‘What are you saying, François? How is that possible? And they have no idea where she can be? Cecile blushed from excitement. Obviously something had happened to her mother, Beatrice. The conversation lasted still a few minutes, but when she closed her mobile, Cecile was beside herself.

          ‘What’s happened, Cecile? Come on, tell me, what have you found out?' Katarina looked a bit worried because she still didn’t know what François had told. She bit her nails of fear. Jean-Pierre never had witnessed yet such a behavior of her.

          Cecile shook her head. ‘They’ve lost our mother just before appearing before the District Attorney. Before giving the Public Prosecutor the opportunity to take her in provisional detention, she has disappeared.'   

          ‘What do you mean?’ Katarina asked looking surprised. ‘Disappeared, just like that. From the Courthouse? And then…?’ Katarina looked inquiringly at her sister, she obviously didn’t know what to think about the situation.

          ‘Maybe… possible it’s even worse. While their mother was waiting in a separate little room somebody must have helped her escape. There was only one other door to the entrance where they had let her in that room and normally it should be locked. Still, she has disappeared this way. Nobody has a clue where she could be.’

         ‘But what do you mean by worse?’ Jean-Pierre interfered in the conversation. ‘She’s not in the custody of the police anymore, how can that be worse?’

        Cecile started to cry. Between her sniffing, she still could say something. ‘They’ve found her blood in that room… blood of our mother!’

        Katarina took Cecile in her arms and patted her arm. ‘You don’t have to think the worst. I’m sure she’s still…,’ she would say ‘alive’, but she realized that by saying that the opposite could also be right.

        Jean-Pierre poured a cognac out for Cecile. Obviously Katarina was more strong and confident and was a calmer in this situation. Despite the fact, she looked almost two shades paler than normal. The red of her lips accentuated strongly with the color of her face.

        ‘Here, drink this, you’ll feel better. Come one, drink up,’ Jean-Pierre insisted when Cecile made a gesture to ward off but then still accepted his advice.

        ‘Did François knew more about her apprehension? What was the reason for her arrest? Was it this informant on the castle or was it something else?' Katarina fired her questions as a exercised fired instructor.

        Cecile stopped crying. Obviously the little cognac had done her good. ‘Anyway, according to François, she had said nothing yet. It’s indeed so that someone from the castle has given a tip. But it’s odd that it wasn’t the vice squad that has done the raid. François talked about a counter-espionage unit that in cooperation with the police has organized the swoop.'

        ‘Espionage!’ It sounded in stereo, coming out of Katarina’s and Jean-Pierre’s mouth. ‘What the hell does that implicates?’ Katarina went on,' spying for whom and for what… the more I hear, the less I understand.’

        Her sister shrugged her shoulders. ‘I don’t know either, François risks being discharged because of the information he has given me. He didn’t know more. I’m already happy he would tell me that.’

        Katarina started to pace up and down the living room. She was trying to think very deep what they could do at this particular moment. They were shut off from her information channels because the General thought Jean-Pierre was the informant. Due to the fact that Katarina had disappeared together with him, would she also be in danger? Or not? Jacques probably had accused her too after their adventure in ‘Le Tapis Rouge’. No, this way was a blind alley.

        ‘I don’t know it anymore; we’re stranded on a dead end. I can’t ask further explanation without bringing us into danger.’ She sat next to Cecile, who was also seized by despair.

        Then the Katarina’s mobile gave the sound of a text message coming in. She looked confused, but also surprised at the screen and read out loud: ‘Come tomorrow to the place where we celebrated your 21st birthday. Maman!’


© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere



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