On the edge of the village of Saint-Amand-de-Coly there was a long-abandoned chateau. Left at the end of the war, it had become completely overgrown and was, at least from the main road to Candat-le-Lardin, not even visible. Except to a few, it was completely forgotten.
But Gerard Badeaux had recently met one of those few in a small café, and now he stood at what had once been a grand entrance. Imposing rusty gates towered above him. Toying with the locked bolt, he was just wondering how to get past such a barrier when he felt the mechanism suddenly come apart in his hand. No padlock, he thought wryly, was a match for seventy years of decay.
The gate groaned on its hinges as Gerard pushed. At length, he reached the villa, which was surrounded by a variety of outbuildings in varying stages of decomposition. He could not easily get into the main house, so he tried a large shed. The door was so rotten it had broken partially off its hinges and as he gave it a push, the whole thing fell completely away.
He stepped over broken bits of moldy wood into a musty atmosphere. Narrow shafts of sunlight lit the dust as his eyes adjusted to the darkness and for several moments he stood. The shapes were unmistakable. Motor cars. Possibly hundreds of motor cars. Cars that could not be newer than seventy years old.
Gerard felt his pulse quicken.
He slightly lifted the filthy tarpaulin on the object nearest to him. And, indeed, it revealed part of a flat tire and a stylish wheel cover. He pulled harder at the tarpaulin and it came off in a great, choking cloud of dust.
Gerard could hardly believe his eyes. He stared at a flying stork, unmistakable, her wings outstretched in majestic flight.
He had found nothing less rare than a 1930’s model Hispano-Suiza.
What a treasure. How many other pairs of wings would he find here?
Could that be a Bentley in the distance?
Perhaps a Lagonda?