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The Ultimate Solution
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-100-7
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 193 Pages
Published: January 2004

From inside the flap

They say the Spanish Flu started in the resort town of San Sebasian, Spain, but whether it did or didn?t it was one of the causes that helped end the First World War. The epidemic that spread across the world killed millions of people and the young were more susceptible than the middle aged. Thousands of soldiers on each side of the war died within days of contracting the disease.

Ian Showmakerís uncle died of that pandemic flu. An expert in disease prevention he succumbed to it as did millions of others. Perhaps thatís why his nephew took up the study of disease. His expertise brings him into a terrible secret where evident that a German officer came to Scotland in 1918 to find Nigel Showmaker with three ampoules carrying the dreaded Spanish Flu points to another weapon of war.

Now in 1944 Hitler is anxious to find a solution that will destroy his enemies and the search for the missing ampoules brings Ian Showmaker and a technician Nel Gywn into the hands of the Germans who in their research laboratories are perfecting an antidote. Once that antidote is found England will be infected as easily as sending over a V-2 rocket with a few grams of death into London.

The Ultimate Solution (Excerpt)


London, England, Late Spring, 1944

The cat was hiding under the bed of its mistress in the furthest reaches of the room where the wall was thick and well fortified against the cacophony of kettle and bass drum sounds that were rumbling outside. Lightning was putting on a fireworks show that even the most staunch supporters of the Guy Fawkes Day celebrations had to admit made their human efforts look like a second-rate peep show compared to this extravaganza.

Down on the first floor two other life forms were experiencing the thunderstorm.

Ian Showmaker enjoyed the might of nature. He knew other people feared storms and cringed and shivered when the lightning flashed and was followed by an ear-splitting explosion. You could feel the house shake, and taste and smell the pungent odor of ozone. At those moments, as the sizzling of the air around you was felt in the cells and neurons of your whole body, you knew that you had been missed by one of the missiles of Thor; that Nordic god who used his divine strength to throw bolts of lightning down on mere mortals.

As the light flashed, Ian could see the glimmer of the eyes of the other occupant of the kitchen. He hesitated, wondering what might happen next. The glare in the eyes of the other person reflected the light show around them. The electricity had shut down. Maybe a bolt had hit a transformer; the whole neighborhood was shrouded in darkness.

The voice was well modulated. It could be heard clearly from 30 feet or five inches away. Each word was enunciated in proper English. There could be no confusion or misunderstanding of the message. He heard it, and maybe the cat that had gone yowling up the stairs a few moments ago in fear for one of its lives, heard it too.

"I?m going to kill you, Ian Showmaker. Don?t move!"

Kirkfield, Scotland, 1918

"Ian, you know we are not supposed to fish near the weir. Mum says that years ago a boy drowned there when the tide trapped him."

Ian turned on his smaller brother. "Just follow me! I?m not stupid. We will be fine and, besides, the weir has the best fishing and the largest fish. Has anyone ever complained when we bring back fish?"

Wally didn?t have an argument. His brother was bigger and smarter and he always knew what he was doing. So Wally just shrugged his shoulders in resignation and followed him out onto the mud flats toward where the weir lay waiting to entrap fish and other things that came within its power.

Ian was right about the fish. He hooked one almost immediately after his hook touched the surface of the water. Maybe the fish in the weir had run out of food and a hook baited with a June bug was just too tantalizing, and the stronger, larger fish won the fight to have the tasty morsel.

"See, I?ve got a big one. Itís a monster." It took Ian nearly 15 minutes to land the fish. It weighed close to 10 pounds and would be highly prized when it graced the dinner table.

Wally did not need encouragement as his hook hit the water and sank into the cloudy depths of the weir. He didn?t feel any tug on his line. Maybe he should have used June bugs like his brother, but he believed that worms were better. His grandfather had told him that a good fisherman could be told by his ability to use worms. Maybe if he put his line near the entrance where the weir trapped the foolish fish he?d soon get one. He started to reel in his line but it was hooked on something. He hated the thought of losing a hook, but whatever had taken his bait was not ready to come to the surface.

"Ian, I?ve got something, but it must be a huge beast. I can barely move it."

Ian came over and grabbed his brotherís rod. "Let me have it. I?m used to teasing fish to the surface."

"I hope itís not a shark, because if it is, it won?t take kindly to our disturbing it." Wally said, his voice now small and fearful.

"Heck Wally, don?t be so wet. Just because they caught a great white shark in the weir last year you always think one will come again. Everyone knows that Great Whites don?t like the cold water. Last year it was unusually warm."

Ian tugged and pulled, then felt the line yield reluctantly yield to his pressure.

"Itís coming. Man oh man, Wally, you?re right; this oneís a biggie!"

The sudden silence from Wally made Ian turn, and he vomited up his breakfast of porridge and toast. The fish on the line had breached the surface. This fish had no fins, but at least one arm and two legs.

The police officer took what particulars he could from the two young boys.

"You say you landed the body around 4:15 this afternoon?" he asked.

Wally stood with his back to the tarpaulin-covered thing. He didn?t want to look at it again. Even when he closed his eyes he could see the fish eaten face and bony fingers.

"Yes, we came right from school. Ian and I had stored our rods nearby so we didn?t have to go home first."

Ian listened to his younger brother. He still felt awful and his stomach was threatening to eject what little remained in it. Four times since the body first pointed its fingers at him, he had retched in agony. It was almost like it was accusing him and his brother of disturbing it and as the afternoon sun enlightened itís horrific features.

The doctor was looking under the tarpaulin. He stood up and walked back to where the police office was standing. "The body has been there for a time. It will be hard to identify it. Maybe when I do a postmortem we can learn who he is. I?d say heís been in the water for several weeks. It might be longer. Sometimes bodies are suspended above the water for a while and rotting doesn?t occur as quickly. The fish have been trying to feed on it, but it must have been trapped near the steel fence and the fish couldn?t get at the body, or at least not all of it.

The police officer nodded. He hated finding bodies. God, he wouldn?t be able to eat his supper tonight and Martha had promised to have a bit of beef and mushrooms too.

"Has anyone been reported missing? Thatís a uniform I think?" the doctor asked.

Officer Garden looked up and shook his head. "Not that I know. But if you can get an examination on his teeth we may be able to find out where the poor bastard came from.."

The two boys were excused. They were anxious to get away. They carried their rods and held them as if they were diseased. No fish hung from the fish chain. Ianís fish was still out there. It, too, would be used as food for the fish, but it would not be a supper item at their table. Ian knew he?d never fish at the weir again.