In Dresden he had once seen a mans eye poked out with an umbrella.
People stood around as the blood gushed from the socket and the young
man went into shock. A woman knelt down and held him and he calmed
down almost immediately. So Rosenharte touched the man on the cheek
and held him gently. This seemed to work for a little while, but then his
eyes began to stare and his body shook with a series of convulsions that
forced them both towards the edge of the quay. They staggered in a
drunken waltz for a few seconds, kicking up swirls of dust and snapping
the dried weeds around them, until the man suddenly collapsed into his
arms and pushed him against a large iron mooring bollard.
Now some words came from him. "Rye . . . Ryszard . . . Rye . . .
Kusimiak." Rosenhartes backside came down involuntarily on the shiny
warm surface of the bollard.
"Be still, for Gods sake, or . . ."At that moment he lost his footing and
found he had no purchase to stop the momentum of the other man. For
a second he was suspended over the water, then he toppled from the
bollard. Falling the four or five feet, he was certain he saw the mans hand
reach to his pocket before he dropped forward and rolled down the quay
wall into the water like a weighted sack.
More angry than shocked, Rosenharte surfaced and struck out to a
chain that was hanging down from the top of the quay. He grabbed it,
placed both feet against the barnacle-encrusted stone and began to haul
himself up, pulling the chain through his hands. As he cleared the water
line he heard a voice and looked up to see a man holding out his hand.
He was yelling something in Italian. Rosenharte wrapped the slimy
chain around one hand and took a few more steps, but at this point his
angle to the quay made it impossible for him to proceed further. He
moved to the left, then swung back in the opposite direction and reached
out to grab hold of the Italians hand. A few desperate moments of
scrambling ensued before he was kneeling on the quay, hacking the seawater
from his throat.
He wiped his eyes and looked up. Around them stood a semi-circle of
teenage boys with fishing rods. Rosenharte gazed into a broad young
face and a pair of intelligent blue eyes and nodded to show he was okay.
The man put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Youre okay; just stay
there for a bit." Rosenharte knew this was no Italian.
Then one of the boys caught sight of the body in the water and started
shouting. All five stripped off and dived in, apparently unconcerned
about what they might find. One unceremoniously yanked the mans
head up by the hair while the others shoaled round and pushed the body
towards the chain.
"Perhaps its better that I speak German," hissed the man after hed
instructed the boys in Italian to loop the chain under the bodys arms
and tie a knot.
It was the last thing Rosenharte wanted. He shook his head furiously, put his
hand in his shirt and ripped the wire from his chest. The man showed little
surprise. "Dont worry, it wont work after that soaking."
"Who are you?"
"A friend of Annalise." The man was looking back up the pier at the
people who had materialized from nowhere.
"Youre English?" said Rosenharte.
He nodded." Is he one of your people?" he asked, pointing to the water.
"My people? No."
"Look, were about to be joined by the police." The Englishman gestured
with his chin. Rosenharte turned to see a navy-blue Alfa Romeo
threading its way through the scrap iron. "Be at the Ristorante Grand
Canale by nine thirty. Take a table outside, on the canal pontoon. Just
make it seem as though you happened on the restaurant by chance. You
got that?" He punched him lightly on the shoulder." Good fellow everything
will be okay."
Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.