In Defence of the Realm

Chapter 7

I was pretty shook up. I hadn’t enjoyed any moment of operation “Dead Letter Day”. It hadn’t been anything like the ops I’d been a part of during my army days, then, though not so clear now, everything had felt just right.

I sat on my sofa supping at my coffee as I flicked through my notebook. The dates of the letters didn’t mean anything to me. “Damn.” I shook my head; what had I achieved? The list was meaningless without knowing the contents of the letters.

I booted the coffee table in shear frustration. It tipped over dumping the magazines and my empty plate onto the lounge floor.

Looking at the mess I calmed down, berating myself for getting so riled about something that wasn’t my problem. I was glad that I still held the coffee cup; if that’d gone over then there would’ve truly been a mess.

Placing my cup on the side table I picked everything from the floor. With order ensuing, I began to feel calmer. There really was no need to get this worked up.

Perhaps in the coming weeks I could take another look, get the contents of the letters written down, and finally find out why Jacob didn’t feel I was up to this final task of managing the dead letters, for this was all I could assume they were. They didn’t go anywhere apart from Mr Brizelthwaite’s unmarked lever-arch folder.

I took my plate to the kitchen, shoved it in the dishwasher, poured myself a glass of water and made my way to bed. A good night’s sleep and everything would be better, or, at least, more understandable.


I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was 1:37 a.m. Saturday morning. Sleep had come quick, but now my brain was buzzing, electrified by the one question I’d hoped to avoid; “What’s in those letters?” – bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Twenty minutes later I’d given up trying to go back to sleep, and got dressed. I looked at the bunch of keys in my hand.

“To do, or not to do?” my sleep deprived thought process considered. “For that is the question – sod it. I’m going to do it.”

I left my home for the office and thirty minutes later I’d arrived.

The street outside the office was quiet, cars passed rarely and the sodium soaked street was pretty much deserted. I let myself into the Markent Marketing offices.

As soon as I was in I closed the door behind me; then listened. Relief! Not a sound. I made my way back to Mr Brizelthwaite’s office, slid the key in the lock, turned the handle and let myself in.

I stopped again to listen. To make sure I was alone. There was only complete silence and me in this building. I nodded to myself and took the unmarked folder from the shelf. Opening it I pulled one of the letters from between the first divider – 2003 – and placed it on Mr Brizelthwaite’s desk.

I couldn’t make out the text in the gloom, a situation I wasn’t used to, as my night vision was brilliant. But I was prepared. I pulled a small torch from my coat pocket and pointed it at the letter.

I was confounded by what it said.

Lle wethrine amin. Tanya nae n’quel. I’Ksherea tulien ten’ ista.

It was short and made no sense.

“Derek! What are you doing?”

My heart sunk. I recognised the voice. I didn’t need to turn around to see who had spoken.

For some reason Mr Brizelthwaite had decided to come back to work at this time of the morning.