“You cannot hope to escape, Frau Bachmeir. I’ve just received word that the weather has improved and we will be docking in New Jersey in 10 minutes. My men are already there, there’s nowhere for you to go. ” Holzman’s voice came up from behind a steamer trunk plastered with colorful labels from different ports of call. Despite the noise of the engines, his voice carried easily through the frigid air of the cramped luggage compartment.
“What did he say?” Kevin asked. His German was touch and go at the best of times and the six-inch-long gash across his stomach wasn’t helping his concentration. He sat, legs splayed out in a V in front of him, in a slowly spreading pool of blood. His back was against a rough-planked cargo box and his fully loaded Webley revolver lay discarded next to his left knee. He had both arms wrapped around the old, leather-bound book that had caused them so much trouble and he pressed it tight to his stomach.
Cacilia didn’t know if he clutched the book so tightly because he was afraid to lose it after all the blood they had spilled to get it, or if he was just desperately trying to keep his insides from spilling out.
“Nothing important, dear. How are you do-” The short, pretty blond stopped midsentence when she saw one of Holzman’s thugs creeping around a pile of lashed-down suitcases. The man had a fire axe in his hands. He froze when he saw that Cacilia had spotted him and his eyes darted to the Walther automatic in her grip.
From somewhere in the gloom Holzman shouted, “What are you waiting for? Don’t worry, Kurt, Frau Bachmeir won’t shoot. She knows what might happen is she does.”
To prove the smug bastard wrong, and to keep the brute at bay, Cacilia took a shot at the axe man. She missed by more than a foot, the bullet slamming into a wooden crate behind him, but it caused the man to dive back behind the suitcases for cover.
“Are you crazy?” Holzman yelled out.
“I understood that,” Kevin said through clenched teeth. He was getting paler by the minuet as the red pool around him continued to spread.
“Well what do we have to lose?” Cacilia tried to smile but couldn’t completely pull it off.
“Everything,” the dying man said in all seriousness. “You know we can’t allow those maniacs to get this book back. You know what they plan to do with it should America get involved with what’s about to happen in Europe.”
“But nothing, you saw what they brought forth in Hamburg, what it did to Thomas. That was just one of the many things this book could let loose.”
Kevin’s left hand came away from the damnable book, shaking and blood covered. He reached out for Cacilia and she took it without hesitation. A sad smile replaced his grimace.
“You know there’s no way we’re leaving this cargo hold alive, right?” He whispered.
“Yes, but what about all the other people up there?” She nodded upwards. Directly above their heads was the main dining room where they had eaten their last breakfast together.
“It’s horrible, but it’s nothing compared to what Holzman and his Thule Society will do if they use the rites in this thing.” Kevin gave a disdainful glance down at the tome in his lap.
“So what do we do?”
“Remember our…contingence plan?”
It was now Cacilia’s turn to grow a shade paler before nodding.
Kevin released her hand and reached inside his jacket. After a few moments of wincing he pulled out pistol with an incredibly large bore.
A flare gun.
Cacilia took it. “So where is the uh…”
“Back there,” Kevin indicated with a tilt of his head. “Remember how to do it?”
“Yes,” she whispered. A single tear started to roll down her cheek. “Oh God I don’t want to lose you.”
She bent lower, grabbed the back of his head with one hand, and brought her lips to his. Kevin kissed back with all he had left but he was weak and trembling. Cacilia’s tasted a hint of blood inside his mouth but that didn’t stop her.
When the kiss broke, Kevin blinked back his own tears and said, “I told you we would always be together and I meant it. I promise I’ll be waiting for you whatever comes after this. Now go before they out flank you.”
He pushed the book towards the woman and when he did, she could see the extent of the wound in his belly. Cacilia looked away when she saw a bit of pinkish intestine poking out.
She placed the blood-slick volume under one arm, had the Walther in one hand, the flare gun in the other, and turned without saying another word.
“She’s running,” someone shouted in German to the left of her.
“Over here, towards me.” A third voice answered; it was Holzman’s.
Cacilia ran through the dark, narrow corridors made out of luggage and crates. Behind her she heard the heavy footfalls of her pursuers echoing off the metal grating.
Then the cargo hold abruptly stopped. Before Cacilia was a wall of grey canvas. She dropped the book and placed a foot on it to keep it still as she raised both pistols towards the wall.
“No, remember where you are!” Sturmbannführer Holzman said as he came rushing out from behind some boxes to the right of her. His black uniform was immaculate and the red of his armband matched the gore that streaked his SS dagger.
“I know exactly where I am,” Cacilia said, turning her head from the stunned Nazi. She fired her automatic repeatedly through the canvas wall that warned of flammability and danger. On the fifth pull of the Walther’s trigger, she also fired the flare gun. She aimed right at the name of the vessel where it was painted in letters four feet high and the burning round entered the bladder of hydrogen right through the “D” of Hindenburg.
A single moment before the massive explosion, Cacilia smiled. Her Kevin had never broken a promise to her before and she hoped that this time would be no different.
© Brian M. Sammons
Brian M. Sammons has penned a few dark tales over the years. They have appeared in the magazines Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, Dark Animus, and Horror Carousel and in the anthologies Arkham Tales, Cthulhu Unbound Vol. 2, Horrors Beyond, and Twisted Legends, among others. Later this year his first novella, The R’lyeh Singularity, written with David Conyers, will be published in Cthulhu Unbound 3 which he also co-edited. Despite all this, Brian is often described by his neighbors as “such a nice, quiet young man” and he loves animals. You can find out more about Brian at his very infrequently updated website: http://www.freewebs.com/brian_sammons
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