“World War Two,” I corrected him. “Its a historical fact. I just can’t find much info. I talked with some other fans at the last Prisoner convention at Portmeirion but nobody seemed to know very much about it. But, given the nature of the thing, I guess there’s not a lot of facts to know.”
“Yes, all hush-hush, James Bond secret stuff.” He smiled over his coffee cup.
“No, not James Bond. John Drake.” I get really tired of correcting people who aren’t fans. Why don’t they read a book, for crying out loud?
“You know, I’ve got a good friend that works at the University in Glasgow.” He was looking around the room now. He spotted her. “Waitress? Can I get some more coffee, please? He might get some information, you know, out of the history department or something.”
“Is he a professor?” Now here was a chance to learn something. Finally.
“Oh, no, nothing like that. But he has access to lots of stuff.” Was he hedging? Did he know someone or not?
“So what is he then?”
“Well,” he looked a little sheepish, “he’s a janitor … ”
“Oh, come on! I thought you were being for real.”
“No, I am. He’s worked there for over twenty years and knows everybody. Smart too. He gets to audit all the courses he wants for free. A job perk. He could ask one of the teachers. They all know him, everybody likes him. I could call him.” He was pulling out his cellphone.
“Sure. It’s worth a shot. I’d love to know more, maybe even visit the place, the area anyway. The place probably doesn’t even exist anymore … ” Why not? I had nothing to lose. I waited and then I listened as he talked. He handed me the phone.
“Go ahead, talk to him.”
So I took the phone. “Hello?”
“Hello,” the voice on the other end was friendly enough. “What do you want?”
“Information, I want information,” and I nearly cracked up as I said it.
Well, the janitor was smart and he did know lots of people at the University. I talked with him two more times over the next week. He didn’t find out a lot but he was able to tell me where the place had been. And, just like I thought, he said there wasn’t anything there now. But, hey, diehard fan that I am I figured it was worth a drive.
The area was really nice. Lots of greenery, real picturesque. A few cottages, narrow and winding road, not much else. I spotted an elderly lady walking down a path just off to the side of the road so I pulled over and called out, “Excuse me, could I ask you a question please? I don’t really know the area and … ” She was walking towards me now, and she was a lot older than I’d thought. Which was good. If she lived here during the war she might REALLY know something. Turned out to be a very nice, and very talkative, lady. For a while I didn’t think I’d ever get away from her. But I finally managed to escape. And I really lucked out. She had lived there all her life and she knew where the old “compound”, as she called it, had been. About five miles further down and then a real tough walk through woods, over some steep hills and on down from there to the coast. About a two-mile walk. She said I could save the time and trouble. The land was posted and had been for as long as she could remember. But, you know, I’ve never been much on signs.
It was a tough walk. But fan that I am I hadn’t come all that way to just go home again without at least trying to see the place, especially after I’d pinpointed it. I thought the walk would be easier once I topped the hill. No way. I could see down to the shore from there. Well, I could see just a little of the shore. Between me and the shore was a good half mile of rock going down to it. And I do mean down. You’d need to be a mountain goat. I kept walking around, trying to get a better look. So I climbed up on this rock. That’s when I saw the building, or part of a building. There were still things down there! I couldn’t believe it! Well, you know I had to try climbing down then. So I did. After I’d gone down some I started to wish I hadn’t. How would I ever get back up?
I finally made it to the shore. Not far from where I was there were several buildings. It was a nice place, almost like a little resort. And the buildings seemed to be in good repair. Which made me a little nervous. It was government land and it was posted and I was trespassing. About that time I saw, over to my right side, what looked like fog.
I woke up on a couch, some guy wearing a scarf and holding an umbrella standing over me.
“Where am I?” I asked him.
It was then I heard him say, “In the Compound.”
If anyone finds this bottle please, PLEASE, this note is not a joke! I’m being held a prisoner and they keep asking me questions about stuff that I have no clue about. The guy in charge, he says his name is Leo and that he answers to some guy he calls Paddy. All of this is getting really weird and I think they’re putting drugs in my food. Please call the police, call Scotland Yard. Please.
Postscript, from Leo to Paddy: I had someone fetch this from the waves after I saw our friend toss the bottle into the sea. He still refuses to cooperate. Does he think us fools, that he came here because he’s a fan of some television series? He had to have been sent here from the other side. And, by hook or by crook, we WILL get information. Please give my best to Janet. Be seeing you.