May 28, 1935:
I have just sent him the crucial letter. Question: will he attach any importance to it?
We’ll see. If I don’t get an answer before this evening, I’ll take 25 pills and gently fall asleep into another world.
He has so often told me he is madly in love with me, but what does that mean when I haven’t had a good word from him in three months?
So he has had a head full of politics all this time, but surely it is time he relaxed a little. What happened last year? Didn’t Röhm and Italy give him a lot of problems, but in spite of all that he found time for me.
Maybe the present situation is incomparably more difficult for him, nevertheless a few kind words conveyed through the Hoffmanns would not have greatly distracted him.
I am afraid there is something behind it all. I am not to blame. Absolutely not.
Maybe it is another woman, not the Valkyrie – that would be hard to believe. But there are so many other women.
Is there any other explanation? I can’t find it.
God, I am afraid he won’t give me his answer today. If only somebody would help me – it is all so terribly depressing.
Perhaps my letter reached him at an inopportune moment. Perhaps I should not have written. Anyway, the uncertainty is more terrible than a sudden ending of it all.
I have made up my mind to take 35 pills this time, and it will be “dead certain.” If only he would let someone call.
* * *
The night was warm and the air smelled fresh, the sky clear of any clouds and looking like glittering dew drops on raven feathers. The day had just experienced the passing of a heavy rain storm, the gutters overflowing with rushing water and the last debris of spring. The weather had calmed and one could sense that a beautiful summer was right around the corner, prepared to bring many happy memories to children playing out in the forests and many worries to parents that their children might get into mischief during their well deserved break from education.
It was a day that marked the beginning of more pleasant experiences for joyous families all across the country.
Except for one most important and powerful man.
A luxurious train car moved smoothly over the steel tracks of the land, the only movement being a soothing back and forth rocking of the room like a baby’s cradle. The black silhouettes of the trees created smeared shadows on the windows as they sped through dense forest, occasionally giving glimpses of the bright fat moon that slept in the sky. The large black swastika on the front of the train’s engine and the majestic painted golden eagles that dotted the following cars indicated who it was carrying.
He sat comfortably by himself in his personal car, going over various official state documents and reading a selected assortment of newspapers, taking no notice as the hour hand silently slid past twelve. The compartment had plush red carpeting from one end to the other and hardwood paneling made up its four walls, the occupying furniture being a well gathered mixture of blacks, reds and golds. The lights on the train never flickered, glowing brightly deep into the night for as long as he needed them, which typically lasted until the fourth hour of the early morning.
Those who were accompanying him on his journey were usually asleep in their own cars by this time. Which is why it was quite strange when there was a soft knock at his door.
He looked toward the wooden barrier, perplexed and perturbed as to who would be disturbing him now and as to what reason they may have for doing so. He sighed, removing his glasses and placing them onto the end table that sat at his right, bringing his hand up to his eyes as he rubbed them in exhaustion. Sometimes it seemed to him that his generals had no brains or wills of their own. They always had to consult him first, on every decision from ones of great military importance and states of affairs to what they should have for breakfast the next morning. He appreciated consideration for the former but the latter gave him the urge to strangle the idiots.
Sometimes he just wanted to be left alone.
He was mentally preparing a fiery, witty insult for whoever was behind the knock as he got up from his chair and slowly walked over to the door. He opened it swiftly, surprise coming over his face as he revealed one of his young secretaries. He looked at her in confusion as he took in her expression: one of dark sadness, disbelief and a tinge of fear. She was staring up at him with tortured eyes of deep blue, clutching a telegram to her chest with tight fingers.
“My gosh, Fräulein, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost!” he exclaimed, stepping aside and inviting her into the spacious compartment. “Please, my dear, come in.” She hesitantly walked inside and he looked behind her to see an empty, black hallway. No one was with her and this made him uneasy.
After a moment of thought, he decided he could allow himself to close the door. The woman looked as though she needed to speak with him about something of private matters. The chances of someone stumbling upon them while they were alone together were slim enough that he would personally see to remedying whatever had her in such a state. He couldn’t have his secretaries succumbing to hysteria, after all. Not when they still had so much of his tour left.
So the door clicked shut and he turned to his disturbed employee who was suddenly having difficulty meeting his eyes. He motioned to his comfy arm chair, suggesting she sit and make herself comfortable. He said in a warm, empathetic voice that he would listen to whatever she had to say and he would make whatever was troubling her go away.
The Fräulein, who had focused her eyes onto the thick crimson carpet beneath her feet, suddenly looked up then, searching his eyes. “Oh mein Führer… I’m afraid this is something even you cannot-” she stopped, choking on her voice.
He reached out and placed a comforting hand onto her shoulder, ducking his head so that he could better look into her eyes. “Surely it cannot be that bad, Fräulein?” he asked lightly in an attempt to reconcile her. “You are acting as though someone has died.”
Her wounded gaze, like a tightly coiled rubber band, snapped back to his. It spoke of everything and worlds more.
For a split second, time was still. The train car ceased its rocking, the trees were in full focus among the glass panes in the wood walls and the lights flickered off, allowing for the room and the two of them to be saturated in a cold, ghostly light. His face, already pale from his aversion to the sun due to his sensitivity, was as white as marble and as transparent as mist in that moment. The light in his eyes blew out like those of birthday candles, leaving only a dull, smoky reflection of what had once been there.
The lights in the train car came back to life and he slowly sat back in his chair, releasing his hold on her. She jumped up from the chair and rushed from the room with her hand over her mouth, the piece of paper that had been in her grasp fluttering down onto the floor and landing at his feet. He stared ahead for what felt like an eternity, watching as the shadowy world passed him in silence. The trees became a solid wall of shadow, the moon seeming to have disappeared into the depths of darkness and resigning to the horror and pain this night had abruptly been consumed by.
One hour, then two, escaped his notice; he still sitting paralyzed like a broken doll and afraid to cast his eyes to the ground, though he already knew what news that dreaded telegram held for him. He didn’t know how he knew. Perhaps it was because she had tried it once before and he had always been afraid she would try it again. It had been creeping up on him for the last three months, turning into a prominent worry when he had received and read with great concern her letter the day before.
He wasn’t prepared to look death in the face. Not again.
But it followed him through his life like a shadow, always cloaking and eventually choking the ones he loved most. It was a spell, a bad disease, he had been unable to shake since he was a boy. Every time He showed up, he had to seriously consider himself in the mirror for a great while, wondering if there wasn’t anything he could do that wouldn’t cast out and plant the seed of demise in those closest to him.
When the hour hand sluggishly scrapped past two was when he finally glanced down between his polished, shining black shoes. The telegram was creased and stained with something unidentifiable but the words written hastily in blue ink were clear enough.
Eva; found after overdosing on sleeping powder; nothing they could do; died at hospital 10:23. Suicide.
Our deepest regrets, mein Führer.
His flowers hadn’t made it in time.
* * *
“Mein Führer?” A voice came from somewhere, echoing and changing shape, changing color, as it wobbled drunkenly through the air and found his two ears.
“Where do you keep your gun?”
Hitler stared hard at Albert Speer who stood before him, an indiscernible shape of strange lines and dull hues. He recognized the voice and the face and the uniform. But since that tragic night four months ago, something within his head hadn’t been functioning correctly. Things tasted differently and food no longer held any appeal for him. His speaking abilities had disintegrated and the speeches had become impossible to write, words hard to form when all the letters constantly floated up off the page and rearranged themselves in random orders at whim. His writing looked like a foreign language, his umlauts all over the page and above letters that weren’t even vowels and under ones that were, eszetts non-existent. Conversations were difficult to follow as he often found those he was talking with were suddenly on a completely different topic than what they had just been, as if they were moving at hyper speed. Even his beloved Richard Wagner had been tainted, the music failing to tickle his ears in that same magical way it used to. The accidental scratching of his copy of Die Meistersinger had failed to incite any kind of emotional reaction within him, a bewildering relief to the maid who had been responsible.
He was beginning to become genuinely worried he might be going crazy.
“Mein Führer?” Speer urged. Adolf noticed he had gone silent, lost within his thoughts again.
“Repeat the question,” he ordered feebly, not at all invested in having an exchange of words with anyone at the moment. He wanted to go watch Blondi run in the park, as he often did. Supposedly for hours on end he was told by the others, but he knew they were lying and he told them so. They had said nothing more about it.
“Where do you keep your gun?” Speer inquired with calm severity.
Hitler looked at him in question. “Why do you care? You’ve got your own.”
“Please, Mein Führer,” he sighed, his eyes pleading with his close friend he could see was quickly succumbing to something dark within him. “Just tell me where it is. I only want to ensure your safety.”
“And how do you expect me to remain safe if you take my gun away?” Hitler demanded sharply, as if he were talking to an imbecile.
“You’re not well, Adolf.” Speer said. Hitler colored, enraged that he had not only used the informal du with him but had also referred to him by his first name. An all encompassing numbness was swiftly triggered when his brain tried to gently remind him that there had only been one person he had allowed to call him ‘Adolf.’ A fuzzy image of a blonde woman appeared from somewhere within his mind’s eye but his defenses had suppressed it before he could study it further.
He wondered if it was the unknown woman he often found himself absent-mindedly doodling.
“Everyone can see how…” Speer trailed off, his voice low.
“How what?” Adolf demanded, his mouth forming a hard line.
“How broken you are,” Speer sighed, defeated.
So everyone had noticed as well, huh? “I think someone’s been poisoning my food,” he stated in all seriousness.
Speer exhaled in frustration. “Adolf-”
Sudden pain. The numbness again. “Don’t call me that!” he shouted, launching up from where he had been sitting. He felt anemic. He had to catch his breath, his flare-up having used an unusual amount of his energy.
Speer did not react to his sudden outburst. Instead, he apologized, looking to him in sincerity.
Adolf continued on. “Besides, it is very well possible. I am a powerful man, Speer. There are all kinds of people who are out for my position-”
“It’s not possible-”
“You can’t know that.”
“You haven’t been eating, Mein Führer!” Speer finally shouted, his hands gesturing in a way that demonstrated he was desperate for his boss to realize how lost he had become. “Can you not feel how ill-fitting your clothing has become?”
The two turned quiet, locked within each other’s stare. Hitler could see how forlorn and determined Speer was; but he was unexplainably despondent and nothing was reaching him. He was well aware he was gradually dying on the inside. He could feel his organs beginning to shut down, his heart slowing its pace, the blood within his veins cooling. He figured that’s where the numbness was coming from, his body’s readiness for death.
The approaching expiration date on his life wasn’t the thing that was terrifying him, though. It was his lack of alarm; his lack of fear; his lack of caring that he was dying.
Why did he want to die?
“Get out,” he commanded.
He forcefully swiped his arm over his desk, sending papers, a lamp, pens and even his telephone over the edge, crashing onto the ground. The lamp shattered, sending glass scattering wildly across the wood floor and over to Speers boots. “Out!”
Albert abruptly began walking toward him. Before Adolf was able to process his actions and make any sort of movement to stop him, Albert reached over and yanked open the thin drawer beneath the top of his desk, retrieving his loaded revolver. He shoved it into his jacket pocket and swiftly turned, making haste to remove himself from the room.
Hitler glared at the door in acrimony, bringing his hand up to his rub his chin. He felt whiskers and cursed. He’d forgotten to shave again.
* * *
He briefly wondered when the last time he had bathed had been and annoyingly realized he couldn’t remember. He turned on the tap to his private tub and clean warm water came cascading in a steady stream from the polished faucet, proceeding to slowly fill the vessel. As he waited for his bath to prepare itself, he turned on the sink, allowing that to fill with heated water as well as he stripped down to his undershirt. He opened up the medicine cabinet that sat in the wall above the basin, reaching in and pulling from within it a gleaming straight razor and shaving cream. Once the sink had supplied him with enough water for shaving, he turned off the tap, submerging his hands into the soothing liquid and brought it to his face.
“I always wanted to know what your whiskers felt like,” a woman’s voice sighed longingly.
His hands dropped like stones into the water and he whirled on his heel, causing water to splash over the rim of the basin and onto the floor. He looked about the room, seeing no one. He hastily made his way over to the bathroom door, ensuring the lock was fixed in place-it was.
He inspected the room thoroughly, looking in cupboards and under the tub. He walked back over to the door, unlocking and swinging it open; only to discover his room completely dark and empty, the moon spilling in through his window and across his vacant bed. He was certainly alone.
He strode back into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind him before he went back to the sink. He chalked it up to a lack of decent sleep for the last few months. Nightmares continuously plagued his mind when he finally fell to the sandman and he awoke multiple times during the night in cold sweats, the same tormented scream ringing in his ears. Each time he regained conscious he had an eerie feeling that someone was lying beside him in his bed; and each time he sat up to look he discovered nothing but cold, tangled sheets.
He proceeded to lather his face with the foamy shaving cream, preparing to carefully and meticulously bring the blade across his skin. He lifted the razor and brought it to his face, slowly dragging it down in perfected precision.
“I always thought your fear of barbers was endearing.”
Something warm touched his hand and he jerked, the blade slicing him right below the cheek bone. The razor plopped into the sink and he reached over for a towel, disappearing from the mirror. He brought the cloth to his face, wincing as it irritated the cut. He moved back in front of the reflective glass, wanting to inspect the damage.
The towel slipped from his hands.
“Don’t turn around, Adi.” the blonde woman in the mirror, standing behind him, warned as he stared into her eyes in horror. He wanted to turn, to prove to himself she wasn’t actually there. Everything in his body urged him to look behind him and reclaim his sanity.
But he found himself afraid she indeed would disappear.
“You can’t remember who I am, can you?” she asked sweetly, a sad smile on her perfect lips.
He hesitantly shook his head, trapped within her gaze that stemmed from the mirror.
“That’s okay,” she expressed sincerely, leaning toward him and placing a small hand onto his shoulder. “I can help you,” she offered and lightly kissed the back of his neck.
Staggering sadness washed over him then, a red vision of a bouquet of roses flashing in his mind like a bloody storm. How could he have let her slip from him? How could he have let her disappear from him, both physically and mentally?
“Oh God, Eva,” he whispered in a broken voice, pain wracking his chest. He raised his hand to the mirror and let his shaking fingers stroke her smooth reflection. “Why did you leave me?” he asked.
She looked at him kindly, though wistfully. “I didn’t leave you, Adi. You pushed me away, remember?”
“No,” he denied, frantically shaking his head, a wisp of black hair falling over his forehead. The memories were violently pushing at the front of his mind, demanding to be seen and heard. He was afraid, he didn’t want to face anything that was going to hurt him anymore. He had no capacity for guilt. His mind broke beneath it. “I never meant to… I never thought you’d….” he struggled.
“You didn’t reply to my letter.”
“I did!” he exclaimed, his blue eyes frenzied. He was gasping for air, his throat feeling as though it was caving in on itself. “I swear, I sent you a gorgeous bouquet of roses-”
“I need more than just flowers, meine Liebe,” she mumbled. “I need you.”
“You have me,” he breathed, blood trickling into his mouth. He had forgotten about the cut that was releasing blood in a scarlet stream down his face. He licked at his slippery lips, his teeth covered in a red sheen. “You’re the only one who ever had me…” The words of her diary cut into him like ice.
She shook her head, tears welling in her eyes. “We’re in two separate worlds now, Adolf.”
Understanding hit him like a brick then. “You’ve been sleeping next to me, haven’t you?”
She sniffed, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist, burying her head into his back. He reveled in her touch, wanting so fiercely to reach down and take a hold of her little hands; but something down inside him knew nothing would be there. “We can’t be how we used to be. Not like this.”
“What do you mean?” he inquired. “Is there a way to bring you back to me?”
She was silent, hiding her face from him. He waited patiently until she sought out his eyes again, capturing them. In chilling tone made up of grave seriousness, she stated: “I cannot go back to you.”
“I feel as though there is a ‘but’ to that statement,” he muttered, breathing hard. He was prepared to do anything to put her back into his life. He spit blood out into the sink, flushing the water a light pink.
She stayed silent for a moment, surveying him. “I cannot go back to you… but you can come to me,” she murmured almost inaudibly. “Do what you need to be happy, Adi,” she said as he glanced down into the sink below him, locating the straight razor that was resting beneath the surface of the water, his eyes glazed and in an almost hypnotic state. “I’ll be waiting for you when you decide to come.”
She was gone. And he knew what he had to do.
He reached into the water and pulled the blade out. He looked over and saw the tub was finished filling itself. With the blade held tightly in his hand, he walked over and shut off the faucet. The room fell to silence as he placed the razor onto a shelf next to the rim of the bath, the metal clinking against one another in an imitation of death’s laughter.
He reached down to remove only his socks before he stepped into the warm water fully clothed. He slid further into the comforting liquid until the water was at his ribs. He took a deep breath, expanding his lungs to their fullest before he reached over to reclaim the razor.
He brought it in front of his eyes, admiring the smooth sharpness of such a precise and deadly instrument. Of course he was terrified of barbers. One slip of this little guy and your life would come to a rapid conclusion. It was this power and surety he was counting on in his new mission.
He submerged his hands below the water again, along with the blade. He waited until his skin warmed to the temperature of the water before he bit down onto his tongue and brought the blade across the inside of his left wrist with certainty, pressing it deeply into his soft flesh. He hissed in pain and relief as a thick, wispy scarlet cloud released itself from his veins, tendrils escaping into the water like lost souls. He quickly switched hands and repeated the action with the other, opening up his right wrist and allowing its essence to run free.
He fell back against the wall of the tub, sighing in gratification as he began to feel light, experiencing a tingling sensation that told his brain he was floating. His vision started to give way to the darkness of oblivion, until the only thing he could make out was his blonde angel, waiting with open arms for him on the other side.
© 2014 Elizabeth Klarke
This is soooo oooold and I hate it. It takes strength everyday not to delete it. It’s going to be deleted at some point. Ugh. “Enjoy” it while you can.