Circle of Trust
He crunches the note into his pocket. The instructions are clear,
yet he feels the urge to re-read them, as if a fifth reading will
help him make sense of what he’s being asked to do.
The dewy particles of his laboured breath frost in front of him, and
catch the moonlight like a torch beam, which guides him over the
brambles and shingle into a sandy area of the beach.
He sees it, just as instructed, a circle etched into the sand.
Boulders flank its apex and the moon illuminates its contents.
He steps into the centre of the circle, shakes the cloak free, puts
it on and fastens the steel catches. The red silk hood billows
around his hands as he fondles the pattern embroidered on it.
The sea slaps loudly in his ears and he imagines himself
drowning, sinking in a slow drift to the bottom of the ocean.
Relief fills his body. He catches himself, fills his lungs with
cold salty air and recalls his instructions. I do not look back.
His neck muscles shriek as they strain to obey.
He kneels into position, pulls the hood over his head and pushes his
hands into the loops on the cloak - instruction number three.
The force of the air filling the hood pulls it tight across his face,
moulds the fabric into the recesses of his nostrils and cellophanes his
mouth as he gasps for air. Rip it off!
But he can’t: instruction number four.
His fingers panic as they struggle to release themselves.
Behind him, a voice whispers into his left ear. His body goes
“The Norsks will be pleased with you Michael.”
The owner of the voice touches his hands. “Only one more day, then you are
one of us.”