Buber’s Basque Story: Part 35

“Where did he go?” asked Maite as they crossed the threshold of the exit. Maite had been nervous when the inspector had begun questioning them, but somehow they knew the answers. Whatever had happened to them when they went back in time, they had brought a full complement of memories, as if they had a complete backstory to facilitate their jaunt through time.

Kepa scanned the room in front of him. People were amassed at the top of a great staircase. A man yelled instructions. “Those going west or south, keep to the right! Those going east or north, keep to the left!” 

Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Kepa saw Blas in the crowd, moving to the right. “There!” he exclaimed as he grabbed Maite’s hand and pulled her behind him. But, before they got to him, another man intercepted Blas and took him down the central staircase. The man was dressed in the same nondescript suit that most of the men in the room wore. However, when he led Blas down the stairs, he turned to scan the crowd. Kepa and Maite saw a glimpse of his face as he and Blas disappeared down the stairs. The sight of the man’s immaculate goatee hit them like a punch to the gut. 

Maite turned to Kepa. “De Lancre!” she exclaimed as both she and Kepa pushed their way through the crowd toward the central staircase. When they reached the top, they saw de Lancre lead Blas through a door. They rushed down the stairs as men, women, and children on each side of them watched, some of them shaking their heads. When they reached the bottom, they pushed the door open and found themselves at the end of a long and empty corridor.

Rushing down the corridor, they followed it as it curved to the right. The sides were flanked by large windows and they could see the grounds of the complex outside and, in the distance, the water that surrounded the small island. As they continued to run down the passageway, it connected to another building. Suddenly, they found themselves at a fork where the corridor split into two.

“Where are they?” asked Maite. “Which way do we go?”

“Entzun! Listen!” replied Kepa. “Do you hear that?”

From down the hall to the left, they could hear the sounds of a struggle. Intermingled with the sounds of scuffle, they heard a voice yell “Ez!” and “Gelditu!”

“Blas!” Maite and Kepa exclaimed in unison as they dashed to the left. They stopped in front of one of the doors labeled “laundry.” The sounds were clearly coming from behind that door. They could hear Blas yelling in his thick Gipuzkoan accent. “Itzuli hori! Give that back!”

Kepa looked at Maite as he grabbed the doorknob and turned it, pushing the door open with a show of force, hoping to surprise the men on the other side.

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