Vampire Korps of the Gestapo Ch. 01byFive_Eight©
The Armbrustschutzen beer tent was actually a large iron and timber building but its surrounding patios were beneath awnings and gaily colored stretched tarpaulins. The crossbow competition took place inside. Vampires knew better than to get too close to weapons capable of driving an arrow through the heart, the effect would be tantamount to a wooden stake, but the colonel did not plan to enter the building. At last she found three blonde women in brown-shirted uniforms seated around a small table on a patio. The brass band on a nearby stage played a version of a popular new song entitled 'Das Fraulein Gerda.'
A trio of her goon girls from the Vampire Korps, Dagmar, Erika and Veronika, awaited her. Dagmar saw the baroness approaching first and knocked her chair over standing up. She marched quickly toward her, long legs striding, golden tresses trailing like a cape, breasts bouncing with every step. Behind her the colonel could see the other two beauties leaving their seats as well. Before the women reached her the baroness knew something was wrong.
They all talked at once and she had to shush them.
"Where is Astrid?" she wanted to know.
"There's been a terrible accident," wailed Dagmar.
"Astrid is dead, colonel," Veronika said, anger in her voice.
A string of profanity worthy of a sailor burst from the colonel's lips. Astrid had been her second in command as well as first among her female lovers. "What the hell happened? What kind of accident?"
All the goon girls tried speaking at once again and von Schitt hissed, "Quiet! Erika, you speak."
"An arrow accidentally discharged from a crossbow one of the competitors was carrying into the Armbrustschutzen. It struck Astrid in the heart, she dropped dead right in front of us, it was horrible. An ambulance left with her body ten minutes ago."
"And where is this clumsy crossbowman? I will tear his gonads off!"
Erika's eyes shone with unshed tears. "A policeman escorted him away."
Von Schitt turned to Dagmar and Veronika. "Police? Or SS?"
Dagmar said, "Not police, he told us he was Gestapo when we talked to him."
"Goddamn it, girls, you are SS too."
"He told us he was an Inspekteur with the Sicherheitspolizei and ordered us not to interfere. He said for us to wait here at the scene, that he would send the Bavarian police."
"And where are they? A fatal accident occurred, they should be here by now, a person died. Did you not say the ambulance left ten minutes ago?"
Erika assured her those were the facts.
The more she heard the more the colonel's inflamed suspicions grew. "All of you are aware that the Sicherheitspolizei has been merged with the Kriminalpolzei and is now the Schutzstaffel, the SS. In other words, the Gestapo! To which you belong! Didn't you offer to assist this Inspekteur with the investigation? All of you are wearing your goddamned uniforms!"
None of the goon girls uttered a word.
"Did the Inspekteur provide you with his name?"
Erika yelped, "He said his name was Inspekteur Kuntz."
"Inspekteur Kuntz, you say?" The baroness laughed aloud but not with humor. She radiated a mood most foul when she said, "Inspekteur Kuntz? Inspekteur Kuntz? None of you has ever heard the old joke: inspect her cunt?"
The women eyed one another in an embarrassed silence.
"How was this official dressed? Or did you even take the trouble to look?" she asked, caustic, sarcastic.
Dagmar blurted, "Black fedora, black trenchcoat."
"Did he show any identification?"
Dagmar reported he'd flashed a big gold badge.
"I can't believe at least one of you didn't make the attempt to follow along and try to gather more information."
Veronika said, "I did, colonel, but that's when he flashed a silver .45 in our faces."
Von Schitt raised her voice, a notch shy of hysteria. "Why didn't you follow him anyway? All three of you can shift into bat form and fly!"
"The Inspekteur warned us his .45 shot silver bullets and he'd shoot us down like dogs if we interfered, Vampire Korps or not."
"You'd best not say Inspekteur to me one more fucking time. If you must say anything say imposter, because that's what he is." The colonel wrestled with her composure. Were these girls as lackadaisical as the majors in carrying out their duties? "I leave you alone for less than an hour and this shit happens. For the love of God!" A thought suddenly occurred to her: "And where is the Fuchsmach tramp?"
All three bowed their blonde heads in shame. Finally Erika admitted, "We lost her in the confusion."
All composure evaporated and the baroness cursed again, more fervently than before. When her tirade wound down she jabbed an angry finger at them while issuing orders. "Comb the Wies'n and find her, you bitches. Spread out and find her or I'll skin each one of you alive! All of you know where the Lowenbrau beer tent is, rendezvous under the Lion's Head sign outside every half hour. If I'm not there, continue searching. If you locate Fraulein Monika that is also where you shall bring her. Understand?"
"Jawhol, mein colonel!" the goon girls sang out.
They reminded her of Himmler's majors. "Spoken like true Aryans," she spat on the ground in disgust as they departed. She stood with her hands on her hips, no time now to grieve for the departed Astrid. While pondering her next move she screwed a cigarette into her holder and demanded a light from a passerby smoking a cigar. Originally the baroness intended to ditch the majors by sending them on petty errands then rejoin her goon girls. They had tailed Monika Fuchsmach from the train station to the Oktoberfest. The memory of the majors with their trousers down returned. They might just be useful after all.
She checked her watch and without further ado headed for the Schottenhammel beer tent to meet with Trommler. When she first sighted him he stood chatting up a couple of university students who filled their blouses almost to the bursting point. In one hand he held an ostentatious camera with a big flash attachment, a leather bag hung from his shoulder. The fool appeared to be trying to convince them to bare their chests so he could take their picture. One of the girls had already begun to unbutton her shirt.
The colonel charged forward, shoved the girl aside. A lovely big pink breast popped into view when she stumbled. The student started to harangue her until she noticed her uniform. "Get out of here now, both of you, or I'll have you detained," she threatened. The students obeyed without a word, breaking into a run, the one girl attempting to tuck away her exposed breast as she ran. The baroness turned her ire on Trommler. "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing, pig dog?"
"They wanted their pictures taken," the major explained lamely.
"I'll jam that camera in your ear if you don't start behaving like a soldier. How old are you, major?"
"Twenty six, colonel."
"Try to act like it then," she advised menacingly. How had this boy received an officer's commission? If she had her riding crop with her she'd put a stripe across his face! "The film for that camera is reserved for our target, moron."
The major bit his tongue to keep from saying something he'd later regret, his lips a tight line.
"We have work to do, major. You do know what this Monika Fuchsmach looks like, don't you?"
"Yes, colonel, I've seen all her films."
"I don't give a damn! Have you seen her here tonight while you looned through the crowd?"
"No, colonel, I have not. And I would have noticed."
"That goes without saying. Let's go find your friend. And keep a sharp eye out for the girl. Get going!"
The walk to the south end of the festival took almost fifteen minutes. Major Koch had a foot propped on the running board of a Mercedes touring car, smoking a cigarette. At least he wasn't trying to get in some Fraulein's panties. He flicked the cigarette from him and sprung to attention when he spotted the baroness.
"At ease, Koch," she said, not bothering to return his salute.
Peering into the car she saw it had two bench seats facing one another in back. "This is perfect, I couldn't have asked for more. Trommler, stow the camera and the bag in the car and make sure you lock it when you're done."
After he put the camera gear in the front seat the vampire colonel ordered Koch and him to split up and start searching the grounds. In an hour they would meet back at the car. Before they got out of earshot she heard them lamenting the fact the horse races were not being held this year. She shook her head before making her way to the Lowenbrau beer tent.
When she got to the Lion's Head sign she did not see any of her girls. Before she could check the time on her watch a commotion broke out a hundred meters away. Idle curiosity prompted her in that direction. A dense circle of people had gathered although she couldn't see what precipitated the uproar. "Doktor, doktor," someone shouted, causing her to panic. Fear welled in her as she hurled men and women out of the way with vampiric superhuman strength.
When she broke through the circle she cried out.
Veronika lay on her back unmoving on the grass. A small red circular stain darkened her brown shirt; vampires do not bleed much. A crossbow quarrel jutted from her left breast. Von Schitt pushed two burly men aside, knelt down and felt for a pulse in her neck. Dead, dead as Astrid. The baroness jumped back on her feet, her ice blue eyes darting left and right. Nobody held any archery equipment.
"Did anyone see who shot her?" she yelled.
Murmurs from the crowd told her nothing, she could not expect much cooperation. Bavarians cared little for Nazis, Hitler had just signed the Munich Agreement. Judging from where Veronkia fell the arrow must have come from the north. The baroness started to run and the mob parted to let her through. She hustled northward, swiveling her head while she ran. Plenty of people milled around with ornate steins in hand. Colonel von Schitt clawed through the unassuming masses.
An ambulance whooped in the distance.
People, people everywhere but not a single archer could she find.
A big smile creased Odell Yell's face as he watched the frantic female SS officer seeking help from the crowd before storming up the thoroughfare. Too bad he hadn't been able to send an arrow into her heart as well, since she wore a black uniform she must be the leader. When he'd seen the brown-shirted goon girl nosing around the Augustiner tent a few minutes earlier he knew luck rode on his shoulder that evening. Standing next to him Ryan Hex had the crossbow concealed under his long black trenchcoat.
Hex whispered, "A great shot, I commend your markmanship, Odell. The Prime Minister will be delighted when he hears the news. You have dealt the Vampire Korps a demoralizing blow tonight." He wanted to say too bad Yell couldn't have killed Ingrid von Schitt instead but it would be boorish to dilute his friend's triumph. Had his intelligence sources known she was in Munich however she would have been the priority target and they would not have bothered with eliminating mere brown shirts. Hex had spied four goon girls at the train station at dusk when Yell and Monika arrived, but von Schitt had not been among them.
"Thank you, Mr. Hex," Yell said, still smiling. "Was the woman in the black SS get-up that Colonel Schitt lady I keep hearing so much about?"
"Properly it's von Schmitt, affectionately known as von Schitt," Hex said, "That's her all right. She's been eluding me for three years. If and when I can put a stake through her heart the whole Vampire Korps will hopefully come down like a house of cards."
"Too bad you can't make good time lugging that contraption under your coat or we could've gone after her. But I suggest we tag along behind her anyway, we may be able to get the drop on her."
"Unfortunately we need to get rid of the bow first, we're not going to be able to use it again tonight. The Oktoberfest will be crawling with stormtroopers once the colonel gets to a telephone."
"You want me to put it back in the car?"
"Too incriminating, let's find a dustbin."
Hex started walking north on the thoroughfare and the tall black man fell into step beside him. He stayed to Hex's left and edged slightly ahead of him to obscure the fact Hex carried a crossbow in his trenchcoat. He had his left hand in his coat pocket gripping the end of the bow through the cloth, the butt of the weapon tucked under his left armpit. It wasn't too awkward transporting it that way; the only awkwardness would come from getting caught with it in his possession. Although Odell Yell had done the shooting, not Hex, the crossbow was a murder weapon.
Yell thought the first kill had been slick, the getaway slicker. Hex had impersonated a policeman arresting the man whose bow had accidentally launched an arrow. The three brown shirts had hassled them but the gold badge and silver pistol kept them off guard long enough for Hex to disappear into the crowd.
"That colonel is in plain sight up ahead and no one's paid us any mind, Mr. Hex. I bet you fifty pounds I could go for three out of three."
"Forget it, Odell. I'd rather have her ass alive than your ass dead. You're too valuable."
"Luck's smiling on me tonight. I know how bad you want to take her down. I know I can get away with it."
"Those are noble and brave thoughts," Hex spoke from the corner of his mouth, "but put them aside for now."
Yell snapped his fingers in disappointment. "If you say so. Just for now."
"I know you hate the Vampire Korps for killing your brother but I promise you plenty more opportunities to pay them back. If you get arrested you'll never kill another Nazi because the SS would put a bullet between your eyes in the first dark alley they could dump your corpse in. You'd be lucky to get so far as a jail cell."
"You sure of that? I won a medal in the 1936 Olympics."
Hex smiled up at him. "Fame won't protect you from the Nazis, fortune either. Monika hasn't been able to reach Tobias on the telephone all week and he may not be famous, but he's filthy rich."
"That's what Miss Monika told me on the train. She's worried."
"So am I, Odell, this isn't a game of win or lose, it's live or die. There's a dustbin behind that pavilion. Cover me."
"I'm watching out for you," Yell said, still thinking about the clever way he'd hidden the crossbow earlier. He'd retrieved it when he spied another one of the brown shirts walking around alone. A year ago he never thought he'd kill anybody, let alone a woman. But now that made no difference, the two brown shirts he'd shot had been Nazis as well as vampires. Those factors changed the rules, not to mention he fought in the war against the Nazification of Europe. Hex had planned the first hit tonight, the second had been divine inspiration on Yell's part. He'd located such a sweet section of empty ground between two small tents in deep shadows so dark a white elephant would've been invisible there.
Hex stuffed the crossbow in a steel drum and heaped trash on top of it.
Yell asked him, "You're not still mad at me for taking that second shot, are you?"
Hex forced a grin, "Don't mistake concern for anger. You got away with it however you're not taking any more chances tonight. Are we clear?"
Yell affected his best vernacular: "Yassuh, mastah baws man."
Hex said dryly, "Nice accent, but it doesn't become you." He knew Yell had done four years at Cambridge. He brushed past him determined to catch up with Colonel von Schitt.
Yell clucked his tongue and said, "I don't see her anymore, she made a left up ahead while you trashed my trusty crossbow."
"My condolences, Robin Hood. Let's get back to the Hippodrom and get Monika out of here."
"Before she gets into any trouble?" Yell joked.
"Before she gets into any trouble," Hex echoed. Inwardly he cursed the crowd, he might not get another chance at the baroness tonight.
"You sure you're not mad?"
"If you don't get me killed, Monika will."
"She is a handful, isn't she? She likes you, you know?"
"I wouldn't know," Hex commented, "The newspapers say she's your girlfriend."
"Well, she and I are celebrities and that horseshit in the press is what her manager refers to as a publicity stunt."
"Her manager needs his head examined. What am I saying? I need my head examined," Hex sighed, "for agreeing to let you kill that second vampire. Your face is too well known, especially here in Munich."
"But like you said, we got away with it. Nobody saw me shoot either one, I passed the bow off to Scotty and you led him out like he'd done it. That was slick, man. Scotty told me you were smart, and you are, to cook up a scheme like that."
"Why are you all of a sudden kissing my ass?"
Yell laughed loud enough that passersby glanced at him. He stopped immediately. "That wasn't too smart, was it?"
"Scotty's the smart one, he's drinking beer with Monika in the Hippodrom."
"No, Mr. Hex, you're the smart one."
"Right," Hex said sarcastically, "I went to Cambridge."
Majors Trommler and Koch threaded through the masses.
"I'm telling you," Trommler complained, "we'd best follow von Schitt's orders. And she ordered us to split up. We're supposed to meet her in less than an hour."
"And I'm telling you, Siegfried, when we pull this off we'll be colonels ourselves. I've been to a million Oktoberfests. I know what I'm talking about."
Trommler frowned, "Don't overlook I was at your twenty-fifth birthday party only a month ago and to the best of my knowledge the Oktoberfest is only held once a year."
"All right, maybe it hasn't been a million but I've been to a lot of Oktoberfests. My parents brought me here since I was a kid in short pants. As a grown man I've been to---" he shrugged, "---four or five at least. How many times have you been here?"
Trommler tallied in his head, "This will make the third."
"Then there you are, I'm the expert, you're almost a virgin. I repeat I know what I'm talking about."
"What makes you so sure Fraulein Monika will be inside the Hippodrom?"
"Trust me, it's the place where rich and well known folks gather when they come to Oktoberfest. So where else could a famous actress possibly be?"
"I've been in the Hippodrom before, there'll be over a thousand people inside. How will we ever find her?"
"She'll be with that Olympics fellow, how can we miss her? Would I steer you wrong?"
Trommler hung his head. "That von Schitt bitch didn't lift you off the ground with one hand either."
"But she said she'd stick my Luger up my ass, and she knocked my cigarette out of my mouth."
"She also said she'd stick the camera in my ear."
"I didn't hear her say that," Koch said, distracted by a gaggle of girls watching them from a table outside the Hofbrau tent. He smiled and touched a finger the bill of his peaked cap before reluctantly moving on.
"You were busy getting the car, Wolfgang. But she sure as shit said it. I'm nervous, real nervous about this."
"Don't be," Koch said with the omnipotent wisdom of youth. "We'll go into the Hippodrom and if she's not there, I promise we'll split up, just like she ordered. After one beer. Who's to know?"
"Von Schitt will know. That bitch has eyes in the back of her head, just like Herr Himmler told us."
"You want to pass up the chance to meet Monika Fuchsmach? Don't forget Colonel von Schitt personally inspected our manhood. Don't forget what that means."
"Himmler told her to let us violate Monika. And von Schitt said as much in the alley. Has it slipped your mind?"
"And suddenly you believe every word that spills out of her big mouth."
Koch said soberly, "Think about screwing Monika Fuchsmach. Think about making colonel, your mother will be so proud."