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The Adventure of the Venetian Pearls (part 19)

4.) : What threatened to become a boring day turned into an adventure. Imagine, Chris can talk Italian! And this ability led us to a baffling revelation.

The weather forecast had been right. An icy wind was prowling the streets, biting hands and
faces. Low hanging clouds had swallowed the other islands. It was gloomy, as if time had come to a standstill just after dawn. Only a few intrepid day-trippers were fighting their way
through the gusts towards the Quay, hoping that the weather would clear.

Nicky and Chris were standing pressed against the corner of a house. The hoods of their rain jackets pulled deeply into their faces, they were blowing onto their hands and skipping to keep warm. Finally another wrapped figure appeared.

Star Castle Hotel (view from the hill)

"My mother won't let me go in this weather," Daniel apologized. "But she asked the hotel owner if I could invite two friends for a swim in the pool. We'd probably have it to ourselves. What about it?"

It sounded ok, so Chris and Nicky fetched their swimming togs. To their delight, Daniel led them up the garrison hill to the 16th century fortress, which had been converted into a hotel.

The swimming pool was situated in a glasshouse in the middle of a lawn lined on three sides by bungalow style hotel rooms and a conservatory housing a dining room. They changed in the Elgin's spacious room, which was close to the pool.

"Where are your parents?" Chris asked.

"Playing bridge with another couple in the hotel lounge," Daniel answered.

He gave Nicky the key to the glasshouse and let them go ahead. When he joined them,he was wearing a tracksuit. Nicky and Chris felt nervous when Daniel began to take it off. They were on one hand curious what Daniel's leg would look like, and on the other, they didn't know why, they felt ashamed. To mask the jumble inside him, Chris jumped into the water with a loud splash.

"You're not supposed to do that," scolded Nicky, following him.
(To be continued)