The unexpected invasion

 

(Groningse schoolvereniging, internationale klas ID5, 20 januari 2012)

 

Groningen, 1672

 

James remembers how he got to the Netherlands by boat, crossing the canal undetected. After that he had walked all the way to Groningen, past waterworks and across the fields, not to be caught.
In the city he has worked very hard to get to the house of the General of the Dutch army, Rabenhaupt. This is what he was sent to do.
He goes in when there are no guards around, and he sneaks through the hallway. Accidentally he drops a glass vase and with a loud bang! it falls on the ground.
*
Upstairs Katrien, the daughter of the General, hears the sound and she stiffens. She’d thought that she was all alone in the big house at the Grote Markt. Maybe it was a cannonball? She shakes her head. No, the house hadn’t been hit and she heard the crash downstairs.
Katrien looks around the corner of her door. When she sees no-one, she goes into the corridor and tiptoes to the big hall.
What was that noise? She is very scared. She hopes nothing bad is going to happen.
*
James has found the Generals study and now he is looking for secret information. He looks through the papers on the desk, but he can’t find anything.
Suddenly he sees a file on the desk that says “Topgeheim”. His Dutch is fairly good, so he knows that it means “Top Secret”. He is just about to open it when he hears the door handle squeak.
Someone is coming in!
James is not fast enough to hide, so he stands there frozen and doesn’t know what to do. He watches the door and he thinks he’s doomed.
*
Katrien looks at the young man in her father’s study. He is tall and handsome, she hasn’t seen him before, she is sure.
“What are you doing here?” the man asks. His Dutch has a strange accent.
“What are you doing here?!” she asks him. She thinks she is more entitled to an answer.
“I’m cleaning the General’s stuff,” he answers, he looks around nervously.
“Alright,” Katrien replies, a bit uncertain.
“Where is master Rabenhaupt?”
Katrien looks at him, uncertain.
“You should know, if he told you to clean…”
*
James bites his lip. It is hard to lie to this nice girl.
“He told me earlier…” It doesn’t sound very convincing to him, but the girl smiles.
“Pardon me. I thought someone was sneaking through our house. You can go now.”
James nods, while he slips the folder into his jacket and walks out of the study. He feels her eyes in his back, until he reaches the door. He looks over his shoulder. The girl has gone. He goes to the door, pulls it open and runs on to the Grote Markt.
At that moment loud explosions rage, and he turns around. A bomb lands on the house and James’ heart jumps. The girl is still inside!
James quickly runs inside, before other people arrive. He climbs over the rubble, and finds the girl. She’s hurt! He picks her up and takes her to the field hospital that is built against the Martini church. He never notices that the Top Secret folder falls out of his jacket, right where he picks up Katrien.
*
In the hospital the surgeon announces to General Rabenhaupt and Katriens savior that she is not dead, but badly hurt. James volunteers to stay with her, while her father defends the city.
It is only days later that the army of Bommen Berend flees the city and Katrien opens her eyes. She smiles at James. He grins back.

Written on the 20th of january 2012 by: Jacob, Uma, Emma, Tessa, Anant, Jakob, Sanne, Bram, Aloysia, Rimi, Pooya, Marrib, Vivian, Archie, Aaron, Ugbede and Hazim, during ‘Schat zoekt Vinder op School’ (Treasure in search of Finders in the classroom) with author Martijn Lindeboom.