Vampire Korps of the Gestapo Ch. 02byFive_Eight©
"Okay, friend," Wolfgang said to him, "this is what we're going to do. I will lead the way to the car and you stay five steps behind me. Siegfried is going to have his pistol at your back so don't do anything stupid. You act up and it's bang bang. And no talking."
The man threaded between the cars, Hoffner started following him once the other one nudged him in the small of the back with his Luger. The infrequent drunk tottered about or couples left early like the one they encountered earlier, occasionally a car started. Hoffner could see headlights now and then, but by and large the parking apron was devoid of people. The beer tents did not close for two or three more hours yet. Hoffner wracked his brain for a way out, prayed for an escape route. He wondered ruefully if these were the last few minutes of his life.
"I thought I was pretty crafty sneaking up on you lads but you totally outfoxed me."
"We're the master race, " said the man in back of him.
"No talking!" Wolfgang reminded them.
Siegfried snickered, "You're big as an ox and bleeding like a stuck pig. How could we miss you?"
"No talking means you too, Sieg. Talk is distracting."
"Fine, but have you lost the car?"
"You know where it is too, you tucked away the camera."
"Isn't that it right over there?"
"Maybe. I wish the colonel let me leave the flags on, they always stand out. We're liable to wander around half the night."
Hoffner remembered the first time they spoke loud enough for him to discern the words, when they made their stop for Paulaners. Why had he not thought it odd that the one told the other to wait while he got the Mercedes? They'd obviously plotted in whispers while he stumbled along behind them: we'll stop for beer, give the fool time to close in enough to overhear our conversation, then pretend to split up in the car park to bait the trap, catch him in our crossfire.
Bloody nuisance, Hoffner thought. He knew the secret agent trade was hazardous when he signed on. Stupid bloody nuisance.
"There's our transportation, just one more row over," Wolfgang said. "You see anyone skulking about?"
"Nobody except us. You think von Schitt wants to talk to this lummox?"
"That's a stupid question, she's already got Fraulein Monika. What's she need this nitwit bodyguard for? He's too big and is only good for causing trouble. Step out from behind him, Sieg."
Wolfgang pressed the barrel of his gun deep into Hoffner's gut to muffle the report of the bullet and fired once.
They left him lying there in a sea of blood.
"Who are you?" Monika asked the woman beside her again.
"Colonel von Schmitt. I command Hitler's Vampire Korps. I'm sure you've heard of them."
Monika steadfastly refused to look her in the eye.
She cuffed the actress, who kept her eyes downcast, a ringlet of golden hair hanging in her face.
"You have caused me more trouble than you're worth, my little pudding. Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you right here and now."
The girl was too scared to speak. Fear radiated off of her in waves. Her best efforts to foil von Schitt had failed. Now she had her at her mercy. Only scant meters away folks ambled along the sidewalk in front of the massive St. Paul's Church, but the colonel knew Monika had more sense than to cry out for help. They sat in the shadows at the top of the church steps. On the sidewalk Erika stood with her arms folded over her brown shirt regalia watching the foot traffic, as if daring anyone to notice and say something.
Not a single peep issued from Monika when the colonel cuffed her again. The baroness let off steam with minor token abuses, they made her feel better, superior to such a beautiful woman. Each slap reddened Monika's cheeks, meant to humiliate more than harm. Von Schitt could have slain her with one blow if she wanted to. Instead Monika's face burned red from the cuffing, but she'd suffered no worse so far, not even a split lip. Von Schitt liked females, especially attractive ones, and wished to keep Monika pretty, at least for the time being. But she wearied of the girl's acquiescence, knew she was a long way from conquering the actress' uncommonly strong will.
Monika had not responded to any questions put to her, hadn't pleaded once since they'd left the Wies'n that roiled with color and light and noise across the street.
"Why not hypnotize her, colonel?" suggested Erika, bored.
Von Schitt smiled for the first time in hours. Why hadn't she thought of that when the tramp had disobeyed her when they left the Oktoberfest? Now Monika deigned not to look at her but that might be because she knew herself to be under the power of the dreaded Vampire Korps. Pampered spoiled stuck up snot! She should have ensorcelled her with her vampire's gaze outside the Hippodrom, but she'd been so preoccupied trying to spirit her away and fight the public outcry at the same time the idea simply never crossed her mind.
Armed with a new approach she immediately squeezed Monika's face between the thumb and fingers of her hand. "Gaze upon me."
The girl's eyes appeared glazed and faraway. She focused on a distant point somewhere over the colonel's shoulder, exactly the way Himmler had done earlier in his hotel suite. He ostensibly differed from Monika, she did not have the power to unleash the entire Wehrmacht on her. Even a vampire could not withstand the onslaught of a battalion of troops.
"Gaze upon me, I said."
When Monika lolled apathetically in her grasp the wily colonel cruelly pinched one of her nipples until the lofty actress' eyes sprung wide open. That got her attention! The baroness looked longingly into those eyes, her own blazing with supernatural blue fire in the darkness. One minute passed, another; then Monika's abstract glazed eyed defense faltered. Von Schitt was touching her breasts through her blouse, alternating between them. The young woman had firm ones that did not require the support of a bra, wasn't wearing one tonight, her nipples hard as bullets. Now von Schitt removed her teasing hand, slid it up one luscious thigh encased in a silk stocking, curling a finger under the ribbon of the garter suspending it. The warm flesh above Monika's thigh felt pliant and smooth, the way a young lady's skin ought to feel.
The colonel's fingernails scraped lightly, high on the naked leg. Monika's breath caught in her throat. Von Schitt smiled to herself. When she inevitably cupped the front of Monika's panties a tiny moan escaped her throat, almost inaudible. She stroked a finger sensually up and down the vertical indentation formed where the panties fit tight. Even through the nylon the girl's arousal was obvious. The fondling elicited another moan but nothing like the one when von Schitt's hand quested inside the legband of the skimpy underwear. She dipped a finger inside where Monica's flesh was open and wet. The digit slid deeply in and slowly out. Monika shuddered at the tender penetration. She clamped her thighs together, inarticulate sounds issuing from her that were not words but spoke volumes of the way the baroness made her feel. Triumph at last!
Von Schitt removed her hand from inside the panties to a sigh of protest. She touched the intrusive finger to Monika's lips. When she sucked it into her mouth the baroness' panties became as wet as Monika's. The girl was exciting her the way she excited millions of filmgoers. Extracting her forefinger from the young slut's mouth she leaned close and kissed the defenseless actress.
"That's a lot better, isn't it, sweetheart?"
"Oh yes, colonel."
"You may call me Ingrid." She pressed her lips to Monika 's again, this time at great length and with exquisite passion.
When she broke the kiss Monika moaned, "Yes, Ingrid."
"Wait until I get you in the car," purred the baroness, "I will drink from your fountain until you scream."
The girl pouted in impatience. "How much time will it take the car to get here?"
"Not much longer, my lovely."
"We don't have to wait for the car." She clasped von Schitt's hand and slid it back inside her panties. "You know what you've done to me, I want you right now. Why should we wait?"
Desire flooded the colonel. Who was hypnotizing whom? She pushed Monika's blonde curls aside with her free hand and licked at the inside of her ear. "Impatient decadent girls like you are just asking to get spanked."
Monika squeezed her legs together, trapping the hand between them, "I not asking."
"Are you begging?"
"I will if you want me to."
Her intimate whispers made Ingrid von Schitt's mouth dry. The delicious young beauty was hers to command.
"I want to ask you some questions now, Monika. Do I have your promise to answer truthfully?"
"I promise, Ingrid. You'll keep yours about what you said you'd do to me in the car, won't you."
"You can believe I will," she murmured, withdrawing her fingers from Monika's aroused opening. Her eyes glittered like blue fire again and they bored into Monika's to ensure truth. "Do you know who killed a brown shirt girl of mine named Astrid?"
Monika spoke like a robot, eyes blank. "No."
"Who did you come to the Oktoberfest with?"
"A man named Odell Yell."
"Is he not one of your lovers?"
"No, Odell's manager and mine planted that story in the press."
"A publicity stunt?"
"But you were photographed getting off the Orient Express with Odell Yell this evening. Astrid is one of the girls who saw the two of you. Why were you traveling with Odell?"
"That was all our managers' idea. Odell and I are friends, not lovers."
"Do you go to bed with a lot of men?"
"Do you enjoy the act of love, crave it?"
"Do you want me to make love to you, Monika?"
"Yes, Ingrid, please."
"Have you ever made love with a woman before?"
"Are you anxious to experience such a new adventure?"
Von Schitt switched the softened line of inquiry back to harder questioning, an old and effective interrogation technique. "Do you know if Odell Yell killed Astrid?"
"Do you know an archer who can shoot a crossbow?"
"Maybe Odell can. He's an athlete."
"Was a crossbow or any other archery equipment among his luggage?"
"Did the two of you meet anybody when you got off the train?"
"Whom did you meet? Please elaborate."
"One man I only know by the name of Scotty."
"A man named Ryan."
"Are they assassins for a government agency?"
"Judging from the way they talked they work for some kind of spy network, I don't know if it's with the government."
"What did they talk about?"
"I heard them mention enemy agents when they were scouting locations."
"Scouting locations is cinema jargon."
Monika did not respond, eyes staring into nothingness. Von Schitt remembered she had to ask a question to get an answer while employing hypnosis. "What specifically do you mean by scouting locations?"
"I was with them earlier when they walked from one end to the other through the Wies'n."
"Were they searching for something, or someone?"
"They were searching for places to set up counterespionage operations."
"What kind of places?"
"Ryan wanted to find exits, drop points, spots where they could hide if they got into trouble."
"Where did you meet Scotty and Ryan?"
"They met us across from the Ferris wheel in a beergarden."
"How did you get involved with them?"
"Through my acquaintance with Odell. I think I'm supposed to be part of some kind of cover story."
"You're not involved with the killings?"
"No. Killings, plural?"
"Another one of my girls got shot with a crossbow too. What do you know about that?"
"Nothing. I did not see them shoot anyone."
"You took no part in these assassinations?"
"Oh never, I'm an actress not an assassin."
"Do you know a man named Inspekteur Kuntz?"
"Are you lying?"
"No. I only know what I told you."
The blue fire shimmered and faded. Von Schitt's eyes became normal again. She kissed Monika on the mouth and put a hand on each of her breasts, massaging them. The nipples hardened in a trice, poked into von Schitt's palms. Monika wavered in and out of the trance she'd been in, moaning, kissing back feverishly. She put her hand between the girl's legs again. Her heated desire was genuine. The colonel glanced at Erika. She had seen the women kissing before and the baroness' hand under the girl's skirt, but chose to watch the street.
"Any sign of the car, a long black Mercedes?"
Erika replied, "Not yet, colonel."
"Any sign of Dagmar?"
"Not since we split up outside the Armbrustschutzen tent."
"I wonder where she got off to."
"She might be waiting under the Lion's Head. Do you want me to go back and check the Lowenbrau tent?"
"There isn't enough time, Erika."
Translation: there'd better not be time.
Where were those goddamned majors?
Hex's stomach sank when he witnessed Hoffner take a bullet in the stomach.
A minute more and he'd have been in position to sneak up on the Nazi behind Hoffner. He reached the parking apron when the SS officers began marching his friend away. Crouching between cars he managed to follow abreast of them until nearly close enough for an ambush. Now he'd lost two of his agents, and Monika. Yell had gone down fighting but the callous shooting of Hoffner nauseated him. Hex had to see if he still lived.
The SS majors stopped to unlock the door of a big Mercedes twenty meters away when Hex came across Hoffner's body. His stomach was blasted open, intestines exposed in the messiest wound Hex had ever seen in a long life of violence. Hoffner still breathed, gulping in noisy gasps of oxygen.
"Hex?" he asked, the syllable a tremendous effort.
"Scotty," he said, his face a tight mask. "I'm sorry."
"Get them," he wheezed. "Monika . . . with . . . Schitt."
"They're taking the car to pick up Monika and von Schitt?"
Hoffner could only nod, choking on blood. Hex gently moved his face over on its side so the fluids leaked out of his mouth.
"I'll get a doctor from one of the first aid tents, wait---"
"No," he coughed. "Hurry. Save . . . her . . ."
"You're sure you don't want help?"
His eyes told Hex he knew he was done for. "Kill . . . them . . . for, ugh . . ."
"Kill them for you? I will. Count on it."
"Thanks," he said weakly, strangling now on blood.
Afterwards Hex smelt the stench of voided bowels and knew Hoffner had died.
His head jerked up when he heard a car start. For some reason the driver kept putting it in gear, taking it out, putting it back. Hoffner had brought Hex here in his car but he had no time to get to it, the keys were still in Hoffner's pocket anyway. He saw the Mercedes hemmed in by other automobiles, one of the majors having to jockey it out of its space. Curses reached his ears from the car.
He moved quickly, almost at a run, head down. The Mercedes was about clear when Hex got a foot on its back bumper, the car lurched forward rocking on its springs. A round spare tire holder was attached to the boot and he clung to it. The car backed up one last time before finally proceeding forward. Hex dragged his other foot onto the bumper and held on tight.
As the car picked up speed his long trenchcoat flapped like a flag and he tucked it around his legs to prevent it from dragging the road. The Mercedes stopped at an intersection. Hex noticed a couple of drunken men in suspenders and lederhosen looking askance at him hanging from the back of a car about to pick up speed. He drew his .45 and wagged it like an admonishing finger at them when they began to say something to the occupants inside the Mercedes. The men abruptly turned in the other direction and departed with great haste.
The long car departed too. Hex wondered how long he could hold on when they rolled at full speed, made turns, hit potholes; how long before somebody drew attention to him, how long of a journey lay ahead. Their destination was unknown to him, but if he'd correctly understood Hoffner's dying words the Mercedes was bound to meet with von Schitt and pick up Monika somewhere along the way.
He'd holstered his pistol, crammed his fedora down on his head to keep from losing it in the whipping wind. Exhaust fumes caused his eyes to water but he dared not shut them. What a fool's errand he'd embarked on! Two good men had already died, both deaths had been his fault. He'd be damned if he'd let an innocent girl perish without a fight, even if it cost him his own life. At the very least when he caught sight of von Schitt he'd put a silver bullet through her black heart and otherwise go to his grave fighting come what may.
The lights of Oktoberfest blurred by, the cool night air whistled in his ears. Fortunately no other cars drove behind them or he'd be illuminated like a painting in the Louvre by their headlamps. In a busy city like Munich it would take no time before that happened. A police car would queer the deal in a hurry. What had he been thinking? He had a fake gold badge but no real credentials and Gestapo authority overrode the law anyway, especially since the Munich Agreement had been signed two short days ago.
Eventually other cars appeared, but aside from the occasional honked horn no one took much notice. Perhaps the other drivers thought it a lark a drunk from the Oktoberfest hitched a ride on a German staff car. Even devoid of swastikas the Mercedes looked like what it truly was: a Nazi vehicle. Most good Bavarian citizens would go out of their way not to assist the SS. The thought helped his morale, but not much.
The Mercedes slowed, probably for a stop sign. A carload of rowdy citizens hooted behind the Mercedes but Hex grinned into their lights like a good-natured lunatic, cautioned them to silence with an exaggerated comedic finger to his lips. Their hooping and hollering ceased like Hex hoped. But such good luck could not stay with him long. Where the hell was the Mercedes headed to anyway?
Five minutes crept by like five hours.
At last the big car drifted to the left, came to a stop at the curb and cut its lights. Over his shoulder an enormous church reared two spires and a bell tower skyward. Trying to evenly distribute his weight he put one foot at a time onto the road and eased off the bumper so not to alert the SS officers inside. Hex hunched down drawing the .45 again, scooting backward, keeping his head low. Words were being exchanged between the passenger and someone on the steps of the big church. He crawled under the back of the car to have a look-see, careful to avoid the hot tailpipe.
Lights around the perimeter of the church limned the edifice to display its architectural magnificence after dark. Whoever called from the steps would have seen him had it not been nighttime with spotlights shining in their eyes. Two uniformed female figures hurried down the steps toward the Mercedes, one of them Ingrid von Schitt carrying what might have been a sleeping child in her arms. The other woman was definitely not Monika Fuchsmach but a brown shirted goon girl. Hex recognized her from earlier in the evening at the train station and later from the beer tent where Odell Yell had loosed his first arrow.
From his vantage point he could have put a bullet in her heart. Two things stopped him: another dead goon girl would not win the war; he wanted von Schitt; and it was Monika bundled in her arms, obstructing a perfectly good shot. Now he had them all in range of his .45 and could not do a single damned constructive thing!
His mind reeled with unsavory choices.
He thought about shooting out the rear tires to disable the Mercedes, gunning down the SS men and taking his chances with the two vampires. All four of the Nazis had Lugers however and Monika might get hit by a stray bullet. If not, when the baroness became aware of an ambush she might put the bite on Monika and all would have been for naught. If he didn't die in the ensuing hail of gunfire the Prime Minister and Tobias Rothschild would string him up by his nuts.