Read Camp X Online

Authors: Eric Walters

Camp X

PUFFIN CANADA
 

CAMP X

Eric Walters is an elementary school teacher who began writing as a way to encourage his students to become more enthusiastic about their own creative writing. He is the author of a number of acclaimed and bestselling novels for children, including
Stand Your Ground,
which was a regional winner of the Silver Birch Award,
STARS, Trapped in Ice,
which was shortlisted for the Ruth Schwartz Award and the Silver Birch Award,
The Hydrofoil Mystery
and
Royal Ransom
. Eric Walters lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with his wife and their three children.

Also by Eric Walters from Penguin Canada and Puffin Canada

The Bully Boys

The Hydrofoil Mystery

Trapped In Ice

Royal Ransom

Other books by Eric Walters

Tiger Town

Ricky

Road Trip

Northern Exposures

Long Shot

Tiger in Trouble

Hoop Crazy

Rebound

Full Court Press

Caged Eagles

The Money Pit Mystery

Three-on-Three

Visions

Tiger by the Tail

War of the Eagles

Stranded

Diamonds in the Rough

STARS

Stand Your Ground

CAMP X

ERIC WALTERS

PUFFIN CANADA
 

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books, a division of Pearson Canada, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario,

Canada M4V 3B2

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310,

New Zealand

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in Viking by Penguin Books Canada Limited, 2002

Published in Puffin Canada by Penguin Books, a division of Pearson Canada, 2003

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Copyright © Eric Walters, 2002

All rights reserved.

Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Manufactured in Canada.

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION DATA

Walters, Eric, 1957–

Camp X / Eric Walters.

ISBN 0-14-131328-5

1. Great Britain. Special Operations Executive. Special Training School 103 (Whitby, Ont.)— Fiction. 2. World War, 1939–1945—Secret service—Great Britain—Fiction. 3. World War, 1939–1945—Secret service—Canada—Fiction. 4. World War, 1939–1945—Military intelligence—Canada—Fiction. I. Title.

PS8595.A598C36   2003      C813'. 6        C2002-904472-3

PZ7

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Visit Penguin Books' website at
www.penguin.ca

This book is dedicated to the memory of Sir William Stephenson and the men and women who served and trained at Camp X.

These very ordinary people came together to do something extremely extraordinary—they helped to save the world.

CHAPTER ONE

A TWIG SNAPPED UNDER
my feet and I froze at the sound. How far had the noise travelled? Had I been heard? My heart raced and I held my breath, listening, listening. There was nothing but the sound of crickets softly chirping in the twilight.

Slowly I turned my head, scanning the surroundings, looking, trying to spot any movement in the trees and bushes on all sides. Nothing. There was nothing. Or at least nothing that I could see.

I pulled my weapon in closer to my chest, almost as if it were some sort of shield or screen that could protect me from unseen eyes or weapons—eyes that I knew were out there, looking for me, the same way I was looking for them.

Slowly I started moving again, trying to stay in the shadows cast by the setting sun. Another twenty minutes and it would be down and I'd be safe, or at least safer, from prying eyes. Of course, not being seen meant that I couldn't see either. Places
where I could hide were also places where my enemy could stand undetected until I walked right up and they could aim weapons at me and—I stopped dead in my tracks.

Just off to the side I heard a noise. Or thought I heard a noise. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was just my imagination, or even a rabbit or a—the noise came again. This time it was louder and clearer. It was the sound of feet moving over gravel. I knew there was a path just a couple of dozen yards off to that side—I'd crossed over it and then deliberately travelled parallel to it through the cover of the forest. Whoever it was, he was coming down the path.

I bent over so I couldn't be seen above the bushes. I started to angle toward the path, slowly and deliberately, hardly lifting my feet, keeping under cover and in the shadows. He was still coming—I could hear him—but he didn't know I was there. Just up ahead I could see a gap in the trees . . . a place where I'd be able to see the path, and anybody coming down it. Softly I dropped to my knees behind a fallen tree. I pulled up my rifle and set it down on the trunk of the log, using it to steady my shaking hands. Here I'd wait for him to cross into my sights, and then . . .

Silently I took a deep breath in through my mouth, holding it in my lungs for a few seconds before exhaling through my nose. I had to control my breath, my heart and my shaking hands. I might only have one chance, and if I failed to kill him, then his gun would be trained on me. It was me or him. Me or him. A shiver went through my entire body.

I turned my head ever so slightly, listening for the sound of
his footsteps. Why couldn't I hear anything? Had he stopped or turned around? Even worse, had he turned off the path? Had he heard me moving through the trees the way I'd heard him? And if he had, was he at this very moment coming up behind me and . . . I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on end as I slowly moved my head to look behind me. Nothing. At least nothing that I could see.

I was overcome by a rush of fear. I had to get out of there . . . retreat farther into the trees . . . take cover in the darkness where I couldn't be found. I started to rise to my feet when—there it was again—the sound of feet against gravel. He was still coming.

I lowered myself back down until I was completely hidden by the fallen tree. The rifle rested against the trunk and I pressed my face against it, one eye closed, the other sighting down the barrel of my weapon. It was only going to be a matter of seconds before he walked right past this spot and— there he was! A Nazi, my sworn enemy. A small smile crept onto my face. In a split second there'd be one fewer Nazi in the world to battle the forces of freedom.

He was moving down the path slowly. I could tell by the way he was walking that he was trying to muffle the sound of his footfalls. He held his weapon out before him, looking first left and then right, scanning the forest. He was looking for me. Little did he know just how soon he was going to find me, and that he was going to pay for that privilege with his life.

He came forward, closer and closer, still partially hidden by the trees. I had to wait until he came completely into the
opening, where there was no place for him to hide. In the dim light I couldn't see his face. Maybe that was better. I didn't want to be haunted by the eyes of another dead man. He crept forward . . . another few feet before he'd be square in my sights . . . wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . I squeezed the trigger and—

“BANG!” I yelled. “I got ya!”

“You missed me!” he screamed back.

“What do you mean I missed you?” I demanded as I jumped to my feet. “You were only twenty feet away and—”

“Bang, bang, bang! I got
you!
” he yelled.

“How could you get me when you're already dead!”

“I wasn't dead . . . I was just wounded! You only winged me!”

“You're dead! Look how close I am!” I yelled.

“You were close, but you're a bad shot. All Nazis are bad shots!”

“I'm not a Nazi! You're the Nazi!” I screamed. “I was the Nazi the last time!”

“You're always the Nazi, George.”

“That's not fair!”

“I'm the big brother so I get to decide what I am, and if you don't like it I'm not playing!”

“Come on, Jack, couldn't I please be the—?”

“Nope,” he said, cutting me off. “Either you're the Nazi or I'm not going to play war with you any more. I'm too old for this anyway. If I was just a few months older I'd be fighting them for real!”

“A few months? You're only fourteen,” I protested.

“Yeah, well, some sixteen-year-olds are fighting in the war,” he argued.

“You're still twenty months away from being sixteen. And even if you were sixteen there's no way Mom would let you join up.”

“But Dad might.”

“I don't think so,” I said.

“And maybe he and I could be in the same platoon and fight the Nazis together,” my brother continued.

“You're dreaming if you think that either one of them is going to—”

“Then I'll join the French Foreign Legion, or get some false papers and join the British Army or something!”

I knew there was no point in arguing with him. He wanted to fight the Nazis . . . but who didn't?

War was raging across Europe and Asia and Africa. It was all happening pretty far away from Canada but we read about it in the newspapers, and there were the reports on the radio, and the Pathe newsreels we saw at the movies. And of course there were the letters from our father, coming from somewhere in Africa where he was stationed, fighting against the Nazi menace, helping to free the world.

I looked around. Night was closing in quickly and I wasn't exactly sure where we were.

“Jack . . . are we lost?” I asked hesitantly.

“Of course not. Don't
you
know where we are?”

“Well . . . I think that the highway is sort of that way,” I said, pointing off into the distance.

“Wrong,” he said, shaking his head. Even the fading light couldn't disguise the look of disgust on his face. “That way,” he said, pointing off to the side.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I'm sure. Turn around.”

I looked over my shoulder. There was a glow in the darkening sky.

“You know what that is, don't you?” he asked.

I nodded my head. It was the security lights at the plant. The plant was part of D.I.L.—Defence Industries Limited. It was a gigantic munitions factory and the reason we'd moved to Whitby, Ontario. Two months ago, at the end of the school year we'd left behind our farm—it was too hard to work it with Dad gone—and moved here so Mom could work at the factory.

“I guess we should be heading home,” I said.

“What's wrong . . . is little Georgie afraid of the dark?”

“I'm not afraid of the dark,” I protested.

“You want to fight the Nazis and you're afraid of the dark,”he chided me. “You know they don't stop fighting when it gets dark!”

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