Read The Call of the Thunder Dragon Online

Authors: Michael J Wormald

Tags: #spy adventure wwii, #pilot adventures, #asia fiction, #humor action adventure, #history 20th century, #china 1940s, #japan occupation, #ww2 action adventure, #aviation adventures stories battles

The Call of the Thunder Dragon

The
Call of the Thunder Dragon


A
Journey to the
West’

Continuing the adventures of Falstaff Wild

by

Michael J Wormald

Smash Words
Edition 2016

‘John Falstaff Wild’ and ‘The
continuing Adventures of Falstaff Wild’ Copyright 2007 & 2015.
‘The Call of the Thunder Dragon’ Copyright 2015 Michael John
Wormald.

 

First Published: 18th April
2015

 

Publisher: Michael J Wormald
Publishing

 

The right of Michael John Wormald
to be identified as the author of this Work has been asserted by
him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988.

 

All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be reproduced, copied in any form or by any
means, electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted
without written permission.

 

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people

If you would like to share this
book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for
each recipient.

 

ISBN: 978-0-9933256-0-1

For

‘English Rose Sweet’

CONTENTS

CONTENTS v

Illustrations and Maps
xl

Prologue xliv

At the controls of the
obsolete Biplane skimming outrageously close to the surface of the
flooded rice paddies, its English pilot brazened it out in the open
cockpit. As behind him, bombs continued to fall on a burning
airfield. xliv

Chapter One
- Hot Water on Fire Top Mountain xlviii

Falstaff’s delight was
short lived. Pulling up over the crowded bridge, he found himself
flying through a rain of wreckage. Buffeted on all sides, he felt a
violent impact against one of the wings of the little brown
Polikarpov. He barely had time to level the biplane out, point it
in the general direction of the wettest looking paddy and hope for
the best; before his engine, giving a final splutter of
indignation, cracked its pistons. Oil, broken rods and splintered
casings spewed forth in a hot steaming burst of resentment.
xlviii

Falstaff reckoned he
had only been unconscious for a few moments. He felt like a
mountain had fallen on him. There were still a few refugees
drifting along the road accompanied by wisps of smoke from the now
burning truck, but there was no sign of the ground crew or Sam
Wong. li

‘Seh lang’ liúmáng?
Chinese; ‘pervert’. ‘Hua Hua Gong zi’ a Flower-Flower, a playboy.
557

Chinese Shu = Xi,
Ximahe River 557

Pu’er China, as in the
Tea growing region, sometimes known as Pu-erh Tea 557

Chapter Two
– On the Edge with tea lvi

Zam led them around
the mountain, following the same row of grey leafless shrubs around
the ridge to the south. There sat precariously on the crest of the
highest terrace was the flying machine. lvi

Brooklands was a
2.75-mile (4.43 km) motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near
Weybridge in Surrey, England, 1907 to 1939 557

Falstaff may not know
it the designation for the float/sea Caproni Ca. 3 version was
Ca.39 557

1919 Verona Caproni
Ca.48 crash 557

Lake Meizihu the Plum
lake, Pu’er 557

Chapter
Three – Into the boiling pot came the pigs lxxv

On the crest of the
next ridge, two figures emerged, their binoculars flashing as they
caught the sun. They were joined by others, soon thirty or forty
men stood on the tree line watching the bright red Caproni as it
flew trailing a thin wisp of black smoke south towards Lake
Meizihu. The efficient Japanese war machine lined up ready to go to
war. lxxv

Sensei –
teacher/master(guru) Dono, lord/’my master’ Japanese honourifics
557

See ‘Falstaff Gets
into Hotwater’ 557

In the dim light
Colonel Haga-Jin adjusted his glasses again. He was frustrated; he
was sure Captain Soujiro had gotten them lost and was now ready to
reprimand him. lxxxvii

Chapter Four
– Morning Tea xcii

It was early morning.
The sun had not risen yet. Falstaff was lying on his back watching
the ceiling. His bed a simple low wooden pallet with a thin
mattress. Falstaff had woken with the dull pain of his throbbing
ribs. There was a pleasing aroma, of smouldering pine wood burning,
coming from the firepot beneath the bed. The Chinese Kang style
stone work chimney at the head of the bed drew the smoke away,
while the heat warmed the bed. xcii

Okura woke with a
banging head. He and his fellow agents were sharing the room. It
was normally intended for two. However, a third mattress had been
added on the floor to accommodate them. xciv

On his way back to his
room, as Falstaff turned the corner, he bumped into a man coming
the opposite direction. xcv

Gomennsai, Japanese
I’m sorry 557

Colonel Haga-Jin
stamped up and down the foyer of the hotel. It was bad enough that
his agents had slept in, but discovering one of them was missing
while the other two slept made his temper boil. When the two
remaining agents, bleary eyed, with wine and garlic on their
breaths appeared late, Haga-Jin wrath was barely contained. He had
gritted his teeth, snarling he ranted in a hiss until this
triggered a nose bleed. xcviii

A Chinese sword shaped
like a curved meat cleaver; also known as the ‘big-sabre’. 557

Mafeng – Hornets
557

Marihito was tired and
hungry when he got back to the hotel. He’d found Captain Soujiro
and his men in the woods and waited with them while they radioed
the other units for updates on their mission. cviii

Marihito was hitting
his stride now. Firstly he bought several Taro buns, pan-fried
cakes filled with sweet taro paste and with piles of sliced almonds
on top. At the table, he scribbled his plans in his note book. Then
licking his fingers clean of crumbs, put on his overcoat and hat
before going search of a printers. cix

Falstaff was up and
about, although the sun had set. He had slept nearly all day and
was now anxious to get back to the aircraft. Zam managed to get a
list of mechanics and car, or truck owners in the area likely to be
of help. The Doctor visited bringing a large bag of the tea to
‘quicken and balance the Blood’ he said. cix

Meizi Plum Lake
derives its name from Maisie River 557

Guwahati is two
Assamese words: 'guwa' (the areca nut) and 'haat' (market place)
Pronounced Gowhatty, anglicized to Gauhati during British rule. The
name changed to its present form in 1980s to conform to local
pronunciation. ‘Guwahati’ 557

After quickly washing
and scrubbing down, they’d stepped into the moonlight naked, then
sunk into the hot steaming water of the thick wooden tub. Frost was
growing thick around the edges of the steam cloud where the warm
air failed to penetrate. Less mesmerised by the naked displays of
the night before, Falstaff was more composed and focused on his or
Zam’s nudity. China had a different view of nudity; especially when
washing. There was nothing suggestive about it. Taking your clothes
off to bathe and jump naked into a hot tub with the rest of the
bathers was normal and not a step towards anything else, as many
Westerners might view it or Falstaff liked to imagine it. cxiii

The bed in place
nearly filled the room, currently piled high with spare bedding, at
the far end of the room was another door. Marihito crept forward,
holding the cases to stop them banging against the wall. He had
heard people rushing by and sounds of shouts or orders; he guessed
they were coming from the terrible manageress who’d so absurdly
chased him away. Taking a deep breath, he tried the door. To his
surprise, it was unlocked. Once outside, Marihito found the
corridor leading to the rooms at the front of the hotel. cxix

Chikushoo, Japanese,
Damn it 557

Zam fussed over
Falstaff, who had shaken off the effects of the incident and was
already pacing the room anxious to be away. However, they were
again stuck in the room together while the police tried to put
together what had happened. cxxii

Falstaff and Yam
strolled up the avenue, stopping to investigate the stalls as they
went along. They were heading towards the ‘change shop’ and
telegraph office at the top of the avenue. There was also the
town’s only other permanent shops. The rest being market stalls,
Farm foods and dried fish stalls, that changed day and night,
winter and summer. The three shops were firstly the Medicine shop,
which also sold local tea and two Chinese department stores, which
also sold the local ubiquitous Pu’er teas for the tourists.
cxxix

Chapter Five
– Lotus Tea Society cxxxiv

Marihito marched up
the avenue. His suitcase in hand, trying to look as smart and
official as he could. The local Police station was on the edge of
the town at the top of the hill on the road from Meizi to Simao and
the main road leading back out of the hills to next big town.
cxxxiv

Falstaff and Zam
returned to the hotel directly. Carrying the bags of warm clothes
and hot water bottles. Falstaff had also managed to find, after
some explanation to the shopkeeper a travel tea set, which included
a little cooking stove. cxxxvi

After two hours it was
nearly done, half the plugs had been replaced; One of the brothers
worked away loosening the plugs while Falstaff inspected them with
a wary eye. cxli

Despite his fears
Falstaff grew weary and sitting on a log he started to doze off
cxlii

Zam had bathed, eaten
and rested. Expecting to get an early start the next morning. With
nothing to do she looked over the maps laid out on the floor. There
were plies of paper with notes, endless numbers and names of
places. Amongst them, she found a picture. An idle scribble on the
back of one page. A woman naked accept for shoes and hat. Sporting
an amble, bouncing bust and long legs, posed with hand on hip.
Falstaff had further embellished his sketch with a red pencil
coloring her hair and shoes. Zam angrily shoved the picture and
papers aside. Finding it was nearly six o’clock she went down to
the foyer no longer able to stay in the same room alone. She let
herself become stuck in a long conversation full of idle gossip
with Song while she inwardly fumed at Falstaff. cxliii

“You’re going out?”
Zam exploded. Screaming over Falstaff’s mumbled apology a few
minutes later. cxlix

Colonel Haga-Jin’s
humour had not improved. Even after Marihito explained his plan and
how he had managed to break into the hotel undetected and secure
any incriminating evidence. cxlix

Having chased down the
houseboy with his boots, Falstaff pulled them on. Throwing a copper
at the boy who’d fallen asleep by the fire instead of cleaning
them. They were at least dry and warmed through thought Falstaff.
clii

Colonel Haga-Jin
marched behind the flag of the rising sun. Down the hill they
marched towards the main avenue and the shore line. The sun
appropriately was just rising over the town. clv

Zam had tapped
Falstaff on the temple. “Did you hear that?” She said. clvi

The shot made Falstaff
jump back from the window. He heard shouting outside, but the sound
of pounding feet made him turn towards the door. He lunged hooking
his holster up with his left hand, transferring the revolver to his
right in one motion, his finger curled around the trigger, ready to
face the coming noise. clvii

The Colonel made his
speech again. Takechi had not reappeared. The plan had been to
finish with the capture of the Englishman. Then immediately release
the prisoners and march to the lake shore. They had already radioed
for the plane to land and take them off. Turning red, Haga-Jin
jumped down and glowered about spitefully staring gathering crowd.
clix

The four houseboys had
rushed to the Falstaff and Zam’s room. The room was now bare, the
bed empty, the mattress pulled aside and left leaning against the
wall. The cast iron firepots doused and removed. Finally, the maid
and house boys slid the door to, ensuring the door remained firmly
on its wooden rails. clxi

Falstaff crouched
behind a pile of logs facing the back door in the wooden fence into
the hotel and the boiler rooms. The shouting inside continued for
some time with no sign of pursuit. His calves trembled as he
squatted. His feet were wet in a puddle of icy water. He wished he
had his flying boots, which he hoped by now had been cleaned and
reclaimed by Zam or hidden away by someone. The thin leather shoes
he’d bought at the department store were loose. clxii

Captain Soujiro
marched outside clutching the register. Colonel Haga-Jin took the
book and started checking all the names thoroughly. “Bring them
out!” He cried, calling the name of any resident who hadn’t checked
out. clxiv

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