Forget the rage of war, its battles, its bloodshed, know the rage of a single man’s heart may be a thousand times greater; a man afraid, greater still. No man lives well with fear in his heart and will do anything to be free of it.
A thunderstorm over Berlin filled the sky with lightning, white hot flashes which whipped the swastikas banners draped around the castle in a fury equaled only by the intensity of the Allied bombing of Berlin.
A sinister science controlled this conflagration of violence with streaks of plasmic fire raining down on the hunkered and terrified Allied troops. In a shielded control room at the top of a tower, a single scientist stood over a panoply of large knobs and silvered levers. He screamed with joy with each lightning strike which reaches the ground, spreading a cavalcade of static through the metallic bones of a Berlin besieged by metallic destruction from above.
Now, with her bones exposed Berlin now sends clouds of static lighting into young Poles and Russians as they move forward seeking cover from the storm. They scream once as the electrically charged debris sets them afire, burst the jelly from their eyes, screams caught in their throats, dropping them to the ground, whole companies at a time, as dead as yesterday’s news.
The scientist left his technicians to continue his unholy work directing this heavenly firestorm. They were secretly relieved as he left, his work another bargain made by the Reich in its mad quest for dominance. Each wondered was this another Faustian bargain they would live to regret.
The storm continued its approach toward the Allied position, winds pushing men from their feet if they stood, and rain pelting their bodies with the force of bullets. The storm blunted the Allied assault and slowed it to a crawl. No spotters for their tanks, no effective air support, only the constant rain of long range artillery showed their continued commitment to the battle.
Lightning cannons housed on the towers of buildings around the city were being refitted. Again, the scientist, an older man whose eyes glint with madness, screamed commands and recalibrated equipment, adding parts, removing others, wiping his hands on his once white smock until satisfaction is his reward. The soldiers, the terror of the Reich, feared this tiny old man. White haired, he still inspired terror in those for who terror is a morning snack. Mercurial, brilliant, unpredictable were the words used to describe him.
These lightning casters, towering intricate structures of metal and glass, were once only able to be used if no Axis forces were nearby for they were indiscriminate in their death dealing prowess, slaying ally and enemy alike; their retooling made them a devastating weapon with discriminating tastes.
Pointed skyward toward enemy bombers or downward toward enemy tanks, these weapons were now able to render the mightiest armor as the gossamer wings of butterflies. Turing the protection of the metal into little more than an armed coffin. Aircraft without pilots, plummeted to earth, their electrified pilots driving the stick downward into a hurried dance of death. Again the Blitz-Doktor, as he was called behind his back, cackled and returned to his lab to complete his latest experiment.
The Blitz-Doktor was responsible for the recent transformation of the technology of the Reich. His rockets raced overhead destroying artillery stations miles away with pinpoint accuracy. All but defeated, the recent breakthroughs were routing the Allies in every field of conflict. With their addition of the Russians, The Allied forces had staggering numbers which they used to push the Reich back to the borders of the Vaderland but the release of the special weapons had begun to turn the tide of battle in their favor. The Allied push had all but stopped. But they did not seem willing to give ground.
They would need further motivation. For that, the Reich looked to another recent development, something more organic. Living shadows swept out past the lines, dodging fire, dancing between the living wall of lead as if it stood still. German soldiers cringed in the wreckage of the city of Berlin as these creatures passed. Even in the destruction of the Allied forces opposing them, the troops moved forward slowly knowing if they interrupted the living weapons of their masters, they too might fall as prey to the beasts.
The Luftwaffe held the skies but only with the support of special agents of the SS. A new cadre of winged beings so horrible no one could be sure it was the right thing to do, even as Allied planes fell from the sky like raindrops and the monstrous screams eclipsed even the roar of thunder in the night sky.
“Doktor!” The Austrian scientist, still wet from outside, flinched when he heard the voice of the SS officer gliding into the room. He hated the fact the officer never seemed to make any sound as he approached and closed doors did not seem to hinder his progress. What was worse was the fact he did not have any good news to relay. Despite his recent successes, the overwhelming weapon he had promised had not been able to be completed effectively. He wiped the water out of his face on a towel and handed it to one of his assistants.
As he turned to face the approaching SS officer, he removed any emotion from his face or voice. This particular officer had spent much of the last year, heckling his early weapon designs and prototypes. He had only become more insufferable since his transformation in… “Oberst Heinrich, what brings you to my humble lab so late in the evening?”
Heinrich was the epitome of the Deutschland Übermensch, blonde, tall, muscular with a penetrating stare and chiseled jaw line. He fit his custom-crafted uniform like a glove. His voice was a velvet thing, seductive, chilling and otherworldly. It was one of the ways to know he was something other than human.”You work, of course, dear Doktor. You promised me an addition to my army. Our new weapons keep the wolves from the door, but to win the war, we will need troops. Do you not hear the sounds of the Allies outside of Berlin? Their shells still walk toward our very site. Tell me you have good news. You know how I hate to be disappointed.”
The Oberst had strode up to the doctor, filling the space between them with his eerie presence. His eyes flashed red in the dim light and his breath had the stink of the grave on it. Fumbling the strange apparatus in his hand, the Doctor managed to bring it between the two of them, brandishing it almost as he would a crucifix. The SS officer moved back only a bit to allow the doctor to show off his work. “I told you we had perfected the process, Herr Heinrich, but we had no means by which to expedite the distribution until now. Please follow me.”
The two walked down a spiral staircase in the corner of the castle where the SS and their special armory were housed in the center of Berlin, it was thought this would be the ideal staging area for their special weapon. The Oberst’s personal guard followed invisibly and equally silent, more shadows than men. The doctor reached into his pocket and pulled out a large and ornately carved key and slid it into the lock. The room within belied the conditions of the corridor leading to it.
Well lit, there was a bustle of frenetic activity, desperate, each of the technicians worked with their fear creating a heady perfume to Heinrich. His transformation, still new to him, he relished his physical capabilities, the senses, the awareness, the pure power at his physical command. He stopped to breathe it in and smiled. His overlong canines appeared in the corners of his mouth for a split second before he restrained himself. There would be time enough for dining, should the project not please him, he thought.
“In the test area below us are some Polish soldiers we captured for our tests. As you can see they are unremarkable in any way.” The doctor waves to a group of technicians nearby who begin turning some dials and wheels in an unfamiliar machine. A white gas appears in the room and the Poles scramble trying to avoid breathing it. The lights in the room dimmed making it easier to see the large display on the wall.
“You have invented the gas chamber, Herr Doktor. I think I have seen its like before.”
“Wait, mein herr. This is simply the beginning.” Two men in full suits appear on the decking above the dying soldiers in the pit below. Their clothing is a complete biological containment suit separating them from the environment of the room. Dark tubes and cables adorn the suit which they connect to a metallic probe resembling a cattle prod. The metallic device assembled, the men in the armor pointed the prods into the room. Flashes of lightning bombard the still bodies on the floor, causing them to twitch and thrash. “A ten second burst of electricity, calibrated for the activation of the spores is applied.”
Heinrich’s face twisted up, his rage barely contained. His bodyguard’s faded even further into the darkness of the room. Lightning weapons were the only thing his kind feared more than the stake. Such research had been initially destroyed when the VSS were created. The weapons had proven as dangerous to their forces as the enemy. Recent successes with the technology had returned it to service, only increasing Heinrich’s dislike of this particular scientist. He would have to be disposed of, soon enough, of course. Once more composed, he spoke, “A display of your failed technology, your lightning weapons, which could not tell friend from foe, you now parade in front of me again?”
“No, mein Obrest, I give you a new weapon. Schauen!” The two men on the deck were scrambling to bring out their machine pistols as the bodies of the Polish soldiers rose slowly to their feet. The Polish bore burns to their hands and faces, open sores which bled black blood. The two technicians opened fire with their custom-made machine pistols.
With a roar, each Pole jumped the fifteen feet to the deck above. The soldiers emptied their guns without affecting the former Polish soldiers in any way. Each was torn limb from limb with superhuman strength. Blood flew around the room, the horror dimmed only by the black and white video display relaying the carnage. When they were done, they turned toward the camera and roared in defiance. Their wounds closing while the technicians stared on in stunned disbelief.
“Mein Gott. That was magnificent, Doctor Frankenstein.” The Kommandant’s face was that of a man who has found a perfect tool for the job. The idea of kidnapping the doctor from Geneva had not been his idea, but he would certainly take credit for it, now that the good doctor has delivered on his final invention; a way to return the dead to life. An army able to be controlled by the Reich; even the dead of our enemies would be able to be used for a final Blitzkrieg.
But there was one more thing to be done. He waved his hand and his two bodyguards disappeared. Tense seconds passed as they made their way through the castle to the deck area where the prisoners were held. The room was as quiet as a tomb, each technician furiously taking notes on the behavior of their new weapons.
The two SS soldiers appeared in the room on the catwalk above and jumped down among the Poles, their vampiric nature exposed to everyone. Their claws and fangs extended, they were as monstrous as the things they faced. The battle was joined with no quarter given. It was over nearly as quickly. The Poles were victorious, losing only half their number.
“How did you plan to control them, Doctor, their might while excellent, they appear to attack at random. This would appear to be one more weapon you have created which would be as dangerous to us as to our enemies.” Herr Heinrich’s eyes revealed a deadly calm as they surveyed the room. His gaze caused several technicians to fall into a sleep from which they would not wake.
“Sir, they are made using the same spores which created your condition. They can be controlled by you and those like you. But your lesser soldiers lacked the capacity since they were second-generation copies. It was the only way to be sure, they would follow your orders.”
Being a distrustful man, the Obrest reached out with his mind to the creatures in the pit below. He could feel their barely contained rage, their frustration with lives cut short, for no purpose than mad experiments. “Be still,” he sent silently. They turned toward the camera and stopped moving. “Move forward.” They did not.
“Kommandant, you will need to be closer to them to make them do anything beyond standing still. They will need to hear your voice to effectively manipulate them.” The doctor had the look of pride on his face as he talked about his creations.
“Doktor, has your staff completed their note-taking and information gathering?” The doctor looked around the room and the staff nodded and placed their pads on a nearby surfaces. “Good. For they have seen, that which can never be told.” The Nazi commander focused his attention on the room and everything in it slowed to a crawl. He moved like a wind invisibly striking down everyone except the Doctor, in the time it took the doctor to blink twice. “Now take me to my new soldiers.”
The doctor took him further into the complex, looking nervously at the Kommandant, but already certain of his fate. “You will need me to further develop the process, sir. I have already seen countless applications for it. We can spray the battlefield with the spores and using the new lightning cannons activate them, raising troops as we approach.”
“Yes, Doctor, I’m sure you have. Is this it?” The door to the chamber was two feet thick and required a wheel to open. The vampyre opened it with one hand where it normally took two men to turn it even a few inches at a time. When the door was completely open the Poles moved outside the room, first looking around cautiously, then spotting the doctor and the Kommandant, they turned and prepared to attack.
“Be still.” Heinrich’s voice was filled with triumph and contempt. He would finally be able to tie up this final loose end before he claimed his Reich. “Any last words, Doctor?”
“I hate goddamn vampires,” was his venomous reply.
“If it’s any consolation Doctor, when the Reich wins due to your weapons and spreads its doctrine to all corners of the Earth, subjugating humanity for us, Vampires will reveal just how much we hate Humans. I’m sure this thought is no consolation in your darkest hour. Attack!” Heinrich points to the doctor, his fangs glimmering in the torchlight, his eyes glowing red in a manic glee. In this private moment his hatred of humanity was never more evident.
The room was filled with screams and howls as the Poles tore through the flesh of their hated enemy. In mere moments, there was nothing left. They turned and waited for their next command, gobs of flesh still falling from their former uniforms.
The doctor flicked a hunk of the Oberst from his shoulder. “No, Kommandant Heinrich, your thoughts gave me no pleasure. But your screams were music to win wars by. Wagner would be proud. Come my children, the Reich, your new Fuehrer, needs you.”
Unforgiven © Thaddeus Howze 2013, All Rights Reserved