Pebbles slipped beneath Victoire’s feet as she moved deeper into the cave. The waves lapped against her boots, urging her on in her steps. Shortly, the tide would wash over the area, but the contents of her pocket burned with greater compulsion.
A lone dog barked in the distance, reminding Victoire that others could also creep among the shadows. She had but one guarantee: danger. Moonlight served as a lantern, beckoning her farther into the cavern of solace. Her right hand lifted to trace the stones that she had touched countless times before.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,” she counted, her lips barely moving to ward off any breath escaping. In Victoire’s nightmares, she would trip and let out a small gasp that echoed through the cave before resonating across the beach and over the sleeping residents of the village. Her gasp thundered over the countryside and amplified over the cities, until at last it arrived in Hitler’s ear.
“Victoire, you knew you could not escape me. You knew I would find you,” he would sneer, his mustache twitching, as he erupted in villainous laughter.
“Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen,” her counting continued. At stone forty-four, she tapped it twice and pushed it back. A little golden key glimmered from the moon’s glow. Her pale fingers retrieved the metal, as she kept her other hand on the stone. For a moment, she held it to her heart and then slid it into the pocket of her coat. So many depended on her. So much rested on this secrecy.
“One, two, three, four.” She removed the fourth stone and then the two to the left and right of it and then the three above and below it. Reaching into the gaping hole, her hand brushed an oak box and she removed it from its location. The key turned in the sturdy lock and the box clicked open to reveal its contents.
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