Day Four

 

 

Klaus stepped quietly over Dorian's sleeping form.  He went to check on his agents.  K had fallen asleep and so had J.  L was awake and cradling a sleeping Christine in his arms.  Klaus gave him a hard look, then turned to go rouse the men.  He heard a car approach.

 "Agents M and N," said L.  "Wait.  There are others with them."

Klaus went to the window.  Christine stirred and woke.  Along with M and N were agents O through S, dressed for battle. Another car followed them up -- Detective Kopleck's car.  The detective stepped out, accompanied by three other men.  Klaus went down to meet them.

"Major von Eberbach," said a rather breathless Kopleck, hurrying up to him.  "You were right about Keil!  He directed the punks to kill the Turks and anyone else who tried to snoop around here.  These are officers Braun, Gelplatz, and Altmann."

At that point, Altmann broke in.  "The police force is not a part of this.  Keil is acting on his own.  Acting, I think, for someone else."

Kopleck resumed, "There was a plan to attack and your men last night.  The boys and I patrolled the woods while your agents called in reinforcements."

Dorian came out and joined Klaus, L, Christine, and the newcomers.  "What's going on?"

"What's going on is, we have got to find that list of names before anyone else shows up.  Men?"

"Wait," said Kopleck.  "List of names?"

"I'll explain later.  No, Christine, you explain.  Agents, let's get to work."

 

Dorian followed Klaus and agents M, N, and O downstairs into the cellar.  The rest of the troupe remained upstairs to stand watch.  He stood at the bottom of the landing, watching as Klaus and crew moved dirt and stones to raise the ground level.  Then, with that done, Klaus stood on top of the pile, sledgehammer in hand.  Dorian felt a shiver at the sight.

Klaus hefted the sledgehammer, them took a mighty swing right at the center of the enormous swastika.  He gave a grunt of effort as he did so, and Dorian became instantly aroused.

"Swing it, Baby!" he called with an affected drawl.

Klaus gave him only a sidelong glare, and continued to bash a hole in the wall.  The hole was fairly high up; higher than someone in a chair could reach.  Dorian squirmed.  He fantasized about running his hands over that muscular body, ripping the clothes off of it, licking the sweat from it.

When the hole determined big enough, Klaus took a flashlight and peered inside.

"See anything?" said M.

Dorian stared at Klaus' firm ass.  "Mmm-hmm," he smiled.

The Major withdrew his head and shoulders.  "A skeleton in a wheelchair.  Looks like a rabbi's clothes on him."  He turned to Dorian.  "Go get Kopleck."

"Right, then," said Dorian, glad to be of help.

 

Klaus watched the golden curls bob as Dorian scampered up the stairs.  Golden mantle.  He shook off the memory before it could resurface.

"Let's start chipping away carefully at the mortar," said Klaus just a second before he and his agents heard a series of popping sounds from upstairs, followed by a scream.  Agents M, N and O, who were at the base of Klaus' pedestal of dirt and stones, ran upstairs.  Klaus leapt down to pursue, drawing his gun.

He knew the sound of gunfire well, and recognized the sounds as such, but for some reason he imagined it was the sound of a whip cracking.  He raced down the hall, away from the dark cellar and he could swear he felt something right behind him, at his heels.  He turned and aimed his gun at empty air.  He kept running.

Outside it was chaos.  There were two dozen or so young punks to the ten agents and three police, but the agents were making short work of the inexperienced Neo-Nazis.

One punk had Dorian down on the ground and was beating him with a short policeman's stick.  Dorian was fighting back, but was at a disadvantage.   Klaus grabbed the youth around the neck and pistol-whipped him in the side of the head.

"Where's Madame--"

"The tower!" cried Dorian, struggling to his feet.  "Hurry! They've got her trapped!"

Klaus looked up at the crumbling ruins.  He dropped the youth and started for the tower when an object at the window of the tower caught his eye.

"Christine!" shouted Dorian, "Hang on!"

But she didn't.  Christine fell.  Pushed or jumped, Klaus couldn't tell, but he saw her fall without a sound.

Then, deep inside Klaus' mind, the walls came a-tumblin' down.

***

Dorian ran to catch her, knowing he would never get there in time.  She hit the grass and bounced, sending up a spray of early-morning dew.  Her form tumbled down the slope a little ways before coming to rest on her back.  Dorian ran to her under a hail of bullets.  He heard return fire from the agents and someone groaned in agony.  He reached Christine, felt for a pulse, found one.

"She's alive!" he shouted. "Someone help!  She's still alive!"

Two agents raced over.  "Don't move her," said J.  "K, find a litter!"

"Hang on, love," whispered Dorian into her ear.  "Hang on. You've got to live to see your son, okay?"  He glanced over at Klaus.  The Major was where he had left him at the foot of the tower, but had fallen to his knees.  He was clutching himself around the stomach, staring blank-eyed into space.

"Oh my God!!" cried Dorian.  "The Major's been shot!"  He left Christine in the agents' care and hurried over to his beloved.  The agents had the Neo-Nazis pretty much under control by now, but Dorian barely noticed.

"Major!"  He skidded to a halt on his knees before the Major. "Klaus!"  He tore the man's arms away from his stomach.  There was no blood.

"Major?" he panted, looking up into green eyes that didn't seem to notice him.  "Klaus?  What's wrong?"  He turned the Major's face to him, trying to force eye-contact.  "Klaus, it's all right.  She's alive!"

But Major von Eberbach wasn't there.  Not there at all.

***********************************************************************

Young Klaus Von Eberbach was a devout and dedicated Catholic student.  He'd memorized his catechism in only one week, knew all the saints and their feast days, and could recite any number of prayers and scriptures.  Maybe such seriousness was not good in a ten-year-old, but Klaus' religious fervor knew no limits.  If the goal was to become the best Christian one could, then Klaus was determined to be the best ever.

He'd been fasting for four days and his small body was weak and unsteady.  His mind too was experiencing the effects of no food and constant prayer.  He'd also limited himself to only three hours of sleep a night, to provide himself with ample time for Bible-study.  But he was weakening.  He could barely pay attention to his lessons, and it was agony to sit through meals in the dining hall.

He went to the chapel to pray.  He knelt trembling before the altar, crossing himself, then folding his hands in childlike piety.

"Divine Father, Blessed Lamb of God, Holy Spirit, Blessed Virgin," he prayed, moving his lips silently, "make me worthy. Give me strength."  His stomach felt like a stone.  It had stopped cramping finally, apparently accepting the fact that Klaus wasn't going to feed it.

"Fill me with your holy light.  Make me good."

He had to lean forward to keep from fainting.  "Please, God." He was whispering aloud now.  "I want to be holy."

The sunlight was beautiful, streaming through the round stained-glass window above the altar.  Beams of color dappled the white cloth on the altar, the brown-grey stones of the dais, and Klaus' upturned face.

"I want to be good.  I want to be happy.  I want to be loved."  His mind began to wander.  "Father doesn't love me. Doesn't.  Make me good."  The lights began to move slowly in circular patterns.

"God?"

He saw a young woman standing before him where the altar had been just a second before.  She was made of sunlight, a lady of golden light, with a kind, loving mother's face.  Young Klaus suddenly wanted more than anything to be her child.  To climb into her lap and sleep.

"You must sacrifice," she said.  Her voice sounded like Sister Agatha's.  He liked Sister Agatha.  "You must sacrifice. Then you shall find glory."

Klaus looked up through tearfilled eyes.  Love and awe filled his young heart.  Fervent love for God and the Church overwhelmed the child and for the first time in his life he knew total and complete joy.  He had been chosen like the saints themselves and had received a divine revelation.

He understood the message.  Sacrifice.  Sacrifice for that which he held most dear: duty, which was God.  Yes, he would devote his life to duty.  He would become a priest.  A firm but joyous resolve filled him.  He knew his purpose now.  He knew he'd been chosen.

And he knew this vision.  Saint Pelagia, the virgin martyr. Just like her, he too would be a virgin.  God loved virgins better anyway.  God would keep him good.

New strength filled him, cleared his senses.  The vision faded away.  He had to tell someone.  It had to be someone important.  Father Haffemann was the assigned counselor for Klaus' dorm.  Klaus didn't really know him, but maybe the priest would understand.  The other boys were afraid of Father Haffeman so he must be important.

The long hall of the parish offices rocked unsteadily under his numb legs.  The long red carpet looked like a river of flowing blood.

 "Christ's blood," he whispered to himself.  Father Haffemann's office lay to the left of the hall, a big shiny black door with a brass knob and an old-fashioned key hole.  He knocked.

 "Come," came the priest's voice.

 The door was so heavy.  Klaus felt like his hands would pass right through it, but they didn't.

 "Young master von Eberbach," the priest smiled.  "What brings you here?"

 Klaus was impressed.  Father Haffemann was a great man.  He knew Klaus even though they'd only met once at the beginning of  the term.

 "I had a vision, Father," Klaus gasped, smiling as big as he could.  "A vision!"

 "Are you well, child?" asked the priest, rising from behind his huge desk to steady the pale, swaying boy.  He shut the door.

 "I am very well, sir," said Klaus.  "I've been fasting.  That's all."  He stepped over the glowing yellow patterns on the rug, careful not to trip on them as they hovered above the  carpet.  It was difficult because they seemed to follow him.

 "Fasting?  For how long?"

 "Four days.  And I've been praying constantly.  That's why she chose me."

 "Who chose you?"

"Saint Pelagia.  She told me to sacrifice."

"Saint Pelagia."

"Yes, of Antioch.  I saw her in the church."

Father Haffemann sat down in the visitor chair in front of the desk, and pulled Klaus onto his lap.  "Why Saint Pelagia?

Klaus stared incomprehendingly at the priest.   I do not know. "

"Do you know who Saint Pelagia was?

"Yes sir, I know all the saints.  She jumped to her death to escape the army of Diocletian."

 "And she wants you to kill yourself as well?"  The priest ran a hand up and down Klaus' thigh.

 "I-- I don't think so...."

 "What did she say?"

 " 'Sacrifice and you shall find glory.'"

Father Haffemann suddenly pulled Klaus in and kissed him on the mouth.  The child was at a loss.  He didn't resist.

 "It was a demon," the priest murmured.  "You were visited by a demon in the form of a saint.  Only a demon would want you to kill yourself."

 "But-- No!"

 "Do you repent?"

 "I--"  Klaus was utterly confused.  He couldn't think.  "Yes."

 "Then you must show penitence to God," said the priest.  He put Klaus down and went to the desk.  "Will you?"

 Klaus sank to his knees, crying.  "It wasn't... She wasn't...."

 "Do you want to go to Hell?" Father Haffemann suddenly shouted.  He came back around to Klaus.  There was a riding crop in his hand.

 "No..." whimpered little Klaus.

 "Then you must show repentance to God.  You must drive the devil out of yourself."

 Klaus' eyes grew wide.  "In me?"

 "Yes.  The devil is inside of you.  You must beat it out of yourself.'"  He sat down in the chair again.  "Take off your clothes."

 Klaus was embarrassed to.

 "Do it, Demon!" Father Haffemann commanded.  Klaus didn't want to be called a demon.  He obediently took off his school uniform.  When he was naked and trembling in the center of the office, Father Haffemann handed him the riding crop.

 Klaus had fasted for religion.  He'd given up sleep for religion.  And now, he beat himself mercilessly for religion.  He couldn't feel any demons leaving him.  He sobbed and cried out in pain, but didn't stop.

 Suddenly, he felt himself lifted.  Father Haffemann picked him up from behind and pushed him face down over the edge of the desk.  His spindly legs dangled over the side, unable to reach the floor.  He was too shocked to react.  He felt something against his bottom, then a terrible pain inside.  He cried and tried to wriggle away, but he was too weak and Father Haffemann was holding him down.

 Klaus lay his damp cheek on the desk blotter.  On the wall next to the desk was a painting of the angel Gabriel at the empty tomb of Christ.  The angel was rolling away the stone to reveal a black, empty void, like a gaping maw.  Klaus stared at that painting, waiting for the pain to stop and the Devil to get out of him.  He felt cold and eventually went numb all over, falling, falling into bottomless black.

The next thing he knew, he was lying on the floor and his nose hurt terribly.  He looked up and saw Father Haffemann buttoning his pants.  The child suddenly realized in a vague way what had happened.  He crawled over to his clothes.  Blood trickled from his nose onto the carpet and onto his white shirt.

"The demon entered me," said the priest.  "He made me do it."

Klaus whimpered and clutched his little bundle of clothes to himself.

"It's gone." said Father Haffemann, "but you must never tell or it will come back."

It was wrong.  It was all horribly wrong.  Father Haffemann had lied to him, and yet Klaus could not disobey.  Klaus nodded. "I will not tell."

Little Klaus had never lied.  Lying was a sin and his father would never abide such a thing.  And yet, he'd promised to lie. How could he live with that?  And how could he live with what had happened to him?  He found an answer:  He forgot. *********************************************************************

"I forgot!" Klaus moaned, sobbing into the ground.  "Oh, God, God!  How could I forget?!"

Dorian knelt over him, panic-stricken.  "It's all right, it's all right," he soothed, unable to mask the frantic edge to his voice.  "Shh, Darling.  I'm here.  You're safe."

"No-o-o-o..." Klaus groaned.  "No-o-o-o...."

Agents P and S came over and tried to lift Klaus to his feet. They looked utterly lost with their fearless leader in tears on the ground.  Klaus thrashed at their touches.

"Let him be," said Dorian.

Klaus trembled from head to foot.  He stood up and staggered over to a patch of tall weeds.  Dorian followed and caught the Major before he fell to the ground.

"She did come," sobbed Klaus.  "She did."

"Yes," replied Dorian.  "She did."  He hoped that would calm him.  Klaus was heavy in his arms.  He carefully let the Major slip to the ground.  Klaus continued to cry like a child.  Dorian had never imagined the Major cried.  It was terrifying.

He heard Klaus choke, then saw a small stream of vomit dampen the ground.

"There, there," Dorian soothed.  To his relief, he heard the sound of ambulances in the distance.  "Hang on, Darling.  You'll be okay.  I promise."

 

 

Aftermath

 

Klaus was sent home immediately.  Dorian tried to call him for three days, but the butler said that the Major would not accept any calls.  So Dorian went to Schloss Eberbach a few days later.  The Major was gone.

"Where?  Where did he go?"

The butler would only reply, "For a holiday."  It was no use threatening the man.  He'd already proven his willingness to die for his master long ago.  Besides, Dorian had a pretty good idea of where Klaus had gone.  A little snooping through the Major's study confirmed his suspicions.  The Swiss cabin.  So that's where Dorian had to go.  Maybe he could help him.  Maybe he could save him.

 

As for the castle, the work the students had begun was completed by NATO.  Sure enough, the stone was discovered with the names of Nazi criminals scratched into it.  Kommissar Keil's father was one of the names.  The elderly mayor was another. Other elders were also named and all the criminals had their days in federal court.  Kommissar Keil also had to answer to the law as well as the Neo-Nazis.  The Waiting Man, Rabbi Moses Perman, finally ended his vigil and was laid to rest.

 

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