Curse of the Blue Tatt**, Part 19
What Reverend Mather doesn't notice are the fumes rising from where Gully spilt his bottle. Whatever was in that bottle isn't an ordinary alcoholic drink. Suddenly the Reverend staggers back and drops his gun. He starts gasping for air. I too am feeling a bit funny and the moment I'm no longer facing the barrel of a gun, I make a bolt for the side of the marquee. I reach for my shiv so I can cut my way through the canvas.
I don't quite make it. Someone grabs my shoulder and spins me around. I don't see who as a fist slams into my face and I lose consciousness.
I don't know how long I'm out, but the sound of screams and the sirens bring me around. I find the marquee around me is in flames. I'm lying more or less where I fell and I look across to where I last saw Reverend Mather. He's lying near the centre of the marquee and doesn't seem to be moving. Suddenly the roof poles of the marquee give way and come crashing down. I roll quickly to the edge of the marquee and cut my way through the canvas.
I take a few deep breaths of good fresh air. The fire is spreading to the neighbouring marquees, including the one where the Lawson Peabody girls were. My face feels like I've been kicked by a mule, but I dash inside to find Mistress Pimm searching frantically for someone or something. Everyone else seems to be safely outside.
"Get out quickly," I shout.
"Miss Faber! There you are! Where on earth have you been? We've been searching all over for you."
We both rush outside but I quickly duck out of sight when I notice Gully McFarland watching nearby. He still looks as drunk as before, but his role in what just happened is unclear. Someone whacked me in the face, and I doubt it was Reverend Mather. And the fire was no accident.
Amy sees me and comes running towards me but I signal her to stay away from me. I don't want her attracting Gully's attention. She looks puzzled, but does as I wish. A second later I disappear from view and quickly make my way back to Reverend Mather's house to collect my gear and get out of here fast. Fortunately I've already discovered where the Reverend hides my passport and some money. I don't know what is going on, but too many people seem to want me dead, and I don't feel like obliging.
I scribble a short letter to Amy to say sorry for everything, and thanks for being my friend. I promise to write when I can, but I don't when or from where. I dash to the railway station and take the first train that may take me somewhere useful.
Two days later I'm in New Bedford and find a means of getting out of America. The owner of the Pequod a luxury yacht bound for England is looking for a female companion for his pregnant wife, and my Lawson Peabody credentials fit the bill nicely. We complete the customs and passport formalities with the harbourmaster and sail almost immediately. I only relax once were safely at sea.
My rapid flight means I miss out on one important piece of news. Amy has heard from Jaimy. He hasn't forsaken me, and, thanks to Davy getting a message to him, he has passed a message for me to Amy. But I won't get to know about that for many weeks to come.
Deep in the bowels of the British Ministry of Defence, the major who isn't really a major sits in his office in Room 1066. He is reading the latest report from his counterpart in Washington. The high profile target who has cleverly evaded them for nearly ten years has finally been eliminated, and the latest set of missing papers recovered. The only matter on which the American report admits less than total success is the failure to silence the major's agent.
The major disagrees with the report in only one respect. The escape of his unwitting agent is most gratifying. She has the survival instincts of an alley cat. She'll turn up again somewhere, and with her talents the major knows he'll have further use for her. Like a good chess player he preserves his pawns, and with skill can turn them into queens.
He stands in front of the mirror, and for the first time in years, he smiles. It is not a pretty sight.