Munich Nights Chapter 7: “Stavisky’s Swan Song, And A Silent Plea From A Lost Princess”

Munich Nights Chapter 7: “Stavisky’s Swan Song, And A Silent Plea From A Lost Princess”

Then clutching the artifacts Heinrich had presented to him, he turned and began walking home to his deserted rooms. He then stopped, paused and decided that he would, however, return instead to the party office.  Now feeling somehow awkward and affected by being watched carrying the heavy presentation box by passers-by, he decided he would leave it by his office desk instead. As he approached that now familiar building, he noticed a single light bulb still burning in the upper office.

In fact, Heinrich had seriously suggested some months ago to maintain a lighted presence at all times when the building was vacant, for security purposes he confirmed.  Stalin had also always insisted on a light that could be seen from his office window over Red Square in Moscow, at all times and woe betide the man who did NOT change that bulb when its function had expired!

Heinrich had issued the office staff with passes for entry and exit and to be used at all times.  Security must be supreme he emphasised.  Walter suspected one day all passes would feature a picture of the person embossed on it.  Heinrich agreed with this still far off availability.

After displaying his own pass to the guard inside the lobby he walked up the well-used stairs and entering the office he noticed Heinrich sitting alone at his desk.  He was for some strange reason repeating repetitiously odd sounding words from a well-thumbed open book placed in front of him.  Then he looked up, surprised to see who it was.

“Hello, Walter, back already?  And if you’re wondering what I’m doing, I’m attempting to teach myself the language of Sanskrit”.

“I notice you’re looking confused  … well, it’s the philosophical language of Hinduism.  You see Walter, you have to remember that thousands of years ago our Aryan tribes of the north expanded across Europe eventually to reach India.  I believe one day when we are at war with the Bolsheviks we will seek assistance from willing Hindu soldiers.  I hope they will engage with us in this age-old struggle”.

“So, if we are to request their assistance, it is only proper and professional I believe to be able to communicate with them in their own dialect, do you not agree?”

Walter nodded.  It perhaps made sense.  He had noticed for many years a copy of the Hindu book known as The Bhagavad Gita which had lain on Heinrich’s desk.

Whether or not in the future, loyal Hindu soldiers would enlist and march alongside German troops was a distinct possibility, but perhaps thought Walter, not very feasible.

However, in 1944 an Indian legion including willing Sikhs did indeed march alongside the Waffen SS.  With over 5,000 men of the so-called ‘tiger legion’ voluntarily shouldering arms to fight and lay down their lives if needed, for the Fuhrer.

Singing as they marched that old soldier’s moving lament, ‘I once had a comrade’.  Still performed today in Germany on military anniversaries and sang with passion.

Heinrich then closed his prized book slowly repeating an unintelligible word to himself and searched Walter’s face with interest saying: “You know Walter, there is a different demeanour about you today and I refuse to believe it is due to the party presentation earlier”.

He paused and scanned Walter’s face for several minutes then stated with a confident smile: “I know what it is … you have proposed marriage to Frauline Karin Auer and she has …  accepted …  well, am I correct?”

As usual, he was. Walter nodded and confirmed it.

Heinrich immediately got down to business after congratulating him by enquiring: “And of course you presented her with a beautiful ring did you not?”  Walter sadly shook his head.

“Then we must somehow rectify that.  So, I am going to inform you of a simple tip somebody passed on to me a long time ago”.

Heinrich then returned to his desk and reached for a simple wire pipe cleaner from a drawer remarking: “I actually use it for cleaning between the typewriter keys if you wonder why I have it.” Ever practical of course that was Heinrich and economical with his time.

He then told Walter that the method was to wrap the cleaner around the ring finger and then tighten it to the circumference of the finger. This he did by wrapping it around Walter’s little finger.

Then he placed it in an envelope and presented it to Walter.

“Now take this to any reputable jewellery shop and inform them that this is the nearest size to your fiancée’s finger and they will do the rest.  Could I suggest you visit Freidhofers the Jewellers in the Kaufingerstrass?  Just mention my name and let me know the outcome”.

“Now I am late for an important meeting with Adolph. I still wish to inform him of my suggestion of offering free driving lessons for all party members, both male and female”.

“We must not discriminate against any German.  And why not offer perhaps the same opportunity for people to learn to ride motorbikes?  We both understand about motorbikes do we not Walter?  And the dear trustworthy ‘Lady Cynthia’ of happy memories”.

“Will you suggest to Herr Hitler that he himself might avail himself of some initial driving lessons?” inquired Walter,  knowing full well Hitler could nor drive any vehicle nor had any interest in learning.

“We will see Walter how my idea is accepted by Adolph.  Now I wish you goodbye and my heartiest best wishes to you both”.

Walter looked down at the suggested finger sized pipe cleaner, smiled and placed it gently into his inner fitted pocket and departed for the night shift at the station.

The following afternoon he arrived at the recommended jeweller’s shop that proclaimed proudly to all passers-by that this was truly Freidhofer’s Jewellers par excellence.

On entering he was aware of the assorted jewellery displayed before him as if shipped from a Sultan’s Moroccan palace. Lighted glass cabinets presented assorted rings, jewelled encrusted bracelets and diamond chokers.  Also on open display were dazzling tiaras displayed on lifelike mannequins.

One such mahogany cabinet boasted assorted expensive watch pieces from many famous designers, another cabinet revealed fragile porcelain tea service sets and expensive family heirlooms.

A young lady wearing white cotton gloves was replacing emerald and amethyst stones with tweezers, to an open cabinet.

A cluster of shaded lights offset with tiny spotlights in the ceiling offered an intimate calming effect to entering blinking customers.

One set of rings and assorted items such as tie pins, cuff links, earrings and fencing initiation pins, nestled in a black velvet lined case that somehow caught his enquiring eye.

He would return later to inspect the exhibited regalia. They were in fact used pawned items.  Some having been repaired, with the owners never returning to claim their goods for whatever reason.

Walter introduced himself and mentioned Heinrich’s name to the smiling young lady.  She turned and entered the rear of the shop only to be followed later by the proprietor, a middle-aged man with a distinguished goatee beard wearing a frock coat and striped trousers and somehow resembling an enquiring bank manager.

He peered at Walter then informed the young lady to enjoy an early lunch.  She thanked him, pecked him on the cheek reached for her coat and departed.  He later learned this was Herr Friedhofer’s only daughter Lily.

He then limped from behind the counter to the front of the shop and turned a displayed ‘CLOSED’ sign on the door and locked it.

“Let’s go into my office,” he suggested as they warmly shook hands.

Walter later learned that the man had suffered a serious motorbike accident years ago fracturing his left leg in three places. His days on his trusted bike on the open road were truly over Heinrich had remarked woefully.

Walter followed him and then after settling himself in a frayed horsehair sofa in this cluttered office he also noticed a PO8 Luger pistol placed on the owner’s desk.

“And yes it’s loaded,” he informed seeing Walter eyeing it.

He didn’t know whether to be relieved or not.  He then became aware of a framed signed portrait of the deposed Russian Tsar proudly displayed on the wall before him. Secured around it was a pre-1918 Tsarist flag.

Noticing his interest in the photo and of the massive bevelled edged ‘Diebold’ safe placed next to the sofa, the proud proprietor remarked pointing that: “Secure in that safe (which I am informed is bomb proof) is the royal crown restored by Faberge, that Tsar Nicholas of Russia displayed himself in 1913 for the anniversary of the three hundredth anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. And just five years before his poor family were brutally and sadly murdered. And there it will remain until the monarchy is restored in Russia to be placed someday soon I hope on his successor’s head”.

This devotional gesture had certainly inspired the jeweller to preserve this doomed families’ memory and perhaps forever in his lifetime.

There was a smaller framed picture of the Tsar with King George of England next to it.

“Both men were cousins you know as was our dear sadly departed Kaiser.”

He proffered this information as a matter of fact and there certainly was a family similarity Walter had noticed.  Seeing his interest in the pictures he asked nonchalantly: “Do you think Herr Hitler will restore the monarchy here in Germany”?

Walter mumbled something non-committal.

He had noticed there was a tension about the man that slightly troubled him what with the pistol paraded on the desk and pointed towards him.

The jeweller then enquired if Heinrich was in favourable health and was replied to in the affirmative. Walter was to learn that both men had been acquainted for many years and both he and Heinrich were founder members of the then popular ‘Bavarian motorcycling club’ (now sadly defunct Walter was informed).

“Ah happy days, I still lament its passing and please inform dear Heinrich of this from myself.  You know we must have journeyed over most of Germany and even crossed over the border into Austria.  I wanted to motor down to Italy, but Heinrich suggested that this was a journey much too far even for us”.

“I remember we travelled for almost one year without either of us experiencing a puncture can you believe?  Then I was afflicted by two in one day.  Amazing!”

“Ah, the thrill of the open road stretched out before you … there is nothing like it young man …  it’s like a blank canvas rolled out before your very eyes and you can create your own landscape”.

“Now how can I help you Herr Kyper? I’m always glad of course to be of assistance to our fine Munich police.”

In fact, Walter had not offered his name or that of his occupation since he had first arrived in the shop.

A note of interest is that the Friedhoffer Emporium suffered a direct hit in 1942 from USAF bombs on Munich.  The shop and buildings around it were later fenced off for safety reasons on orders from Heinrich Himmler and relayed directly by hand to Walter Kyper, the then Munich police chief.

The land later becoming neglected and overgrown.

Amazingly the safe actually survived the blast without a scratch, as the manufactures had always claimed it would. Then in 1945 when the controversial General George Patton was appointed the military Governor of Bavaria, he visited the establishment and inspected the sealed safe.

He then instructed a team of Army engineers (USACE) to secretly dismantle it. They later discovered that it had been sunk into three foot of concrete.

It then took the engineers three days to release it after using pickaxes, hammers, a grenade and small amounts of dynamite before eventually freeing the unopened safe.

Patton had previously issued an ‘eyes only order’ that the safe was to be removed and escorted at night under armed guard to be taken for opening, in his presence, to a secure Munich location, possibly to a disused designated quarry near Landshut.

After being escorted out of Munich, the safe and its contents were never seen or heard of again. It simply vanished.

In 2010, NASA was requested by the Pentagon to carry out a grid search of the surrounding area but nothing was discovered.

A request by the same agency in 1999 to inspect another location in Bavaria had drawn a blank.

Some years ago a secret heavily censored document from Area 51 in Nevada surfaced on the Internet where it was claimed that the safe had been airlifted to the site in Nevada sometime in the 1970s, then referred to as ‘Operation Tool Box’.  But for what reason and on whose written authority is still unknown.

Both Vice Presidents Gore and Bidden and surprisingly Condoleezza Rice were apparently later airlifted together to the site for reasons not explained.  Yet for some reason, Dick Cheney was excluded.

Later, a cache of papers inadvertently released in 1998 in a secret memo from Allen Dulles the then OSS chief in Bern (and later appointed the chairman of the CIA, 1951-1963) claimed that: ‘In 1945 Reichfuherer Heinrich Himmler frequently stored important classified Reich secrets and top-level documents somewhere in or around Munich.  A certain Lieutenant Colonel Walter Kyper assisted Himmler in this task’.

This is one of the rare mentions of Walter in any Allied documents. He always kept a low profile and in any group photographs, he placed himself somehow out of camera range.

Also of interest is that the late Professor Theodore Kaminski, sometimes technical adviser to the Reichfuhrer Himmler, later claimed before his mysterious death by drowning in 1956 at Bar Harbour Maine, that the crash of a solitary UFO in the Black Forest in the 1930s offered descriptions of ‘alien’ occupants.

These being coloured photographs and 9.5 mm and 16 mm cine film of the occupants and of the inner workings of the craft.

These were possibly stored in the Freidhofer bank vault, it was assumed.  This has never been confirmed despite a Presidential commission that never issued a conclusion of its findings.

General Patton incidentally was killed or murdered in mysterious circumstances in 1945.

Walter then produced the pipe cleaner from his pocket which had been shaped for his ring size. It would fit Karin after an adjustment had been made. Herr Friedhofer reached for it gently, smiled at the simplicity and invited Walter back to view his shop.

To Walter, the Emporium and its glamour were akin to a gleaming Aladdin’s cave as his eyes roamed greedily again over the assorted rings amassed before him.

The proprietor excused himself leaving Walter to explore the overflowing glass cabinets.

However, as much as he tried, Walter kept returning to an exquisite ’18ct rose gold wedding ring of art deco Latvia design,’ or so the label proudly proclaimed.

But of its price, there was no mention on the tag, always a bad sign he thought.  What was that old adage?  If you have to ask how much an item costs you can’t afford it.  Very true he thought.

Walter enquired if he could perhaps view it?

“By all means” answered the jeweller unlocking that cabinet with a small silver key and then reaching for the desired item. He then gently placed it into Walter’s open palm.

By now after another examination, he had decided that he had to purchase it for Karin.  He then informed the shopkeeper of this decision who then whispered: “A very wise choice I must say”.

Yet his eyes kept straying to another cabinet that offered many other assorted lockets and rings. One ring especially captured his attention and he stared at it as if in a trance.

“Beautiful isn’t it,” purred the jeweller’s velvet voice over his shoulder.

“Very rare Russian I would surmise, the early 1900s. It is an eternity ring and with the fine five stones absolutely unique in its presentation”.

Walter asked if could view it and the ring was removed from the glass cabinet and gently placed in Walter’s outstretched hand.

The wedding ring just purchased was to be placed in a presentation box.

Walter enquired nonchalantly, gazing at the Russian ring: “How did you acquire it if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I do occasionally sometimes purchase used selected items if they interest me, of course, this being one such item that caught my attention.  In fact, I purchased it only perhaps a few weeks ago from a rough looking Russian fellow.  Well, he may have been a Russian I suppose.”

He then removed a silk cloth from his pocket and began polishing the ring.

Suddenly Walter’s stomach lurched with anxiety as he slowly enquired: “Was he about 1.82m with a crooked front tooth and a prominent scar on his left cheek and sporting a pencil moustache? Does that sound like him?”

“That’s right,” interrupted the jeweller quickly.

“And do you know, I couldn’t get him out of my shop quickly enough … he certainly seemed in a hurry and very agitated … so I offered him a fair price which he quickly accepted.”

“But sir, did I do wrong? Is he wanted by the police for dealing stolen goods?”  The man was now looking worried and a sweat had broken out on his brow.

Walter displayed his open hand, saying that this was a personal matter not a civil matter and the police as far as he was concerned would not be involved.

Seeing that Walter was sincere in his answer he settled himself into a Queen Anne chair and mopped his face furiously with a chequered paint-splattered face cloth.

Walter closed his eyes and recalled the face he had seen not that long ago secured to a chair in a deserted farmhouse.

Stavisky!  It had to be him!  Must be him!  And how he had been so absorbed in his brutal task allotted to him by Heinrich.

(Stavisky, Stalin’s henchman!)

He then enquired about the circumference of the Russian ring and would it perhaps fit if placed on a young girls finger? The jeweller examined it through his magnified eyepiece and agreed that it would indeed be possible.

Then he noticed, scratched carefully on the inside of the ring, the name, ‘Maria’.

He passed the eyeglass to Walter who confirmed this.  He then noticed another scratched word appearing in his magnifying glass.  It was a word that they both were unable to decipher.  He reached for a stronger lens, only then was he able to slowly distinguish the letters repeating them to Walter who wrote them down. They were: ‘ I.Z.B.E.Z.H.A.T.’

Neither man knew what they signified until the jeweller asked a young Russian who was employed as a wine waiter in a restaurant next door to help translate. He quickly confirmed its simple yet tragic meaning being, ‘HELP’.

Now Walter was convinced this token had been brutally torn from the finger of the still warm dying Princess.

He later learned years later that this unique jewellery was indeed crafted by ‘Van Cleef’ and had been a gift from her mother the Tsarina, on her sixteenth birthday.  It was indeed the personal private property of the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanova, the Tsar’s daughter.

(Maria, the last princess)

Walter had suffered spasms of sadness learning about the depressing last months of her brief life. Yet he knew now he had to purchase it at all cost and as a lasting tribute to her memory.

(The tragic ring with a lost message)

And in his mind’s eye he witnessed her then alone, cold and hungry and frightened, as she sat silently scratching out this pitiful plea for help, perhaps with a pinhead or needle clutched between her frozen fingers desperately hoping and praying that this ring, her prized possession, would be discovered by someone, someday, somewhere.  And he it seemed was to be that future recipient and how strange he thought that this had been bestowed upon him. Yet he felt honoured to preserve the memory of this lost Princess. And always would.

The signet and its sorrowful message would always remain with him.  And of that young girl who had cried repeatedly for assistance that sadly would never arrive to save her and her defenceless family before they were executed by Lenin’s thugs and perverts.

The Romanovs are still so visible even today in the tapestry of Russian history and lifestyle.  Their existence somehow still continues to fascinate and influence a nation slowly emerging from the darkness of the previous century.

He soon afterwards departed from the shop. After having placed a small deposit to secure the two rings.  They would be available he was informed, to be collected the following afternoon after 4 pm. How he would pay for them he was not sure, but that was another matter.

Watching Walter leave from his emporium Herr Freidhofffer returned to his office and reached for the telephone. He then quickly dialled a Munich number.  He had no need to consult the directory or his address book, he knew its digits far too well.  After several rings, he spoke silently and briefly to a voice on the line. He then paused and listened to what he was being instructed to perform.  Then he spoke saying: “Certainly Heinrich whatever you say, that will be no problem”.

The two men then reminisced about the good old days and how they had enjoyed exploring on their motorcycles and how they somehow truly believed they were then the ‘kings of the open road.’ Then the two old warriors of the road wished each other an affectionate adieu. Their private parley was then silently terminated.

An adjacent secluded park offered Walter the privacy to be seated and to relive the ordered interrogation of the murderer and predator Leon Stavisky.  This he had willingly participated in.

Now his mind, however, relived the events of what had occurred in that farmhouse and of his own conduct in its completion.  Was this possibly to purge himself?  No!  That was a conceit of introspection to which he did not wish to explore.

He then recalled an evening some years before at the Goering household when with Heinrich and others the subject of self-analysis was raised for some reason and of its leading practising psychiatric doctors at the time and of their personal role in promoting this new ‘religion’.

“Freud is a fraud,” bellowed Goering, slapping his thigh with laughter at his own joke.

“Jung ought to be hung! replied Heinrich with a snigger, emphasising the ‘ung’. Carin as ever circumspect departed from this frivolity by remarking quietly that:  “The mind is akin to a crystal clear lake.  I believe you can gaze into any deep mysterious pool.  But when you grasp a stick and deliberately poke the bottom immediately the debris and the muck and silt will float to the top and all is then clouded”.

“No, as someone once correctly stated, let sleeping dogs lie and never, ever poke a hanging wasps nest whatever you do. Leave well alone I say, especially those mysterious meadows of the mind about which we understand so little, and maybe we are not meant to.”

There was then a silence in the room as they all considered her words.

Noticing the mood had grown mournful Hermann quickly remarked with a laugh, stating that: “Mental illness is all in the mind anyway, he scoffed.

A welcome offer of some tea or coffee was eagerly accepted.

Carin then went with her husband to prepare some light refreshments for their guests, this being because Tilley their faithful maid was away visiting her widowed mother in Dresden.

Carin took great delight to later stroll with her little dog in the still of the night in her garden enclosure.  It offered the ‘pooch’ the opportunity to excitedly rummage and explore, as dogs are prone to do.

Years later Walter would perform the same pantomime with his own beloved Putzi. But that duty was yet to come.

Then later the evergreen game of Charades was suggested and all happily got involved in its fun and frivolity.

Ah, happy memories thought Walter now still alone on the deserted park bench as the sun slowly descended behind a passing orange coated cloud.  His mind quickly returned to why he had entered this enclosure.

Under Heinrich’s personal orders he was to use, by whatever method he chose, to expose the purpose as to why Stavisky was here in Munich.

What was his reason and could his secret visit damage the party in the future?

“You have full carte blanche Walter to inflict whatever method you decide to use against this man.  He is our enemy, but I must have results.  I need the truth.”

Heinrich and Walter were driven by car to the deserted farmhouse in Landshut.  As he stepped out of the car on arrival, Heinrich gripped his shoulder whispering: “I know you will not fail our party Walter and remember you will be performing a great service by removing this sadist from the streets and for the honour of those still lamented murdered Russian princesses as well.”

As he watched Walter walk towards the vacant farm, Heinrich’s new driver turned on the ignition and the engine fired up.

“Not yet,” he ordered to the man quietly placing a restraining hand on his shoulder.

Young Walter Kyper he recalled had first entered his world several years before with a welcome visit from Ernest Rohm, his old street fighting comrade.  Ernst had first noticed something special in Walter as he done years before in Heinrich himself

And as usual Rohm’s aptitude for detecting which men have the right attributes and personalities to be able to eventually shape them to serve and honour the party, was certainly correct in Walter Kyper’s case it seemed.

Heinrich remembered the early days of the fledgeling party and its conception.

Then he and Walter covering thousands of miles on unpaved roads and dirt tracks and always on the faithful and reliable ‘Lady Cynthia’.  Many critics then joyfully prophesying that this immature political party would not last the year out.  How wrong they had been those mockers.

With meetings and enlisting new members and collecting membership subs, the tide of apathy seemed to be turning.  Walter had proved to be an apt pupil even saving Heinrich’s life!  Now that had been a surprise and unexpected and he would be eternally grateful.  But Walter had never had the opportunity to prove himself for the party, and this eventuality had landed in Heinrich’s grasp and he would use it now.

If all went well in his expectation of Walter’s future allegiance to the party, only one man would leave alive from this old decrepit homestead.

He felt confident of what was about to occur. Walter could and would not fail him. Of this he was sure.

He then nodded to his driver and the car slowly headed back to Munich taking the Reichsfuhrer to his lair.  On the way, he suddenly decided he would purchase two new roosters for the farmstead at the weekend. It was also his wedding anniversary and he must remember to purchase a suitable card for Marga, preferably with puppies on the cover. He ordered the driver to do a detour.

As Walter arrived at the door of the farmhouse, he kicked it open, unaware of what to expect. Inside two burly SA men stood next to a tightly bound seated man.  Several paraffin lamps illuminated gothic tableaux spread out in front of him.

(Stavisky’s last interrogation by Walter Kyper)

And there before him was Leon Stavisky.  His face was now a map of cuts and bruises.  He surveyed Walter with interest and contempt.

Walter looked upon this enemy of the party and a killer and tormentor of the murdered prince and princesses, Maria and her defenceless sisters and brother.

He raised his fist striking the man three times in his already damaged face, saying in his ear: “That my friend is for the three innocent girls in Munich you murdered.”

Then a hard slap across the face caused three decaying teeth to fall at his boot.

He summoned a now puzzled guard towards him quickly whispering a request that forced the man to look perplexed but shrugged and did as he was ordered.  He later returned with a rusting pitchfork and an ancient hammer.

Walter then ordered the men to restrain the prisoner and remove the boot and sock from Stavisky’s left foot.  Suddenly there were deep pits of fear in the bound man’s eyes as he watched what was happening and what was about to be inflicted upon him.

Then surprisingly Walter ordered the man’s hands to be released saying: “Listen to me Stavisky and yes I know your name, who sent you and where are you’re from?  But I want to know why you are here.  If you continue to lie I am going to hurt you … badly … understand? … now TALK!”

Walter then removed his jacket and tie and rolled up his shirtsleeves.

Statvisky coughed the mucus in his throat to then send a spitball of discharge into Walter’s face.

Walter quickly responded to this attack by snatching the pitchfork, raising it high above his head and brought it down with all his force onto the man’s naked foot.

The prongs tore through muscles, tendons, ligaments and bone until the pitchfork had secured the foot into the wooden floor.

The man was now powerless to move but squirmed and screamed and blasphemed.

Yet Walter was now not seeing Stavisky’s face in front of him, but that of his late hated father.  The remembrance of what his own father had subjected him and his family to only encouraged him to continue inflicting satisfying pain onto the bound man’s body.

Over the next ten minutes, each of his curled bruised bleeding fingers on his left hand were fractured with the hammer. Fingernails were torn out.

Then through pain and his pleading, Walter learned the detailed truth of this man’s failed mission to Munich.  And as a gift to Walter, he imparted the names of a covert communist spy nest situated in notable German cities.  He also learned of the concealed location of those bespoke counterfeit-printing plates that Stavisky had brought with him.

Then deftly dispatching one the men to convey all of this crucial information to Heinrich’s office, he turned to the victim and then with the remaining man, they dragged the still living body of the killer into the now darkened woods. His fate was now sealed.

With just one paraffin lamp for light to guide their way, it must have created a ghostly looking procession to any onlookers, but of course, there were none.

It had previously taken Walter with the assisted muscle of the two perspiring young men four minutes to wrench the pitchfork free from that floor, thereby releasing the broken body of the Russian.

Much of his foot remained littered around the floorboards.

Finally, at the disused well, he dismissed his now helper who within minutes vomited as he thankfully walked away.  Then leaning forward and slowly looking into the dying spies’ eyes Walter whispered into his left ear: “Stavisky, you are dying and slowly.  Of your mission from Moscow, you have failed badly. Your superiors in Moscow will not be happy, I suggest.   And I’m so pleased that your pain is excruciating, just as it must have been for those innocent young women you murdered here in Munich just a few weeks ago”.

“And this is a punishment for the Russian Royal family you and your colleagues abused, threatened and humiliated them to.  And those four young Princesses especially. Innocent and unable to defend themselves. And then in a faraway place, you with your willing drunken friends subjected them to the obscene dark side of life.”

“Now Stavisky, your appointment with death has arrived.  And your death will be slow paced with your ending at the bottom of this well.  There waiting for you are diseased hungry rats ready to enjoy tearing your flesh for food as they smell your blood”.

“And you know what?  I’m pleased … very pleased!  But just remember one name..” he paused for effect as he searched the man’s eyes for some understanding: “That being Archduchess Maria, a beautiful young girl on the cusp of womanhood.  And who knows what she might have discovered or achieved?  But you stole those dreams from her and enjoyed the experience didn’t you?”

“Now just think about that dreadful pain you are about to suffer as those devouring rats eat away at your now expiring life.  Now Stavisky, I leave you to your miserable memories and to experience the agony you deserve before you die … and slowly”.

He emphasised the last word: “No one is going to rescue you Stavisky and no one will ever locate your body … EVER!”

He shouted the word for effect into the man’s bleeding ear: “And remember her name was Maria the lost loved daughter of the Tsar and Tsarina”.

With that, he heaved the body into the open chasm and smiled as it landed below with a heavy thump. He listened to the moaning and pleading of a dying suffering man. Smiling briefly he cared not.  Then he strolled back to the waiting farm humming a popular tune by Strauss or some other unknown composer that Karin had introduced him to.

In fact, Stavisky suffered slowly as Walter suspected and hoped for.

Then in that disused pit, a famished fleet of hungry rats were soon devouring and digesting the flesh from his broken foot. He was, in fact, being eaten alive from the many now exposed muscles of his shivering body.

Now Leon Stavisky could experience the vermin exploring and examining his face for food. They soon reached and quickly devoured tendons from his bleeding groin. Then a sharpened claw sliced out his left eye and swallowed it. The distress was excruciating and seemed unending to him.

And then as he descended into the nether regions of death and finally decay, he thought of his beloved sister Bella.  Herself a high-ranking party official rather like himself, answering only to the personal orders of Joseph Stalin. And for some unknown reason, she had always expressed a desire as a young girl to study ornithology.  He speculated if she would or could avenge his death, he hoped so.

In fact, his corrupted corpse was to remain decomposing in that overgrown field for the next sixty years. Then the farmland was purchased by a Dutch consortium for a luxurious health spa to be erected.

Amongst the privileged clientele who sampled its sensuous facilities when it was completed were Angela Merkle, Tony Blair and assorted Russian oligarchs, European royalty and a Vatican hypochondriac secretary of state. And the usual coterie of crude conceited over indulged show business celebrities.

Then back at the farm, Walter instructed the men to tear up the bloodstained floorboards along with the wooden chair, remove them to the yard and incinerate them. Along with the segments of bone and gristle they seemed to dance and crackle in the flames as the fire grew higher.

He wiped the pitchfork prongs clean with a Hessian sack and replaced it with the hammer from where they had been borrowed. He then wiped his boots. He smashed the oil lamps and ground the glass into shreds with his boot. And all by the directed beam of the car headlights.  Five minutes later they departed for the lights of old Munich town.

Mission successfully accomplished he reasoned in the car. The two men however now sang party songs, laughed and talked about the evening’s events as if it had been a family outing. Yet entering Walter’s mind intermittingly was a favoured Bible verse his late mother had recited to him many times And when he had regularly vowed to murder his father after his frequent brutal abuse to her and his sister with his feet and fists.

That verse was now being recited in his head like a gipsies Jewish harp. He could not ignore it although he attempted to.

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord.” He remembered it so well.

He then suddenly ordered that the car be halted, wound down the window sampling deep refreshing breaths of country air.

When he felt better he ordered the driver to proceed. By the time he reached his journey’s end he had decided that he would not be informing Karin of the events of that evening.

He could see no benefit being served in her knowing about its outcome. Over the coming years, he would perform for the party much the same task as he had done with Stavisky. Never with pleasure but as a duty to defend the party and the State.

Karin neither enquired about what he did nor did he ever inform her. This silent secret seemed to suit them both during their comfortable married life in the years ahead.

Over 1,000 miles away in Moscow, to be exact, Joseph ‘Comrade’ Stalin sat at his desk on the fifth floor of a building in the old square, reading a prepared file from his perspiring security chief, the odious Comrade Menzhinsky.

He frowned at what he was reading. That the Stavisky project that he had nursed and planned had failed and that many loyal German communist party members had been detained then disappeared.  He had no doubt Stavisky was dead.  Leon had been a loyal servant of the party and would be missed. The whole thing it seemed had been a disaster.

Then he recalled something as he fired up his favourite pipe, concerning this loyal party member. It was that Leon had a sister, herself trained in the ‘dark arts’ of the party as her brother had been.

The three of them, of course, went way back before the revolution he remembered. Having shared a great deal of history together. He looked at the silent man sitting opposite him, saying as a matter of fact: “He has a sister.  Her name is Bella Stavisky … find out where she is and bring her here and make it a priority…COMRADE!” He emphasised that last word with menace as only he could.

When this was confirmed a smile broke out on his pockmarked face as the thread of an idea germinated in his ever-active mind that never slept. He then dismissed the grateful man.  Yes, he reasoned with sureness. His scheme might just succeed.  And who better to avenge a dear brother’s death than a grieving sister.

He, when he was known as ‘Koba’ in the early days of the struggle against the Tsar and his secret police the Okhrana, had first become acquainted with them both in 1913, then on his way to exile to Kureika.  It was in fact in one of the Tsar’s stinking prisons that the paths of the three had crossed and they had become firm friends in those dungeons of dirt and disease.

He had also learned much to his amusement then that all three shared the same birthday, December 6th. What were the odds of that happening he had reasoned with them?

Since his seizure of power and with the death of Lenin, he had used their personal services frequently and with much success.

The plan could take time he ruminated, but he could wait. In fact, he enjoyed waiting for his vengeance to be satisfied having made a vocation of its implementation for most of his life. And under his tutelage of course, how could it fail he reasoned?

Lenin would be proud of him he thought with smug satisfaction, well he certainly hoped so, but he didn’t really care.

Then he started signing hundreds of prepared arrest/death warrants with his prized ‘Parker’ fountain pen stolen from the British embassy many years ago.  All of the names on his typed lists would be arrested later in this coming annual purge, be they guilty or not, it did not matter!

Ah, was there no end he thought to himself, to this revolutionary work that seemed to just pile up upon his overcrowded desk rather like anthill? Yet he always suffered this duty of the morning’s daily ritual rather like shaving.  And really nobody else could perform it better than he did with such enthusiasm he thought to himself.

He refilled his pen from an old silver inkwell liberated from the French embassy many years ago by Trotsky of all people. Yet he rarely solved problems himself nowadays, he just created them for others to solve … or else!

Later that day he received an expected phone call and just as he had finished his fifteenth cup of coffee (never with milk or sugar) informing him that Bella Stavisky had been located.  She would present herself personally in his office that evening.  He looked forward to her company and perhaps reminiscing about the good old days or were they the bad old days?

But not before he had informed her of his own plan to avenge the death of her brother. He had once been informed sarcastically by one of the priests at the seminary, that he possessed the deception of the devil.  He took this criticism as a compliment.  He then phoned down to the kitchen for another pot of coffee.” And make it quick,” he growled.

To be continued…. 

(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell

August 2018