“The unconscious sends all sorts of odd beings, terrors, and deluding images into the mind whether in a dream, daylight, or insanity. For the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the neat little dwelling we call our consciousness, goes deep into dark unsuspected caves.” Alex looked out the window as he spoke. The light through smeared glass showed the scar on his face even through the stubble of a 5-day-old beard.
Joshua Clayton turned in his wheelchair and looked up at him, “You’ve quoted Joseph Campbell. His words are correct, but what exists… is what the Nazi’s wanted to weaponize. At least, according to the files that Thomas D’Arkane stole from the vault in Heinrich Himmler’s bunker before the fall of Berlin in late April 1945. It’s not imagination, but fear itself.” He wheeled forward and took the folder from his lap to set it on the steel table.
“Who is Thomas D’Arkane?” Morgan asked as she poured fresh coffee into two cups and slid one to him.
Her uncle, the gray-haired legless man, and the tall, scarred man by the window looked at each other. After a moment, the older man spoke, “It’s difficult to describe him.” He shook his head. “But he is… was…” Joshua turned toward Alex near the window who remained quiet and then back to his niece. “Our employer.” He picked up his cup, sipped and scalded his tongue. “Hot!” he set it on the table with a ceramic on metal ring. He glanced again at Alex. “It’s rumored that D’Arkane worked for Himmler.”
“But never proved. D’Arkane’s war record shows he was OSS.” Alex took two steps, pulled a chair out and sat.
Joshua noted that he picked the one next to Morgan. “Documents can be forged. Right?” He studied Alex, who shifted in his chair. “I suspect he was a double-agent, well-placed in the OSS, that reported to Himmler. Thomas caught Himmler emptying his secret repository, preparing to flee and escape his fate with the Allies. Or worse, the Russians.”
“You mean your boss is a Nazi?” This time Morgan’s cup clanked on the table.
The two men avoided her glare. Her uncle looked into his cup and tasted it again. “It’s complicated.”
“And those boxes,” she waved a hand at the heavy wooden trunks with dark metal corner protectors, hinges, and stout hasps, “are his files?”
“Most of them.”
“Who has the rest?”
“In May ’45, the British questioned Himmler—I have the OSS’s notes from the sessions, they had a man inside their intelligence service—about his files.”
“What did he tell them?”
Joshua rubbed his right stump, both still hurt. “Himmler was a coward. He wanted to live but not pay for his crimes. And in April 1945—by then it was clear the Nazis would soon lose—he went behind Hitler’s back to talk with the Allies. Hitler found out and ordered his arrest. But Himmler hid in an underground bunker known only to him. It was found after Berlin was taken. Inside it, British soldiers found Himmler unconscious. Once his identity became known, they held him for interrogation. While in British custody he committed suicide on May 23rd, 1945.”
“So, they have the files your boss didn’t get?”
“They once did… but,” he tapped the folder, “no longer. We think we know who has them.”
Morgan leaned forward to flip the folder open. She picked up the large rectangular sheet on top. It was thick, heavier than paper. “What’s this?”
“It’s a folder with personal correspondence from a British officer, one of Himmler’s interrogators.” He glanced at Alex who shrugged. “We think he—his family has them now—is the one who took the files.”
She rubbed the page between thumb and forefinger and flipped it over, seeing the drawing on the other side. “But what’s this?”
Joshua looked at it and shook his head. “When Himmler was found in his bunker, he held that in his hand.”
Morgan saw the flash of revulsion on Alex’s face and turned to her uncle. “Who is this?”
“No one knows,” she looked at Alex who had stood and wiped his hands on the front of his pants. “But that…” he pointed at what she held, “what it’s drawn on… is human skin.”
The sketch dropped from her hand to the floor.