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SAMPLE OF CONSTANCE J. HAMPTON'S


THOSE HEAVENLY WISPS




THOSE HEAVENLY WISPS

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CONSTANCE J. HAMPTON

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Edition HEAVENLY WISPS

© 2018 Author Constance J. Hampton

Publisher Hermesse James Boekerij, The Netherlands

MMXVIII-IV

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Editor and part-translator (Dutch to English)

ALEX BLACKBURN


ISBN/EAN: 9789492980137

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Copyright/all author’s rights 2018 Constance J. Hampton,

Hermesse James Boekerij

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Constance J. Hampton’s right to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988

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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are fictitious, and are not to be construed as real in any way. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

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No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

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All rights reserved.

Nothing from this publication may be reproduced, stored in a database and/or made public in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, through photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

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Everything in this book is fictitious (the invention of the author): any resemblance to actual or already deceased persons or situations, places or characteristics is entirely coincidental.

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I dedicate this book to all my wonderful friends of my former spiritual group in Amstelveen called Gateway and all the friends around it.

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I especially express my gratitude to my husband and friend for life: Jan-Herman without whose help and patience with my projects this book would never have been possible.

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Constance J. Hampton

Amsterdam 2018


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I Ching Hexagram 49: The Revolution

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Mixed Signs: The Revolution denies a Status Quo

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The opposite is made possible only when the time is right.

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You only become a Chosen One

once you

have earned

the confidence

of the whole of Mankind.

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You passwords are:

Order and Clarity.



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AIGUILLE DU MIDI


She crouched morosely on the icy deck, trying her best to stop her teeth chattering.

God in Heaven, she was cold! Her designer jeans were practically frozen before her buttocks had even touched the icy ground.

She forced herself to stop thinking about the cold. She clutched her head with both hands, feeling as though she had an incurable hangover. Her jaw tingled while the inevitable 'afterwarp' migraine speared its venomous way into her brain.

“Eli, Eli...” she chanted softly.

Her friend Karlijn had taught her that sometimes the chant helped. Her friend who had, for many years, occupied a lonely grave in a cemetery in The Hague. Oh, Karlijn! You reaped the nasty rewards of playing with things you were not ready for…

Lucinda tried to refrain from shivering. That thought was pure arrogance from her part, she knew. Who was she to judge Karlijn’s motives?

The chant had been Jesus' lament on the cross, when he had called upon his Father in Heaven for deliverance. Not that Karlijn had seen more in Jesus than only ‘another spiritual guide’. She had been adamant that the meaning of Jesus was no different from Buddha or all the other spirits known world-wide. Lucinda had never known where and with whom Karlijn found her spiritual solace. Karlijn had her own ideas about gods, devils, monks, vampires, and angels.

Lucinda had often despaired about Karlijn’s wayward ideas. She had even expressed her concerns to Royal Riek; the woman who she thought was Mary, Jesus' mother, in a distant past life.

“Karlijn will get herself into hot water if she carries on like that!” she had anxiously declared.

Then she had blushed. Who was she to criticize Reiki-master Karlijn? Lucinda was at that time only a newcomer to the spiritual world of the Rieken, the Karlijns and the Rolandas. She was the youngest present and she was supposed to know nothing! Nothing!

Riek had looked at her in alarm. Lucinda knew that Riek, for one reason or another, always held her in high regard. Riek with her strange antics had always taken Lucinda for who she was: as a newcomer in the spiritual circle of the women, Lucinda was not troubled by 'hang-ups' and prejudices. It made her feel even more of an ugly duckling, although Riek had joked that she was actually the swan among the ducks.

“If she carries on this way she'll become very ill, Riek! Someone should warn her!”

The corners of Riek's mouth, along with her shoulders, drooped.

“Things are as they are, sweetheart. There will not be an easy way back for Karlijn... She knows what you think, of course, but she does what she wants.”

“I hate being right!”

Lucinda had gritted her teeth as the beautiful, gleaming white coffin was slowly lowered into the deep grave. She had wanted to add a resounding “Goddamn”, but her respect for the universal Great One had grown over the years to extraordinary proportions, now that she knew what she knew, so she prudently kept her sacrilege to herself.

Now, years later, all that was left was Karlijns chant... Eli! Eli! And that chant was derived from the one Great Spirit to whom her heart always seemed to go out to again.

Damn.

-

He found her huddled against the icy railing.

“Luce?” he asked, concerned.

She grimaced at him through the slits of her eyes.

“Damn, not again, eh?”

He stuffed his big hands into the pockets of his ski jacket.

“Or was it the Chablis?”

She shook her head, while her strange brown eyes tinged with blue, filled with tears.

“I'll send the heli to the middle level,” he said gruffly, “Jean-Paul will pick you up there. I'm going back inside.”

He turned brusquely around, but changed his mind in the same moment. He kneeled beside her, immediately regretting his less than gentle reaction, and kissed her softly on the lips.

She was his star, his lead-star. He always seemed to forget that so quickly of late!

“Your face will freeze at this altitude...” he muttered, catching a tear on his finger.

He smiled at her, joking: “Shouldn't you be used to living in higher planes?”

“I don't know...” she whispered with difficulty. “Those damn warps! I wasn't expecting to have one here, but straight away in the first lift I began to feel so nauseous. I'm sorry, love. I'm simply no longer like most women!”

He chuckled bitterly. Wasn’t it true that every advantage has a disadvantage, just like every disadvantage has an advantage?

“Jean-Paul will take you to Geneva. I'll come later!”

“Red high heels later?” she asked innocently.

“Mm, you've given me an idea!” he grinned.

“You'd have to be crazy to come up here in red high heels. Typical!”

Lucinda heard a nasty tone in her otherwise melodious voice.

“Oh, come on now!” he mumbled guiltily, reaching out to help her on her feet.

He supported her to the icy tunnel and beckoned Jean-Paul.

“I had a surprise for you, but it can wait. I'd rather see tears of joy in your eyes than from a headache!”

“Oh,” she replied regretfully, “did I ruin another surprise?”

She stared at his long, straight back as he walked away and heaved a deep sigh. It was so difficult not to love him to distraction, even when someone else, who was wearing red high heels at 3950 meter altitude, was probably waiting impatiently for him to return to the restaurant. The stupid woman!


A SHROUD

*

I just don’t know how you always get things done,” she remarked, looking around cautiously.

André shrugged with glistening eyes.

“You know money opens all doors, right? It also works with garage doors in cardinals' basilicas.”

He grinned at Lucinda.

“We were driving around and around in very busy traffic and now we're in a multi-story car park that is almost completely empty. And luckily high enough for your doors.”

She indicated the lifted doors of André's Ferrari.

“Are you ready?” André asked.

She furrowed her eyebrows.

“You still haven't told me what we're going to do.”

“I want you to test something for me.”

He turned away from her and walked to the elevator shaft.

“Test something?” she repeated blandly, walking fast to catch up with him on her wobbly Jimmy Choo’s. She hoped she would not sprain an ankle on the damn things, but she knew better now than not succumbing to his fetish for high heeled shoes.

He nodded while he pressed the button for the third floor.

“The Chevaliers have asked me if you can test something for its veracity.”

“Here in the Duomo of John the Baptist?” she asked, “but, that's... that's where the Shroud is!”

“Unusually sharp of you!” he laughed, “I believe that we have to go this way. Ah, the cardinal’s secretary himself!”

“Do I have to kiss anyone's ring?” Lucinda asked uncertainly.

André suppressed another grin.

“Cara did not say anything about kissing rings.”

“Cara?” asked Lucinda, “What does she have to do with the test for the Chevaliers?”

“Nothing,” replied André while they followed the secretary of cardinal Poletto, “but she is the only one in the family who is a practicing catholic and not divorced. She arranged this visit, with the help of an enormous donation, naturally, for repairing the roof of the Shroud Chapel. It was practically destroyed by a fire in 1997. Appropriate, don't you think?”

Lucinda nodded speechlessly. She caught herself thinking that even after six years of marriage to André she was still not used to the power generated by the great fortune of her in-laws and her husband.

“What is also appropriate...,” André opened a door for her and let her pass, “…is that this Duomo is devoted to Saint Andreas.”

He winked at her.

“Where are we going?” she asked, still impressed, as they zoomed up another few floors in an entirely stainless steel elevator.

“To a fireproof vault that was purposely designed after the fire in 1997. The Shroud seems to attract fire. Not a strange thing, as it’s the Devil’s element. I think we're there. Shall I leave you alone with it?”

She looked sideways at her husband.

“I know that you're not really a believer, and probably not so acceptable after all your divorces, but I know you're burning with curiosity. Just come along! The guardians of the Shroud are not apt to leave me alone with it, so I don't see why you can't also have a look.”

-

She stared down at a linen cloth streaked with brown from fire and water damage.

She gripped André's hand tightly.

The guardians of the shroud, a few high-ranking priests, watched her severely. It was forbidden for her to touch anything. The guardians wore white gloves themselves, even though the Shroud lay under tempered glass in a special rectangular chest, and could be mechanically moved in and out of the vault as a whole.

“Oh, my heavens!” she whispered, pressing a hand to her temple.

She felt the warp-migraine and the accompanying sickness coming on.

“Alright, dear?” asked André, holding her by the waist.

“A chair,” she moaned, “I’m having a warp. Oh André, there is no doubt about it! It was His.”

André sat her carefully on a nearby chair. From there Lucinda stared at the rectangular box in rapt fascination. He studied her face unobtrusively. Another warp? She once explained to him that warps were periods that made her hover outside any time-period. Hence the bodily reactions. Which did not make any sense to him at all. Truth be told: nothing ever made sense with Lucinda. He knew of course that was why he had always been attracted to her and always would be.

-

“What did you mean ‘it was His'?” André asked curiously.

They were back in their suite at the Principi di Piemonte hotel, seated on a comfortable sofa.

Lucinda seemed to be slowly coming out of her last warp-reactions.

“It is... I'm not supposed to tell anyone...” she stammered.

“In the same way that you're not supposed to talk about The Hierarchy?”

There was a hint of mockery in his voice. Lucinda knew that he resented the fact that she withheld some spiritual secrets from him, but some commandments about those secrets were set in stone.

“Apart from that, it's so strange.”

“Nothing human is strange to me!” he quoted, taking her hand.

She lowered her head.

“I was there, you know, in a life with Him.”

He nodded. Gradually, during the years of their marriage, she had taught him about reincarnation and her firm, deeply-rooted ideas about it.

“Don't tell me that you were Mary Magdalene in a former life!”

She laughed half-heartedly.

“No, not Mary Magdalene. Someone else. I believe without a doubt that I knew Him in His life on Earth. I felt His presence still in that cloth. No wonder that Hitler wanted it!”

“What did Hitler want with the ultimate artifact of Christendom?” André asked. “As far as I knew, he loved everything Aryan and all that was rooted in Norse and Celtic myths.”

“He also stole the Lance. Maybe he believed that the artifacts would make him invincible. He was enormously superstitious. Why did you want me to see the Shroud?”

Lucinda was happy to find that she was slowly starting to feel better.

“The Chevaliers appreciate your judgment, you know that. If we ever accept a woman into our midst, you are likely to be the first. Be that as it may: we have received an offer to test the recent discovery of a different artifact. In all probability it's Celtic, but it takes months to properly test authenticity and we want to buy it quickly if it's real. It is a large golden cauldron. Some people think that it's the Grail, but it seems more likely to be the Cauldron of Abundance created by the Celts.”

“Oh!”

Lucinda clutched at her head again.

“Great God, André, are you doing it on purpose?”

He kneeled in front of the sofa and took her head in both hands.

“Does this reaction mean it's real?”

She barely managed to shake her head.

“No,” she ground out, “a warp... again!”



CHIEMSEE

*

The woman pulled on the collar of her mink fur coat. It was freezing cold and she regretted that she had not thought to put on a warm woolen scarf to protect her face. Everyone knew that fur coats weren't made to keep the wearer warm, due to their unfortunate fashion design, but to show that one had status.

She peered along the stone wall of the hidden boathouse and saw that Hans was straining under the weight of the large cardboard box.

“Hans!” she called softly, “I'm here. Put that thing in the boat. Quickly!”

Hans threw her a quick look.

“Nearly done, ma'am.”

He carefully placed the huge box in the front of the rowing boat.

“On the bow, Hans, then I can handle it more easily!” she urged her loyal butler.

“I'm going with you!” Hans put determination in his voice.

He was not going to let his seventy year old employer row all alone on an ice cold lake in the middle of the night.

“Hans, I don't want you to know anything about what I’m up to. It is much too dangerous!”

Hans clenched his jaw shut. He was not going to stand there and argue with her. He was already far in over his head, so what difference would this last trip at the Chiemsee make?

He shook his head.

“Two can do this better than one, ma'am.”

“If he ever finds out that I dumped it here with your help, we will die a gruesome death!” she warned him.

“Why is that thing so important to you?” Hans asked.

She laughed bitterly.

“That thing only interests me because he values it so. He told me himself, that bloody murderer!”

Hans tried to suppress a shudder. No one, absolutely no one, dared to speak about the Führer in such a fashion.

She gazed suddenly at the path where the DKW, borrowed from the gardener, was parked. Had she heard someone?

“Quickly!” she commanded.

They could argue later about her reasons for sending Hitler into a fit he would not easily come out of. Ah, she knew the villain so well! Some justice would be served!



RETURN TO BERLIN (1943)

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I Ching hexagram 41: The Sacrifice

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Mixed Signs:

Only after Death through Sacrifice will there be room for the Blooming into a New Life.


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Evil shows itself

High as a mountain

While the Heart drowns

In the depths of the Black Waters

the Soul soars.


*



She had to walk the entire way from Wannsee to Monbijou. There hadn't ever been a good connection between Wannsee and the neighborhood of villas where her grandma lived; for the simple reason that none of the villas’ owners ever had to use public transport.

To her enormous disappointment Hans hadn't been waiting at the Friedrichstrasse station with the car. She had searched between the remains of the roof of the big station and the bombed streets, but Hans, grandma's legendary butler and chauffeur, was nowhere to be found. She had wondered if her telegram, sent before she boarded the train in Travemünde, had been delivered at all.

Grandma's house was situated in a corner of the stately section of Grunewald. It had indeed been best to get off at Wannsee, but that didn't mean that she didn't have to walk quite a distance to get to the gate of the villa.

She counted herself lucky that there was still a connection from Friedrichstrasse to Wannsee as so many Allied Forces’ bombs had fallen on Berlin recently.

Grandma's father, great-grandfather Friedman, had the villa built in Grunewald after he'd become rich from investing heavily in the German steel industry of the Ruhr Area. Lisa remembered him as an almost comical, mustached, somber, and domineering man who always walked around dressed in a black long-tailed suit. He was always very dignified, his only known extravagance being his marriage to Elisa Meyer, the beautiful Jewish daughter of Eli Meyer, the “dealer in everything, but mainly gold.”

Sarah Friedman, her grandma, was their only daughter, much to the chagrin of great-grandfather Rudolf Friedman, because he’d never had a son to inherit his great empire. He had been unimaginably and unwaveringly patriarchal. As far as he was concerned, Grandma was there to behave and be obedient.

Grandma Sarah was never really bothered by her domineering father. She had even dared to marry the handsome blond Dutchman Thomas Vellinga, with whom she had fallen deeply and irrevocably in love when he visited her father for business in Berlin. Thomas was an unruly Dutchman, who lived far away from Berlin in Rotterdam. When he died at fifty-nine Grandma Sarah returned to her parental house ‘Monbijou’ in Grunewald. Her daughter Elisabeth, at that time already married to the ship-owner Jan Voerman, stayed in Rotterdam, with her two children Lisa and Hans.

-

Lisa put the suitcase down to change hands. She sighed dejectedly. The whole journey from Travemünde to Berlin had been decidedly difficult.

Grandma had sent her to a distantly related German cousin on her father's side when the first Allied bombs started to fall on Berlin.

Grandma had asked her to come to Berlin in 1939, for the chance to have a come-out in the German high circles. Grandma's timing seemed in a way perfect: the Germans conquered Rotterdam in 1940 and since the bombing the city was reportedly still in chaos. The city underwent hard times, not least because of the frequent abduction of workers for the German Arbeidseinsatz, Adolph Hitler’s slave work force.

Lisa's parents, who realized what it would mean for a girl to have a Jewish grandmother and a German grandfather in those times, were happy that Grandma wanted to have her with her in Berlin.

Her father’s shipping company had been sitting idle in 1939 due to lack of orders. Father was at least wealthy enough to maintain their household in their Kralingen villa, until eager Germans confiscated the house in 1940. Father, Mother and Hans had been forced to take refuge in IJsselmonde, where their uncle Dirk Voerman owned several small houses for his laborers.

It was a somewhat difficult transition from the spacious villa to a small house consisting of only three rooms, but Lisa’s parents counted themselves lucky with their new house.

Jan Voerman was happy that he had never boasted about the German origins of his wife, due to the fact that he had married her only two years after the end of the First World War. The Dutch, despite their neutrality in that war, quickly stopped being very impressed with anything German. If anyone wondered about his wife’s slight accent, he told them she came from Limburg: people there speak a mix of German and Dutch.

Uncle Dirk let his brother the small laborers-house, but he always remained nervous about it. His sister-in-law was admittedly only a quarter Jewish, but according to the Jewish laws she was considered to be fully Jewish because being Jewish is determined through the female line of descent. What's more, Lisa’s mother's parents were definitely German. In the occupied Dutch Provinces nothing could be worse during the Second World War. Elisabeth’s mother had stopped practicing the Jewish faith a long time ago. The day Elisa Meyer married Rudolf Friedman she did away with the Torah and all of its complicated and restrictive rules. Her father Eli had watched those developments with sorrow, but since the death of Sarah's mother there was no dealing with Elisa on the subject.

The financially beneficial marriage came as a gift from heaven for Eli, and when the Jewish community began to exclude him he considered it with characteristic Jewish resignation.

“Oh yes, a daughter with an unfortunately stubborn mind! These children with their modern ideas…” he tended to complain to Rabbi Pratzman. He would then provide the synagogue with a sum of money, not too much, but enough to pacify the Jewish council. Of course, the situation caused him some pain in his heart: a Jew should always be a Jew!

The population of IJsselmonde didn't cooperate wholeheartedly either. In those dangerous times every ‘new’ family was viewed with suspicion, especially a family that came to live in the Mosermans’ house. The Mosermans had been put into a German truck one night and were never seen again. Everyone in IJsselmonde harbored suspicions about the fate of the Moserman family, but they refrained from speaking them aloud. Whatever might have happened to the Moserman family caused pity, but also fear. With the Germans you never knew. People knew too much about preferential treatment and betrayal. How brave can one remain if you have kids to keep alive while your husband is gone; in hiding or taken away for the Einsatz somewhere in Germany or beyond?

Elisabeth was seen as an outsider in IJsselmonde and the story of her origins in Limburg was only half believed. No, it was better to stay out of the way of the Voerman family, even if they were somehow related to the family who provided half of IJsselmonde their livelihood.

-

Lisa had been anxious during her journey, but fortunately inspections along the route had not been frequent. For the benefit of any prying interrogators, Lisa had concocted a story that she was travelling to Grunewald to work there as a housekeeper. Everyone should be able to understand that the grand old lady of the family of Friedmann Stahl needed the caring company of a sprite young and active woman. Fortunately, neither Lisa's surname Voerman nor Grandma's name Vellinga-Friedman aroused any suspicion among the conductors and other train-inspectors.

Naturally, mother Elisabeth had never found it necessary to adorn her clothes with the yellow and black Star of David. She already was a quarter Jewish against her will, and her children, in her opinion, had nothing at all to do with it. Moreover her own mother was, according to the new German law, a 'Halbjude' and therefore not governed by the same rules as the 'Volljuden', especially because she had entered into a so-called 'mixed marriage'.

Apart from her beauty, Elisabeth had also inherited the good sense of her mother and grandmother, and her decision about the Jewish star always filled her with a sense of righteousness.   Lisa drew another sort of attention during her journey that had nothing to do with being Jewish or not: she was inordinately attractive. Apart from that: most Germans were too busy with the news of their Führer’s wars, the Allied bombings, and the mobilization for Russia, - where the battle for Stalingrad had begun at the start of the year and was seemingly quickly turning into a disaster for their admired leader.

Lisa remembered how sad her mother had looked when she had eagerly taken up her Grandmother's offer to come over in 1939. Lisa had just turned eighteen and she hadn't yet attached herself to any boy in the Netherlands.

The Dutch boys in Kralingen, who were eligible enough in mother Elisabeth's eyes to be allowed to come and court her daughter, had something else on their minds when it seemed that a full scale war might be looming. There was always the nagging factor of Lisa's German origins. No, Lisa most likely had nothing to lose by trying her luck in Berlin. Being half-Dutch in Berlin was always a better combination than half-German in Holland!


During her train journey, Lisa had looked anxiously at the sky. The Allied bombardment of the German ports and the Ruhr Area were daily occurrences. She could only pray and hope that her train would not be hit by a bomb.

It was an unpleasant surprise for Lisa that she couldn't find Hans with Grandma's black Adler at the Friedrichstrasse Station. She had been forced to find out at what time the urban train to Wannsee departed and discovered to her chagrin that the offered timetable did not exactly correspond with reality. Although she had arrived at the station at half past one, it was late in the afternoon by the time she was able to secure a place on the tramway of the South line.

-

After Lisa had turned down the wrong street for the third time, she put her suitcase down in the grass of the large oak- and linden-tree-planted avenue. Panting slightly, she sat on her suitcase and fiddled with her low black pumps, which, due to the scarcity of the war, she had been wearing for almost two years. She decided to take off her headscarf and shook out her full red-brown locks, which danced over her shoulders. She reached into her black leather handbag for her powder compact box with mirror. In the mirror a slightly sweaty and tired face gazed at her. Small pearls of sweat beaded above her full, rosy red lips. Summer had come early this year and it was an unusually warm May evening. There she sat, somewhere in the middle of Germany, a country that was at war with her own, while it was also the home of her ancestors. She was twenty-one years old since April 25, 1943, which was only a week ago. She narrowed her grey eyes against the still abundant rays of the setting sun. She would like to take off her heavy, lined raincoat, but that would mean she would have to carry it on her arm. She decided that it would be best to keep it on and rose stiffly.

Lisa had always been a little plump, but the time in Travemünde had not been a stay of milk and honey. There had been food to eat, but she had not been able to indulge in such luxuries as candy and sweets. Her plumpness had disappeared like snow in the sun. Her love for rowing on ‘das Meer’ had given her a long muscularity that definitely looked good on her. It was not really in keeping with the fashion of the time, but who would think of fashion-trends in a country at war anyway?

She swiped her grey pleated skirt and resumed her journey with a sigh. If only she was already there...

-

The fat man with the heavy double chins delightedly tapped his cigar while speaking into the telephone’s mouth- piece.

“So, you found the damned old Jew?” he shouted into the phone. “Her servant too? What, resistance? What was that idiot thinking? Huh? Beaten up? What do I care about his Aryan appearance? Huh..? Well, it’s entirely up to you... Just put that Friedman on a transport, and do it immediately! And the house? Well done, the Stadtscommandatur will be proud of you!”

Pleased, he put the phone back on the hook. He laughed harshly and could not resist rubbing his fat hands together.

“Right, Sarah Friedman,” he muttered, “that was just between you and me!”

He sank into deep thought. He had always known that there was something amiss about the origins of the Friedman family. But, as long as he harbored hope of an alliance with Sarah Friedman and her fortune, her secret had been safe with him. Ten years ago Sarah Vellinga, born Friedman, had moved heaven and earth to get into the archives of the municipal administration of Berlin in order to falsify her mother’s civil status. Her falsifications had in the end not been necessary: the records were destroyed during a recent bombing.

And let's face it, he thought with a grin, everyone knew about Rudolf Friedman. The press covered that marriage extensively more than sixty years ago. Romantic nonsense, of course! That Jewish Meijer-bitch had steel magnate Friedman by more than his hair. You only had to look through the old newspapers to find out about her Jewish background.

She must have thought she was safe, the tramp...

Bitterness welled up within him when he remembered the humiliating way in which Sarah had responded to his proposal. It had been a few weeks ago at a splendid dinner at the State Chancellery, with all the highest-ranking SS officers. It had been difficult enough to get her to attend it - she rarely accepted such invitations. And then she had been chatting for hours with a guy from Grüppentransport, an almost nobody in a room full of people who shone like diamonds. All of the Reichsicherheits Hauptamt’s highest officers had been there, for God's sake.

She had laughed when he had found the courage to ask her. She had screamed with laughter!

“Not if you were the last man on earth,” she'd said, “I'd rather take a woman!”

Oh my God, the memory!

He leaned far back in his wood-and-leather desk chair.

Power is so delicious! One phone call from him to the Juden-Referat of the Gestapo and Sarah Friedman’s time on this Earth would be up. It had been a great idea to shadow all she was doing. She’d almost escaped him in that car she borrowed from that gardener. God knows what business she had, going to that Chiemsee, but he had managed to have her dragged away from that spot, together with her Aryan butler!

Tomorrow he would inspect that house. From now on it would be his house, with everything in it. He could hardly wait, but if he went today he might raise suspicions.

Who distributed everything at the Vermogensverwaltung again? Karl Guttmann?

He grinned when he heard Guttmann’s measured voice on the phone.

“Hi Karl,” he shouted into the mouth-piece, “I just need to know something, my friend. On which list is that Jew Friedman’s house? I want to bid on it!”

He felt hot anger when Guttman replied that he didn't happen to have that list and that he would ask his secretary to find it for Herr Doctor Meister Lowenau.

“Dammit, Guttman, you must know how urgently bids have to be placed?”

He almost spat into the phone. He, the Staatsanwalt of Berlin, and then to get such answers!

The following remark almost caused him a heart-attack.

“Herr Doctor Meister, the house has been recovered by the housing department of the Reich Chancellery...”

Guttman deliberately paused after that remark. Giving Herr Doctor Meister Lowenau, Staatsanwalt of Berlin, the deception of his life was something to be savored.

With the “What did you say?” from Lowenau, Guttman almost chuckled his reply: “Herr General Heinz Guderian, of Germany's second cavalry division of the Wehrmacht, will need the house when he stays in Berlin, when he is home in between battles.”

He further deigned to explain that the Führer himself had so decreed. Guderian’s nephew, who is a housing officer and quartermaster for the troops section of Berlin-Spandau, would go over there as soon as possible to sort things out.

Herr Doctor Meister Lowenau's phone barely survived the force with which it was slammed down.

-

Grunewald was at least peaceful and rustic. Villas were scattered along the main road that led through Berlin's admired villa area. She lost her way a few times in the long avenues that all looked the same to her, but eventually she reached the imposing wrought-iron gates of Grandma's house.

Great-grandmother Elisa had known what she wanted when she persuaded Rudolf Friedman to build a house in posh Grunewald. The Berlin high society resided there after all, as well as the wealthier members of the Prussian aristocracy who wanted to have their pied-a-terre in Berlin. Elisa had turned the residents of the neighborhood against her by naming her house Monbijou, after the old demolished city castle Monbijou of Frederik the Great, (such arrogance!) but Elisa Friedman had been as stubborn as she was beautiful, and for many years she was the leader of the ‘cliques and chic’ of Grunewald.

-

It took a while before they reacted to her insistent ringing of the front door bell.

She had finally recognized the gates of Monbijou down one of the many avenues of Grunewald. The whole area had been miraculously spared from the bombing of the allied planes. Few villas showed signs of destruction. To her surprise, the beautiful wrought-iron gates with their Renaissance curls were wide open and Grandma's Adler was carelessly parked by the center flowerbed of the front garden.

She wasn't surprised to see the two official-looking black cars with Nazi flags on the side. For years Grandma had tried to find her balance in a rapidly changing Germany and in Grunewald you always drew a lot of attention; sometimes you had to howl along with the wolves in the forest.

Still, Lisa felt sudden apprehension. She looked around her with intuitive suspicion before hesitantly ringing the doorbell.

She was unprepared for the young German non-commissioned officer who opened the door.

He looked her up and down and then said haughtily: “What?”

“I uh... Frau Friedman is expecting me...” she stammered, uncertain.

Why did Hans not answer the door, or Sofia, the bell girl?

“Umm...” the young man thought deeply for a moment, sucking on irregular teeth.

“Come inside then, Miss!” he decided.

He looked appreciatively at the red-haired beauty in front of him. He had seen many beautiful girls in Berlin, but this one took the cake in his opinion. He wondered absently where in Germany her accent was spoken.

Lisa turned bright red when she noticed the way he stared at her. She hesitated for a moment and then followed him into the hallway. Her suitcase was left standing in the doorway as the young man did not take it inside for her.

Lisa's eyes widened: Grandma's usually tidy hall was in chaos. In the vestibule coats were thrown in a heap on the floor and the long Persian carpet lay curled in a strange arc, as if someone had lifted it and then thrown it down again.

There was no sign of Grandma, Hans or Sofia.

Lisa stopped abruptly.

The young corporal turned around and frowned at her. Lisa looked coolly at him. He looked no older than twenty. He had a pleasant face, with almost comic traits, which was caused by his pointed chin, slightly slanted eyes and curly hair, which peeked out from under his Wehrmacht cap.

“Fräulein.?”

“I uh...”

Lisa hated to show him her uncertainty.

“I am here for Frau Friedman. She wants me to work for her.”

Thumping sounded on the stairs.

“What is it, Rolf?” asked a cheerful voice.

An officer leaned over the upstairs railing and looked down on the young woman with open interest.

“A visitor, apparently, Herr Untersturmbannführer!” Rolf responded while he jumped to attention.

“Himmel!” the officer replied. “What a nice find, Rolf. Why are you here, Fräulein ?”

Without waiting for a reply he suddenly said: “Take her to the side study in the hall, before the Gestapo feels compelled to interrogate her. And you both; keep your mouths shut!”

Rolf nodded and pushed Lisa into a small antechamber, opposite the stairs.

“Wait here Fräulein and make as little noise as possible! Those Gestapo men are a bunch of maniacs who might make things very unpleasant for you.”

Whispering, he added: “It would be better to talk to my boss, than to them.”

Bewildered, Lisa slumped down onto a chair in the antechamber. The little space was a mess: the curtains were ripped from the walls and paintings lay in a heap in the corner of the room.

She had to keep her teeth from chattering at the remark that the Gestapo were in the house. Who had not heard the dark stories of that secret police force, who apparently could dictate life and death in Hitler's new Reich? They were mainly concerned with espionage and... Jews. Lisa wondered if the Gestapo was in the house for that reason: because her Grandma was half Jewish. But Grandma had been safe! She was the widow of a Dutchman of Aryan appearance and Frisian origin. She was supposed to be a Halbjudin, an enormously rich one as well. Grandma used to say that the advantage of money was that it opened all doors and closed all mouths.

Lisa bit thoughtfully on a lip. All in all she'd have to be very careful...

Rolf was still looking at her.

“Fräulein stay here until they're gone. They're searching the upper floors of the house for eh... crimes against the German Reich.”

His look seemed to transfer a warning to her.

“The Untersturmbannführer and I are here on orders from the Reich Chancellery. The Wealth police started to clean out the house, but now the orders are changed, because someone else has to come and live here by order of the Führer himself. It is a famous general.”

In a confidential tone, he added: “It is coincidentally the uncle of the Untersturmbannführer!”

“Crimes against the Reich?”

Lisa turned white.

“Frau Friedman?”

“She hid the fact that she was Jewish.” Rolf said curtly. His training with the Hitler Jugend and then with the Wehrmacht had always been focused on hatred for the Jewish population.

“It would be better if you had nothing to do with her, Fräulein.”

He stated it with concern, but also menace. Lisa's beauty made him milder than normal, but the idea that she might have something to do with the Jewess filled him with aversion.

“N... No...” stammered Lisa.

She knew she had to think hard.

“Frau Friedman hired me for her household. Uh... my mother worked for her when she was still living in Rotterdam. Frau Friedman felt alone and she was helpless...”

She realized that the latter wasn't so smart to say to a boy who had learned to despise Jews.

“I'm going to talk to the Unterstürmbannführer,” concluded Rolf after thinking hard.

He knew his young boss would get to the bottom of things and to deliver a girl, and such a good looking one, into the hands of the Gestapo just because she had rung the bell of a front door at an unfortunate time, was going too far for Rolf.

-

Kaj Guderian scrutinized Lisa harshly.

He had immediately gone to the antechamber after his unfriendly colleagues from the Gestapo had left.

Lisa was still shivering after hearing the Gestapo pass by the little room where she'd been hiding from them.

“My Hauptscharführer tells me that you came here as a housekeeper for the Jewess,” he said sharply.

Lisa was startled by the threatening tone in his voice.

“There wasn't anything much left to eat in Travemünde,” she said weakly. “They gave me a chance...”

“What,” asked Kaj harshly, “to make Jewish food?”

Lisa protested feebly.

“No, no, to care for her! I am sure she had a cook or some such? Nobody ever mentioned Jewish food. I did not even know she was Jewish!”

She blushed as she gave those answers to the officer.

Forgive me, grandma, she thought helplessly.

The Unterstürmbannführer frowned.

“Do you know how to cook and manage a household? Even in a big house like this?”

When she nodded, his attitude changed.

“Nah, Liebchen,” he said suddenly, most definitely in a better mood, “then you can prepare a meal for us now and work temporarily for the Wehrmacht.”

He laughed when he saw the stunned expression on her face.

-

That night Lisa lost her virginity to Kaj Guderian, Unterstürmbannführer in the Wehrmacht.

He had unceremoniously taken possession of her. He had brazenly stepped into her room and positioned himself on her bed, holding her down with one arm. Lisa had chosen one of the largest rooms in the servant's quarters of the house.

She understood completely that he was doing exactly what he had planned to do with her from the first moment he had seen her. She had only resisted him when he began his rapid invasion into her maiden body, which caused her a sharp pain. When he did not let off she tried to cope and noticed that the pain gradually disappeared.

It surprised Kaj that she had still been a virgin.

“So, my Liebchen, I'm the first, am I not?” he gloated afterwards, while he lit a cigarette.

After that first time he treated her with gentleness. Apparently she had managed to win him over with her innocence. She became his mistress: he gave her little housework to do because he had summoned the staff of the Intendance of Spandau.

She now only had to endure him in her bed, often several times a day.

The twenty-four-year-old Kaj Guderian was the only nephew of Heinz Guderian, General of a cavalry division of the Wehrmacht. Kaj got instructions to prepare the Friedman house for the arrival of his uncle. Because he had suffered dysentery during his training with the cavalry, he had been temporarily placed at the Dienst Haushaltung. In the course of the wars that led Hitler to conquer surrounding countries, this proved to be an easy job and a welcome solution for a young man who valued his life in times of war. On the other hand he started to resent his job, especially as his uncle had a shining military career to show off and had even became a confidant of no one else but the Führer himself. Kaj did not even care to explain the non-existent rigors of his job to his friends.

Kaj hoped that a reunion with his uncle would bring something beneficial his way; German officers had died in droves in the battle of Stalingrad and with a bit of luck a place alongside his uncle seemed entirely plausible.

Meanwhile, he enjoyed staying in the luxurious villa in Grunewald as he normally had to live in rented rooms in Spandau where most of the Berlin barracks were situated. Life in Spandau was not really bad, although due to Hitler's bloody wars the number of his friends there was rapidly decreasing. A lot of officers lived in Spandau with its numerous bars and brothels for evening entertainment.

Kaj had always had a lighthearted approach to life. He had a semi-aristocratic Prussian background. If it had not been for Hitler’s hunger for wars, his parents would have probably had him study at one of the country's famous universities. Now he was a career officer like his father’s brother and he never worried about anything. The girl, who had just been thrown into his lap, with her gorgeous chestnut-red hair and blue eyes, enchanted him. She must have the most beautiful legs and breasts in the district.

He liked to teach her how to please him. Little Lisa wasn't as averse to having sex with him as she had shown that first night. It didn't matter a whit to him whether she did it out of fear or self-preservation.

-

Lisa ultimately had to force herself not to sink into a deep depression. She was afraid that Grandma Sarah had fallen into the hands of the Gestapo, not just because she was half-Jewish but also because she was the sole heir of a gigantic fortune. She was convinced that the SS would certainly know how to find ways to take all Grandma’s possessions away from her. She shuddered when she remembered hearing of the acts the SS had implemented to completely destroy Grandma. She knew also that she was powerless against them. She considered fearfully that she was glad that she had a roof over her head in Berlin, even if it meant that she had to share her bed with Kaj Guderian. She knew by now that she should definitely hide any and all evidence that she was one of the heirs of Sarah Friedman's golden legacy.

In the day-time her terrible longing for her parents and her brother in Rotterdam haunted her. She felt like screaming when she remembered the distance between her and her beloved family. She nurtured, morosely, very few illusions that she would ever see them again. Lisa hoped that she could escape whatever dire fate might await her as long as Kaj used her as the object of his lust. In a matter of days she had changed from an innocent pampered girl into a woman trying to maintain herself in a crazy world. She at last understood what men desired when they eyed a beautiful woman and came to realize that she could use her sexuality as a weapon in her struggle for survival.

-

A noise at her bedroom door startled her out of her ruminations. She was sitting on the chair beside her bed when Kaj entered her bedroom. Lisa saw that he was not in the best of moods.

Kaj immediately put his hand under her skirt and looked angry when he discovered that she had put on her panties.

“Verdammtes Weib! I told you that you have to be ready for me, every hour of the day!”

“I'm not some whore!” she replied angrily.

“Hah...” sneered Kaj.

He tore her panties off with a heavy tug, rolled her onto the bed and thrust himself roughly inside her.

“Dirty whore...” he ground out, “Nasty bitch slave...”

His grunted words didn't shock her anymore. Rather, it embarrassed her that she felt a deep sense of excitement and at the same time an immense sense of power. She, Lisa Voerman, alone in a crazy world, in a changing city, had Kaj Guderian in her power: she was not the slave, he was – a slave to his own lusts.

“You're going to go a long way, Lisa Voerman!” she promised herself, closing her eyes at the delight of the orgasm that was suddenly taking possession of her.


*

*

*


CHRIS 1

*


Lucinda van Noord stretched on the long chair that was covered with sheets and pillows.

“Do you think it would have made a difference if I had not been so filled with pride and a sense of power?”

Chris Lucassen smiled at her.

“Oh, yeah,” she laughed, “what do I think, right? The therapeutic response.”

She sank into deep thought.

“I think it would not have made much difference,” she said finally. “Pleasure is sinful, that's drummed into us, so pleasure with a Nazi... Yes. Officially there should be punishment, right? I think that made the feeling of being cheated worse, eventually, and the betrayal. But what was happening was already written, even the way it happened. Just my way of interpreting the things, then, that was my own thing... Whether I was a proud and power-hungry sheep or a patient lamb, the slaughter would have been the same, right?”

“Right?” asked Chris.

She sighed.

“It's easier to pretend that everything was fated in advance, which makes me feel less guilty… a martyr. Otherwise, I feel I have a great deal to blame myself for! I gave myself to a Nazi and willingly let him - them - abuse me. Well, at least one, in any case. And what happened after that is my own fault...”

“Gee...” smiled Chris, “You're not here to talk about yourself feeling guilty. You have to do away with it. With everything you had, you couldn't change history in that life, you could never wipe out Ravensbrück on your own. You were a Part of the Whole. A particle of dust, a moment in a moment. But I understand what you mean. Pleasure is not very esoteric, at least not in that way. Especially not when it takes you somewhere where you absolutely didn't want to go...”

“But it still had a function,” she replied defensively, “it helped to eventually make sense out of it, from then to now... at least... It is the human factor.”

He nodded thoughtfully.

“If you manage to think that, then you are probably further than you think,” he nodded.

She plucked thoughtfully at her half-length red-brown hair.

“How does it all fit in with what is predestined?” she asked pensively, “I cannot stand the fact that the longer I think about it, the more confused it gets. And Above is also very sparing with answers...”

“Above?”

“Yes,” she shrugged, “what I call the Hierarchy, you know.”

“Not really.”

She knew his interest was piqued.

“You're a seer...” he hesitated, “there is no study for ‘seeing’, like a study to become a regression therapist... How else does someone become a seer, than by predestination?”

She smiled.

“I must confess that it is pure grace to be a seer. I consider myself a seer in the Light.”

Her laugh was uncertain and she raised her finger theatrically.

“Remember, it always gets more complicated, the more I explain. My best friends always say that I have to start again in the middle of my demonstrations because they can't follow me anymore.”

She paused again.

“It comes down to this: we are all born with a package in our head or our heart. One person gets a handbag, the other a briefcase and some have a trunk with them, figuratively speaking. As with having a talent for languages or a high IQ, I seem to have been chosen to have a very special package.

My gift is a very special one. It may sound boastful, but I don't mean it that way. I have been given a little bit more of that specific package in this life, because it is probably intended that I do something with it. Whatever.”

She shrugged and continued with a wavering smile: “I do not mean something like Jesus had to perform on the cross. The intent of the things usually lies in a tiny corner. You're lucky to find that intent before you die.”

She now smiled broadly at him.

“Sometimes the result is not worth the method used to obtain it. Maybe I have been given my fantastic gift just to, let’s say, learn to formulate one specific sentence in my head. To learn to understand one concept. And that would then be the purpose of my life. Strange, don't you think?”

He frowned at her, but she continued without asking him why.

“Getting a gift is always a grace. The mystery of the gift is that it can also be taken away, if you've reached your goal, or abused it in some way... You name it...”

She could not resist a naughty laugh.

“The manual is never the same. The gift is the reciprocal learning process. You possess its end already, but have no clue about the start. There lies my job as a seer. Not everyone can just find the beginning or the starting point. I have it in me to help people with it, but, between the two of us, I just don't know if I really want to.”

She pointed an index finger to the ceiling.

“Heaven helps me. I call that Heaven ‘Above' or 'Hierarchy’. I may have contact with ‘Above’, at some times more easily than other times. At night it's usually easier than in the daytime, but unfortunately it doesn't work like, say, a telephone. It's not a question of dialing a number once you've picked up the earpiece. It's hard to explain. On the other hand, you have the adage that 'gods, angels and even the devil have a disadvantage compared to children of men.'”

She giggled when she saw his astonished gaze.

“You didn't know that?” she asked, “Gods, angels and devils can be called upon. If a child of man tells them they need to come, then they have to listen: they cannot but obey. We summon them more often than we think, although most people do not realize who they have called. Just as well, really. Most people absolutely cannot handle such a visit. Even I can't always. What's more, Heaven can punish abuse.”

She contemplated her words for a moment.

“The largest part of my gift is actually that I call and He comes, my Master from the other side.”

“Jesus?” frowned Chris.

She shrugged.

“Maybe. I live in the Christ-energy, and thus it is easy to imagine that the Master is Christ. But if you're Malaya-acc-al'Am, you live in that energy and if you are Buddhist, the energy is normally similar to what you live in. You might wonder who your master is. I don't think it's very important to name the man behind the scenes.”

“Malaya what?” he asked.

“That's the Atlantic energy. There are so many.”

She fluttered her hands.

“About the calling: in Heaven we all have different names. Everyone has his or her own karmic name. The name is written on your karmic wheel, as it were, which turns and turns throughout your life, until we reach Nirvana. Something like the eighty-sixth dimension where God lives.”

“Fantastic!” he sighed, “And you can reach it?”

“It's limited,” she muttered, “on a one kilometer road I walk a maximum of five steps ahead of you. It still seems to turn me into a visionary.”

He nodded and suddenly pointed at her chair.

“Thank you for your explanation, but you still have a few things to solve.”

She reluctantly lay down on the chair.

“I always feel suspicious and threatened in this position,” she mumbled, “and I don't even want to think about what's coming next, let alone root around in it again.”

The fear began to rise in her chest like a big sour ball.

Chris leaned towards her.

“I will try to save you the details of the suffering,” he whispered. “Some things are unnecessary. However, it is important for therapeutic reasons that you go back into some events, so you can view them again, but now from the perspective of the person you are in this life, with everything you have learned and gained from this existence. To be able to process it, not to feed your fear.”

When he saw her frightened face, he said: “You can do it in a later session...”

She shook her head.

“Let's get it over with... Otherwise it'll be difficult for me the rest of the week. No, Chris, I just want to get it done...”

She wiped the cold sweat from her forehead and closed her eyes to concentrate.

The hypnotherapist slowly began the exercise to put her back in her trance, gazing with intense compassion at the tears that already started to drip slowly onto her cheeks.


*

*

*


GRUNEWALD

*




-

I Ching Hexagram 1: Creation, 6th poetry line

-

If you suppose

To fly so high

You will surely burn your wings

And crash down

into the deepest depths


*




   The good life at Monbijou could, as far as Kaj was concerned, carry on forever. General Guderian was still too far away from Berlin to come and live in the villa.

Lisa had gradually taken the opportunity to avoid all household work in the villa. Kaj had enough people at his disposal to manage his uncle’s household. She never felt at ease among the servants affiliated to the Wehrmacht. They were all well past fifty, but that didn't protect her from their bold and contemptuous looks once they understood that the General’s nephew had taken a lover into a house that belonged to the Wehrmacht.

Kaj always took care that they had enough food and drink so she never had to ask a favor of any of the servants in the house. In the end she barely left her room.

She considered that Kaj wasn't such a bad man. Under all his pompous arrogance, seemingly characteristic of his class and rank hid a friendly young man. She was happy that she obviously satisfied him enough that he didn't seek his pleasure and companionship elsewhere as she saw him every day and almost every night.

She read a lot: there were enough books in Grandma's big office on the first floor. She also read as much as possible to avoid thinking about herself. She was afraid what her future might bring, while the past had no function anymore in her daily life. She knew she was drifting, but was at a loss how to change her situation.

One day she wandered into Grandma's office and found a pack of Tarot cards. She wasn't sure what it was, or what it represented but she understood that the pack had something to do with divination.

When she turned the pack of cards it slipped out of her hand and three of them fluttered into her lap. They represented a picture of ten swords, an ace card, which showed a down-turned sword, and a sinister devil's head. With nimble fingers she put the cards back on the pile, muttering to herself that it was lucky she didn't know the meaning.

After several weeks Kaj appeared less and less at Monbijou. Sometimes he was gone for three days and when he couldn’t come to Monbijou for official inspection and therefore couldn't use an army car, he rode a motorcycle.

His absence made Lisa very nervous: she felt the constant threat of the sword of Damocles over her relationship with Grandma Sarah more intensely when Kaj was not at Monbijou. Her pride about her power over Kaj vanished and was replaced with the obsession that she wanted him near her. She wanted him to protect her from the evils of a world that consisted only of an echoing Monbijou and its scornful elderly servants.

-

One afternoon there was an impatient banging on her door and before she could get up from her chair the door flew open.

“So...” said the tall figure in a black leather coat which reached down to the shins of his boots, “Gudy’s little love dove... Mm, not bad indeed! Come here, sweetheart!”

Lisa rose with mortification from her chair. With wide eyes she looked at the tall blonde German who entered her bedroom without being bidden. He had a long unsympathetic face. The eyelid of one eye was half closed, and bore a small scar. Like most officers in the Wehrmacht this man was clean shaven. His eyes were cold grey-blue spots, with irises like pins. She only dared breathe again when she heard Kaj's voice behind him.

“A dish, as I said, right Andreas?” she heard him ask.

He came to stand in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest. Lisa wanted to respond happily to his arrival, but she saw with disappointment that all his attention was focused on the unsympathetic man.

Andreas sat down into the only other chair in Lisa’s room. He studied her without a word.

“Ach Gudy, so this is the piece of candy that you keep hidden...”

Lisa shuddered at the way he kept looking at her.

Kaj sat down on the bed next to Lisa's chair and began to kiss her with purposeful roughness. His hand disappeared under her skirt and he pushed her thighs apart.

Lisa struggled to get out of his ‘embrace’. She felt hugely embarrassed about the way he was treating her in the presence of the scary Andreas.

“Kaj, Kaj, wait a minute...” she cried out.

She suddenly remembered Kaj's penchant for schnapps and exclaimed: “Where is the schnapps? Did you bring schnapps?”

Kaj was immediately distracted.

“Sure, Puss,” he grinned.

He pointed at a cardboard box next to the door.

“Go get it.”

He hit her hard on her behind as soon as she got up and the two men roared with laughter when she uttered a squeak.

“Nah, Andy?” asked Kaj when all three of them were clutching full glasses of schnapps.

“It's a pigsty here,” Andreas answered, studying the room with disdain, “I can't even stand properly.”

He took a big gulp of schnapps, sent a keen look at Lisa and licked his lips.

“Downstairs,” he concluded.

Lisa's eyes went wide with shock. The glass in her hands trembled and she quickly took a sip. Best not to show fear now, not in front of that creep, she told herself.

“There is a nice big room down the staircase,” Andreas said. “That dirty Jewess slept there, but I believe they've pretty much fumigated everything last time I asked. It is better than this here, in any case.”

He nodded contemptuously toward Lisa's bed.

Lisa's breath caught in her throat as soon as Andreas mentioned her grandmother.

“What happened with that woman?” she asked, trembling.

Andreas' eyes bored deeply into hers. Then he laughed harshly.

“You do not want to know!” he sneered.

Kaj was already at the door, clutching the box with the bottles, sausages and bread. They both stood waiting for her, as if they feared that she would escape. Dizzy from the liquor and anxious foreboding she let herself be carried away by both men.

Since she had been in the house she had avoided Grandma's bedroom. When Andreas opened the door, she closed her eyes to the emotions that immediately started to overwhelm her.

Andreas pushed her immediately and roughly towards Grandma's large semi-circular bed. When they fell on it together, his hand lashed out and started to grope under her blouse. Lisa tried to stop his rough handling of her by crying out: “Don't you want some schnapps first?”

He sat up with menacing eyes and grabbed a bottle Kaj held out to him.

After a long swig, he pushed the bottle against her lips.

“You too, sweetie...” he grinned, bumping it against her teeth.

Lisa drank with difficulty, while Andreas continued to twist the bottle. The alcohol burned in her throat and she had to do her utmost not to cough or gag.

“Give me more!” she said, because she knew that this play with the bottle was distracting him from his groping.

Kaj stared at her. Lisa knew that look so well; it was usually followed by his rough and wild lovemaking.

“You first, Andreas,” he growled softly, “I have done it with her numerous times. Take her from behind: she has a nice fat butt!”

Andreas did not hesitate and started to pull Lisa’s blouse from her body.

Lisa blessed the schnapps. Her drunken haze made everything seem remote as if what they did to her was not really happening or as if she was watching herself from a distance without feeling any emotion. Her half-drunken stupor meant that she couldn't care less: Kaj, Andreas, Andreas or Kaj. Her fear was blessedly tucked away under a blanket of alcohol.

“Let’s do something else,” growled Andreas after a while.

He turned her on to the bed so that her head was now hanging down over the edge.

“Come, friend,” he beckoned Kaj while he opened her legs wide. He pushed his penis deep inside her.

Kaj already with his trousers on his knees, kneeled in front of the bed and held his hardened penis close to her down-turned head.

“Open that mouth!” he commanded.

When she didn't immediately obey, he pressed her nose closed with his left hand, pushing the head of his penis against her opening lips.

“Suck, bitch,” he muttered.

Lisa was afraid she would suffocate. Tears came to her eyes and she opened her mouth wider.

Oh, my God, what were they doing to her? Andreas was working both his fingers and his penis in and against her sheath, while Kaj was moving his cock fast into her mouth.

She had to endure it, she had to, she had to! She had noticed that the schnapps had brought them into a dangerous, impatient mood, where all feelings were removed except for lust; hard, dangerous lust.

Both men were apparently determined to make a long feast of their use of her body. Encouraged by the large amount of schnapps they were imbibing, they invented the wildest and strangest positions. Lisa was being rocked back and forth between the two men like a lifeless doll.

“Oh, mother!” Lisa wailed and at last she fell into a merciful faint.

-

The following morning Willi Tannhäuser, one of the house servants, found her. Lisa was rolled in a bedspread that showed blood spots and stank of urine and feces.

He sprayed water on her face to wake her, studying without surprised the bruises that seemingly covered her body.

“Andreas Messer, for sure,” he muttered.

He held basin of luke-warm water in front of her and she dabbed her face prudently with a washcloth.

He gazed at her with an earnest expression and shook his head.

“Andreas Messer is a butcher,” he said softly. “Gestapo of the Juden-Referat. Ordnungsschule as well. Not someone to have in your circle of friends, Fraülein.”

A sob welled up in Lisa's throat.

“I know, but what can I do? I have nowhere to go...”

The desperate words were thickly spoken from her bruised and cracked lips. She remembered that Andreas had beaten her on her face when she had not reacted fast enough to his atrocious demands. She stared dazedly at the many semen stains on the bed and noticed they were even on the floor. Beside her lay an empty schnapps bottle with blood caked on the bottle-neck.

“Fräulein,” warned the man, “I have found your photo in this room. You are in danger.”

Lisa only stared into nothingness.

“Grandma!” she whispered, choking.

Willi pretended not to hear.

“Please,” he whispered, “take a bath and then go back upstairs to your room... Nobody else knows you are here.”

When he saw her frightened, startled look, he said soothingly: “They left early this morning. Go now, Fräulein, please...”

-

Kaj only returned to Monbijou after more than a week.

He had still been drunk when he left the villa at dawn. Andreas had apparently already left: Kaj did not even try to remember when his friend had gone.

With some trouble he had ridden his motorbike to Spandau through the warm, early-morning June air. Once there he crawled into his bed and only left it to throw up or urinate.

The memory of their debauchery of Lisa filled him with both shame and excitement.

That Andreas was really a pig, he remembered excitedly, when he was feeling a bit better in the late afternoon. He'd had many a good party before, but this beat everything! He remembered almost all the things he and Andreas had done to Lisa and as soon as he was up to it again he masturbated frequently under the covers of his own bed. He tried to ignore the fact that he thought more about the sight of Andreas in one sexual act or another, than of Lisa, who had most of the time been squashed between them, as if she was a rag doll.

After a week he received the instructions that he had twenty-four hours to prepare the house in Grunewald for the arrival of his uncle. He knew then that Lisa would have to go elsewhere immediately! He grabbed a motorcycle, as he realized it would be impossible to transport her in a Wehrmacht car.

Lisa had not expected him to come to Monbijou that day. She had been lying in her bed, keeping herself away from the servants in the house, too ashamed to face them. She was afraid that Willi Tannhäuser had been eager to tell the other servants about her mishaps.

Kaj wondered if she'd lost weight. He noticed that her mouth and one side of her nose still showed the shadow of bruises.

“You have to leave here!” was all he said.

He threw a cloth bag on the floor, and she quickly started to stuff some clothes into it after putting a dress on and using a piece of string to tie her hair into a ponytail.

“Verdammt, Mensch,” he cried out, annoyed by the panicked questions she asked him, “we cannot bring your damned suitcase on my motorcycle. My uncle will be coming today, so be quick, for God’s sake!”

Once outside, she snuggled close to his body on the motorbike and he felt a raging horniness coming up. Cursing, he rode onto a dirt road somewhere outside Grunewald and stopped next to a few bushes, where he supposed they would be hidden from view.

A flash of fear crossed Lisa's face. She struggled to keep it at bay and smiled seductively at him instead.

“Oh baby,” she whispered, “so you have missed me?”

She would do anything, anything, to keep him near her. He was all she had in this crazy world.

“Here,” she whispered, lifting her skirt to her waist, “here, on the bike! Do it, do it.”


*

*

*



     SPANDAU

*


*

I Ching: Hexagram 11: Well Being

-

Mixed Signs: When Heaven bends down to Earth there will be a short time of peace

-

Inner harmony can exist

When Heaven seeks the Earth.


*


His rooms at Spandau were not very spacious and they were a hopeless mess: empty bottles, full ashtrays, plates with leftover food, clothes in heaps outside the cabinets. Lisa immediately went to work while Kaj took the motorbike back to the barracks: to trade it for a car. He had already left the necessary instructions at Monbijou, but he didn't want to leave anything to chance where his powerful uncle was concerned.

Kaj's rooms were at the Riessenstrasse, one of the streets that led into a circular parallel to the great citadel, where the headquarters of the Wehrmacht resided.

Lisa imagined that she could breathe again. She was in the city and not in that villa with the now mainly bad and creepy memories.

She searched Kaj’s room in vain for cleaning products and in the end decided to knock on the door of the basement, where the janitor of the building was supposed to live.

The woman gave her a broom and a mop. She couldn't help her with soap, she grumbled. Nobody could afford soap right now in Berlin.

Singing, Lisa went to work. She wondered if the horrors of late were past. She told herself not to think about them anymore.

-

She woke up from the cold and fumbled for the tattered rags that served as her blankets. She was again sadly reminded of her warm, padded raincoat, stuffed in a suitcase somewhere in a cupboard in the servants-quarters of Monbijou.

She had to pee and reached for the pot, then she performed almost acrobatic feats to remove as few clothes as possible. The pot stood on the floor. Her huge belly prevented her from seeing where the pot was exactly and she started to pee next to it. She moaned in abhorrence. Oh, my God, what was she doing here, living like an animal?

She crawled back to the pallet with the straw mattress that was her bed. She would clean the floor as soon as a little more light filtered through the small window of the cellar.

There was a banging on the door and she sighed.

“Lisa, Lisa, wake up!” a shrill voice cried.

“I am already up, Anna,” she called out at the closed door, “I'm coming.”

Shivering, she walked down the long hallway of the basement to the pump in the courtyard.

The girls’ rooms upstairs all had running warm water, but when you lived in the cellars of the brothel you had to settle for the big pump if you wanted water - ice-cold water that was. It was early November, but winter had already arrived in force. Lisa's breath let out short puffs into the freezing air. She looked up to the still dark sky. The moon was high above the rooftops and Lisa wondered briefly if Kaj could also see it.

Kaj. Eventually he turned out to be one of her few blessings on her journey through hell.

She had lived in his rooms with him for a few weeks in Spandau, until he came home to tell her with glistening eyes that his uncle had given him a post in his division. After that he had stayed away for days and then, when she came back from her daily stroll in Spandau, he had been packing most of his belongings in a huge grey military bag. He took a few minutes for a last hurried swive on the sofa, kissed her off-handedly and remarked that she could stay in his room until the end of July, which, Lisa calculated morosely, allowed her less than a week’s stay. Then he had left her with a roaring engine and a profound feeling of confusion.

She never saw him again. The bag with his belongings was later collected and with its removal, Kaj also disappeared from her life.

Lisa had spent some long nights pondering over what to do now. She already knew by then that Madame Mitzi owned a brothel across the road, with a daily stream of the highest officers of the Wehrmacht and SS constantly strolling in and out. When, after a few days she didn't have a crumb of food left in the room and not a penny in her purse, she decided to ask Mitzi for a job in the brothel.

Mitzi had not been averse to Lisa's request. A beautiful redhead would no doubt gather a lot of interest and money in her thriving brothel. She had noticed Lisa walking in the Riessenstrasse for several weeks, wondering if the girl had started her own independent business and few questions were asked. That same evening Lisa was shown for the gentlemen’s perusal in a daring red borrowed dress.

Mitzi's brothel was situated in a building that originally consisted of three separate townhouses, which were merged into one large house. The middle housed Mitzi's salon, where customers were received and were invited to make their choice for an hour or for the duration of the night. The salon consisted of a very luxurious bar surrounded by numerous sofas and two-seaters. Every day after the noon hour men with thick wallets made their selection of the abounding women at Mitzi’s. Lisa was always amazed at how busy the brothel was at lunchtime. Lore had told her that exactly that time was favored by the wealthy men of Berlin: In the earlier evening they had their own events and receptions, often with their ignorant wives, who did not know where their husbands spent much of their long lunch hours, and all those hours at night when normal civilians tended to seek their beds.

Lisa had stepped up to the work at Mitzi’s with professional indifference. She did not care about those old, fat, puffing Berlin men who paid Mitzi handsomely for an hour of her services. She did not want to care, let alone think about them.

She just knew that she had to survive the madness of Berlin in wartime and find a chance to get back to her family in Rotterdam.

In the evening when the officers performing their duties in Berlin for the Reich poured into Mitzi's, Lisa was often more alert. Her eyes always searched the faces of the dark blond officers of the Wehrmacht. Kaj didn't know where she was, after all. She never saw him. Sometimes she caught some snippets of conversation about the war on the Eastern Front. It never made her any the wiser.

She noticed early-on how different the men of the SS behaved in the bedroom compared to the men of the Wehrmacht. The men of the Wehrmacht were often passing from one front or division to another. It sometimes seemed that no officer or soldier was stationed solely in Berlin. That made them somewhat melancholy, especially among the prostitutes, their German girls.

The visiting SS officers obviously lived permanently in Berlin. They had the large Reichshauptamt in the city as their permanent location. Many were married and lived in Berlin. That made a huge difference. They did not go to Mitzi's with the idea that it might well be their last time of fun.

Mitzi's brothel always seemed to show something of a last desperate attempt at gaiety within its walls. The tension over the war and the fear of an inglorious death at one of Hitler's fronts caused unreal cacophonous releases in the brothel, which culminated in an urge to take part in nameless, endless orgies of drink and sex. Mitzi's was soon known for exuberant, boundless mischief and unbridled debauchery.

-

At the end of the summer Mitzi had Lisa called into her ‘office’. Lisa had worked at Mitzi’s for nearly two months and was making splendid money for her.

The girls all lived in the brothel: the room in which they worked was their own bedroom and the bed in which they performed for money was the same bed in which they slept from late at night until eleven in the morning, provided they did not have an all-night customer. After eleven Mitzi chased the cleaning crew through the rooms to have them back perfectly ready for the whores’ services of the lunch hour.

If you were popular at Mitzi's then you didn't get much sleep. Mitzi awarded the girls few days off. As long as they were able they had to earn money. Berlin was a city at war, with all its advantages and disadvantages.

Mitzi hardly paid any cash to the girls. She obviously calculated the cost of board and lodging against their earnings in the beds and of course the balance was always to her advantage. She found it difficult enough to keep her pantries and drink selection well-stocked during those times. She paid for the ‘work clothes’ of the girls and those were delivered from the most expensive fashion houses. If a girl wasn't working satisfactorily, or was not satisfied with the way things were run, she was immediately invited to leave. Berlin was full of women and disadvantaged girls who would kill to get a place at the brothel.

-

The tall blonde looked intently at Lisa. Mitzi's hair was bleached blond and always tied in an intricate bun almost on top of her head. She was over fifty, but it was hard to tell in the low burning lights. Her oval face still showed the brilliance of the northern beauty she once was and her long, full figure provoked many requests from wealthy patrons, who were able to spend good money for a tryst with Mitzi. She was a typical whorehouse madam: hard when it came to business, but with a heart for the girls who did for her what she had done for someone else in times past.

“Lisa,” she said in a firm voice, “this afternoon Dr. Berghaus will examine you.”

Lisa avoided Mitzi’s eyes. She had dreaded Mitzi’s close perusal, although her now ever-growing belly had already provoked frowns and plenty of teasing questions. Since May she had not menstruated and she had already bent over the sink to be sick in Kaj's room many times. She had not realized the connection at first between her skipped menstruation and her sickness and attributed the nausea to hangovers from the schnapps that Kaj brought home so frequently. But once alone in Spandau in Kaj's rooms she had the reality of her pregnancy forced upon her, especially after Kaj went away to one of Hitler’s fronts and no longer provided her with liquor.

If he had stayed she wouldn't have known how to break the news to him about the child growing in her womb. After all, there was another candidate for the paternity of her child.

“Lisa,” Mitzi said harshly, “you know what I mean, right?”

Lisa shrugged and nodded.

Mitzi studied her in silence. They’d know more after Dr. Berghaus’ visit.

-

Dr. Berghaus scrutinized Mitzi over the top of his glasses. He washed his hands thoroughly, buttoned his jacket and put on his long black coat with the tails.

“No, Mitzi,” he barked, “you are mistaken. The pregnancy cannot be so advanced yet.”

He turned to Lisa.

“She's not lying when she says she last menstruated in April. That makes it now, uh... a bit over four and a half months. But the mystery is perhaps quickly resolved. This looks like a twin pregnancy.”

Lisa gaped at him in confusion. Oh, my God, what would she do with twins? It was hard enough right now just to keep herself alive.

Mitzi sucked on her lip, deep in thought.

“She cannot work with that belly,” she decided. “She'll have to clean.”

She left the room without further ado. Lisa wondered if she was very angry.

*

*

*


RACHEL 1

*

Lucinda's attention was distracted by the flickering candle, away from the two women in front of her.

She shuddered as if somebody had walked over her grave and her gaze went back to Rachel, who raised her pendulum to eye level. The light of the candle reflected the crystal pendulum into dozens of colors.

“Pen and paper ready, Irina?” Rachel asked her friend, who was sitting beside her.

She then fixed her gaze on Lucinda.

“I must now recite a few chants... You're sure that it can only be done this way, Lucinda?”

Lucinda swallowed. She didn't have much experience with séances. Rachel’s posture, along with the intense secrecy with which the rituals were surrounded made her nervous. Though she was a visionary, a seer, séances had never been a part of her world of experience. She moved her tongue over her dry lips.

“There is no other way,” she concluded hoarsely.

“Well then.”

Rachel held the pendulum ceremoniously over the Ouija-like board. Rachel told her before that the board was of her very own creation, although it had an Ouija-board like example.

The pendulum started to move over the board and to turn.

“I'm now asking if there is someone who wants to connect with you, Lucinda,” Rachel whispered.

“Yes.” Lucinda nodded hesitantly.

Her eyes widened.

“There is a manifestation of someone I do not know... It could be your spirit-guide. He calls himself Monk. Do you want to talk to Monk, Lucinda?”

Lucinda could only nod. She noticed that her entire body seemed to tremble.

“Monk needs to be called with three taps.”

Rachel knocked three times on the wooden table.

“He greets you.”

The pendulum flew rapidly over the letter arc of the board. Irina quickly picked up her pen.

“He says that there is an old danger coming back: W A I T – O L D – T H R E A T. He adds a C H I L D – C H I L D as well.”

She gestured impatiently for silence when Lucinda started to say something.

“She'll explain it all to you later,” Irina whispered.

“He's sending regards from someone else. P E T E R – P”

Tears suddenly gushed from Lucinda's eyes.

“Oh my God, Peter-Paul... Oh my God...” she cried out.

She should have known. A séance could tear things open that should better be left alone. Her Peter-Paul! Damn, how could she have forgotten this might happen! The lid of the box that should remain closed now flew open with force.

Rachel moved the pendulum back to the center of the board, where it was hanging as if it had never moved.

She looked at Lucinda with pity.

“No,” she said to Lucinda's unspoken question, “he cannot talk to you, but he loves you. Please try to see past it. I didn't know...”

She shook her head.

“Lucinda, there is a ban on talking about this person. A ban that you have imposed on yourself... Come on, we cannot make them wait, we must continue. Monk asks what you want to know from him.”

Lucinda watched the gently moving pendulum that now hung almost limply above the start-position. Tears still clung to her long reddish eyelashes.

“It's about a previous life,” she announced clearly.

She noticed that she had managed to get her voice under control.

“It is important for me, because the thread of that existence shines strongly through my present life.”

Rachel nodded.

“Ask the question, then.”

“I want to know who was the father of the twins I was expecting in a previous life. There were several, uh, candidates. Although I have a suspicion,” she added, shyly.

The pendulum began to swing hard back and forth.

“He's pointing only at a single letter,” Rachel muttered. “He keeps pointing to the A!”