DARK PRINCE is a gay romance/political thriller set primarily in the US. It is mainstream with gay primary characters. It is not erotica. If you want the erotic version, dig through the Nifty archives for CONFESSIONS OF A VAMPIRE. DARK PRINCE is an extensive rewrite of that (unfortunately, with the setting overrun by reality, I have to rewrite it again, extensively).
DARK PRINCE is fiction. It's copyrighted to me and I permit only Nifty to release it and only electronically. If you are under 16 -- 18 in America -- DA is pretty tame sex-wise. Your preacher will condemn you to Hell for reading it, though -- which will probably set your mum off. Besides, you aren't even supposed to visit Nifty. Perhaps you should go...
If you like this chapter and look forward to reading more, perhaps you can give Nifty a few dollars on your credit card to keep this free service.
I stress again that the following story is in main part a political thriller. It's in the same genre as THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, 7 DAYS IN MAY, and THE DAY OF THE CONDOR are. There are few Bush government's programmes mentioned and few negatives shown except the US economy ruined by 8 years of voodoo economics.
I would appreciate your comments and suggestions, good or bad, at Vichowel (just one L) at aol.com. If you like PRINCE, I'd like to refer you to my unfolding historical thriller FLIGHT AT PEENEMŰNDE in the Beginnings folder.
Marcus Bönner grinned at me when I arrived just as the sun hid in thick clouds and sank towards the horizon. "You now have been born, my Prince, and notice duly posted with the Registry in Bern. You also graduated high in your class from our lovely university three years ago."
I raised my brow in question. "In what did I read?"
"History. I thought you would exemplify that discipline more than most," he added with a small chuckle.
"That's acceptable." I paused, realising he'd not mentioned the other half of the records I needed. "You said nothing about Austrian records...?"
"Vienna's registries have different codes, and I have to work them out before I can enter them."
He laughed. "Another day. I've already found the Fürst's death notice -- the Germans were more efficient than the Republic's record keepers."
I sensed a pride in his statement but did not investigate it. I had lived more than two years under Nazi rule; I did not wish to find its justification in his mind. I also refused to paint all Germans with the same brush. Some Germans had succumbed to the Nazi insanity, but not all. Most had made do, as people everywhere always did.
"I need only to connect you to your father's step-father."
"How do I use what you've done in Swiss records to come by a driver's licence?" I interrupted him.
"Can you drive?" he asked, a curiosity about my personal past showing in his thoughts that I found unpleasant.
"You need your birth certificate from the Registry -- that and your student records from the university are enough. You take them to the canton police precinct nearest you, take both a written and road test and -- voilá -- you have a licence."
"And credit cards?"
He leant back in his chair and smiled up at me. "You need an income and a chequing account at a bank. You'll find application forms at any bank."
I touched his mind but found nothing interesting there. He turned back to his computer, dismissing me.
He was dismissing me as if I were a simple servant. I was insulted but I needed his work in the Austrian records. I walked away, mumbling angrily to myself. But, before I did so, I said: "If you would have me pay you tomorrow, have my birth certificate and diploma waiting for me here tomorrow."
"You want me to run around as if I were your errand-boy?" he growled and gazed at me.
"You want your money?" I asked and pivoted, ready to walk out on him.
"You'll have a hard copy of everything you need tomorrow, my Prince."
"You'll have earned the million francs," I told him. "I pay my debts."
"I don't doubt that, my Prince. I'll see you tomorrow?"
That afternoon, I again watched my Time-Life videos of the events that formed these first few years of the 21st century. The commentator did not need to tell me that the Republican ticket in the United States had been in trouble leading up to the election of 2004 the week earlier.
The planners had thoughtfully provided me with CNN poll analyses and commentary. The Republicans were behind the Democrats by ten percentage points with every poll taken. Yet, five months after the assassination of the Vice President, the Republicans won the general election with a plurality -- 23% to 22% of eligible voters. There was again a Republican majority in the Senate. It was obvious that the assassination had given the Republicans an increase by ten percentage points of those who had actually voted.
It was also obvious that the American public no longer cared about its electoral freedom. For the last three national elections, not even half of the electorate had bothered to vote. I wondered if the world's other great exercise in republicanism, the Romans, had found other things to do instead of vote before Augustus Octavius made a citizen's right to vote obsolete.
I understood that I still viewed the world from the perception of the nineteenth century, when Franz-Josef balanced business and labour, rich and poor to make a nation of many cultures. Since waking up, however, I had studied current events.
I wondered if Kennedy had been crowned if America would have been a happier place. Or a Rockefeller. Or even a Cabot. People needed a hero to lead them, a leader to put their hopes in -- it did not matter if those people were Austro-Hungarians or Americans, or even Romans. The aristocracy had always led man to greatness. There was a role for such as I. At any point in history.
But not for the Lumpenproletariat of the Nazis or Fascisti. They professed themselves to be the natural nobility, but they were only the bullies of childhood nightmares become organised.
* * *
I entered the park in human shape in hopes of finding dinner. It was early evening and still warm enough for mortals not to have donned coats against the coming night's chill. Instead of drug addicts waiting for their piecemeal suicides to become reality, I found the gendarmerie patrolling the paths I had trod only two nights before. They had frightened off both the addicts and the rent boys.
I too was frightened off. I carried my hunt down along the Sihl to the lake at the eastern edge of Mythenquai below the university towards the Landungsstelle Theatre, but the chill there was earlier and fiercer than in the promenade. Even the fur of the wolf shape into which I had changed did not alter my perception of the wet cold. I was alone with the wind blowing off the water and the time before my appointment with Herr Paulik growing shorter.
A man careened into the garbage cans set at the mouth of an alley off the Sechseläutenplatz ahead of me as I trotted along the deserted city street. I speeded up my gait to watch him collapse into the darkness that was the alley. I was sure his mind was fogged with heroin and I smiled as best as my canine snout permitted.
I would feed, even if my mouth were coated with sickly sweet residue when I next awakened. Dirty mouth and bad breath. I would be fed, I could handle Herr Paulik's needs without my stomach growling, and I could rinse away the taste with mouthwash and toothpaste.
I came up on the addict and sniffed him carefully.
My eyes widened when I realised he wasn't on heroin after all. The man was simply a drunk. He had finished a litre of cheap wine and was feeling the results of his impropriety. I touched his mind again and found a picture of boxes lashed together deep in this alley that was his home.
The man was homeless! Like the men who had risen up to Hitler's clarion call. Like the men in America I once read about who rode the rails across their country during the depression that nearly brought a Louisiana dictator to power in America and that had empowered the madman in Germany in 1933.
Other images from his memory showed me the healthy man he had been two years before when he baked pastries at a hotel downtown. His wife had left him or, better said, ordered him from her home and children.
Like the drug addicts, he was unable to handle the diversity that act brought into his life. He began to drink and could not control it. Wine became his god as he fled the collapse of the life he once thought he was building. Too soon, he was no longer a pastry chef at the hotel. Even as he accepted the loss of income and began to cook patties of ground beef in an American fast food restaurant franchise, he drank with increasing heaviness.
He was like the addicts that seemed to congregate in Switzerland from across Europe. Instead of heroin though, he used alcohol; he had been committing suicide this past year, however. Unlike the addicts, he remained in better physical shape; but he was fast approaching his own extinction.
"Nice doggy," he mumbled as he pulled himself out of his stupor for a brief moment. It was only in that moment that his thoughts approached rationality. He was already slipping back into his own private world. He was no different than the addicts I was convinced were diseased and, thus, acceptable as food.
I dragged him into the alley, pulling him towards the ramshackle hut he had made for himself there. He would die in his home of boxes, as dignified as I could make him when I gave him the death for which he had opted.
Deep into the alley, I changed into human shape and pulled his trousers down to his knees. Fang marks on his neck or arms, easily visible, would alert authorities that something sinister was afoot in Zürich. Autopsies and everything else that was part of the new discipline that was forensic medicine would come into play. Fang marks along his thighs could easily be dismissed as needle marks and ignored.
It was how the police mind worked. If something could be explained as rational, it became fact. There was no need to waste money on unnecessary autopsies, on unreasonable scientific expenses, if what was visible could be easily explained as natural. This former chef would be written off as what he had become, a derelict, and his body consigned to a pauper's grave if I took the precaution of making his death seem reasonable.
I sank my fangs into his thigh as my cheek nuzzled his scrotum through his dirty undergarment and drank. I was glutted before his heart finally fluttered and threatened to stop. As his heart faltered the first time, I opened up more wounds. He would die during the night, but not before the wounds had closed. Tomorrow, they would seem needle tracks to a casual observer. I pulled up his trousers and left him lying inside his boxes to meet death.
In my rooms again, I had two hours before Emil's arrival. Unhappy at doing so, I returned to my study of the world I had found myself in.
Knowledge was power. Without understanding this world and the events that had created it, I was powerless. Thus, I studied. I wished that I could remain ignorant. There were, however, increasing numbers of indicators that history was preparing to repeat itself -- with the ugliest stain that had ever discoloured the human soul.
Of course there were fascists already in power -- Iran being the most obvious case where fundamentalist Moslems seemed adept at destroying the very roots of humanity. But what I was learning about America and what I had seen only two evenings earlier promised far worse than a backward nation could do. The stain America was capable of was worse than even the one Hitler spent twelve years working into the human fabric. Hitler did not have the hydrogen bomb, the biological killers, or the means of distributing them -- America did.
I hoped I was being paranoid. Somehow, I doubted I was.
At the Republican convention, an unknown Senator from Georgia was selected to be their vice presidential candidate. Reed Stephens was seen to be innocuous by the editors of the Time-Life histories. Innocuous and naïve.
I began to relax. Until the video played footage of Stephens' triumphant march on Atlanta the day before the Senate election of 2002.
Formations of young boys in khaki marched down Peachtree Street in Margaret Mitchell's home city, their gold cross armbands swinging proudly. When they reached where Stephens was sitting, those formations moved as one to give him the old Roman salute that Mussolini resurrected for his Fascisti and sang the same song I had heard in the café. Grown men marched in khaki formations as well, each group carrying a banner with a gold cross emblazoned on a black background. Their arms crossed their chests too as they approached Stephens and they changed to a song that the commentator identified as "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic".
An organisation called the Christian Center had mobilised a hundred thousand men and boys to glorify Reed Stephens' triumphant entry into the American Senate.
This was the new Vice President of the United States? And he was supposed to be naïve?
* * *
Davis Trellum stood with his back to the window of the study, the autumn sunlight making him no more than a shape. Doris Shafly knocked at the door and opened it. Davis smiled as General Howell stepped into the room, saw him standing there, and squinted against the light to try to make him out.
"Thank you, Doris," Trellum said dismissing the vice president's aide. He knew the preacher and vice president spoke freely in front of her, but that was them. He wanted as few people to know what was going on as possible. He at least wanted his exposure kept to the minimum.
Doris Shafly hesitated but closed the door, leaving the men alone.
"Please come in, General. I won't keep you long." He stepped away from the window, allowing the man to see him for the first time. He smiled at the man's nearly imperceptible stiffening. Just like the rest of Bob Patterson's menagerie of fellow travellers -- racist to the core. It was just as well. These white boys had the power and they were willing to use it to take over America. He hadn't had any trouble with giving any of them their marching orders -- not even the Aryan Order crowd.
"Now that the election's over, we're ready to begin the final stage of our destabilisation programme, General," he said as he sat behind the desk and motioned to a chair across from him.
"Destabilisation programme?" Howell asked.
Trellum smiled. "What you see on the news every night, General. Would you stroll along the Tidal Basin this evening -- alone?"
"Nor would any sane man or woman. It's taken us almost fifteen years to make the very fabric that holds society together seem unsafe."
General Howell nodded and leant towards the black man behind the desk. "I see what you mean. I just never had thought of it as destabilisation -- what do you mean by the final stage, Mr. Trellum?"
"How well do you know your history?"
"Pretty well." The general sat back in his chair.
"The end of Weimar Germany came when Hitler sent the SA -- the Nazi party's Sturmabteilung -- out into the streets to beat up the commies. There were street brawls almost every night in the cities for two or three years before the Germans put Hitler in power."
"We don't have communists and nazis fighting it out on American streets, sir."
Davis Trellum grinned. "Not yet, we don't."
General Howell sat forward.
"We're forming first strike units from the ranks of the Christian Men United for Morality. They beat up queers and shoot drug dealers."
Trellum stood up suddenly, looking down at the man in his form-fitting green Army uniform. "I thought you had been thoroughly vetted as part of the revolution, General. Are you backing out now?"
The man's eyes grew large. "No, sir. I'm loyal to Bob Patterson and I do what he tells me to do."
"And you've been put under my command to help bring the Christian Center to power. Do you question Reverend Patterson's orders?"
"Good." He sat back down. "Now, this stage will continue as long as it takes Queer Nation and the drug lords to put together night patrols and start fighting back. It'll escalate too. You'll come in with the assassination."
The general nodded. He knew about that one. He didn't like it but accepted that it had to be done.
"How much of the Armed Services can you mobilise under a martial law order, General?" Trellum asked quietly.
Howell's lips curled into a smile. This was stuff he knew something about. "As soon as the Commander-in-Chief gives me that order, all branches of the Services will go on alert. There are maybe ten or even fifteen generals and admirals who'll have to be arrested -- but I've got a battalion that's loyal to do that with. We'll have the whole country under control within forty-eight hours of me getting that order, sir. I guarantee it."
Trellum stood, allowing his face to form into a full smile. "We're probably not talking about any sooner than the summer, General Howell -- but you need to get your battalion trained. From what I hear you saying, these men are the ones who'll make or break us. Get them ready."
"You've got it, Mr. Trellum." The general stood, coming to attention as he did so. His right arm crossed his chest and his fist rested on his left breast. "On my honour, sir."
"Thank you, General," Trellum told him and walked around the desk. "I can see why the preacher trusts you so completely," he told him. "Use the communication lines to the Christian Center to let us know how the training's coming along. Your reports will come directly to me."