Vampire Korps of the Gestapo Ch. 04byFive_Eight©
Except when absolutely necessary Colonel Ingrid von Schitt seldom made the conversion from a human vampire into her bat form. After transforming into a bat a few minutes ago she flew over a forest stretching kilometers in all directions. Midnight had fallen, along with all her schemes.
Himmler would be livid when he found out, but von Schitt had much to do before breaking the news. Two problems of a more immediate nature faced her: she would be naked once she changed from a bat back into human form; and she desperately had to find a telephone to marshal her troops. If she could accomplish that feat Hex and Monika might get caught in the conspicuous stolen Mercedes he drove. The secluded hunting lodge, where the recent bloodshed occurred, boasted niceties like running water and electricity but no phone service. Finding clothing became essential. A stark naked woman, even if she was a colonel of the Vampire Korps and a titled baroness, could not ask to borrow a perfect stranger's telephone without elaborate explanations she was in no mood to give. She might have flown back to the lodge in the middle of the forest, robbed the dead of their uniforms, except those were soaked in blood. Dressed in bloody garments would require as many, or more, explanations than appearing nude.
The baroness wanted to follow the Mercedes but never in her life would she be able to outfly the powerful car Hex piloted like a madman. Originally she'd tried. The forest trail leading from the lodge to the highway took approximately half an hour to reach. She hovered nearby when Hex and Monika decamped. They left less than five minutes after she made her changeover. That son of a bitch Hex had even fired a shot at her. He was an expert marksman and the silver .45 bullet he had discharged came within inches of her right wing. When he got the girl into the Mercedes they raced along the trail faster than Trommler when he initially left the road heading up to the lodge. Why should Hex care anyway if he tore the Mercedes to hell? It wasn't his car, he'd not have to account for damages to any motorpool. She wanted to follow them back down the path to see if they went west or east on the road. Maybe she could have gotten a fix on their direction at least, but Hex didn't have the slightest respect for property of the German high command. That staff car would never run right again if the Nazis recovered it!
So von Schitt flew toward the nearest village to the west of the lodge. She gambled and chose west over east because she had a hunch he would not drive back to Munich. Once she reached the village she'd have to improvise. If Hex and Monika headed west too she might encounter them again before the end of the night. Von Schitt would have more difficulty explaining to Herr Himmler she had had to abort the mission and lost some personnel rather had she accomplished it with the same loss of life. She still had a chance.
But the Obergruppenfuhrer was the least of her worries.
Personally she cared less Himmler's two majors were dead, but she held Hex accountable for the deaths of four of her goon girls, even if three of them hadn't died by his hand. Von Schitt would mourn her two lovers Astrid and Erika forever.
Finally she left the coniferous forest behind, her sense of time acute. With her wings beating furiously she knew she had little more than seven hours before the sun came up. At dawn von Schitt needed to be ensconced in her coffin to escape the light of day.
A village came into view and when she located telephone poles she circled in the air. If she couldn't get anyone on the phone at this hour she'd have to commandeer a car. Bats don't actually possess radar but von Schitt's echolocation detected an object beside a small house toward the end of a winding lane, made her descent. She relied on her night vision, it increased exponentially when she became a bat. The village had phone service but no streetlights. Perfect! As her altitude decreased she found an ideal place to land, a tree in the yard of the house in question. From her perch on a limb she did indeed see a car parked in a little driveway.
The occupants of the house slept however she didn't want to encounter a wide-awake dog guarding the premises. She'd get no help by killing someone's pet. The colonel's heightened senses detected no animal sleeping or roaming so she sailed down and lit on the yard, converted back into a human woman. The grass wet with dew under her feet and an unfriendly chill in the nocturnal air are not discomforts to the undead. Urgency of mission sent her quickly to the front door upon which she beat frantically.
"Help, somebody please help me," she cried out.
Ordinarily she would have ripped the damned thing off its hinges and entered and slain anyone who got in her way taking what she wanted. And Himmler ordinarily didn't object to the Gestapo kicking down doors and brutalizing citizens. But von Schitt knew her goon squads fell under a different category of the SS; Himmler preferred the Vampire Korps maintain a lower profile and had intimated as much to her in Munich, especially concerning this occasion. If the tawdry mission failed she was to hush it up. She couldn't claim mission accomplished since Hex chased her off under threat of death. Had she possession of the film taken of Monika (a cunning man like Hex would've destroyed it by now) she'd report in all honesty a successful conclusion, give or take a few lives.
So von Schitt deemed it best to take the long way around, a soft entry. She cried out again for help. A light came on in a front window after another powerful hammering on the door. By the time it budged open a crack she heaved with sobs.
Monika Fuchsmach wasn't the only girl who could act.
"Please help me, I've been raped and left on the roadside."
The door opened completely. An ancient man stood in the doorway clutching an ancient revolver. How quaint, thought von Schitt, that hunk of iron pre-dates the Great War. The colonel made an effort to conceal her nakedness with an arm across her large bosom and a hand over her crotch, not out of modesty but necessity. She had a tale of woe she needed to sell.
"May I come inside?" said a sobbing von Schitt.
The man stepped to his right immediately to let her in. He discarded the revolver on a desktop, as if embarrassed by it. "I am afraid of Nazis," he said apologetically.
From another room a girl asked: "Who is it, pappa?"
"Hurry and bring a robe for this poor woman, Adelheid." The man turned away as if not to shame the naked lady by staring at her. With his back to her he asked, "Frau, will you be all right? What is your name?"
"Freida, mein herr," Ingrid von Schmitt stammered. "Do you have a telephone, I must call---" she stopped herself before she said police--- "my husband."
A plump young Rhine maiden, perhaps fourteen, came into the room holding a brocaded nightgown, half-asleep until she laid eyes on the nude woman with the mannish hair in her living room. Von Schitt ignored the robe the girl held out to her, she wanted things to progress at a swifter rate. These two needed to hurry up and help her. Adelheid continued holding out her hands until von Schitt finally accepted the robe and wrapped it around her.
"Where is your telephone?" she asked them. When neither responded to her question she went hunting it herself, they lived in a small house. "Is it in your kitchen?"
"Yes, by the stove, Frau, you are welcome to use it." The old man yawned, "Forgive me, you woke me up."
"Pappa, you sounded rude."
"So I did. Frau Freida, I did not mean that the way it came out. Please make yourself at home."
Adelheid stepped into the kitchen while von Schitt dialed the operator from a wall-mounted telephone. "Would you like me to make coffee, tea? It's no trouble."
The old man echoed his daughter's words, adding, "I also can offer Schnapps, if you need it."
"No coffee, but I will have Schnapps," interjected von Schitt, waiting for an operator.
The girl poured a glass with a reproachful look at her father, carried it to the colonel, who held up the drink and toasted him. "Danke schoen, mein herr." Father and daughter alike probably thought she gulped down an unladylike amount. She said curtly, "Can you give me some privacy?"
The two residents looked at each other in surprise. The old man recovered first, nodded and led Adelheid down a hallway, an arm across her shoulder. The colonel paid no attention to them or their whispers. She finished her Schnapps before the operator came on the line, a thin faraway voice in her ear. She eyed a clock on the wall. 0030 hours, she thought, I made good time, but doubtless Hex reached a paved road five minutes ago.
Von Schitt hated calling a Junkerschule at this hour, no one but recruits would be available, any self-respecting commanding officer would be home in bed. But an officer candidate school might mobilize rapidly and seal the main road. If the colonel could coerce them to set up checkpoints, to get the word out, work at contacting all area SS and police groups.
"Connect me with the local Staatspolizeistellen, operator, it is an emergency."
A minute passed, then: "Security Services," said the bored voice of the duty officer, "this is Untersturmfuhrer Dekker."
"Dekker, I am Colonel Ingrid von Schmitt of the SS, leader of the Vampire Korps. You've heard of me?"
"Ja, mein colonel," the voice brisk now, "You are a legend in the ranks of the SS."
Von Schitt wryly thought the duty officer only knew of her infamous nickname, but said with a purr, "Good, you know my authority. This is a situation of no small importance to Herr Himmler, young man. I need your assistance fast."
"My Junkers are at your disposal, mein colonel."
"Precisely what I wanted to hear, Dekker," she intoned. "I want you watching out for any man and woman driving together, especially in a Mercedes staff car and particularly if they appear clothed in SS uniforms." For the next minute von Schitt spoke of exactly what needed to be implemented where. "I'm putting you in charge, Dekker. Wake your troops and get them out on that road, roadblocks for a hundred and fifty clicks east and west of you."
"I've but a skeleton crew, colonel, because of the weekend passes and Oktoberfest. With the men available I can set up a single checkpoint in the next five minutes, unfortunately, it will only be the one."
Better than nothing, von Schitt thought. "After your men are underway then start calling other sources, untersturmfuhrer. I need that road secured."
Dekker cleared his throat. "With all due respect, colonel, is it unfair to ask if the parties in question, in uniform in a German staff car, belong to the SS?"
"They're impersonators, think nothing of detaining them."
"I just wanted to know how delicate the situation is. May I inquire who are we trying to find, colonel?"
Spoken like a true junior officer, she replied shaking her head, "Monika Fuchsmach and a man traveling with her, Ryan Hex. Dressed like a Gestapo agent, with credentials and more than one gun. Alert your men to be wary, he's dangerous and sly."
"The actress Monika Fuchsmach?" the duty officer asked pleasantly.
The dolt hadn't heard a word she said after mentioning the Fuchsmach name. "Ja! Will your men have trouble recognizing a beautiful woman as well known as she?"
"All us Junkers will know her on sight, colonel, of that you can rest assured."
"I have no time to rest, Dekker, I'm handling an emergency for the Reich. Arrest those two if you stop them, understood? I will call back to check in, so stay by the telephone."
"Jawhol, mein colonel!"
Von Schitt rang off to dial the number of the night officer at her Vampire Korps' communications center. When she came on the line von Schitt identified herself and began issuing orders. "Take notes if you need to, Trudi, there's plenty to be done, and right now. Get in touch with Simone and Karolin and have them draw up rosters for two teams. Both of them needs to be a day squad, can't consist of any vampires. I'll use goon girls after dark. I want Simone and Karolin to meet me in an hour, scratch that, an hour and a half."
Trudi asked where.
Where to meet, thought von Schitt, not in this dumpy house. She reeled off the name of the Junkerschule.
"Send all the goon girls you can into the night in bat form. I want them to scouring a road going west out of Munich, they are to search for a car." She relayed the details to Trudi, including location and phone numbers.
Von Schitt hung up and took her glass over to the Schnapps bottle on the counter. The old man wandered into the kitchen, his revolver in his hand again. She could almost read his mind.
He hesitated, clumsy with his words. "Frau, you have not been raped. I let you into my home after you let me believe you were a defenseless woman, not a . . ."
"A Nazi? Go ahead and say it," von Schitt said. "What did you overhear?"
He advanced with the gun in front of him. She waited till he aimed it at her belly, plucked it neatly out of the doddering old fool's grasp. The pistol made a metallic crunching while she crushed it melodramatically in her fist. She set the wreckage calmly beside the Schnapps, and had another.
"I don't care what you heard, mein herr," she exhaled after the bracer. "Just be thankful I don't kill you." Her eyes blazed like blue fire. "Look closely at me."
A minute later the man sat hypnotized at the kitchen table, hands folded, staring into nowhere. In the morning he'd not remember a visitor who made a couple of phone calls. Von Schitt had no further use for him, his blood probably bitter. The daughter however would be a ripe berry, full of the sweet sweet lifeblood of a young maiden. The colonel needed to drink blood before she retired for the day. She ambled down the hall to pay Adelheid a visit.
Upon her entrance the girl sat up in her bed. Von Schitt took tentative steps into the room, robe parting around her thighs. The vampire colonel sat on the bed next to her and smoothed back a lock of hair.
"Where's pappa?" Adelheid asked, a measure of fear shining in her eyes.
"He's in the kitchen, sweetheart, having a Schnapps. Your pappa asked me to come back here and give you a goodnight kiss. Because you loaned me your robe and offered to make coffee." Von Schitt puckered up like a great aunt, "Now give Ingrid your cheek."
"You said you were Frau Freida."
"That's my second name," she nodded to reassure the girl. The baroness planted a motherly kiss on the side of Adelheid's face, lowered her mouth closer down to the neck. Von Schitt's fangs bit into the girl's jugular, and she began to feed.
Adelheid struggled only for a moment.
Junker Oskar Brandt, like Konrad Dekker and any other candidate of an SS Junkerschule, had to pass an exacting examination of his background history. Family, friends and religion weren't the only thorough checks conducted. All the officer recruits had to demonstrate they wanted to be good Nazis. The training schools valued pride and encouraged competition to breed a genuine esprit de corps.
None of which prevented or denied Oskar Brandt the right to entertain Frauleins from the villages. A man owed it to himself to pander to his hormonal urges, he rationalized, good Nazi or not. Between no weekend pass and nothing doing around the deserted school the industrious young man elected to make a few phone calls. Brandt dialed five or six numbers before he had a date.
"I'll be waiting at the back gate in ten minutes. No, don't worry, Petra, there's not a guard Friday through Sunday. I will sneak you across the barrack square, we can find a quiet place to be alone. No, we are not going to my bunk like last time."
With the ordeal of persuasion behind him he lit a cigarette and prepared himself in a mirror over one of the sinks in the latrine. He'd always fancied himself devilishly handsome and couldn't understand how others possibly missed it. After some prodding at his short hair with his fingertips, nothing moved or changed. Running a hand over his whiskers indicated a shave. Not on a weekend, he decreed, not for Petra! Elke maybe.
He brushed his teeth with a finger, rinsed and spat. His toothbrush was in his overnight kit too far away. In his locker he'd taken great pains to hide a bottle of cheap whiskey for duty weekend consumption. The whiskey would purify his breath. Too, he'd share generously with Petra. After a detour to the lockers, he traversed walkways separating the ugly faceless buildings toward the back gate. Brandt stopped in the shadows for a fortifying drink. Since he hadn't seen a soul he strolled on with bottle in hand instead of tucked in his jacket.
Ahead lay the gate, quiet, empty. A car clattered down the lane behind the wall. Brandt heard the clattering cease and saw headlamps extinguished. He stuck his head between the bars of the gate to check the street, noted the car parked on the side of the road.
"Petra!" he called out.
A car door opened. A plump wench hurried forth to the gate, heels clicking against the pavement, long blonde braids in sharp contrast with the simple black dress she'd chosen.
The girl asked in a loud whisper, "Oskar, is that you?"
"Over here, Petra, let's get you crawled inside the walls."
The Fraulein gave him her handbag to hold. Plump or not, she managed to squeeze through the bars of the gate. Brandt knew Petra 'dated' various officer candidates attending the school, entered this same way a couple of times before when she visited him. He kissed her passionately when she reached the other side, knowing she expected liquor, loving and a tidy pile of marks for 'groceries' in that order before departing. The Junkers knew what to expect and Petra didn't disappoint her boyfriends. Brandt and she hugged the shadows then charged across the barrack square. In a black corridor created by the sides of two buildings they paused for a sample of whiskey.
"I have the keys to a colonel's office," he announced, "that just so happens to be unoccupied at this hour. Moonlight glows through his window, very atmospheric. In addition to the comforts of privacy we shall also have strong drink. Did I mention the wide leather couch upon which we may recline should the spirit move us?"
He'd had Petra once on a desktop. A wonderful experience for him although she'd acted a little nonplussed. Afterward she suggested alternate love nests for future interludes.
"Really, Oskar, a couch? You're such a romantic."
In the darkness Brandt couldn't tell if she was joking and ushered her into the office before she had a change of mind. Within the space of three drinks apiece they adopted a prone position on the couch. Things rolled along nicely by Brandt's estimation until she suddenly uttered his name in mid-embrace.
"What is it?" he said in a gasp.
"Is that someone calling you?"
"You're imagining things, Petra, we're perfectly alone."
"No, Oskar, I heard someone. Listen."
Then he could hear it, footsteps and a summoning voice: "Junker Brandt. Junker Brandt!"
Petra hissed, "I told you! Who is it?"
"It's fucking Dekker," he cursed. What the devil could he want?
"Konrad Dekker?" Petra asked with a knowing smile.
Brandt figured she could recite the school roll call off the top of her head considering her vast circle of acquaintances. No time for bitterness or remorse now. The Untersturmfuhrer was a classmate and should do the soldierly thing: cover for a friend. Brandt had really done nothing wrong. Drinking on duty and smuggling unauthorized personnel into the compound were trivial derelictions. Nothing for a good Nazi to take seriously.
He dismounted from Petra, zipped his fly and concealed the bottle behind the couch, tempted to ask her to hide under the desk. Knowing her dislike for desks she probably wouldn't obey his wishes. He cautioned himself to get a straight face on, go out there, talk to Dekker, pray he didn't feel like flinging around the rulebook.