WORRALS IN THE WASTELANDS
by W. E. Johns (NB – Not credited as Captain)
First printed January 1949
1. APPOINTMENT AT SCOTLAND YARD (Pages 7 – 21)
Air Commodore Raymond, D.S.O., Assistant Commissioner of Police at Scotland Yard, meets Worrals and Frecks in his office. “So we meet again, Miss Worralson … and Miss Lovell – or is it still ‘Frecks’?”. Betty Lovell, otherwise Frecks, smiled wanly. “It’s a pity people don’t realize that nicknames dished out casually at school cling to one for life,” she said sadly. “Frecks it was, Frecks it still is, and Frecks it always will be, I’m afraid”. Raymond says he heard they were civilians again. Worrals asks how he got hold of her address, and Raymond says he got it from a mutual friend, Squadron Leader Yorke of Air Intelligence. Worrals turns down a cigarette. Raymond says “Most girls smoke nowadays”. Worrals replies, “I know. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t. Not being a sheep I don’t do things just because other people do”. Raymond tells them he will come straight to the point and asks them if they would like to arrest Anna Shultz? “There was a moment of silence, a moment in which Worrals’s eyes opened wide, while her mouth hardened. “Anna Shultz,” she breathed. “The She-devil of the Stenberg Internment Camp”. “Never mind arresting her,” she said in a voice that was as brittle as ice. “I’ll hang her for you if you like – and so would any other woman who knows her ghastly record. I could hardly bear to read the details; there’s a limit to what I can stand in the way of horrors. Don’t call her a woman. She’s a Gorgon. Her wretched victims used to call her the Devil’s Sister”. Raymond says that he particularly wants a woman to do the job because of Anna Shultz’s effect on men. “This Shultz female may be a devil, but she doesn’t look like one. She’s good-looking, and apparently has a way with men when she chooses to turn on the charm. A man might be fooled by those big blue eyes of hers, which can be as hard as icebergs, or, when it suits her, as innocent as those of a baby. But they go well with her golden hair and wild-rose complexion, and feeling that she had perhaps been misjudged a man might easily succumb to temptation and give her sympathetic treatment, only to discover his folly too late”. “Quite so,” murmured Worrals. “Her big blue eyes won’t cut any ice with me”. Raymond tells Worrals a long and complex story. It starts in 1939 when two young English speaking Germans named Fritz Hanstadt and Otto Rumey arrived in Canada as prospectors, when in fact they were Nazi spies. They set off from Fort MacWilliam, in the far north, and canoed up the Chinokee River. Both later returned to Germany, Hanstadt became a U-boat commander and Rumey a Hauptmann in the Luftwaffe. Returning to the story in 1939, two old trappers, Erik Hedin, a Swede, and Angus Fraser, a Scot also went up the Chinokee River and they met two emaciated, bearded men in a battered canoe. These men were the two Germans, who returned to Fort MacWilliam and sold some unusual gold. It was distinctive because it was very pale. Skipping to 1945, a former British officer named Captain John Larwood arrives at Fort MacWilliam to do some prospecting and he joined up with Erik Hedin and together they wanted to explore up the Chinokee River having heard about the pale gold. The difficulty in going north was you had to go between the break-up of ice in spring and the freeze-up in the autumn. Larwood, decided it was best to fly up, and they chose one of the highest lakes as their destination, a lake known as Lake Desolation, about twelve miles long and two or three miles wide. They hired a pilot called Eddie Clarke, who flew them up. Larwood and Hedin have not been seen since. Clarke flew back to Lake Desolation on September 15th, to pick the men up in accordance with their agreement but not only were they not there; there was no sign of them. Clarke waited two days before the deteriorating weather forced him to return and he reported the two men missing. Worrals interrupts. “Very interesting and dramatic – but I’m still waiting to hear where the Shultz woman comes in,” she says grimly. Raymond says Eddie Clarke found one object at the lake. “A lipstick”.