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All’s Fair in Warfare

Thunder clapped angrily in the distance, ripping the night with momentary light. Rain beat down hard on the black buildings of Berlin. God was grieving for the lifeless body lying on the floor of the Wust family home.

Emily Wust awoke with a start. She sat bolt upright on her bed. Was that me? She brought a trembling hand to her throbbing temple. Shuddering she hugged herself and rocked the nightmare away. She pulled the covers aside and inserted her feet into her comfortable slippers.

Emily was not a women easily startled or shocked; however, this recurring dream was beginning to have an effect on her. And if there was anything Emily could not abide by, it was the idea of being afraid of sleep; or anything for that matter.

She stood, acquired her night robe, slipped it on; then, crossed her grand bedroom. She stopped at a large, arching, eighteenth century window that had one of the most breathtaking views of the night sky. A million points of light shone through the moon-less night. Emily unlatched the lock of the window and stepped through onto a quaint balcony.

She stood silhouetted against the twinkling darkness; she was a picture of perfection. Her snow white skin accented by soft curves, raven dark hair and a beautifully built face, with full lips and eyes clouded in thought. Those emerald windows into her heart and soul stared unseeingly at the night sky. She breathed deeply, wrapped her robe tightly around herself, and expelled a puff of white smoke into the cold night. She stared unblinkingly at the peaceful countenance of the night. She could not believe that a moment before, in her dreams, it had been an angrily vengeful sky that wept unceasingly. She grabbed hold of the balcony’s edge and looked down onto a sleeping city.

I stand here living in the best of luxuries worrying about a silly nightmare when some of my best friends are suffering. What a selfish creature I am. She thought.

She released the balcony and turned away from her nightmare. She entered the sanctuary of her bedroom, and locked the world and its problems in the darkness of the night. She leaned softly against the locked window and took in, for the first time appreciating, the true beauty of her room. She looked at the beautiful contrast of the soft hues of red against the pale white, and the various paintings of her favorite artists, be it old or contemporary, and the solidly built and gracefully decorated oak bed accompanied by its counterparts, and the rich, lusciously soft carpet that her feet were sunk into. Then, her eyes beheld the violin, it was the personification of master craftsmanship, and she could feel the music of the masters’ flow through her blood. She smiled and swept her gaze across the room once more and her eyes landed on her desk. It was littered with unfinished compositions, unwritten correspondences, three-inch-thick books, and half-written letters to an estranged lover.

She recalled how she had loved that man who had once been wonderful, sweet, and the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She recalled the night she had first given herself to him. How he had caressed her body with his soft hands, and how he had gently and lovingly taken her virginity, and how he had taken her to the top of the world over and over and over again. And she also remembered how he had systematically changed into izmit escort a beastly monster with no conscience or remorse for his actions. She remembered how he had become a brainless killing machine for the demented Hitler.

She shook her head, not wanting to disturb her already vexed night.

I’ll take care of that tomorrow. – She promised herself-Yes, tomorrow when my head is clear. But right now I’m going down to the kitchen to make myself some hot cocoa; maybe then I can get back to sleep.

She released her hold on the window, and glided out of her room with the grace of a queen.

Colonel Günther Helsig stood stiffly at the position of attention. He waited nervously as General Bernd Wust inspected his battalion.

Why is he here? He’s never showed up before today. Does he know? – The Colonel paled slightly, and he fisted his hands in frustration- Could she have possibly told him?

As Colonel Helsig debated with his thoughts, General Wust walked slowly from soldier to soldier inspecting each with a thorough eagle’s eye. With learned patience the General reached the end of the battalion and walked slowly, following strict military etiquette, toward Colonel Helsig. The Colonel, at seeing the General making his way toward him, followed military proceedings and called his men to attention, before dismissing them.

General Wust did not miss the Colonel’s change in expression as he systematically neared his position. The General observed him with a keen eye. He did not trust the young NAZI. He would betray his mother simply for the glory of finding a traitor.

I wonder why he’s so nervous. –The General thought- He has gone through thousands of military inspections. Maybe there is something that I do not know.

Upon reaching his intended position, General Wust put his thoughts aside and looked at the men under Colonel Helsig. They were young and full of life. He was filled with unmistakable pride, yet with an underlying sadness. “One of the best group of men I’ve seen yet, Colonel Helsig. You’ve done a splendid job training them.”

“Thank you, General. They’ve made me proud. It amazes me how many enlist to protect the Fatherland. There is no better way to die than in the heat of battle for the honor and glory of the moment; for God and country, for the chancellor.” Günther’s face beamed. The General’s face darkened. He turned his intense gaze on Günther. “Colonel, there is no honor or glory in death. And I don’t believe God approves of bloody wars that involve the assassination of His people. War and killing should always be the last resort; only to be used when all other methods have been completely exhausted.”

“Yes, sir,” agreed Gunther automatically to the retreating figure of one of the most powerful men in the German army.

Strange, Günther thought, the man survived the First World War and holds one of the top positions in the nation; yet he disapproves of killing. And he is sympathetic toward Jews. Strange indeed. Maybe the rumors about him are true. He shook his head and turned his train of thought as he walked out of the training grounds in his military gait. I wonder what his attractive daughter has been up to. It’s been awhile since I last had some private time with her. She has a sharp mind, but that body certainly makes up for her lack of submission. She is a precious catch. The man that weds her will be the luckiest izmit kendi evi olan escort man on earth; and he will gain the support of her prominent father. A wicked smile spread across Gunther’s face. I could be that man. In fact, I should ask for her hand in marriage. It would be wonderful to feel her body next to mine again. But most importantly she would make a wonderful prize; another victorious achievement for Colonel Gunther Helsig.

Emily, in a simple white cotton dress, wove through the busy streets of Berlin. On her way, people from the sides of the street smiled and said their hellos. Emily was a well known woman, not only because of her father’s position, but also because she spent time with the old and young and gave freely of her money. She did not reject the poor or middle class like most of the wealthy families of the German aristocracy. On the contrary, she loved and tried her best to help them all. Today, however, she did not stop and talk as was her custom, but returned their greetings and continued on her way. Today she was headed to her best friend Felice Schoogenheimer’s home.

Felice lived alone and was seldom seen out and about. She was a treasury of knowledge, culture, history; practically everything if you could get past the shy and secluded exterior. Emily smiled as she reached the pretty little house that Felice occupied. She swept her gaze to the German training grounds across the street. Her eyes twinkled with amusement.

That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” She thought.

“Emily,” yelled a familiar voice from the training barracks, “Emily, hold on a moment.”

Emily stood at the bottom of the stoop, put on an ‘it’s great to see you’ look, and turned to her lover. “Hello Gunther. It’s been a long time since you graced me with your presence.”

“I know.” He leaned down and kissed her softly, lightly rubbing her lips with his, waiting for a response. Emily instinctively pressed herself to him and rose to her tip-toes to deepen the kiss. Gunther responded by bending closer to her and allowing them both to taste and savor each other. Emily quickly retreated, and cursed herself for being caught off guard.

“We need to talk, Em. Meet me tonight at my apartment,” Gunther said, a little put off at her resistance, but hopeful that their night would go more smoothly.

She nodded, but said nothing. He attempted to kiss her again but she turned her head and he caught her cheek. He tightened his jaw, but he let it pass; he simply strode away in the direction he had come.

Emily expelled a sigh she did not know she had been holding. She took a second to compose herself; then, ascended the stoop, rung the bell, and waited patiently for the door to open.

Felice opened the door and welcomed Emily with a genuinely warm smile. They hugged and kissed cheeks, as was their usual custom. However, unlike most times, Felice smelled Gunther’s cologne and snapped her head from Emily. She tried to mask her pain by opening the door wider and allowing Emily to enter.

“Came over so you wouldn’t be so lonely in your spacious apartment,” said Emily as she headed to the comfortable living room, trying to decipher the hurt in her friend’s eyes.

“You should not have come Emily.” Felice said in a melancholy tone as she closed the door behind Emily. “It would not be good for you – or your father’s reputation – to be seen with a Jew.”

“Now when have I cared about what others think,” she said plopping down on the feather soft couch, her heart torn at the sadness in Felice’s voice. “And my father can take care of himself.” She nodded her head in approval of the couch, hiding her own melancholy. “Besides, you look more ‘Aryan’ than I do. Your blond hair, blue eyes, and ‘German’ features would leave little room for argument”. She rose, determined to lighten the mood in the room, and crossed to Felice. She grabbed her chin and inspected her thoroughly. Felice could not help but smile at the silliness of Emily’s inspection. Felice’s amusement in turn made Emily smile. Happy that the tension was over, Emily continued her false inspection. “Yup. Hitler would be amazed to know you were a Jew.”- she released Felice’s chin and crossed the room in much higher spirits to sit in her chair again- “Maybe, he’d have to put a little bit more thought into the description of the identification of Jews, because anybody who didn’t know your last name would think you were a hundred percent German.”

“True.” Felice said in convincingly mock seriousness as she strode purposefully to the couch opposite Emily and daintily sat down. Her eyes locked with Emily’s, and she got within two inches of her face. “Good thing I have a friend who’s made sure nobody of importance knows my last name.” Emily kept a straight poker face, yet her eyes registered panic at Felice’s knowledge of her deception. Felice gave her no time to speak. “This friend values her mind most of all; and it seemed she was trying to deceive her best friend.”

“No, it’s not like that,” Emily interrupted, flaying her arms in protest, trying desperately to explain.

“However, her intention was to protect her friend to the best of her abilities without causing too much stir,” Felice continued without registering Emily’s attempts to explain; but she grabbed her arms and held them down. “And I really appreciate that Emily; even though you value your mind, I value your compassion,” she said looking deeply into her friend’s eyes as she unconsciously closed the two-inch gap between them and kissed her lips. Snapping out of her realistic reverie, Felice paused, took a deep breath, and waited for Emily to do something. When she saw that Emily was too stunned to even respond, she simply continued talking. “I know you and your family are not only helping me, but others, many others, all over the country, all who come to you in need.” Emily stood and went to the window, her mind twirling in complete confusion as she touched her lips. Having nothing to say or do at the moment, she looked through the window into the vast city. “We do it because we love humanity,” she stated the fist thing that popped into her mind and motioned to the city with her arms to push the awkward moment away.

“If you are caught, you will be executed as traitors,” Felice said rising and standing next to Emily in an attempt to shift the focus of what had just taken place on to something else.

“So far none of the people we’ve helped has run to the Gestapo, have they.” Emily returned to her newly favorite chair, not so much to avoid Felice, but more to clear her mind of Felice. Felice pinned Emily with a look of worry, both for what had just happened and for the risks her family was taking.

“We know the risks, Felice.” Emily sighed, stood and walked back over to the window. She flashed Felice a smile, forgot their awkward moment and hugged her. “And they are well worth it.”

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