Glen put his hands straight up and kept his mouth closed. Greta dropped a hand on to Glen’s shoulder but otherwise merely frowned. David fingered his pocket before he shook his own head. A man stepped up and took David’s souvenir along with a knife and brass knuckles.
Glen watched as they escorted them to a large living room area. He saw the swastika pins the men wore and he knew enough history to recognize them for what they were. But that was twenty years ago. There weren’t supposed to be any Nazis anymore.
The old man in the smoking jacket from the front door was sitting in a comfortable chair sipping brandy. The older woman with the reddish-brown hair was there as well, and she stood when they came in.
“The boy,” the woman gasped.
“Eh?” The old man looked up from his brandy
“But he couldn’t have followed me,” the woman complained. She shot a sharp look at David. “The Jew must have been watching in the park and brought the boy by another way.”
“This is the missing boy?” The old man stood slowly and smiled. “How convenient.”
“No, mother.” Greta spoke to the old woman. Glen looked, but swallowed his surprise. He might have guessed Greta, being magical, was related in some way to the witch with the purple smoke. He was surprised they were mother and daughter, but someone inside his head said to swallow his reaction. It would be better if they did not know he understood German and assumed he did not know what they were saying.
“You might say he found us,” Greta said.
“Don’t be silly. I watched and left a trail of magic. No one followed me.”
“Yet, here he is.” Greta pointed at Glen and imagined that should be proof enough for her mother.
“Quiet,” the old man put his hand up. “What does the Jew say?”
David looked around the room like a museum visitor. “I say how could an SS Colonel afford such a nice house?”
The Colonel was surprised for a second, but then he joined David in looking around the room with admiration. “All of those art treasures of the Fuehrer. We have enough secreted away to begin again, but I did help myself to a bit of it.”
“And the Fuehrer’s fascination with the occult made some discoveries as well I see.”
The Colonel picked up his brandy. “You will not believe me, but I actually saw an ogre once. It was too strong and fast to capture. It escaped back to the netherworld, but it was a sight, let me tell you.” He took a long drink and Glen thought to himself if the ogre was smart enough to escape it was probably a goblin or a troll.
“But things have not worked out so well for your adjutant, have they?”
“Carl?” The Colonel put his emptied glass on the table beside his chair as if he intended to pick up where he left off once business was taken care of. “You have been spying on me.” He shook his finger at David and grinned at a joke he did not care to share.
“It’s my job,” David responded flatly.
The Colonel continued. “I killed him myself and dearest Eva,” he nodded to the Greta’s mother, “and Madam Esmerelda brought him back to life.” He looked squarely at David. “Oh, yes. He was quite dead, but the revival was not entirely successful, it is true. He looks well, his heart is pumping and his mind seems whole, but he does not say much. He has become violent and will not follow orders. He sleeps days and is up nights, but most curiously, he will not eat. All he takes is blood. We have kept him well on pig’s blood from the butchers, but the ladies have no idea what the problem may be or how to correct it.” The Colonel sighed. “I had such hopes of reviving my regiment.”
“So now you have taken to kidnapping innocent people?” Greta could not hold her tongue.
“A different, perhaps simpler idea. The trick will be to have them appear perfectly normal but to work subtly for the cause.”
The Colonel looked at Greta and David like they were stupid. “Why, the revival of the Fatherland and the realization of the Fuehrer’s dream, now that we have a whole new generation of young men to work with.”
“What?” Greta did not follow.
“World War Three.” David spoke even more flatly than before.
“But now.” The Colonel became all friendly smiles, but Glen thought the smile looked wicked. “The family spoke no German. I assume the boy is the same, and we have left him out of all our conversation.” He stepped up and bent down to smile at Glen. Glen could barely keep himself from turning away. “Do not worry, young man,” the Colonel spoke in English. “Your family is here, safe and sound. They came to visit me because I am an old friend of your father from the war. Your father was in the war, was he not?”
Glen shrugged. His dad never talked about such things.
“Anyway, I will bring you to them, shortly. They were very afraid that you had gotten lost, but here you are, found and safe. I am sure they will be very pleased to see you.”
“What do you have in mind?” Lady Eva asked in German.
“Please, speak American for our young friend. Everyone speaks American since the war.” The Colonel sounded like he was gently scolding the woman. Glen was only glad that the Colonel turned his face away, stood and took a step back. “When the family is ready I thought this young man might be reunited with them.”
Lady Eva nodded like she understood something. “A test case,” she said.
“If you like.”
“Glen—“ Greta started to speak, but Glen interrupted, in English of course.
“Yes, I know, but I want my family back.”
“Good.” The Colonel seemed to think the matter was settled. “Gentlemen.” He spoke to the three with the guns who had kept to the back. “Will you escort Mister Bronstein and Frauline Gruber to their room, and bring the boy to where he can freshen up.”
Glen quickly grabbed Greta’s hand. “I would rather stay with my friend until my mom and dad get here. Please?” Glen put on his best pleading face.
The Colonel did not think that was a very good idea, but he said, “Very well.” One of the gunmen smiled and pointed them to the hall and stairs. At the same time, a woman, much older than Greta’s mother who was bent from age came hobbling into the room from a door that likely led to the kitchen. She took one look at the three visitors and shrieked in her loudest voice.
“Kill it. Kill him now.” Her wrinkled, boney old finger flew up and pointed. Glen barely kept himself from screaming in the witch’s face like he screamed in the haunted house.
“The Jew?” The Colonel did not understand. “Do not worry Madam Esmerelda. If there is one thing we are good at it is handling Jews.”
“Kill him.” Madam Esmerelda shrieked again. “Kill him now. He will ruin us all.”
“The boy?” The Colonel still did not get it.
“I see only death and ruin. The danger is too great. No power on Earth…”
“Calm yourself,” the colonel said, but by then, the three and their escort were climbing the stairs, Glen out front, dragging the others to hurry them, so they heard no more.