Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   May 26

Ebony’s Destiny

Ebony lived a dangerous life. She loved abseiling, scuba diving, rock climbing, ice hockey and even partaking in a hiking tour of Mt Everest. Walking bare-foot over hot coals was her ultimate choice. Ebony thrived on these threatening events.

Other sports were not very high on her ‘To Do’ list, but the following games Ebony used when she needed something to fill in her time.

She started with a friendly game of tennis. Then Ebony’s competitive streak came to the forefront, like wanting to join up with the tennis elite. By watching their deft skills, Ebony soon was winning all the tennis championships.

Ebony was bored, she wanted to be brainy and sharp and clever. Out of the blue, Willow told ebony she would share with her a secret, which would enliven her and give Ebony a chance to be a rebel, if Ebony would accept the dare.

“Wow! This is what I’ve been waiting for.”

A high spirited Ebony begged Willow to start to enlighten her of what her news was about.

At first, Willow talked in a soft voice so no-one in the office next door would eavesdrop on Willow’s immensely private conversation. Willow carried on with her narration, only she talked too slowly.

Ebony was anything but patient, telling Willow she urgently needed to know what her task could be.

“Ebony! Be quiet or I won’t say a thing about the new adventure you are to embark on.”

Willow had to change her style of speaking; there was anger in her tone.

“There is a place where you must go. Only a few people know about this intriguing place. Before I go on, you better swear to me not to repeat it to anyone else what I am going to reveal to you!”

“Ebony replied, “My lips are closed ever so tight! I will not tell a living soul. On me you can depend.” Ebony assured her friend.

“Not far from here is a rare hidden place where you have to go, it will lead you to Smuggler’s Cove. Ebony, you have to prepare yourself to search very methodically all around a scarlet flowering tree. Near the bottom of its trunk you will find a large old fashioned key with a note to instruct you, how to find your way to finish your quest.” Willow abruptly stopped to let Ebony know, that, that was as much information as she was prepared to give away at this stage.

Ebony cringed as she listened to claps of thunder as it roared across the heavens, echoing like a sonic boom. Sheets of lightning, an electric blue lit up the sky. Wilder and wilder the wind blew. Rain teemed down that night soaking everything in sight.

Huddled up inside the room at Smuggler’s Cove, Ebony was scared out of her wits, shaking violently. What was she doing in this awful place? She had even switched on her pen-light torch to spread some light into the room.

Ebony had a feeling of impending doom. Her surroundings gave her an absolutely torrid time. Looking around, the walls were closing in. There she sat thinking, this place had become like an enclosed dark, damp, cold tomb.

Ebony noticed an eerie silence in the atmosphere. Chilled to her bones, forever captured here, she was all alone.

Ebony decided she would be better off in her own home. Racing back, Ebony fumbled for the rusty key to open the lock. Out of nowhere a voice said again and again “Coward! Coward!” It echoed in her brain. No-one else was here. Realization came to her that the word came from deep within herself. She must stay; she vowed not to let Willow down.

When Ebony arrived here, she reminded herself the phrase that echoed in her mind. ‘Take up the task and follow it through!’

Ebony remembered why she had come. Her work would start right now. Searching high and low and when about to give up, her eyes lightened on a tiny mound in the clay earth. Scratching frantically, scattered under the soil she found a tiny box. Lifting the lid Ebony saw an old yellowed note book. Reading the instructions, she knew the tunnel she would travel along. The narrow passage on her right was where she would start.

Ebony had no problems as she became adept at walking carefully, dodging obstacles along her pathway. The space was ever so wide as the smugglers made the tunnels for burly sailors to hide from all those in authority.
They were alert and keen, those old men from the sea, when coming into a different way of life.

Wide eyed, she could see a cave where she would be warm, dry and free to stay there alone and enjoy the peace and harmony.

An unearthly scream pierced the silence of the night. Ebony’s face went a deathly white. Knowing no help was nearby. Ebony sobbed and began to cry.

A snake! What could she do now? No weapon could be found. The reptile came closer; it was nearly at her feet. Ebony let out a high pitched shriek!

Eyeing the creature’s every movement as it wriggled closer to her. Ebony burst out laughing as the blue-tongued lizard scurried away.

A grizzled old man had apparently managed to break the code that had kept Ebony out of harm’s way.

Aroused out of a deep sleep, Ebony was wary and defiant. “Get out of here!” Ebony spoke in an angry tone, “Begone and leave me alone!” Ebony would never feel safe again.

She shouted at him. “Get out of here at once; you’re a trespasser on private property. Begone or you will rue the day you came here!”

He was stoic, remaining in the same place.

“My name is Eric. I sought after you. The mission from your people is contained in this letter I hold here.”

Ebony snatched the envelope from the tyrant’s hand. Eric had finalised his task and simply vanished from Ebony’s view.

“Take over my cave. Willow wouldn’t dare!”

Ebony met with Willow. Their code names were to be used from now. Willow’s non de plume was Cerise, while Ebony’s was Cyan.

Cerise requested that Cyan’s cave be available to hide people who needed to be secure and safe. The horror they were to be put through. False papers showed the public, that they were going to terrorise many different towns. Two of their best men were caught. They were lashed, tortured and died in agony.

Cyan buried her face in her hands and wept bitterly. She felt their pain.
Cyan told Cerise it would be an honour to secrete these and other men.

Cyan’s visitors were solemn at first settling into a routine. They enjoyed themselves. Cyan bloomed having these great men with her. Under Cyan’s instruction, all the debris from around outside was cleaned and taken away.
The inside of the cave was spit-polished clean.

Guards were posted in positions outside Cyan’s dwelling place. Three more escorted those who travelled outside the camp. The men on watch were keen and alert.

Those attended to their duty of collecting wood and larger logs, finding edible roots, wild food and herbs for medicine and to spice up a tasty meal.

Arriving back at their temporary home, Cyan told them the bad news. They have to move to where no mankind had gone.

They were being forced into an embarrassing predicament; someone had breached the rules of their private domain. Leaving Cyan with two of their best men for her protection, the rest fled on their way.

Cyan, unknown to anyone, not even the men she sheltered, knew she had a radio. She had removed a lot of the parts and hid them separately. She collected all the parts and like a jigsaw puzzle, re-assembled the high powered wireless.

Taking just a few minutes Cyan was in, she was used to operating a battery operated radio, as she had taken classes in radio operating techniques.

Talking to Cerise, Cyan was furious. Someone had intercepted their code. Cerise, from her end did not know who it could possibly be. Cyan chose to tell Cerise, “We will have to restart encoding on all of our secret notifications and agendas.”

Meanwhile, Cyan informed Willow that they must be alert and watch their backs, making sure they sign off using their non de plume names of Cyan and Cerise.

An emergency suddenly flashed. Cyan answered the dangerous exclamation, not having stripped down their wireless yet, because she had only just finished talking to Cerise five minutes earlier.

Putting her headphones on, Cyan heard a male voice with a rich accent.
“Cyan, is that you with whom I am conversing?”

Very cautiously Cyan spoke, not knowing if the person was friend or foe. Cyan asked in a sharp manner, “How do you know my name? What have you done with my co-worker?”

“Cerise is taking watch over a new group of terrorized men. My name is Paul. I am the leader in charge of this whole organization.”

“How can I trust you?” Cyan replied.

“Only Cerise, I and now you know about Smugglers Cove.”

That was all Cyan needed to know.

Paul was hesitant, he then blurted out. “Cyan! These are desperate times. These are men who were deep undercover, police personnel. Someone let it be known who they really were, cops. Certainly I will take them into my sound-proof hiding place, restoring hope and trust to them.”

Packing up the radio, Cyan would greet her new group of mankind by announcing her name as Cyan. Unlike Cyan’s previous visitors, these men had been interrogated and had their spirits broken. These people were close to her heart, having been in that position herself.

The answer is love, kindness and compassion. Cyan had to be careful; these men didn’t think her caring was pity, but after many months they were settled.
They joked and played pranks on each other, building a rapport with Cyan. They were eager to do her bidding.

Once, then twice Cyan swore some person was watching the campsite. Perhaps she was just getting paranoiac.

Her next call to Paul left Cyan shocked and speechless. Could Paul have been ill informed? Surely it couldn’t be right! It was like a nightmare come true. Again they were compromised, betrayed!

This time Eric promised to relocate everybody to a safer place.

Paul related to Cyan that he had contrived a plan. His bold idea would be to set a trap. “It will only be known to you and me. Nobody else!” stated Paul.

He went on, explaining to Cyan in a harsh voice what his trap would entail.

“You will harbour more men seeking refuge. The group this time will be my hand-picked team.”

Two days later, a motley group arrived at Cyan’s haven. Unshaved, grim faced and arguing amongst themselves. Cyan was amazed at the way these guys could act so well. She hadn’t been aware that most of the men had been in battles for real. So being weary, sad faced and blue, for these soldiers it was not hard to show reality of their lives at all.

For some reason they crowded around that horrible man Eric, who had suddenly become a frequent visitor. More about Eric later!

Slowly life became easier for this uncomplaining, hard working team. These loyal Aussie gentlemen, honest and true, were forever looking after Cyan.

As the cave had been neglected since the others left, her guests set up a chain command post. Nathan was the assumed name he had to protect himself.

They divided up the troops, making the garden bed viable once again. Then it was their cave which needed to be repaired and swept to be spotless and clean.

Time was constantly ticking by; there would be many ruses to catch their prey.
More guards had been recruited this time, not even their mates knew who they were.

Two guards hid in the woods, where they were glad to stay. Two more who were on duty, bound they had lived outside the camp, so their traitor didn’t know who was on his trail.

A meeting was set up to catch the spy. Two of Paul’s men let the spy search the area nearby, in case he had been followed to his weekly spot, calling Gareth and Max to come and do their normal deal.

Stepping from where they had hid, they gave the double agent a useless microchip. They were given cash in return.

“Halt the transaction now!” A voice echoed.

The sly, cunning, no-good man tried to make a run for it, but a bullet ricocheted near his feet which immediately stopped him in his tracks.

“What’s your excuse Eric?” A voice rang out loud.

“I wanted to mix with the rich. They liked me too.” He replied.

“Well now it will be a prison cell for you. What was your motive, didn’t you care at all Eric?” Gareth asked.

“You try living on a pension, see how you would fare!” Eric said with a sneer.

“Guards, take him away! We are all witnesses here today.” Gareth added.

Major Paul then stepped out of the shadows. “Lads, that’s a job well done. As for Cyan, having the cave and extensions completed now, her cave can be utilized for the purpose it was meant for, looking after the broken hearted and those who need a rest.”

Willow would be Ebony’s first guest!

Hilda Oakley
Copyright © 19.05.2019

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