He hid among a cleft in the shoreline, a restive shadow in the midnight blackness. An outsider often made an outcast, this night he exacted retribution.
Three partially sunken ships blocked the narrow channel opposite, the funnels and decks eerily illuminated beneath the shifting colored streaks of an intermittent aurora. The closest ship angled forward and opened a gap just wide and deep enough at high water for a u-boat to enter, a u-boat he would guide. Past the block ships the channel opened into the broad depths of Scapa Flow, the hallowed North Sea anchorage of the Royal Navy.
He did not think himself an enemy and cared nothing about the new war with Hitler, no matter what others claimed. Inside a pocket he fingered a crumbled piece of dried currant cake, his wife’s favorite, briefly alive in the joy and pain of her memory. Some betrayals required an answer and he responded in kind, the only way he knew.
The brisk offshore breeze brought the low churn of diesels from the darkness and two flickers of light signaled across the water. He replied with a covered lantern and approached his skiff at the water’s edge.
A lorry approached a turn on the coast road behind and he froze, plainly visible in the sweep of slitted headlights. The vehicle stopped, noisily shifted gears and turned toward a small hamlet in the distance. Afraid the driver would warn harbor defenders, panic and uncertainty clutched his throat but he refused to turn back and clambered into the skiff and pushed away from the safety of the shore toward a fateful rendezvous with the next, last portion of his life.