This story is best read after A Montauk Horror and possibly before A Montauk Mensch, but I believe they can all stand on their own.
The parts about L Ron Hubbard and Parsons’ relationship and attempted magical rites are based on fact. Look into it. It’s a crazy story.
June 17, 1952 Pasadena, California, USA
“Damned sheep is what they are!”
His loud voice echoed through the laboratory as they arranged the corpse.
“Yes, sir. Sheep. Got it. We should really get a move on. We have four hours until the submarine rendezvous.”
“As if I’d ever wind up dead in an accidental explosion. Me! But they’ll believe it, because the damned papers will say it’s true.”
“I’m sure they will, sir. Is this how you want the body arrayed?”
“Yes, yes. That’s fine. It won’t matter much after the explosion. You’re sure everything is set? New papers, identity, everything?”
“We’ve been through this, Mr. Parsons. We very much want you alive, well and working with us. You have nothing to worry about.”
“And you’re keeping tabs on Hubbard? That quack never steps foot in Israel, right?”
“That’s correct, sir.”
“Scientology. What the hell sort of name is that, anyway?”
Hands on his hips, Jack Parsons surveyed his home laboratory, looked at the cadaver with its passing resemblance and laughed. “All right, Henry. Let’s make sure that Tel Meggido can rain down fire on any of your enemies. Screw Operation Paperclip and the Germans. The US has von Braun, but Israel gets Jack Parsons. I’m ready to go.”
They heard the muffled explosion as they drove into the night in the Plymouth Belvedere. As the home faded behind them in the distance, Parsons again began to laugh.
His accomplishments, Jet Propulsion Laboratories, his dealings with the US government, ties to Ordo Templi Orientis; all of that was behind him now. The Israelis recognized his genius and with their backing, he would scale new heights.
August 3rd, 1977 Montauk, NY USA
My dress flapped around my legs as the wind picked up. Looking from the looming Montauk Lighthouse to my gathered friends, I lifted my glass.
“To Adrian Demos, an artist, a soldier and a hero.” I glanced over at Birgette, who was trying not to cry while she held her son’s hand. “When our friend was lost, Adrian’s only thought was of her return. We have him to thank for having Birgette with us today. May he be at peace and never far from our thoughts.”
Thankfully there was no grit from the sand in the wine as we drank in our friend’s memory. Looking up at his mother, little Alistair drank from his plastic cup of apple juice when the rest of us tipped our glasses. We were a strange gathering: Duhnagaham, the Killer; Piotr, the Monk; Birgette, the Genius and Alistair, the child of a Nephilim and Birgette. Then there was me, whatever I was.
“He is a large boy, is Alistair. Yes?”
“That he is, Piotr. That he is.”
“Abnormally large. And intelligent. You are aware that he speaks three languages?”
The waves were growing in size and the horizon was getting dark. There was a storm on the way, and I watched its approach as I spoke to my Russian friend.
“Yes, Piotr. I understand both what you are saying and what you are implying. I’ll be keeping an eye on the boy.”
“This is good, Cynthia. You are good woman. You watch and I will watch. We shall see how he develops.”
We finished the bottle there on the beach as we remembered Adrian. I wondered who would be the last surviving member of our informal little tontine and inherit the remaining bottles of Penfolds Grange Hermitage, 1951. It would likely be either Duhnagaham, who would kill the Grim Reaper if he got too close, or Piotr, who seemed indestructible.
We had a vow between us to gather each year on Adrian’s birthday and drink in his honor. The Penfolds would only be opened, one bottle at a time, after each of our deaths. We would find another suitable vintage for the somber anniversary, as we kept his memory and sacrifice alive.
Placing my arm around Birgette’s shoulder, we walked from the beach to the parking lot, trailed by seagulls that seemed obsessed with Alistair.
Duhnagaham was simultaneously the most lethal man I knew and a people person. He had a way of focusing on you while speaking that made it seem as if your every word was of the utmost importance. He knew when a light touch would put someone at ease and a sympathetic nod and silence would buy him empathy.
In spite of that, he had no use for children. It boggled my mind that someone who seemed so dedicated to his fellow man could be so indifferent to children. He had given up trying to get me to join him in his bed and was now having to face the indignity of interacting with the children from the Little Flower Orphanage.
I had coerced my friends into helping me host a BBQ at my home as an early birthday party for Alistair, and inviting the children seemed like a perfect plan. Duhn laid out his argument in his unique stilted speech.
“Cynthia, I will take this opportunity to travel into Manhattan. Much good can be done there for us all. I know people I can speak to about Alistair’s parentage.”
“Will they still be there the day after tomorrow? And maybe the day after that?”
He looked trapped, as if associating with a group of young children was a death sentence.
“Excellent! I’ll drive you to the train station myself. The day after tomorrow. How are you on a grill? Can you handle the burgers and dogs? Or would you prefer balloon duty?”
Appearing forlorn, he went to the sink and looked out the back window. “I shall grill the meats. That is not safe for a child. They should stay back.”
Piotr and Duhn stayed at the house with Alistair while Birgette and I went to King Kullen to pick up supplies and get his cake from the bakery.
Birgette looked to the sky as I carefully drove. Turning to me, she asked “Is it just me, or is it getting dark much too soon?”
“It’s not just you. I keep waiting for the skies to open up. It’s like the weather is playing a game of chicken with us. The storm clouds come, but don’t break. I hope it clears out by tomorrow.”
“It’s been this way for a few days now. Unusual, right?”
“Very. If it’d just rain it would break this humidity.”
We filled cart after cart with chips, cookies, soda, fruit and juice. Paper plates, plastic utensils, disposable cups and cartoon-covered tablecloths rounded out our purchases. Pushing the carts into the King Kullen parking lot, we saw three young men in leather jackets, jeans and shaved heads standing near my car.
Trying to avoid conflict, I smiled. “Scuse me. Just gonna load up our groceries and head out.”
They turned towards us and the one closest stepped forward. He had a jagged scar running the length of his forehead and was wearing a Black Flag tee-shirt.
“Mercedes. Beautiful car. Rich husband?”
Looking him in the eye, I replied. “I have a knack for investing. We’re done here.”
“Yeah, sure. Let me give ya a hand with the bags.” When he extended his hand towards the cart, I could see the tattoos on the base of his hand, his wrist and part of his forearm.
“Don’t touch the cart, don’t touch the bags and don’t touch the car. Just leave.”
“What the fuck’s with the attitude? You too good for someone to help with the fuckin’ groceries?” He grabbed the cart and yanked it.
Birgette looked at me. “Did he just say he wanted the keys to your car and he was taking you with him? I believe he did.” She looked at the men. “Go away or there shall be screams for help.”
One of the other two spoke up. “Go ahead and scream, lady. And where’s that accent from? You German, Fraulein?”
“Strasbourg. I am French. You mistook me. It won’t be us yelling.” She pulled out a gun from her purse and held it down at her side. “Get away from the car.”
They did, amidst grumbling and macho posturing. We loaded up our purchases and I was shaking as I drove to the butcher shop.
“Birgette, what the hell? Where did you get a gun from?”
“I will never be a victim again. Never.”
I kept looking up at the sky as everyone pitched in to get the groceries in the house. Squatting down in front of Alistair, I held my hands behind my back.
“Okay, choose a hand.”
“Uhm ... Left!”
“Right you are, my brilliant little man.” I said as I shifted the cookie from the bakery from my right hand to my left. Extending the cookie to him, I continued. “How did you know?”
He smiled. “I dunno. Just did.”
Tousling his hair, I started putting everything away. Piotr approached me from behind, placing his hands gently on my shoulders.
“There was difficulty at food store? Birgette says young men. Violent looking?”
“It wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds, but there were others in town.”
“Thirteen others. Total of 16.”
“This is normal? You see men like this before?”
“Passing through once in a while, but never more than two at a time.”
“You are sure of this?”
I turned my head to stare up at him. He was as solid and steady as a mountain. “Piotr, how often am I wrong about numbers?”
“Izvanyayus. You are right. If it is a number, you remember, you know. Okay, so why so many?”
“I don’t have the foggiest.”
We spent time child-proofing the house and I’m sure that Duhn had a plethora of weapons he had to secure. As everyone else good-naturedly blew up balloons and hung up decorations, he sorted out the charcoal and the grills and then cooked us dinner.
After we ate, Duhnagaham approached me. “If it will not be missed, I need to use your bicycle.”
“My bike? Sure. Feel free.”
“Please remain awake. I will speak with you when I return.”
He was an odd small man with a sing-song voice, but there was an air of menace about him when he wasn’t actively engaging someone in conversation. It was as if he put on a veneer of congeniality that slipped away when he thought it wasn’t needed. “Uhm, okay. Is there a problem?”
“I do not know. But I will.”
An hour later I noticed that he was gone. I wasn’t overly concerned. We were in suburbia that bordered on farmlands. The biggest problems in Montauk were lost dogs and an occasional fender-bender. How much trouble could there be?
It turned out that there was more than I could have anticipated.
I had my feet up on the couch as I read Benchley’s Jaws and sipped some ginger ale while waiting for Duhn. It was just before midnight when he walked in the backdoor. His clothes were filthy and he was wet from head to toe, but he didn’t seem injured.
“My friend, please get Birgette and the Russian.”
“Duhn, are you okay?”
“I am fine. Thank you. Very odd evening, though.”
The four of us gathered in the den, Birgette had clearly been sleeping, and Piotr was wide awake and still clutching his prayer rope. It was easy, at times, to forget that he was a man of letters and some type of monk. I brought in some water for Duhn, which he gratefully accepted, downing all of it in one pull.
He looked to Birgette. “What is the German word Bund?”
She looked at him quizzically. “Uhm, a formal group or federation, why?”
“The bald men you saw today weren’t the only ones here. I followed a group of them to a meeting or rally at a farm. Behind a barn were more than 60 young men like the ones you described. They were listening to someone who spoke a mix of German and English. He said his name was Ernst Toht and that the gathering was the vanguard of a Fourth Reich.”
Duhn refilled his water glass from the pitcher I had brought out.
“He spoke at length about his father, an SS Major and member of the Thule Society named Arnold Ernst Toht. The speaker grew up in Argentina, living on tales of his father, Hitler and the Third Reich. The group has gathered for a reason. He called them the new American Bund and something is going to happen soon that requires their assistance.”
With deep rumbling thunder as a backdrop, the three of us sat there staring and the room was still until I was able to speak.
“Are you ... is this a joke or something? Nazis and skinheads and a Fourth Reich in Montauk?”
“I am not joking and I am only relaying what I heard, not what I believe. The skinheads are just foolish disaffected youth. Stupid, cruel and venal, but not much of a threat. They are likely local,” He looked around and shrugged. “or semi-local muscle. Thugs. The leader and the few colleagues of his I saw? They might be entirely different. Regardless, it doesn’t involve us. We just need to stay alert.”
“Yes. Definitely.” Involve us or not, I was already planning on making a call the next morning. Aiden Corrigan was quickly climbing the ranks of the Suffolk County Police Department, and he ought to be informed. The last thing I wanted was to have my friends, employees and neighbors having to deal with fanatic Nazi wannabees.
Piotr spoke up. “Are you sure this man said Thule Society?”
He and Duhn had an oddly friendly but simultaneously contentious relationship. Both always vied to be the Alpha dog in our little group. Duhn paused before answering him.
“I believe so. You know of this society?”
Piotr’s accent grew thicker as he became angry. “Yes. They were Nazi occultists. They had their perverted hand in every dark and shadowy project Hitler conceived of, and many that he did not. They were also his relic hunters. The Führer was obsessed with legends and myths, and any item of supposed power was hunted down by the Thule Society for the use by the Reich. Horrible disgusting men, these black mystics. They should have all been killed in the street, like rabid dogs.”
I checked my watch. “Well, on that pleasant note, let’s try to get some sleep and address some of this in the morning.”
After I was sure that everyone was in their rooms, I slipped into Piotr’s. He was on his knees praying, but he looked up with a smile, stood and took me in his arms. I felt save as his huge body enveloped mine. Lifting me effortlessly, he put me on his bed.
We were slow, patient and loving. He needed to be gentle at first and always conscious of his strength, and I loved his ever-present concern for my safety. We made love for the better part of an hour and I fell asleep in his arms.
The strong wind rattled the windows and I awoke in the darkness of the room. I felt a body next to me. It was foreign and wrong. I kicked at it and pushed back, almost off the bed.
“You ... You’re not Finn! You’re not...” Gasping for air, I was hyperventilating. “You’re ... you’re ... Piotr. Piotr, I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
“It is all right. I understand. I just wish I could be this Finn. Do you wish to stay for a while?”
“No, I ... I’m sorry, I need to go.”
“Shall I walk you to your room?”
“No, I’ll be fine. Truly. And I am sorry. You deserve more, Piotr. A better woman ... a whole woman.”
His Russian accent lent an earthy depth to his words. “Thank you, Cynthia, but do not tell me what I deserve. I am a blessed man and I am happy with what I have received. You are more than what you believe. You are one of the many gifts that I am grateful for.”
I slept in my room, dreaming of Finn.
I tried making us pancakes three times before Birgette gently shooed me from the kitchen and took over making breakfast. Heading to the den, I used the opportunity call the police department in Yaphank.
“Hello, may I speak with Lieutenant Corrigan please?”
After a few minutes, he picked up the phone. “Corrigan.”
“Lieutenant, this is Cynthia Kallas. We’ve met a few times at P.A.L. events.”
“Yes, I remember, Ms. Kallas. What can I do for you?”
I hadn’t thought about how this was going to sound until then. I should have prepared some sort of cover story. “Well, this is going to sound odd, but I had a minor run-in with some skinheads yesterday while shopping, and I noticed that there actually a number of them around. More than 60.”
“Ma’am, was anyone injured in this run-in?”
“No, not really. But, well, I’d really appreciate it if you could find a way to do me a favor. I’m having 21 children from the Little Flower Orphanage over today for a birthday party. Actually, 22 with Alistair, and that’s not the best of numbers. Maybe one won’t be able to make it. Twenty-one is such a great number...”
“Ms. Kallas, was there a point to this?”
“Yes, sorry. Would it be possible to send a patrol car around a few times just to keep an eye on things?”
“Yes, Ma’am. That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Great. Thank you. The children should be here around one. I was just so worried about the Nazis and these skinheads that...”
“I ... I may have also heard some men speaking German.”
“Okay, that’s a pretty big jump. Lots of people speak German. I’ll make sure a car comes by.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant.”
“Have a good day, Ma’am.” He hung up.
Well, that went pretty horribly. I had just convinced the man who was going to be Finn’s grandfather that I was a nut.
I followed my nose and the bewitching aroma of bacon and coffee to the kitchen. Birgette had pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs and orange juice ready to go. We sat, eating together like an ad hoc family, sharing laughter, stories and some concern about Duhn’s revelations that we didn’t discuss in front of Alistair.
It was a relief to see the little boy excited about his party. He was behaving so normally, a typical child on his birthday. His parentage was always there, knocking on the door of our fears, and the quotidian happiness of a little boy pushed back at our worry of what tomorrow might be. Looking at him at the table, bouncing with energy and repeatedly asking how long until the children arrived, quelled our worries about who and what an adult Alistair would be.
A light pitter-patter of rain could be heard as the knocking on the door started. I peered out the side windows as I made my way to the door. It would be a shame if we had to move the party indoors.
It’s sad fact that when you have politicians calling you or stopping by regularly asking for donations or favors, you are almost guaranteed a more pleasant relationship with the police than you would otherwise experience. I anticipated that it was them knocking on the door, and was perplexed to see two men in black suits, black ties, black shoes and black sunglasses on my porch. Looking past them, I saw a late model black sedan in my driveway.
The one on the right pulled out some sort of leather wallet, flipped it open to an ID of some sort and flipped it closed again. “Ms. Kallas, we’re from the government.”
Who the hell says they are from the government? What government? State? Local? Federal?
They both looked as if allowing any expression to cross their faces would be painful. The man with the ID continued.
“We understand that you were talking to a law enforcement official this morning about Nazis and skinheads. We’re here to assure you that there are no Nazis or skinheads in this area. Repeating these stories could only lead to unfounded concerns by your neighbors. We’d like to request that you rethink your surmisings and not discuss this with anyone else.”
His partner spoke up. “For the good of the community.”
I’ve seen weird. I’ve lived weird. This was ranking right up there on my weird-o-meter.
“And who are the two of you with again?”
ID man was back to talking. “We’re with the government. We’d hate to have anything happen to anyone. Inciting panic is a criminal offense. We appreciate your cooperation.”
He lifted his hand to his forehead, as if to doff an invisible hat, and the two of them turned in unison, walked to their car and drove off. Watching them drive away, I lifted my eyes and saw the horizon once again filled with dark ominous clouds.
That was fucking bizarre. I considered calling Aiden back, but the situation seemed above a Lieutenant. Besides, what would he do that my friends couldn’t?
As I walked back into the house and towards the kitchen, I saw Piotr and Duhn opening up the pop-up tents. I wondered how differently thing might have gone down if the two of them were with me when I spoke to the black-clad men.
Anticipating a worsening of the rain, Birgette and I moved furniture against the walls so the children would have a place to play inside if need be. About to tell Duhn about a smaller tent he could use to cover the grill, I again heard knocking on the door. I paused, thinking about calling to Duhn or Piotr, or even Birgette, our gun toting linguist.
Eventually, I realized it was likely the patrolmen I had requested and not a return from Mr. and Mr. Creepy. Walking forward and opening the door, I stood there, staring as my heart raced. He was so young and so handsome!
“Ma’am, my name is George Espinoza. I’m a special attaché to the Israeli government. Here’s my ID.” He handed me his wallet that had a driver’s license, as well as ID from the Israel embassy. “May I have a moment of your time?”
I still stared.
He was four decades younger than the last time I had seen him. Being an unwilling and unwitting passenger in the machinery of time travel kept throwing me curve balls. Standing in front of me was a man who had loved another version of me and died trying to save us all while I was in 2018.
He had been my doppelgänger’s closest friend and I could only hope that he would be mine as well.
I was determined not to cry as I stepped back and to the side with a trembling smile, allowing him to enter. His return smile melted my heart. It turned his stoic and almost grim face friendly and widened his grey eyes. I had to keep reminding myself that at this time, he was married to Elise and had two boys. His daughter wouldn’t be born for another year.
George was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved black t-shirt. He made the pressed clothes look almost like a uniform. Stepping inside, he looked about, his keen eye seemingly taking in every detail, and kept his back to the wall.
“Please sit down. Can I get you something to drink?”
“No, thank you. I won’t be taking up too much of your time.”
He chose a chair that was once more against the wall and also gave him a view of the door he just entered from and the hallway leading towards the rear of the house.
“Are you Ms. Kallas?” Even his voice was young.
“I am, but please call me Cynthia.”
As we spoke, the occasional light patter of rain grew steady.
“I, uh ... Ms. Kallas, I’m afraid that I’m at a loss for how to present this in a way that sounds, I don’t know, friendly. There is a man who works ... well, I guess it’s past tense now, he worked for the Israeli government. He used us to gain information on the suspected current locations of war criminals in hiding, avoided our detection and disappeared.”
He looked around the room again and seemed to focus on the sparse decorations Birgette had managed to put up. “Are you expecting children?”
“Yes, a birthday party for a friend’s son.”
“This is not good.” He seemed to be talking to himself more than to me. “He was seen in Brazil, Argentina, and now here, in Montauk.”
“What does that have to do with me, George?”
“I’ve done some quick checking. You have a well-known, how shall I put this, operator? Mercenary? Eliminator of problems? Staying with you, as well as a respected Soviet intellectual. You were recently visited by men from a shadowy pseudo-governmental organization. We are aware of your reputation for having politicians at your beck and call and now there seems to be more than one type of storm brewing with a dangerous madman who used to work for us on the loose in this small town. This is all very odd and too much to chalk up to coincidence. Ms. Kallas, what’s going on?”
Under normal circumstances I would be concerned that I was being set up. I’d be guarded, careful and volunteer nothing. But it was George, and I was able to throw all of that out the window. “I honestly have no idea. All I know is that I’ve seen 16 skinheads in town, heard that there are a bunch more and that they are being led by some Nazis. And, I guess, that there are some weirdos with a penchant for wearing black who like to make oblique threats.”
“And your guests?”
“Friends. We’re close to the anniversary of the death of another friend of ours and we’re sharing memories.”
“Oh. Well, my condolences on your loss. Ms. Kallas, please be careful, okay? Especially if children are going to be here. He’s crazy, but ... I don’t know, just keep an eye out. Maybe cancel what you have planned and get out of town.”
“What are you talking about, George? Who’s crazy?”
Sighing, he leaned forward and put his forearms on his knees. Staring at the floor, he still seemed alert and I got the feeling he knew where everything in the room was at all times.
“I have the strongest feeling that I can trust you, and I don’t know why. I need to start off by saying that I believe he’s insane. I definitely don’t believe that what he wants to do is possible. That’s immaterial, because he believes it’s possible. Are you familiar with Jack Parsons? Founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratories? He’s a genius. Certified, once a generation genius. And nuttier than a fruitcake. And yes, I realize I’m using the present tense for someone who supposedly died in the 50’s.”
George stood, walked to a window, watched the darkening clouds and continued.
“He’s a mystic. A devotee of Aleister Crowley. He used to perform rituals with L. Ron Hubbard until that crackpot stole both Parsons’ wife and money. They were trying to bring an occult goddess named Babalon to Earth.” He turned towards me and held up his hands. “Look, I know. Crazy. But again, brilliant. Anyway, they obviously didn’t succeed, ‘cause magic isn’t real.
“When the word got out about his odd obsessions, he lost any sway he had with the public, government and his own company. Things got bad and my government helped him fake his death and brought him to Israel. He was vital in developing much of our long-range defense systems. We treated him like a king, and he repaid our loyalty by stealing our research on hidden German criminals, leaving Israel and finding supporters among surviving Nazi cultists.
“He never gave up on his original goal; he just decided he needed a greater power source. Parsons wants to create a disaster that will result in a tremendous amount of death, utilize the energy released by that death to fuel his ritual and bring this goddess here. Again, yeah, crazy. He plans on creating this death on a massive scale by controlling the weather, like some bad Bond villain. He’s going to create hurricanes up and down the eastern seaboard, starting here, on the tip of Long Island. He had to leave Israel sooner than he had planned, and we found some of his writings. Other pieces of his plans we picked up here and there.”
We were both quiet while I digested this.
“That’s ... I don’t have the words. It’s totally crazy. Nothing about it makes sense. How is he going to control the weather?”
“Well, obviously he can’t control the weather, but he’s convinced that there’s some top-secret military base nearby that is experimenting with weird cutting-edge science. He’s mentally ill.”
Remaining silent, I thought of Camp Hero, the military base less than three miles away, and their machinations that had propelled me into the future and pulled me back again.
I had first-hand knowledge of their science and what I later found out they termed The Montauk Experiment. Maybe Parsons wasn’t as crazy as George thought.
The triple honk alerted us to the arrival of the bus filled with children. Birgette and I walked out to the ramshackle vehicle to greet them while Alistair stayed dry by waiting on the porch. Father Montgomery had a large umbrella that he used to escort the children two and three at a time to the house. A perfect little host, Alistair belied his age by greeting and welcoming everyone.
Both the wind and rain increased as we ate the burgers and dogs that Duhn grilled under a tent. Almost perfectly timed, I was helping him bring in the last of the trays to be washed when the wind lifted the canopy up and slammed it down. We hurried everything inside and the scene was repeated, this time destroying the tent. Piotr and Duhn rushed out to get the material off the still hot grill, and we chalked the tent up as a loss.
Father Montgomery was walking around in his socks while his shoes dried, and a number of the children cast glances out the window and into the burgeoning storm. They could hear the wind begin to howl and the occasional window rattle slightly.
The skies had darkened, and it looked to be hours later than it actually was. Alistair had tried to get me to buy 21 birdcages, as he wanted to give each child a sparrow, of all things. Once he found out that the children were orphans, he felt enormous compassion. I had no idea where he would get the birds, but I assured him that I would get gifts for everyone to open.
He had his cake, every child opened their presents and they had a grand time playing games. I enjoyed watching Alistair interacting with the other kids. He was kind, sharing and considerate, which were excellent signs considering the peculiarities of his heritage.
There was a persistent loud knocking on the door at 3:04 PM. It was George and he eschewed pleasantries.
“How many children are here?”
“There’s 22, why?”
He looked over his shoulder and out the window where the rain was coming down in sheets. “Do you have a storm cellar?”
“We have a finished basement that’s accessible from the backyard. What’s going on?”
“Two hurricanes. One headed this way, the other hitting Nassau County, so you can’t head west.”
And east a few miles meant the ocean. Wonderful.
I thought for a few minutes before speaking. “How much time do we have?”
“Not long. Here, maybe three or four hours before we’re in the thick of it. Nassau County, less.”
“Okay. Give me a minute.” I called out. “Father! Birgette!” I started emptying the bottles of soda into the sink until they showed up.
Father Montgomery arrived first. He appeared out of breath and must have been playing some game with the kids.
“Father, I need you to empty every bottle you can find and fill them with water. Have Birgette grab any bucket she can get her hands on and get them downstairs along with some food, blankets pillows and sheets. Oh, and battery-operated radios. A hurricane is headed our way and we’re going to have a basement filled with scared kids who are going to have to drink, pee and rest. And board games! Grab anything you can that would entertain the kids.”
After introducing George to Duhn and Piotr, I left them to grab anything useful I could find. Band-Aids, flashlights, can openers, five bottles of liquor and more, all went into the basement.
I heard Duhn calling for me in his odd, formal style. “Cynthia, my friend, we need to discuss things with you.”
Walking into the den with a bundle of blankets, I looked at the three men.
George spoke. “Ms. Kallas, there’s a war being waged in Montauk. The Nazi’s and skinheads and the odd men dressed in black are killing each other wholesale. You need to keep these children safe from both the weather and these maniacs. I would stay and help, but I need to find Parsons. Somehow, he’s at the center of all of this and I have no idea where he is.”
Turning, I placed the blankets on the couch. Looking back at George, I sighed and responded. “I do. I know exactly where he is. I’ll bring you to him.”
Piotr spoke up. “No, Cynthia, this is not reasonable. From what this man says, it is a battlefield out there. You must stay here and help protect the children.”
“I don’t need to do any such thing, but I appreciate your concern. When I say exactly, I meant exactly. You’ll need me. Father Montgomery and Birgette will stay with the children. Alistair can’t afford to lose his only parent, and we can’t involve the Father in this.”
All three of them tried to convince me to stay behind. They failed. Birgette and the priest tried to turn the circumstances into a game for the children and they made little tents and forts with sheets and blankets.
Right before we left, Alistair pulled my head down to his little lips and whispered in my ear. “I’ll pray for you, Aunt Cynthia.” I kissed his adorable head and walked with my friends out into the storm.
We took my Mercedes, with George driving to my navigation. The wind pushed against the car as we drove and garbage cans, sticks and other debris blew into our path. We had to double back numerous times to find ways around fallen trees and utility poles. I counted the bodies as we drove. Eventually, we made it to the gates of Camp Hero, got out and headed towards the cement platform where I was caught in their experiments, years earlier.
The wind was pushing at us, forcing us to hunker down and move slowly. Bodies were strewn everywhere as we grew closer to our destination. Corpses of the odd men dressed in black were littered amongst skinheads. More of the want-to-be Nazis must have been coming all the time, as I’d counted 76 of them either dying or dead.
George, Piotr and Duhn all stared in amazement at the cement block and the electric blue current that I knew I would have to cross.
A voice thick with an odd accent called out loudly over the howling winds. He wore a long leather coat, a military uniform of some sort and glasses. “You are too late, Rav seren Espinoza. He has entered Geist Gottes, and will emerge a god. There is no more Jack Parsons, just the entity to be, the New Man, and all injustices shall be corrected.”
Duhn immediately stepped forward but stopped when he saw a large tall bald, mustachioed man in an olive-green uniform and cap step from the trees a few yards from the first man. Pulling off his shirt, and tossing the cap on the ground, the large man raised his hands towards his chest and curled his fingers towards himself a few times in the traditional “come at me” signal for wanting a fight that probably predates spoken language.
Smiling, Duhn appeared happy to oblige.
Fighting the noise of the storm, George called back to the first man. “Ernst Toht, I presume. And what injustices will be corrected? Are you finally eradicating the Jews? Setting up a Fourth Reich?”
“All of the old goals will be realized and things we couldn’t have dreamt of then will now come to be!”
The large, shirtless man called out. “Nächster!”
There was a slash along his chest and blood seeped down his torso. Duhn lay on the ground near his feet, knife in one hand, struggling to stand while clutching his ribs with the other.
I was shocked and everything took on a more menacing mien. Duhnagaham was death personified. He swept through enemies like a hot knife through butter. How could he be laying on the ground? I doubted myself, constantly, but I never doubted my friends.
Duhn was the killer, Birgette was the genius and Piotr was my mountain. I could fail, but never them.
Still staring at Duhn, I caught a glimpse of movement and looked up to see George airborne, leg extended as his foot crashed into the head of the large German.
Turning towards the cement platform, I started to move in its direction.
Once again, Ernst called out over the wind. “No, Ms. Kallas. I think not.”
Raising his arm, I saw the pistol in his hand. Almost simultaneous to the barking discharge from the gun, I felt myself grabbed in a bear hug, and swung around. Piotr put himself between me and the danger. Through his deep chest, I felt the shudder and impact as the bullets struck him, one after the other.
He shoved me towards the line of trees as he fell to the ground and I felt the tears slipping down my face. This was all wrong, so wrong. He was forever, he was my mountain. Piotr couldn’t die.
I didn’t head towards the trees as he wished. I fell to my knees and cradled his head. Looking up at me with a grimace, he growled, “Run, lyubovnik.”
“No,” Ernst called. “Don’t run. Today it all ends.” He lifted his gun and pulled the trigger. I couldn’t hear the click, but I saw recognition in his face as he realized he was out of bullets.
Tossing the gun to the side, he pulled a long, wavy knife from a sheath at his waist and strode towards me, his voice growing stronger the closer he grew.
“We shall end this in a more intimate fashion then, yes?” There was insanity in his too wet eyes and grotesque trembling lips.
When Ernst was within five feet of me, Piotr grunted, growled and pushed himself from the ground. Swaying a bit, he found purchase for his legs and lurched forward. The shocked Nazi stopped, then lunged forward, stabbing. His blade seemed to strike something under Piotr’s shirt and slip to the side.
Grabbing Ernst’s wrist, Piotr yanked him close and squeezed. I heard bones snap. My protector’s other hand found its way around the Nazi’s neck.
Turning purple, Ernst flailed at Piotr’s clutching hand.
“Tre ... Treasure...”
The choked word forced its way past the Nazi’s throat. Piotr must have loosened his grip.
His voice was raspy. “Treasures. I know where they all are. I can make you powerful, Russian. In Jerusalem, a former stable, the Templars treasures, we can excavate. The Spear of Destiny. It can be yours. Let me live.”
Piotr scowled and almost flinched back. He looked enraged and his huge shoulders rolled forward. “You offer me this thing? The spear that pierced My Lord? This ... this atrocity? You... Merzost!”