Join Date: Jun 2009
Featuring Death Mask
Amapá, Brazil 1953:
An odd-looking man enters the dingy coffee shop. His black eyes methodically scan the room. He quickly finds the caucasian amongst the locals. He works his way to the other man’s table. After giving a half-hearted “Heil Hitler” salute he sits down. The other man leans close.
~Speaking in German~
I am worried about you dear friend. I have not seen you in months. When I heard you were back in town I knew we must meet again. You are worried, no?
What worries could I have? Look around, I am in paradise- replies Death Mask in a sarcastic tone as he dabs sweat from his brow.
I know well the post-War years have been hard on you friend. You travel to hot spots around the globe in search of your danger addiction. I might diagnosis as “slow suicide”; but we know better, eh? You are not killed so easily.
Perhaps, perhaps not. The portrait Klaus, the Americans have it. They’ve had it for years now.
Then why worry? I doubt the Americans even know what they have; it is one painting among thousands. It might even be beneficial. It’s probably under lock and key and will never see the light of day again. You would seem quite safe Johann.
Perhaps. Still I’ve feel better to be in positive control of it. I came so close in June of 1945 when the Kehlsteinhaus first fell.
Nearly a decade then, what’s the concern. Enjoy your freedom friend! This is no Germany, but we can move about with relative anonymity.
“Freedom”- grunts Death Mask.
Are we talking the same “freedom” Johann?
Probably not friend. To think that Captain Freedom rests in Germany while I am a virtual prisoner in this humid hellhole. It disgusts me to no end.
Forget Captain Freedom. He is dead, no?
I say with 99% certainty “yes”. I saw him last in the cryo-chamber in March of 1945 before Berlin passed the point of no return. Post war reports show the area heavily bombed. Recent reports show massive construction projects in the same area. Had he been uncovered, it would have been a massive coup for the former “Allies” and surely trumpeted from London to New York. Odds favor him long-dead. Still, even knowing his corpse taints German soil is enough to make my blood boil.
You miss him, don’t you?
To be honest, “yes”. To go further, I miss the conflict he provided.
As any warrior would. Can’t you now just be content with living?
Waiting for a slow death by old age is not living; not for me at least.
Johann, the heroes of consequence are either dead or gone. B29 made it through the War, but met his end in Korea. Johnny Rebel appears to still live, but he also seems content to favor the back hills of America’s South. Little is heard of him.
Perhaps I should pay him a visit?
And prove what? He’s on another level when it comes to raw power. Perhaps you kill him, perhaps not. Why risk it?
Because it’s what I do.
Costumed vigilantes may still exist in America and England, but their numbers I could count with my two hands. They are weak and of no importance, especially on the world stage. I believe the great chess game ended with the War and it’s not coming back. Look at Korea; the appetite for war is weak. They call it a “police action” and it is being carried out by a fractured UN.
Yes Klaus, of all this I am painfully aware. As for my “situation”, you see no need to be unbound from the portrait?
No. I did much research in the 1930s. You did not make the same Faustian pact that curses the under painting. While you gained most of the protections that Dorian Gray enjoyed; your bond is not as personal. While ideally it would be nice to possess and protect it to remove all doubt, my expert opinion is you cannot be directly killed or influenced by others via the portrait.
You are an old and trusted friend Klaus. I will heed your words and not focus on recovering the portrait. As you said earlier, it’s doubtful the Americans realize what they have. Their ignorance will be my bliss.
Yes, Death Mask, yes. I sense there is more?
During my latest excursion I came upon some intriguing information.
Klaus raises and eyebrow and says- Go on.
I have heard of an ancient arcane master in Bhutan. He possess a parasitic “death touch”. I hope to convince him to share his knowledge. Should I eventually lose the advantage the portrait gives me, I need another edge.
And then what?
The “what” Klaus? What I do best, the what I do best...
Radcliff, Kentucky (Near Fort Knox) 1966:
The man steps from the shadows holding a dusty narrow crate stenciled:
* US Property * Paris 1945 * Transit #11-675-C * Unknown Male Portrait *
While not terribly heavy, he sits the end down on the concrete. Several minutes later a figure approaches. The man motions “here you go” in front of the crate now resting against his legs.
This is the portrait?
Yes sire. The American “guards” are as corrupt as their European counterparts.
Men are men. I will take possession to verify its authenticity. I will then either forward payment or return it and express my displeasure.
Understandable sire. I am confident you will not be disappointed.
Then you will be a rich man indeed.
The crate exchanges hands and the two men disappear separately into the darkness.
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