Beau woke to a knock on the door. He recognized the succubus’s voice. “You are wanted downstairs,” she said.
“One moment,” he said. Beau found his clothes scattered about the room and dressed hurriedly. He ran his fingers through his hair, washed his face at the water bowl on the ornately carved wooden stand and brushed his teeth before he opened the door.
“Follow me,” Grace said.
He’d only seen one succubus before from a distance before he had met Grace. Beau and several others from Arkham had broken up a ritual in a forest years earlier in Maine. He was surprised by how Grace was dressed. With her cropped pants, brown leather boots and khaki shirt, she was dressed no differently than any woman on an archaeological dig would be. Her wings and tail were not apparent under the close-fitting clothing and he wondered if she could transform her appearance at will or if she simply folded them tightly against her body. Considering how well her curves appeared under her outfit, he suspected she had the ability to transform into a more human appearance. She led him to an office on the second floor of the building filled with desks. A stout door led to what Beau suspected was another entrance to the interior of the pyramid.
Dr. Paine looked up from a map spread out across a desk, his eyes moving from Grace to Beau.
“Good morning,” the Doctor said. “Hope you slept well. I was lucky and managed to get a call through first thing this morning to Walkaway. He and his team in Palestine should be here soon and I want to have as much preparation done in advance so they can hit the ground running.”
Lucy brought over a cup of coffee for Beau. “Alright,” Beau said to the Doctor as he nodded his thanks to Lucy. “What do you want me to do?”
“Arrange ground transportation for them: two vehicles, if possible. Nellie is finding them a safe house to use. I’m trying to narrow down possible locations of the Germans. The Scarlet Lord believes they are operating out of the German embassy, but I have my doubts. It would be too conspicuous and too easy for British intelligence to follow them. London is trying to assist us from there to find out what they can through their sources. As soon as you obtain vehicles for Walkaway’s team, you can go to the library to do your research.”
Beau nodded and began calling his contacts who worked with archaeologists in outfitting expeditions and digs. Nellie worked the telephone on the desk across from him, going through an English language telephone directory to call real estate agents. The Scarlet Lord’s priests hovered just outside the office door, looking angrily at their office being used by the Americans until Lucy and Grace went out to speak with them.
Nellie dialed the telephone with one hand while holding the receiver to her ear. A lit cigarette dangled from her lips, the ashes falling onto the desktop in front of her. Beau suddenly was reminded of watching Nellie work when she was a reporter with the Arkham newspaper in Massachusetts years earlier. He had worked there his freshman year part time as a photographer to help earn money for college. Nellie was three years older, but to the 18-year-old Beau she had seemed the very picture of worldliness to him at the time.
She finished her conversation and he asked the Egyptian on the other end of his telephone to hold a minute.
“You be careful today, Nellie,” Beau said.
“Always am, Beau,” she said.
“You remember what George, that old city editor said to us when you got that tip that Danny O’Bannion’s gang was going to have a shootout with some bootlegging rivals? George said, ‘Go, and don’t get shot – you’re on deadline.’”
Nellie smiled. “George had his priorities,” she said. “I haven’t thought of him in years.”
Beau returned to his call, haggling in Arabic over the price for two cars. The Egyptian had provided services to Miskatonic University expeditions in the past and had a reliable reputation. The haggling was a formality and both knew it. Beau told him he’d be over shortly to pay for the vehicles.
Beau looked up and saw to his surprise The Scarlet Lord at the office door speaking to Dr. Paine. He could not make out what the vampire was saying, but the conversation did not last long. Dr. Paine scratched his chin as he often did when lost in his thoughts. Beau told him the price for the vehicles and held out a hand for money. Dr. Paine counted out the bills and then returned to circling locations on his map from a list of possible addresses he had written down on a sheet of scrap paper.
“So did The Scarlet Lord or London come through?” Beau asked.
“Neither with any definite leads,” said Dr. Paine. “When our host stopped in, he asked if we needed anything else. I told him the name of the book you needed for the banishment, but he said he did not have it in his personal library.”
“The Cairo Museum has a copy of the Necronomicon,” Beau said. “I know Professor Wainwright consulted it when I was here with him years ago. You sure you don’t want me with you when you find the Germans?”
“I don’t know how long that’s going to take,” Dr. Paine said. “We’ll be fine. Go.”
“Okay,” Beau said. He met Lucy and Grace in the hall outside and they walked out into the bright sunlight. Lucy wore a broad-rimmed hat and dark sunglasses. Beau drove the Mercedes, changing directions several times to make certain they were not being followed. Beau made the transaction for the two cars as quickly as possible, then Grace and Lucy drove behind him to the airport.
“Who are we waiting for?” Grace asked as they waited in the airport’s small lobby.
“Wade Clark joined up with Nellie, Dr. Paine and several others of us back in Arkham in ’30,” Beau replied. “He’s a character. Wade ran away from home when he was 17 to go to France during the Great War. He lied about his age and flying ability and earned the nickname ‘Walkaway’ for his penchant for walking from crashes that should have killed him. But he survived long enough to become a skilled fighter and aviator. I met one of his comrades from that time when he and I were in Spain fighting the fascists. His buddy said that though Walkaway was an ace, he still was responsible for the loss of more French and American airplanes than he had destroyed German ones. After the war ended, he knocked about the globe, working at everything from crop dusting in Kansas to weapons smuggling in China and whisky smuggling from Canada during Prohibition. That’s what he was doing when we met him at Arkham’s airfield.”
“Do you know who the others are?” Grace asked.
“Never heard of them,” Beau said. “The group we work for in London is very loosely organized so if someone is forced to betray the group, not everyone is compromised. I suspect only the Chief and the duty officers under him know everyone in the Organization.”
Thirty minutes later Beau saw Wade’s aircraft touchdown and taxi to a parking spot. Four men disembarked from the plane carrying their bags and headed towards customs. Beau saw Wade speak to a uniformed Egyptian customs official in a friendly manner. The money exchange happened so smoothly that Beau would have missed it if he had not been looking for it. A short time later, Wade and three other men approached.
“The cavalry has arrived,” Wade said, pulling off his leather flying helmet and trying to smooth his hair as he approached Beau. He stuffed his helmet into a pocket of his battered flying jacket, which he took off and draped over his left arm. A shoulder holster held a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
“Beau, Lucy, this is Ian, John and Duncan. Boys, this is Beau and Mrs. Carnacki.” Wade turned to Grace and put on his most roguish smile. “And you are enchanting,” he said with a bow to Grace.
“Wade, this is Grace,” Beau said. He handed the keys and a note with Dr. Paine’s telephone number. “Thanks for coming at such short notice. Hope we didn’t drag you away from anything major.”
“Not really,” Wade said. “The Germans we were trailing disappeared yesterday any way and we weren’t able to pick up their trail.”
“They may have come here,” Beau said, handing Wade the keys and a note with the Doctors telephone number. “We have to leave, but call the Doctor and he’ll explain where he wants you. Nellie’s finding a safe-house for you even as we speak. Things are moving in a hurry.”
“Which usually means hurry up and wait,” Wade said.
“Not this time,” Beau said. “But we’ve got to go.”
“Do you need any equipment?” Wade asked. “The Doctor said the locals had confiscated your weapons.”
“I’m fine for now,” Beau said. “I’ve got Lucy with me.”
Wade nodded and Beau, Lucy and Grace walked out to the car. Wade watched them for a moment and then went to a pay telephone along the wall.
Beau drove for several blocks before he turned onto a street crowded with carts along the sides and merchants and tourists haggling outside of the museum. “I’ll park over there,” he said pointing to a side street lined with homes. “I haven’t seen anyone following us. Let me do the talking with the librarian.”
For Ian, John and Duncan, time moved slowly as they sat on the airport bench. A ceiling fan barely moved the hot air, but outside the heat had grown oppressive.
“Wade said we’d hurry up and wait,” Ian said. “But he seems to be the one keeping us here. What’s he doing on the bloody telephone all this time?”
“Most likely speaking to the criminal element – you know, his friends,” Duncan said.
Minutes later, Wade hung up the telephone and approached. “We’re going for a ride,” he said. “A Moroccan I know recommended I speak to a man named Saad who has done work for the Germans in the past. John, you and Duncan follow in the second car. Look for my hand signals. If we become separated for any reason, we’ll meet back here.”
Continue to Chapter 13