CONFESSIONS OF A VAMPIRE
'Lo all. It feels strange to come to an end with this tale. It didn't feel all that strange when I typed "the end" to it 5 years ago; but posting these last 2 chapters to you does feel strange. It's almost as if my time with you is over and I am a bit saddened by that realisation. I hope you have enjoyed this story of Karl, Emil, and Tom.
There is a sequel, AVENGERS, to CONFESSIONS. There is also a non-erotic version, DARK ANGEL, that combines aspects of both erotic novels. These will not be posted to Nifty or any other archive. If you would like to find out more about either of them - or any of my other novels or collections - you'll have to visit my website (www.macmillanbooks.com). Hope to see you there.
I do want to thank each of you for reading this tale and for enjoying it. It's been my pleasure.
Tom was waking as I came back from the shower. "You are a sleepyhead," I told him. Glancing over at our Swiss lover, I smiled at him as I remembered the heat of our most recent coupling.
"You two got it on while I was sleep?" our American member demanded sullenly, reading the exchange of looks.
"We sure did, Liebchen," Emil answered happily and rubbed his buttocks suggestively. "You missed an especially wanton ride into pleasure."
"I guess we could show you what you missed," he leered. "I haven't had American ass in three or four days-"
"Count me out," I told them, my thoughts already turning to the evening ahead of us.
"That leaves the two of us then - why don't we try it in the shower?"
"Fuck!" Tom growled even as his manhood became tumescent. "All you ever think about is your damned cock."
"Wait until you get it on now you're one of us-" Emil chuckled. "It's going to open up an entirely new dimension to sex for you."
"Yeah?" In spite of himself, Tom MacPherson was becoming curious.
Emil climbed to his knees and leant over the other man to take him into his mouth. "God!" the American gasped, staring wide-eyed down at their coupling. "That does feel better!"
"Want that shower now?" Emil asked, leering at him.
I dressed and sat on the bed, listening to their mindless frolic under the water jets in the bathroom. Tom would need to feed soon and I wondered idly at how pronounced his hang-ups about feeding habits would be now he was one of us.
My thoughts flitted from their fun quickly, however, and, becoming dark, turned to Reverend Pat Koughlin. The man was being broken as television entered the fray against him. But I watched through Hitler's rise to power and remembered too clearly the failed beer hall putsch supposedly destroying the man in 1926, only to watch him become Kanzler seven years later.
Koughlin's Goebbels, Hess, and Röhm were gone, however - unlike Hitler's men who directed him to power. The preacher's ability to organise violence and propaganda was severely disrupted with both McCarthy and Broussard dead. Treman's death prevented him from keeping legislation from coming to a vote. That gave America a breathing space Weimar Germany never had.
But was I willing to allow the preacher the chance to rise from his ashes like a phoenix as the mad corporal had been able to do? Or did I eliminate him and save the world from another madman and his Armageddon?
"Hungry?" I asked carefully as the boys returned from their shower. Our American lover had been squeamish about vampire feeding habits when he had seen them and, now he was one of us, I was rubbing his nose in them. Doing so allowed me to put Koughlin and my memories of Hitler from my thoughts.
Blotches rose over his face and neck, and I couldn't resist a chuckle. Tom MacPherson was so damned easily embarrassed! I stifled the chuckle by reminding myself I could as easily have an enemy for eternity as a lover if I continued to set him up and, then, pounced on him. I saw I was going to have to curtail my tendency to embarrass him or not have Tom. That was just one of the differences between him and Emil.
"I am hungry," he allowed slowly.
Emil laughed. "You dragged out taking the plunge so long, there aren't many American fascists left for you to bite. How about a drug dealer?"
"Shit!" he hissed. "I don't do human beings-"
"Drug dealers aren't human, Tom," Emil answered firmly but quietly. "They're fucking rubbish."
"They still look human - I made it pretty plain I was going to confine my feeding sources to something that had four legs and didn't look at all like us."
"I wonder how long that's going to last?" Emil asked me, and I wondered just how much like me the young Swiss was. What had I created?
"I guess-" Tom looked to me, his eyes appealing to me. "Maybe we could go take a ride out in the country?"
"Like to a farm?" Emil asked, pursuing him still. I wondered if I should put a stop to this area of what to Emil was play.
"Yeah," Tom shot back at him. "It's time you started living up to your promises."
"Yeah. I remember both of you pretty basically committing to swear off mortals if I took the leap. Well, I've taken it, so it's time you live up to what you promised."
I decided I'd let the two of them continue their play for a while longer. It appeared the American could give as good as he received. Besides, I rather enjoyed the give and take of their verbal sorties - even if I feared being a part of them.
I knew suddenly I didn't dare allow myself the pleasure of sliding into it with either of them, however - or I'd have them both joining forces against me.
I'd lose more than an occasional match of wits. I had to stay above the fray and allow them to have their matches between themselves. I was their elder in both their minds and mine - if I joined in even one sortie I lost that nebulous advantage. If I stayed above their duels I could be a refuge for each match's loser as well as maintain the position on my pedestal.
"Do you have a place in mind?" I asked quietly.
"Not really." He smiled sheepishly. "I didn't think a whole hell of a lot about it before-"
"There's got to be a slaughterhouse between here and Baltimore-" I turned to Emil. "Look through the phone book for one."
The Swiss scooted off the bed and started for the door. "I think y-fronts at least are in order," I told him and laughed.
"Why?" He remembered Marcus Eichmann then and both Tom and I watched his face become covered with blotches.
I watched the evening re-run of the CNN Saturday interview with Reverend Pat Koughlin. Emil and Tom lounged on either side of me. Across the room, Marcus Eichmann became noticeably happier after Tony joined us. The media had been exposing pieces of the preacher for a week, and he was furious.
"I don't know if Mr. McCarthy practised homosexuality," Reverend Pat Koughlin told the interviewer calmly, leaning forward and looking directly into the camera, his eyes showing his pain even as his craggy face remained immobile. "I know the liberal press in Washington has tried to tie him into sex rings, into non-stop homosexual orgies," he told me. It was a confession between just the two of us. The interviewer was no longer there and, quickly, there was no sense of millions of others listening to him.
"Just as they have Congressmen Bob Treman and Hank Broussard. The three of them were good men. They understood how far our country has fallen from God's design for us; and they were each working to bring us back to Him-"
The preacher smiled slightly. "Satan never works in a straight-forward way. He doesn't take over a man completely from the very beginning. He starts out with a small sin and convinces him it wasn't much of anything. He just keeps on building up the power of sin, adding another one here and one there, convincing us each one of them isn't anything - until we're hooked. Until he has our soul.
"Now, if Joe McCarthy and Congressmen Treman and Broussard were practising all these abominations the press is talking about, that's how Satan got to them. They needed Christian counselling. They needed to accept Jesus back into their lives."
He chuckled quietly, as if confronted by some great irony. "Even as Satan was claiming their souls, they were still working to destroy his work in this country. That's the funny thing about the Devil: he doesn't ever get a good person completely; he just nibbles away at his edges-"
The preacher's face darkened, his voice growing fiercer. "Satan sets good men up to be destroyed. He finds a small area of weakness in them and works to expose it. Then, he uses his other forces, power he really controls - that are devoted to him - to expose it.
"Here were three men - good men doing good for their country and for God - and he led them into something God has told us is an abomination. Two of them were killed in a manner that was straight out of hell, their throats torn from them by raging animals. There was evidence there - abundant evidence - they practised abomination. The liberal press played that aspect up, making it seem these men were a part of our ministry and their abomination was also a part of it - making our ministry seem sordid, a travesty of God's design for us.
"Joe McCarthy was somehow caught up in what those two men were doing in their private lives. He may well have been involved in their abominations. He saw the power of evil marching out to smear all of us with its sordidness. And he lost his ability to think clearly in the face of that power tearing the other two men down, tearing him down, and trying to destroy the millions of people who trusted them. And, in the fear and confusion that controlled him at that one moment, he killed himself."
There was more of Reverend Pat Koughlin tying the press to Satan's design and distancing himself from the orgies Satan led good men into. It was a well-designed religious counter-attack and he delivered it superbly, allowed to do so by his interviewer. The news analysis that followed immediately was devastating, however.
Respected commentators, law professors, and police officials discarded most of Koughlin's defence. The question wasn't if McCarthy and the Congressmen had been homosexuals and engaged in sex parties - that was allowed under the laws of the District of Columbia as long as the participants were sixteen or older and as long as the sex was not prostitution.
The question was Koughlin's unspoken agenda and how his interlocked organisations were carrying that agenda out. Grand juries in several western states were already investigating the preacher's connections to terrorist bombings and killings that had occurred in their jurisdictions. It was the commentators' views that were finding themselves into the nightly news; Koughlin's defence was already limited to second-hand coverage.
The Post on Sunday announced federal prosecutors were empanelling a grand jury in the Capital to investigate Koughlin's and the Circle's activities across the country.
I smiled at Marcus Eichmann and said: "You've done what I asked you to come to America to do."
"Damned well, too," Emil told him smiling.
Marcus snorted. "A child could have broken those codes, my Prince. It was so simple; I still can't believe it - after all, it's an accepted fact throughout Europe Americans are ten years ahead of us in computers."
"What're your plans now?" Tom asked.
"I'm on a sixty day visa-" Eichmann glanced at Tony and slowly shut his eyes in pain. "I - we haven't discussed it."
"It shouldn't be difficult for Tony to get a passport if he wants to visit Switzerland," I noted, remembering how well Marcus Eichmann had established my identity and knowing he could do the same for the young man who had increasingly become a part of our entourage. "Perhaps, the two of you should discuss the matter."
The Negro's eyes had rounded as we began to discuss him. "Switzerland?" he cried excitedly. "You ain't talking about me going over there and living with Marcus?"
Eichmann reddened and I nodded as I said: "Would you like to tour Europe this summer?"
"Man! I ain't even been further than Baltimore in my life, and you all are talking about Europe-" He pushed himself out of his chair and squatted beside Marcus. "Please say you want me to go there with you."
"You want to go?" Eichmann asked, relief flooding his face.
"Lordy! Do I?" Tears welled in his eyes as they continued to study the pudgy Swiss' face. "You just say the day, baby!"
I chuckled. "I think you have your answer."
"I do, don't I?" Eichmann answered as a smile forming across his face and his fingers touched Tony's cheek tenderly. He gazed at the mahogany-coloured face for several moments and finally said: "You could learn computer repair and steal everybody blind because you're an American."
Tony grinned. "I think you better start teaching me German right away, baby. This whole thing sure is beginning to sound good."
"And French," Emil added.
"Your grandfather's turning over in his grave," I told Marcus quietly.
The Swiss' face beamed at me. "Let him," he answered. "He deserves it."
"Are we that obvious?" Tom demanded after the two men had left us to continue Marcus' exploration of gay Washington with Tony as his guide.
"Obvious?" I asked.
"Yeah. Do we act like teen-agers in the throes of first love?"
Emil laughed. "It does get to be a bit thick, doesn't it?"
"Ohh, baby-" Tom mimicked, his fingertips sliding over the Swiss youth's cheek.
"Want to go out?" I asked, intending to change the subject.
"Where?" Emil retorted. "The bar scene quickly becomes old when you aren't cruising and can't drink even one whiskey without getting drunk. And American beer is worse than egg fizzes."
"Yeah," Tom chimed in. "And the restaurants are a real drag when you puke all over the place if you eat something."
I smiled. "Tom, you knew what you were getting into and still asked for it; Emil, though, didn't have the same choice-"
"I sure as hell did!" he spoke up. "I had been asking for it." He grinned then. "I just wasn't prepared to have it happen when it did."
I grinned back. There were moments I wondered if he harboured regrets he had become a vampire; now, I was satisfied. "Thanks," I told him.
"Don't thank me," he answered grinning. "Just take me home and get me out of this heat."
"I thought you were enjoying yourself?"
"It's been fun luring Tom onto the path of evil," he answered, lowering his voice as he spoke the last three words and making it husky. "The conniving and manipulation were especially-"
"Emil!" I warned him.
He smiled contritely at the American. "It was fun staying up with you, Liebchen. The bars were interesting to see - we don't have anything like them in Switzerland."
"Hey! I was as new to them as you were," Tom shot back.
"Then, why don't the three of us do them again?" I asked.
"Because that scene gets old fast," Tom answered.
Emil nodded and added: "Besides, with all of us vampires, we can't drink. Scheiße! I'd probably have my fangs out for everyone to see by the second round of drinks-"
"Nobody'd think anything about them if we went to that bar where the boys dance naked," the American offered grinning.
"Tom, weren't you the one who made a big production about the three of us remaining faithful?" I asked.
Faint blotches broke out on the American's cheeks as he hung his head. "Yeah."
"So, you're both bored with things here?" I asked.
"I am," Emil grunted. "And it's going to be a lot more boring now there isn't somebody trying to kill Tom here."
"Or you fucking right-wingers' brains out and having them showing up on the doorstep begging for more," Tom chuckled.
"You'd like to return to Europe then?"
They both nodded in unison. "I guess I could ask Marcus to return and begin searching for a place for us to rent in October - where?" I raised a brow questioningly. "In Vienna?"
"Why not Berlin?" Tom asked, and I noticed a troubled look cross Emil's face. "I hear their gay scene is pretty far out now Germany's a whole country again."
"What's wrong, Emil?" I asked quietly.
"Why must Marcus set things up for us to return home?"
"Because he's a mortal-"
"So - and why October?"
"It's high summer and we can't leave here until something near nine o'clock at night - when the sun sets locally. That's already three o'clock in the morning on the continent. With dawn coming as early as five thirty or so, there's not much time for even the Concorde to reach London, much less Germany. I could hire a jet, but Marcus'd have to be there to protect us while we sat on some run-way through an afternoon far away from prying eyes - or are you ready to die already?"
"Like you almost did when you tried to rescue me?" Tom asked, his mien suddenly serious.
I nodded. "Fortunately, you aren't conscious of it very long; but it is excruciatingly painful while you are."
"Can we trust him?" Emil asked me.
"I'm pretty sure we can - we've permitted him the run of the house here, and I haven't seen any of us walking around with a stake sticking out of our chest."
Tom shuddered and he projected scenes of my near-cremation to both of us. "We don't have any choice, you two. We have to trust him."
"Perhaps I can buy back some of the estate that was once mine."
Emil stared at me in surprise that was fast becoming horror. "Why would you want to do that?" he groaned.
I nodded at our American lover and said: "If you haven't noticed, we've gone on a beef diet this past week. I suspect the gendarmerie will be quicker to investigate if we continue to visit farms and kill cattle than they will if they find another dead drug dealer or skinhead. If we have a farm, the damned cows are ours."
"Yeah, Karl, but farms are so far away from anything," Tom complained.
"May we change our feeding habits?" I asked him pointedly.
I smiled as the American's face blotched in easy embarrassment. "We risk setting off one of those sects that'll visit farms and drain cows of blood - incurring the curiosity and displeasure of the locals wherever we are. Or we may own our own source of food where nobody cares if we kill a cow or two a week."
"Yeah," Emil moaned, "and we'll be out in the middle of nowhere."
"Perhaps, we should have Meister Marcus teach us the rudiments of the computer - I understand there's something called the Internet where you can talk to anybody anywhere at anytime."
"Computers!" Tom made a face.
"We could commission him to find us a nice, quiet place within fifty kilometres of whatever city we selected," I grinned. "We'd be able to enjoy the nightlife you two seem so worried about missing."
Emil shrugged, but Tom's face had become serious, reminding me of Sergei's when he had just begun working through a problem. He remained strangely silent, however; and Emil dragged the conversation off into another area entirely. I watched Tom chew his lower lip and thought to myself how very much he reminded me of the Ukrainian before I allowed myself to follow Emil's conversation and forgot the similarity I had seen.
Dawn threatened the eastern sky behind us as we followed Pennsylvania Avenue to Sixth Street. I pointed the electronic release in the general direction of the house as the Volkswagen rounded the corner and turned onto `I' street. Finding cows without suspicious owners was becoming increasingly difficult.
"There's somebody at the gate," Tom observed from his position of leaning over the backs of the front seats.
"Scheiße!" Emil growled under his breath. "Who-?"
I extended my mind to the figure huddled beside the gate as we braked to make the turn into the drive. "It's Tony," I told them.
"Marcus forget his key with so much dick on his brain?" Tom asked as we came abreast of the man.
"Where is your fat hacker?" Emil called as the car halted in the middle of the drive.
I unbuckled and slipped out of the car, Tom a step behind me as I made my way back along the drive to the gate and the walk beyond. "Where's Marcus?" I asked the Negro as I neared him.
Tony looked up at the sound of my voice, his eyes wide. He seemed to shake himself and pulled himself into a standing position using the wrought-iron fence. He waited until we had reached him before speaking.
"He-" The Negro sobbed and I saw the tears welled in his eyes. "He's dead, Prince Karl," he managed.
I stared at him in shock as Emil joined us. Tom's hand reached out to hold him. "Dead?" I whispered.
He nodded. "We went to Traxx - you know, down from the Capitol?" His voice was strained, close to breaking. I watched as Emil broke away from Tom's restraint and went to the man, pulling him to him.
"Let's go inside," I told them, finally regaining enough sense to be a responsible host.
"So, what happened?" Tom demanded in the front hall before I could shut the door behind us.
Emil still held Tony to him. The Negro had his face buried in the Swiss' shoulder and was permitting him to guide his steps. "We wanted something to eat," he mumbled against the shirt and snuffed mucous to clear his nose. "We walked down to `M' to get to the car. We were just talking - bullshit like boys do when they enjoy each other-"
He sobbed again and was unable to continue his story as Emil guided him into the sitting room. Tom broke ahead of us and stepped to the bar. |A strong one,| I told him and saw him nod his agreement. Emil led Tony to a chair and helped him sit in it.
"It happened so quick-"
"What did?" I asked, imagining more skinheads striking at me through the remaining mortals in my retinue. Tom put the glass of whiskey in his hand.
"I heard brothers making noises-" He looked up to peer into my face. "Black boys running on about me and Marcus. I started to turn around when the shooting started. Lordy, but I hit that ground fast.
"It seemed like it went on forever - bullets digging into the walk, the buildings, everywhere. And I just lay there shaking like some damned old leaf.
"I wasn't thinking. I was just scared to death. The thing I was worrying so much about was happening - me being killed by stupid homeboys.
"Only, I hear this motor rev up and tires squeal. I looked up and saw their tail lights at the corner.
"That's when I looked over at Marcus-"
His eyes were clouding up again and I knew he was at the point he was losing control of himself.
"Take a drink, Tony." I watched him look down at the glass in his hand as if he had not known it was there. "Drink!" I commanded him.
He coughed and Emil quickly took the whiskey from him. "The police?" the Swiss asked.
"Them fucking bastards!" Tony hissed. "It took them twenty minutes to get there with an ambulance. Twenty fucking minutes while Marcus bled to death - and them just a block away, too!"
|What are these homeboys he mentioned?| I asked Tom.
He sensed the suspicion behind my question. |This wasn't your Nazis. It was just another drive-by shooting-|
|Drive-by shooting?| Like drive-through liquor stores? Autonomous murder? Meaningless, senseless death on a whim? Unglaublich.
|It happens a lot in big cities. Especially in the black neighbourhoods-|
I stared at my American lover in amazement.
The comedian's wide face gazed at us from the television screen. "Where are you going when you take a ride with Pat Koughlin, folks?" he asked his audience and paused. "Straight to the hell of an IRS audit," he answered himself a moment later.
I didn't think the joke funny but smiled that the country's comedians were now making the preacher and his groups the brunt of their humour. I reminded myself somebody once said the reason Hitler was able to rise to power in Germany was because the Germans couldn't laugh at themselves.
The Americans did, though. And the fangs of that laughter were sunk deep into what was left of Pat Koughlin and his allies. But was it enough?
The Fürst von Muribor had seen empires rise and fall in his one hundred and fifty years and he had seen the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini sweep over Europe, only to be replaced by that of Lenin and Stalin. The course of history could have been changed if Hitler had simply disappeared beneath its waves. Hitler had been the only leader insane enough to immerse the world in war, and he had nearly destroyed Europe with that insanity. Europe and the world could have been spared that destruction if Hitler had died instead of ruling.
The only good thing about the world war was Hitler hadn't had nuclear weapons. He hadn't been able to destroy the entire world - plant and animal, mortal and vampire. Koughlin, or someone like him, would have those weapons if he gained power in America. He could order the death of the planet; and, from everything I had seen, he was insane enough to do it.
Perhaps, vampires had a duty to prevent such men from gaining power, a duty not to mortals but to the world they shared with them.
|Never, Karl!| The thought exploded across the horizon of my mind. Surprised, I looked over at my lads to find Tom studying me, a tight smile on the man's face. But it wasn't Tom sitting there.
|We aren't gods, my love - and we mustn't play at being one.|
|You know my thoughts?|
|I think we need take a long walk, you and I-'
|We might not get back in time to find a cow in an area we've not yet visited-|
|Then, I may have to taste human blood tonight. Our talking is more important than Tom's sensibilities.|
Outside, we were two young, good-looking men walking slowly toward Eastern Market and the gay bars there, enjoying our companionship.
"My lives have proved we vampires need to stay out of nearly every aspect of mortal history," Sergei said quietly in the late summer evening.
"Scheiße! Without Hitler, Würther would still be alive," I growled.
"And be an old man in his late seventies if he still lived, Karli."
"He'd have joined me, as I joined you."
"No, he wouldn't. He was in denial of everything about us." Sergei chuckled bitterly. "The one thing he couldn't deny was his - our - love for you. In that, he and Tom are much alike."
"He'd have grown old and died?" I asked in disbelief.
"That was his plan - both consciously and subconsciously. But he involved you in helping the Jews of Vienna and that brought the Gestapo after both of you.
"I wasn't much better there in Petrograd. I saw that priest haranguing a crowd of workers to march on the Winter Palace, to give the Tsar - our loving national father - a silly petition. I joined them."
He snorted at the memory. "I led a column. I saw those damned Cossacks sitting their horses. I saw their swords drawn. I touched one's thoughts and knew what their orders were. And still I marched on at the head of that column of simple workers. Because I didn't believe the Tsar would break the covenant between Mother Russia and her people.
"Any more than Würther believed people could be really inhuman to other people. I had my belief in Mother Russia; he had his belief in God. Both were goodness incarnate. Yet, both failed."
"I don't see. Look, Sergei, without Count Witte there'd not have been a Bloody Sunday. The Tsar would have accepted the petition and no one would have been hurt and Russia would have become a constitutional monarchy. Without Hitler, there wouldn't have been a Wansee Protocol and a Gestapo. Without Koughlin, there won't be a nuclear fascist America."
Sergei turned toward me, his eyes gazing at me. "You're still speaking of an essential goodness - and its antithesis, evil. In that skewered logic, if you remove evil, goodness prevails."
He stopped, shoving his hands in the pockets of his shorts. "Karl, there is no god and no goodness incarnate. You would have us become gods in their place because we are stronger than mortals, because any one of us could have got to Hitler and left him a bloodless husk, even after he was in power.
"But how can we become gods, Karli? How dare we choose to murder a man simply because we see him as evil?"
"We do that now, Sergei. When I choose a victim, I select one who has destroyed his life or made himself inhuman. Emil does the same thing."
"You choose one who, by your definition, is no longer useful or is inhuman. That's fine on a one-to-one basis. It's your justification for selecting that particular person to feed yourself. But it doesn't work when you tie your definition to history. Would you have killed Albert Einstein?"
"He didn't-" I instantly saw what Sergei was driving at. Einstein had given mankind access to the atom. With him gone before he could revolutionise physics, there wouldn't be the lingering threat of nuclear destruction. Yet, the man's contributions to science had brought mankind to the brink of carrying life to other planets. Without him, much of man's knowledge of the universe gleaned these past sixty years wouldn't have been.
"Even now, the American government is rounding up Koughlin's henchmen throughout the country. He and the fascisti he led are history, Karli. I have no complaint with your contribution to bringing his threat to an end, or with the way you did it. It was an interesting way for us to contribute to our world's health, even to improve it. But to kill the man now? That would be playing God. That's an insanity on the same level as his."
"So, you would have us go back to Europe and frolic along the boulevards of Paris or the cabarets of Berlin and forget him?"
"Forget him? No. Frolic? No. I accept mortal and vampire need to accept responsibility for the world they live in." He smiled wryly. "That part of me, of Würther, still lives. I'm saying there's a whirlwind of fear - one caused by all the changes of these past fifty years - waiting to be harnessed and we should watch those who would attempt to harness it. And destroy their attempt if their goals are not good ones - but not as a murder machine."
"I don't see the difference between what you're suggesting and what I was thinking."
"I said destroy the attempt. You've put Koughlin up to public ridicule and legal investigation. He's been destroyed - and the force of fear he sought to control has momentarily lost some of its strength because of all that laughter.
"You'd go on and kill a man whose movement is already destroyed. You would institute your own Wansee Protocol even though the enemy already lies defenceless under your foot - in a Warsaw ghetto of this situation, this country and this time. You'd overkill, Karli."
"You were ever the mercantilist, Sergei," I chuckled. "The merchant Prince. It's too bad you weren't the Tsar instead of Nicolas - we'd still have empires and our estates."
He chuckled. "If they existed still with the knowledge we've gained, we wouldn't recognise them. Do we still have to wait until autumn to leave this America behind us?"
"`You don't like it here?"
"There is an excitement in Europe, a belief in better things still laying ahead, I don't find here. Europe met Satan, and Satan blinked. Europe has learnt how to have fun, and America needs to."
"The sun still rises when it rises in summer, Sergei - and sets when it sets. We're four hours by Concorde to London, five to Paris, Berlin, or Vienna. Add another six hours to those travel times with a regular jet. We'll be in sun-light much of the flight."
"But Vienna would be twelve hours, perhaps - and another one for refuelling - in London? Perhaps more than one?" He smiled at me. "We can leave by seven in the morning if we wear long, opaque clothing, wear wide hats, and don big sun-glasses-"
"Gott im Himmel! You'd have us look like rock stars!"
"Hire us a small jet, Karli. One of those corporate jets - they're puddle-hoppers but they'll make the Atlantic if we refuel in Labrador and again in Norway. We keep flying - to Petrograd or, even, Moscow. They're far enough north, the heat of late-afternoon won't kill us once we are again on the ground."
"You're suggesting we fly through the day-?" I stared at him in surprise as I realised what his words had meant. He nodded.
"We can settle in Petrograd until we have an agent who can find us a more congenial place. And, then, we'll be flying west - into a setting sun."
Sergei grinned at me broadly. "I do like Berlin, Karli. Do you remember? It was there we first met." I nodded. "I've always had a fond place in my heart for that Capital since-"
"We can keep an eye on him from Europe as well as we can from here. If this would-be Führer somehow survives the destruction visiting him, we'll come back. We can even teleport now we have a place here." He gazed at me beseechingly. "Karl, I hate this heat. Tom could go to the beach, but that is forever gone from all of us now."
"Everybody in Europe goes south for the summer," I groaned helplessly but I was already convinced. "Europe is going to be boring, Liebchen."
He grinned. "I know places in Moscow and Petrograd not even the Bolsheviki could destroy."
"You're that ready?"
"He's as ready as we are-" Tom glanced about us as we passed the Eastern Market entrance to the underground. "Where is this place Emil hunts?"
"I never went with him."
"Shouldn't we go back to the house and get him? I'm hungry."
I took his hand and visualised the sitting room of our home, ensuring the same picture was appearing in his thoughts as well. And we were there.