21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine: Spy Fiction

No Honesty In Death
Mark Cunliffe
There was a dead body waiting for Harry in Prague.
All in all he’d had better welcome parties.

Getting through airport customs was the usual farce he had come to expect from communist countries during this war they call cold. But when he finally got through he was met by a different cold: the weather. Harry stepped out onto the icy Prague streets in a flurry of snow that settled lightly on the ground below and shimmered in the late morning sunlight like a billion diamonds.

He began to pat at his far too lightweight, London Spring Macintosh to circulate warmth into his body and to highlight to the nearby StB, the state secret police, that he was the Englishman they were no doubt meant to follow. Sure enough, a couple of heavies across the road nodded to one another and extinguished their cigarettes before acting inconspicuous. Harry smiled in spite of himself at the predictability and began to walk to the police station.

Milan Prochazka was fat, forty-five and fed up. Harry could see that the moment he clapped eyes on him and lied to him. He showed him the passport that London Central had issued to him in the name of Harold Price, solicitors clerk from Chipping Norton, and said he was here to see his brother. Wearily Prochazka led the way down the stone steps of the police station and into the chill air of the morgue. "This way, please." He groaned as he led Harry to the metallic cabinets that housed many of the cities criminals and nonces, revolutionaries and insurgents, tramps and Jan Doe’s. After a loud belch, that reminded Harry to add flatulent to the list of F’s, Prochazka pulled open the tray marked ‘Price, David Angus’

David Angus Price was officially from ‘D Ops’, or as official jargon called them a ‘Sandbagger’ or as departmental slang put it ‘Our Man In Deep Shit’. He was one of the men London happily sent in for missions that were under the wire. Infiltration of enemy countries, assassinations, or in this case, theft of microfilm from the other side. Thing was the other side weren’t too keen on that kind of operation and made that known to Price. Harry looked down at the still, pale blue corpse that lay in front of him. Not for the first time, Harry had to count his blessings. That could so easily be him, with Price standing here now pretending to be his brother. Back in the day, when Ross had him over a barrel, the old man made it plain that one avenue of SIS work that may be preferable to the long prison stretch ahead of him care of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, was that of ‘D Ops’ where the select flocked to after a career in the military.

However, it soon became clear to Ross that Harry had a brain and self-confessed to a yellow streak, rather than having brawn and a vicious streak. And so it was decreed that a trickster with criminal tendencies such as his, was required for more intelligent, intelligence work. Harry was glad. For one it meant that he didn’t have a tag around his toe right now, and for another it meant he didn’t have to work for old Rawlinson, head of ‘D Ops’. A tough former commando who was, rumour had it, a pederast, but SIS forgave him his little foibles, for he was ‘a brilliant man' dontchaknow? Had a bit of a bad time of it during the war, poor chap, never really over it.’ It’s amazing what the brass in their oak walled clubs would turn a blind eye to for Queen and Country. It sickened Harry.
"This your brother? I need positive ID" rumbled Prochazka.
Harry nodded "Yes, yes it is" Cynically he thought to himself, the life of a spy is never over. You lie as you live and you lie once your dead. David Angus Price, just twenty-eight years old had no brother, no wife and now no life. But what he did have was Harry standing over him pretending to be his brother. There was no honesty in this game, not even in death.

Prochazka placed a sympathetic hand upon Harry’s shoulder. "I had brother," he sighed, "Died during war," and the two of them stood for a moment, listening to the stillness of the room, before Prochazka sniffed loudly and facing Harry said; "It was as written, your brother was run over by the tram."
"I see." Said Harry in a way that suggested he did not, and he stared down Police Captain Milan Prochazka’s fat forty -five year old fed up frame until he received an answer in the shape of an urgently whispered beseeching "Look, I don’t want trouble."
"Nor do I," Harry said, sensing he could trust him, he decided to open his gambit. "I want answers. I want to know why my brother took a special interest in the tramlines of Prague, so special that he was found inspecting one flat down across it? I, and our Mother, would be grateful for any information."

Prochazka sighed again. It was like he was being slowly deflated, and by the look of his figure Harry could see that that wouldn’t have been a bad option. "Look, I am police here, I do not want any trouble. I do not want to investigate an international incident and I am sure that you do not either, yah?" He asked broaching a hand out in friendship. Harry took his hand and Prochazka said; "I am sure your people do not want one either." So he had figured it out, Harry was right to trust the old fox. "Do yours?" Harry asked and received a dismissive wave as an answer.
"At this time, is not convenient. They have done what they thought best I suppose. I am sorry. Stb, they are swines. Is not first time they arrange such things"
"Was anything found on him?" Harry asked
"Only what is listed here," said Prochazka picking up a clipboard from the table and showing it him. "You want any of these items?" Harry glanced over them. There was nothing. "No, just the passport"
"As you wish" the policeman replied and added "StB get the treasures then?"
Harry looked up from the list of items and nodded.
"Swines," he rumbled once more. "They will follow you today, ja? Make sure you do this thing with no fuss. Please, no counter attack, I want no trouble here, I have the townsfolk to consider, ordinary decent people."
"You’ll get none from me, I am just here to identify my brother and arrange transportation of his body to London Airport for buria.l" Harry said, parroting the cover details with some mild cynicism.
Prochazka smiled at the Englishman, in recognition of a similar soul and in appreciation that he was playing ball. "Good," he replied with some relief. "Come we go and get belongings, then we arrange flight of body back home," and he moved from the room.

Harry looked round momentarily, before his gaze rested upon Price once more. Brave or foolish? Right now Harry could only see the foolishness that is implicit in an early grave. Still, he knew Price didn’t deserve to be pushed under a tram by a foreign secret police. He was doing his duty, what he felt was right and worthwhile and they killed him for it. Slowly he pushed him back into the compartment and for a moment stood there helpless in a state of limbo out of some accepted notion of respect for the fallen, but with no clear idea of what to do. If he was a religious man he could pray he thought. But what would be the point? If there were a God he wouldn’t be here now lying to a cop and a corpse. Harry snapped himself out of it and quickly left the room, he had work to do. He couldn’t lie around all day.
© Mark Cunliffe November 2007

Our Man in Africa
Mark Cunliffe

The jeep bounced along the dirt road sending Harry up from his seat and back down again with a crash. His stomach was not happy about this

More Spy Fiction


© Hackwriters 1999-2007 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.