German officer stepped.  The troops and SS guard automatically stood at attention following in around the man, while the troop transport growled to life. 

Callen had slowed his steps as he quickly tried matched the man with the list of pictures he had memories before being sent to Paris.  It took him a few seconds to register that the man he saw was SS Colonel General Josef "Sepp" Dietrich , one of Hitler’s inner circle. Resuming his pace Callen watched as Dietrich approached a non-descript black sedan.  The door was
 quickly open by one of the SS officers allowing Dietrich to enter the automobile followed by the other SS Officer.   The Officer, that had opened the door, closed before knocking on the roof,
 signaling to the drive to go.  The sedan smoothly pulled away from the curb followed by the troop transport, leaving behind a handful of soldiers and the one SS Officer.

Keeping his eyes down Callen continue to move with those around him, as he was passing an alley a movement in the shadows caught his attention.  Some instinct told him that something was in those dark shadows, something that was far more dangerous than the Nazis.

Something that was hunting using the shadows as its cover. Callen stopped at the head of the alley searching the ink blackness trying to see what had caused his uneasiness, but the shadows were too deep to allow him to see much of anything.  As he was about to continue on he found his way blocked by the SS officer flanked by a couple of guards.  Startled Callen looked up to meet the hard brown eyes of the enemy. Callen felt his heart accelerate as the SS Officer held out his hand and demanded in a deep harsh voice, “Papers.” 

Reaching into his coat pocket, Callen swiftly removed his forge papers and handed them to SS Officer trying not to appear anything but a French citizen on the way home from work.  The Officer snatched them from his hand and started to look them over, while Callen stood still as the Officer compared his photo with the ones on his papers.   There was a paused as the SS
 Officer searched his face before barking out in a rough French accent, “Why did you stop?”

Maintaining eye contact with the officer, Callen simply told him, “I saw something move in the alley. “

The officer did not turn away or break eye contract with Callen, instead he raised his voice and barked out an ordered in German, “Schauen Sie sich die Gasse.”  Two soldiers broke away
 from the group around the office to enter the alley, while Callen held his breath only to let it out when the SS Officer thrust his papers towards him indicated he that he was free to go.

Hurriedly Callen moved forward and away from his brush of danger shoving his papers deep into his pocket, unaware he was being watched from the shadows.

Henry Fitzroy, crouched in the shadows of the building overlooking the alley, his solid black eyes watch the mortal that had somehow sensed him hunting in the shadows.  Keeping low and to the rooftops the vampire followed the mortal that had grabbed his attention leaving behind the dead body of the German soldier he had grabbed to feed his hunger.

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 Schauen Sie sich die Gasse = Check out the alley.