Himmler stirred in his seat. His breathing seemed almost mechanical, as if being controlled by an outside force. Franzi turned to look at him. His eyes were wide open, but unseeing, as if in a trance.
“Blood!” Himmler whispered.
“Reichsfuhrer?” asked Franzi.
“Blood! The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance!”
“Reichsfuhrer, are you all right?”
“The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance,” repeated Himmler. ”The Blood of Israel! The Blood of Israel! The Blood of Israel!”
“You want to tell me what the hell is going on?” demanded Macher.
“Reichsfuhrer, snap out of it!” shouted Franzi. But Himmler kept going on and on. Blood. Vengeance. Israel.
“Colonel Macher, I think we need to stop the car now!” said the driver.
“Keep driving!” shouted Macher. “You, Loerber, get him out of it, now!”
Franzi grabbed Himmler by the arm, shaking it. Then he started slapping his face, but Himmler continued to shout, “The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance! The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance!”
The driver was beginning to lose it, and Grothmann looked rattled. “We need to do something,” he hissed.
Franzi bent down and pulled his medical bag from under the seat and began rooting through it. He found a bottle of smelling salts and stuck it under Himmler’s nose, but it didn’t even change the rhythm of his breath. Vengeance. Israel. Blood.
Franzi reached back into his bag and pulled out a crystal the size of a pinecone and
held it against Himmler’s forehead. “Reichsfuhrer, wake up! Please wake up!” Nothing.
Franzi was beginning to feel desperate.
“The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance! The Blood of Israel will have its vengeance!”
“Somebody do something!” yelled the driver, now on the verge of panic.
Franzidropped the crystal, pushed Himmler hard against the back of the seat and
shouted at the top of his lungs, “Sebastian, stop it right now! You’re going to
get me killed!”
Himmler stopped. Suddenly everything was quiet.
“How the hell did you do that?” asked Macher.
“I don’t know, Colonel,” answered Franzi.
Himmler yawned and stretched.
“You called out to your dead brother, didn’t you?” said Macher. “What does he have to do with this?”
Franzi stared hard at him. “Colonel Macher,” he began. “Rather than try to insult your
intelligence with an idiot discussion about spooks and magic, let’s just say
there’s stuff out there you don’t know anything about. Now I know you think
what I do is bullshit, and, well, you’re mostly right. But Colonel, the biggest
mistake people make about magic is believing they can open a door halfway. If
the Reichsfuhrer had been more like yourself and just left it all alone, none
of this would be happening.”
Before Macher could say anything, Himmler interrupted them. “I just had the weirdest dream!”
“How so, Reichsfuhrer?” asked Franzi warily.
“I can’t remember,” said Himmler. “But I’d really like to go for a walk right now. Driver, stop the car. Loerber, you will accompany me.”
“Yes, Reichsfuhrer,” answered Franzi.
“We’ll continue this discussion later,” said Macher. He rolled down the window and stuck his head out. “Five minute break,” he shouted.
Outside the night air was cold and Franzi sucked it in like it was liquor. He and
Himmler started down the road, past the troopers who stared down at them from
the back of the trucks, until they were away from the headlights. Then Himmler
stopped and pointed up into the sky. “Professor Loerber, tell me what the stars
Franzi looked up at all the low clouds drifting across the star-lit sky and for the
thousandth time wondered what it was about stars that made people think they gave a rat’s
ass about anything. He’d been gazing at them for years and they’d never given
so much as a hint. But he needed to tell Himmler something, so he said, “The
change is happening now, Reichsfuhrer. The whole grand cosmic order is
shifting. A thousand years will pass and it will be nothing compared to what is
happening tonight. And you, Reichsfuhrer, are at the very center of it.”
Himmler gasped. “What else do they say about me?”
“It is a moment of great danger,” Franzi went on. “But it is a moment of even greater opportunity.”
“So what should I do?"
“You need to go with the flow,” Franzi droned. “Stay the course, during all the instability, so that you will be the one left standing when the chaos has stopped.”
“Ahh,” said Himmler. “But go on.”
The words were now coming to Franzi independent of any strategy. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” he said.
“You mean the Jews, don’t you?”
“The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
“Yes, it has to be the Jews,” said Himmler, sounding relieved. “It’s a good thing I buried the hatchet with them. It was the smartest thing I ever did. What else?”
“Beware!” whispered Franzi. “Beware!”
“Beware what?” asked Himmler.
“Beware the man.”
Franzi had no idea which man. “The man who serves with both hands!” he said, pointing to one of the far stars on Orion.
“Are you talking about Eisenhower?”
Franzi pointed to the sky again. Himmler looked up. A flash in the sky appeared; a comet or a meteorite, blazing from the West to the East, before burning out and disappearing.
“My God!” exclaimed Himmler. “That was incredible. I didn’t realize you had such a powerful gift of prophesy!”
“You must warn Eisenhower,” Franzi said.
“Warn him about what?”
“The man who serves with both hands.”
“You’re talking about the traitor, aren’t you?”
Franzi felt a chill.
“It’s got to be those Cambridge spies Schellenberg was telling me about,” Himmler said excitedly. “Philby. He
serves London and Moscow. That’s serving with both hands, isn’t it? I’ll have Schellenberg tell Eisenhower about Philby and the others. You’re right, it’s more than a bargaining chip. It’s our good faith measure.
Professor Loerber, you are a genius.”
Then suddenly Himmler was in a big hurry to get moving again. “Come on, let’s not keep the Grand Admiral up all night waiting for us.”
(Excerpt from Germania, first published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster, now also available on Kindle here).