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Our attention was suddenly caught by the activity near the shooters hut. A van had stopped and a group of men were lifting out a lot of equipment.
I thought that the men must be here to open the cave, which had been closed for many years now. The men, with their equipment, headed for the cave. I knew that although they were experienced, it would be very hard to get into the entire cave, as it was through very small holes and gaps.
The Major, myself and a few other people walked behind the men, slowly. While walking, I thought of Marthe, being taken out of the cave after so many years. I saw Marthe in my head as if it was not many years ago. We finally reached the cave and everyone there gathered round to watch.
The men were ready to open the cave, my cave, or at least it used to be my cave. As they entered the cave, I remembered when I last saw and spoke to Marthe. As I was thinking of her, I also thought of when I touched her hand in the cave. Thinking of her so much quite upset me.
Suddenly I remembered Marthe’s secret. No one else knew, although they may have suspected, but Marthe was the spy and she used to help the foreign parachutists.
I told the men that I had discovered the cave and that it would be easier if I showed them the way as I had been before and I was also a trained pot-holer.
I entered the cave with the men behind me. We walked along silently until we got to the point where I had last touched Marthe. We all stopped and the men looked down to where Marthe was but no one could see very much. I put a torch on and pointed it down the gap to see the best way to get down. After a few minutes, I explained to the men what we should do and they started to tie ropes and prepare themselves. As the men went down, one by one, I, again, thought of Marthe. Finally, it was my turn to lower myself down through the cave. I went down very slowly. When I reached the bottom, I looked around and as I moved the light of my torch, I could hear bats flying around.
The men spread out looking for any signs of Marthe.
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The parachutist who got shot on the leg. He may have come here with Marthe or did he get away? I wasn’t sure and no one else knew about him and Marthe. The other men were putting bits and pieces into a bag and I wasn’t too sure what it was. I walked over to find the things and as soon as I saw them, I knew they belonged to Marthe. I could remember her wearing the dark clothes and hat.
There seemed to be no sign of the parachutist but then I noticed a black piece of material, with my torch. I never said anything to the men, because they were busy dealing with Marthe. I walked over to the material and when I reached it, I realised it was the parachute. I picked it up and found the parachutist. I then told the men and they came to put it all in bags and carry the man as well as Marthe.
Getting out of the cave was extremely difficult. We went up, one at a time and lifted the bags and bodies up at a time. I was last to go up and before I did, I had another look around the cave.
As we walked out of the cave with the bags, the men told the man in charge that the bodies were ready to be carried out. The man in charge asked everyone to move out of the way as a few more men went into the cave.
I didn’t re-enter North’s Discovery. I never even waited any longer, I just walked away. I didn’t want to see the remains of Marthe. I walked down the hill slowly. I decided that I wouldn’t come back to this village again; it had too many war memories. I got into my car and looked up to the people at the cave, and left. I was, in a way, upset about leaving again but I also knew that if I was to come back I would only think of Marthe and I knew how upset this could make me. I drove past all of the places that I once knew and also some new buildings and shops.
While driving I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone about Marthe’s secret, there was no need to.
As I left the old village of Wenningbourgh, although I spent a large part of my life there, I did not look back.