Chapter Seven Part One - Corporal Simon Daniel

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A man walked carefully down the drive. He wore a military uniform though it was well past its best. Torn in places, filthy all over. Repairs had clearly been attempted, though not by an expert by any stretch of the imagination.

Every few seconds he checked behind him, looking over first one shoulder then the other.

Through the trees to his left he could just make out his destination; a hotel. He knew it was occupied although he did not know by how many.

As he walked he unclipped the radio at his belt and raised it to his mouth.

“Approaching the hotel now. No sign of hostiles of any species as yet.”

“Go steady,” was the reply moments later. “We can’t afford a repeat of Brockenhurst.”

“Yeah, I hear that.”

He replaced the radio to his belt as he continued on, around the curve of the drive going down at an easy gradient.

Rounding the corner fully he saw the hotel for the first time, in all its glory.

“Definitely occupied,” he muttered beneath his breath.

The area immediately outside the hotel entrance had been fenced, rather securely as best he could tell. A quick glance elsewhere told him that wasn’t the only area to have been made secure, either. Several areas of grass and woodland were fenced off and the ground therein appeared to have been worked upon.

Turning his attention back towards the hotel he strode forwards, trying as had as he could to ignore the fact there was a girl aiming a loaded crossbow at his head.

“Who’s in charge here?” he asked, clearly and calmly.

“Who wants to know?” the girl asked in reply.

“Corporal Simon Daniel, Coldstream Guards 1st Battalion.” He paused expectantly, looking at the girl for any sign of recognition at all. “We’re in convoy, a couple of hundred of us including forty-nine civilians. Many of our number were recently injured and we could most definitely use a safe, secure place for a while.”

“Wait here,” she said, shouldering her crossbow as she turned on her heel. “Five minutes.”

***

Joan grinned as she made her way inside, and even though there was nothing really to grin at she put it down to the uniform the Corporal wore, tattered and torn as it was.

She found Annalise pulling a little meat from the Roe that had been roasting overnight on over the fire.

“'Lise, we got company of the uniformed kind.”

“Come again?” Annalise asked, confused for a moment. She hadn't seen a police officer – other than a dead one – for several months.

“A Corporal Simon Daniel from some regiment or other... Whatever, he's pretty easy on the eyes and wants to talk to whoever's in charge.”

“What does he want?” Annalise asked. “Apart from that, I mean.”

“Says there's two hundred of them including forty-odd civilians. Some are injured, they're looking for a place to rest their head.”

“Is that right? I guess I'd better come and have a chat with Corporal Simon Daniel then.” She smirked, pulled another piece of meat from the roasting deer and followed Joan as she made her outside.

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