Division 47:Hellekern's Hunt
By Joann Sears
The Property Tycoon fumed! His plans for the exclusive resort were completed and he was all set to get the building contractors started on January the fifth. But his scheme was being stalled by an insignificant bunch of backward rednecks who owned a prime piece of Real-Estate slap bang in the middle of his desired site. Ames scowled out of his penthouse window and continued mentally berating everyone he had employed to get the job done It was so frustrating he'd tried everything to get the blasted people to move. But they claimed the land had been settled by their Ancestors two hundred years before and were refusing to budge. Clifford Ames had tried appealing to the State Legislature but despite bribing a dozen officials. It had backed the incumbent residents and so had the Federal Government. He screamed in fury and threw his expensive lead crystal tumbler of Bourbon at the wall of his office. There had to be some way to drive the "Bloody people" off the land!
It was three days before the official Christmas Holiday began. Tony was talking to Rhys knowing the Welshman had no family of his own. He was inviting his partner/friend to spend the holiday with him and Jon, at his Mansion in New England. Rhys was delighted by the invitation but he did ask.
"How are we going to get there? Jon can't fly and it is a damn long way from Texas to New England by road. It took us four days just to get to Georgia a few weeks back." Tony grinned
"I've been talking to some Doctors and they've come up with a protective suit that Jon can wear. It will maintain his blood pressure heart rate and temperature at a steady level despite the altitude, enabling us to fly over night in my jet."
Jon was smiling the previous year he'd spent Christmas by himself in Hospital. This year thanks to the kindness and generosity of Tony Marlowe his life was looking a lot brighter and he was actually looking forward to Christmas. He nodded to Tanglewind across the office. She had helped him with his present shopping and the money he earned working for the FBI as a consultant meant he wasn't totally dependent on others.
At that moment Oliver strode out onto the Bullpen. He coughed loudly to silence the general chatter then broke the news.
"I'm sorry everyone but I'm afraid all Christmas Leave is cancelled!" He paused to allow the loud disappointed groan to circle the room. "I know you don't want to hear this but a case has come in, that can't be ignored." Tony was not about to have his holiday ruined by his over-officious brother so made his position clear.
"Jon and I are Consultants we are not subject to FBI Vacation rules and we have made plans that can't be undone." Oliver looked firmly at him.
"From what I have heard you won't have to, you are going to New England aren't you?"
"Yes," Tony replied warily
"And you own a large property up there don't you?" Tony eyed his brother a nasty suspicion was forming in his mind.
"Yes!" he replied again.
"Good!" Oliver said "You can call ahead and inform your staff to expect extra guests for the Holiday period!" Tanglewood raised a hand to speak. Oliver nodded to her.
"Am I correct in assuming the case file is in some way associated with New England." Oliver nodded
"We discuss it once we're settled at our temporary base," he again looked to his brother "At this time of year it would be nigh on impossible for the FBI to get us seats on any commercial flight, so we'll be commandeering your Learjet for the journey." He saw Tony's face turn an angry red and hastened to add. "Naturally the cost of the fuel will be met out of FBI funds as will any other expenses incurred including food and additional heating for all of us." Tony inwardly groaned. He had managed to avoid spending the holidays with his brother since the death of their father ten years before. Clearly this Christmas he wasn't going to be so fortunate. "Still," He consoled himself, "It does mean Rhys will be able to celebrate with us after all."
Oliver was totally in charge now. He sent the whole team home with orders to rendezvous at the small private airfield where Tony berthed his plane, two hours later. Tony groaned again but as he had intended flying out that afternoon anyway his flight plan was already logged he didn't need to make any alterations to it. He did however have to call his mansion to inform the Estate Manager of the extra guests and ensure additional supplies were acquired for them. He also arranged for several more cars to be laid on to collect them all from the airport. He then made it plain to the woman that she and the staff were only answerable to him. Tony knew his brother of old and was pretty sure 'Olive Oyl' would soon be strutting about like an over-stuffed peacock, giving orders left right and centre. Tony was determined that at his mansion he was going to rule the roost. While he had the woman on the phone he took the opportunity to re-check that all the necessary medical protocols Jon needed, were in place. Tony and Rhys were deeply fond of their crippled friend and made every effort to ensure he did at least have some semblance of a life. It annoyed them both, that the Government was so blatantly ignoring the needs of its heroes. It was as if they didn't care? They treated their soldiers like cannon fodder then discarded them, when they were no longer of any use.
Tony and Jon got to the Airfield a good fifteen minutes before the others were scheduled to arrive. Tony needed the extra time to get Jon into his flight suit and comfortably settled on the medi-bed that had been installed specifically for him. The nurse he'd hired several months before had expertly changed Jon's colostomy bag and tested all his reflexes prior to leaving their normal home, although she was accompanying them on the trip. Jon was accustomed to her and she had become a long term and much appreciated part of Tony's permanent staff. In fact she was so often at the Texas office even Oliver had started to make use of her services rather than call out the regular FBI Medical Officer when one of his team was injured or sick.
Rhys and Tanglewind arrived together Tony showed them a rear compartment where they could stow their luggage just as his brother arrived. Tony forced himself not to comment but he was extremely glad, he'd managed to hire a co-pilot for the trip. It meant that Oliver wouldn't be able to sit up front in the cockpit and irritate him during the flight. The rest of the team arrived in dribs and drabs over the course of the next half hour. Oliver frowned as all of them admired the luxurious interior of Tony's jet. Generally they had to rough it in economy on commercial flights or suffer the cold on some ghastly military aircraft. Oliver couldn't help running his eye appreciatively over the passenger section. He noted the widely spaced comfortable chairs, food preparation area and the small bar. He made a mental note to speak with Director Burleigh even paying the cost of the fuel the flight they were taking worked out more economical than the prices commercial airlines charged?
"Besides!" he muttered to himself. "Several other FBI squads have their own planes. Why should mine be deprived?" He lowered himself into a primely placed easy chair and buckled his seat belt. All the while still musing. "I'm sick of my squad arriving tired jet lagged and unable to function straight away." Oliver nodded to himself "Okay Tony will probably complain if we appropriate his plane but I'm sure the Director will offer him adequate compensation?" He saw his brother enter say a few 'Hi's' to the squad then head forward into the cockpit followed by his dog and riding on its back, little Percy the rat. Olive was used to his brother's strange pets and actually liked the Dog Shukr. Despite the mythical nature of its origin it was a splendid looking animal and had blossomed into a fine tracker. Oliver returned his thoughts to future plans and the need for Burleigh to back him over the confiscation of Tony's aeroplane
"Of course we will have to have a proper pilot, I want Tony back here in future so we can discuss case files en-route." Oliver absently scratched his chin as he inwardly continued planning.
Tony expertly landed the plane with barely a bump just after six in the evening. The pre-ordered number of vehicles stood waiting, at the exit of the small provincial airfield. Tony saw the specially commissioned mini-van parked at the rear of the line and pushed Jon's wheelchair over to it. Rhys shivered and turned up the collar of his coat as he crunched through the snow alongside Tony. Both men opted to ride in the van with Jon as did the nurse and Tanglewind. The designated driver whistled in appreciation as he got his first view of Shukr.
"Man! That is one awesome dog. What is he? A Newfoundland maybe?"
"Shukr is a somma dog," Tony replied smiling.
"Summer dog? I've never heard of that breed."
"Oh you must have heard of them. You know he's some of this and some of that, some of the other." Rhys grinned as Tony repeated his favourite joke. The driver chuckled amused by the anecdote. Then Tony's smile faded as he saw his brother stride forward and attempt to get into the limousine at the head of the column. Oliver would have claimed the front passenger seat but Tony's Estate Manager Ms Kerak stepped past him and sat in it. Oliver got into the back then decided this position was actually more in keeping with his status and smiled to himself. The rest of the squad got into the remaining cars and the cavalcade set off on the half hour journey to Tony's mansion. The sojourn was pleasant and the occupants of the van chatted happily. Oliver may have congratulated himself in claiming the Limousine but he soon realized he was alone in the rear compartment. Tony's Estate Manager having been warned by her boss had ensured the front seats were isolated from him by a soundproof glass panel. Not that really bothered Oliver he was still inwardly making plans but when they entered the magnicent estate
even he couldn't help but be impressed. The column of cars drew up outside the huge Gothic styled mansion. Tony ignored his brother at first Jon was more important. His condition meant he had to be got inside and warm straight away. But as his wheelchair was rolled off the mechanical hoist at the back of the van Jon whistled.
"Wow! Tony Man you own a castle?"
"Its not real one," his friend laughed. "It was built by a Gangster back in the Nineteen Twenties. Apparently he made a fortune from bootlegging during the Prohibition years and used it to set himself and his family up out here."
"What happened to him?" Martin asked coming to stand beside them.
"His former Partners in Crime objected to him creaming off all their profits for his own betterment. Apparently he disappeared one night. Local legend says he was dragged from his bed shot and his body cast into the sea."
"So is the sea near here?" Tanglewind was listening to the tale.
"Its about two miles that way," Tony pointed westward.
"And the rest of his family?" Jon's nurse asked
"They stayed on until the late sixties when faced with prosecution for Tax Evasion they sold the property and a lot of the land around here to my Grandfather. I inherited it when I was twelve but it was held in a Trust Fund until I was twenty one." Behind them Oliver scowled. He'd never admit it but he'd always hated is Stepmother's family They had been fabulously wealthy but had only doted on his younger half-brother. One of the reasons the two boys had never really got on stemmed from the way they'd barely even acknowledged Oliver's existence. They never sent him Birthday or Christmas cards. The fact that Tony had gone on to be a successful and popular author had been like rubbing salt in the wound. Now as Oliver stared up at the majestic facade, he felt the old jealousy resurface, naturally he suppressed it. After so many years in Tony's shadow he had emerged as the superior of the two and it gave him a sense of perverse pleasure to Lord it over his brother at least twice a week. The party moved under the fine granite portico that led into the building's lavish gold adorned lobby. Where-upon Oliver moved to establish his exalted position.
"I think that for the time we're staying hereAnthony I should take over the main suite!"
"I'm afraid you can't Oliver," Tony objected. "It is the only set of rooms with enough space for the sort of modern facilities that adequately cater to Jon's needs. I've already had it converted for his exclusive use and the billeting of his full time nurse." Oliver forced himself to smile just as Ms Kerak stepped forward and addressed herself to Tony.
"Welcome home sir," he smiled at her
"Thank you Anna-lise, are the other designated rooms prepared as I specified?"
"Yes my Lord Baron!" Rhys blinked
"Baron?" Tony grinned
"Oops! Did I forget to mention my Grandfather was a member of the English Aristocracy and that I inherited his title?"
"Just ever so slightly!" Rhys grinned back. Oliver's dug his fingernails into his palms as he strove not to give vent to his envy. The Estate Manager ended any further conversation by signalling several members of staff forward. A footman and maid was assigned to each member of Tony's entourage. They were led away in different directions to be shown to their rooms. Tony himself pushed Jon into the elevator and rode up to the third floor with him. He and Rhys wanted to make sure he was comfortably settled before retreating to their own quarters which actually adjoined the Paraplegic's. The rest of the guests Oliver included were being accommodated on the floor below. Oliver quietly followed the two servants assigned to him but as he did so he was glancing around and taking note of his surroundings. The more he saw, the more he liked and the more he wanted. The large spacious mansion was in sharp contrast to the cramped dingy field office they occupied in Texas. Here his team could spread out and flourish. Oliver thought of George, the squad's Archivist and Librarian. He was always complaining that three quarters of their research material was stored in boxes in a virtually inaccessible basement. Oliver spotted the massive library through a glass sided wall as he was led down a long passage. George would happily kill someone if it meant he could get free access to it on a long term basis? Oliver decided that after the holidays he and the Director were going to apply a little persuasion which would result in him as his brother's supervisor gaining the leverage he needed to get his squad firmly ensconced in the New England property.
Hans Sanguer sat up in bed uncertain as to what had awakened him? Then the sound came again, louder than before. His stomach curdled as he realized it could only be one thing. The blaring notes of a metal horn, the thundering of horses' hooves, the baying of hounds. Hans shivered he knew what he was hearing there could not be any doubt. It was even the right time of year.
It was Hellekern's Hunt!
He threw back the blankets and was about to climb out of bed to go to the window when his wife grabbed his arm.
"You mustn't look Hans or Hellekern with steal your soul and force you to join his Devil Riders for ever more." Hans looked down at his wife her eyes were wide and terrified. He nodded pulled the blankets back up then laying down, hugged her to his chest.