Call it magic, miracle, or meteorology, but the winds outside Nella’s dilapidated abode have been famous for their sudden updraft columns, to the chagrin of many a fashionable hairdo, back in the day.
The half-boarded up estate’s twenty-acre grounds seem to be in the middle of mysterious weather forces. Half the property would sometimes experience blue skies. Meanwhile, the other half endured swirling winds.
Suddenly, the wind shifted as the morning mist rolled in on this day, surrounding Nella’s crumbling 17th-century mansion, affectionately called, “The Grandamme.” The sudden swirling gusts mysteriously beat back the advancing flames threatening the mansion’s facade. To the naked eye, it may have seemed as though an unseen force swatted the flames away from The Grandamme’s front door, swinging for the fences.
The retreating flames now thwarted on one front, rummaged feverishly through the Genesis G70’s remains, groping the incinerated petrol tank looking for scraps of fuel to consume, spitting out exploding bits and bobs of molten car parts—like eating Cornish hen on the bone, the subsiding flames used the circular driveway as a makeshift dinner plate.
In minutes, now bereft of sustenance and hemmed in by the strange swirling winds, the flames tired of their steamy triste; but not before they made themselves into an offering for the Genesis G70’s funeral pyre.
Nella, some distance away from the doorway and inside the mansion’s once opulent front foyer, with her go-bag in hand, quickly noted the explosion’s crescendo. The ensuing smoke wafting in her front door prompted her alert reaction.
She depressed the Emergency button on her home security’s main panel. The Emergency button (programmed to dial “999”) immediately summoned fire and rescue services.
Then, without warning…
The obscenely expensive indoor fire-sprinkler system Nella had begrudgingly installed a little over nine years ago at the instance of her family’s insurers (Lloyd’s of London) because of what they deemed her mansion’s hotelling services, sprang to life. It drenched the front foyer enthusiastically, in what seemed like only seconds.
Nella could feel her favorite Tom Ford suit withering on her body. Its wet folds clung to her kevlar underwear in all the wrong places, as she peeled out of the soggy foyer via the secret door near the stairs. This secret door (one of many) led to her two Head Gardeners’ potting sheds and to safety.
It had been ‘the perfect storm’ electrically speaking…
The Genesis G70 engine had been remotely started by a yet undiscovered frayed electrical wire hanging precariously, from the wire harness installed directly above the fuel tank—a fuel tank with a known minor defect of overheating when its fuel levels were low.
Then came the unwitting fire starter—two presses of the high-tech car’s remote key in succession while the engine was running.
Nella was unaware of the danger she had triggered when she opened the car’s boot and the driver’s side door…at the same time, via her remote.
This trifecta of bizarre events was no secret to Genesis Cars International’s Engineering gurus for over seven years now. A diligent recall of Genesis G70 automobiles ensued via snail mail and the media.
Nella, working in deep cover for eight years until twelve months ago was unaware of the recall.
Therefore, as Nella stripped off her now drenched outer clothing…her favorite Tom Ford business suit, and sat on a potting bench in her Head Gardeners’ shed drying off her kevlar undergarments with paper towels, she thought her life was in danger.
“Lord knows, I have many enemies in other parts of the world,” said Nella, voicing her thoughts out loud—
“But…” she whispered,
“…No one would dare try to take me out here in England. Impossible.”
She rifled through her wet clothing for her phone to call in… to The Colonel, to acknowledge his distress signal, “sackcloth and ashes.”
But, her phone was dead…drenched by her wet clothing courtesy of the fire sprinkler’s generosity moments ago.
Nella sat and waited. While she wanted, she checked the nearby drawers in her Head Gardners’ shed for something to wear. She found one of their clean but well-worn overalls.
Then in the distance…siren sounds advancing…
Nella sprang into action…
Jumping off the dusty potting bench, she sped outside the shed and around the mansion’s ancient stone walls ready to greet the Emergency vehicles coming to her aid.
Wasting little time, these expert unsung heroes dowsed the remaining whimpering flames that had by now consumed her car. Its charred remains looked like something from a Lara Croft movie. The Fire Department’s team examined The Grandamme’s front entry and declared the area safe, save for the obvious water damage.
Nella had worried constantly since she received the distress signal that “Zinc,” The Colonel’s trained peacock, had delivered.
Securing the front door as best as she could and resetting her home security, Nella hitched a ride on the firetruck.
Suddenly… out of the sky came the whooshing whoomph, whoomph of helicopter blades…
The helicopter landed skillfully at a safe distance from the moving firetruck.
Recognizing her friend and full-time bodyguard to The Tailors, Tamar Shofar (aka “Rooftop”) waving from the helicopter’s cockpit, Nella thanked the firemen and women and leaped from the firetruck’s back door.
She ran towards her new ride and jumped aboard the fully-armed Leonardo Aeronautics AW1 Merlin helicopter.
“The Earl sent me…what is all that commotion near The Grandamme?” Rooftop asked, pointing Nella to the co-pilot seat.
Donning the headphones, Nella nodded, as she spoke: “The mansion almost burned to the ground with me inside, lost a car…my favorite one…and ruined my suit too.”
“Oh! not the suit!” chuckled Rooftop.
“The suit!… That’s all you got from what I just said. Seriously?” Nella quipped, her voice turning up an octave; she then burst into laughter with Rooftop joining in their usual friendly banter.
“But seriously, do you have any details on what is going on?”
“Not that I can say. The Colonel and the Earl are waiting at the usual place.”
“I will drop you off on the roof of The Earl’s building. He left his car for you. The keys are in the usual place.”
“No, I will walk, better to scout the area. Plus, I am a bit jumpy about cars at the moment—you understand.”
“Of course…see you when I see you… And Nella, I have a bad feeling about all of this. Keep your head down, my friend. We have survived on both our families’ influence as the “elite untouchables” for many years; but, our luck may run out sooner than we had hoped. This new breed of enemies to The Tailors‘ activities neither respect nor operate under our ancestral codes of honor.”
“Got it!” said Nella as she disembarked the Merlin helicopter with her soggy go-bag and slid down the fire escape of The Earl’s building near Harrods. She slipped into the shadows on the street below while the Merlin flew above heading out over The Thames.
Alertly, Nella donned her digital camera sunglasses from her go-bag and skulked about in the shadows on the streets near Harrods. She busied herself checking in the shadows of Harrowsmith Street in the early morning bustle as the city slowly came to life.
She did not miss any of the tell-tale signs…
Several shadows (two up high and one street-side) were watching The Earl’s car.
Nella’s keen instincts sensed something sinister was about to occur…evil even. She decided to keep watch on The Earl’s car and the three shadows lurking, to see what would happen next.
Twenty minutes later…
Suddenly, one of the three— the figure closest to The Earl’s unmistakeable 1984 C4 Corvette with its “EarlOne” license plate, unfurled his coat to reveal a weapon…
Nella exclaimed as softly as she could…
“Bloody hell, a MAC10 (machine gun) in broad daylight…what the…”
No sooner were the words from her whispering lips rendered as sound, than she discovered the reason for her senses’ dis-ease.
Several London police cars swarmed around The Earl’s car.
Then, to Nella’s horror…
The unknown assailant who had displayed his weapon suddenly opened fire haphazardly at unsuspecting passersby making their way to their early morning routines in London’s Earl’s Court district.
Mercifully, before the armed assailant could inflict harm, he was pinned down and disarmed by over a dozen police officers who charged the shooter—a shooter who, it seemed, attempted to incite panic, in a desperate ploy to make good his escape.
Nella scooted around the corner and twirled back into the shadows. She checked expertly for anyone following her, as she continued her original journey to respond to The Colonel’s distress signal.
As she sped in heightened stealth toward the secret entrance to The Baccarat Bar, Nella whispered to her own thoughts…
“What kind of enemy is this that would contemplate slaughter to avoid capture…God, help us!”
**Continued Next Week Sunday ***