Friday, March 27, 2015

Dark Storm Rising---part 8

Daniel slowly opened his eyes. Where am I? And how did I get here?  he wondered. Suddenly the events of the following night rushed back to him.
Major Ubel had Max and Helena! He had to get to them, they had to get to Switzerland! He tried to raise himself on his left arm, but a sharp pain caused him to cry out. At that moment the door opened and man hurried in, carrying in his hands, a tray with what seemed to be coffee, essg and toast. hurriedly setting the tray down, he hurried over and helped Daniel to sit.
“I wouldn't try that again if I were you, my boy. That shoulder got hurt somethin’ awful.”
“Yes, my shoulder. I’m surprised I'm not dead. Who are you?”
“Well, I could be askin’ you the same thing my boy. I found you a layin’ in a pool of blood.”
“I--I got shot.”
“Well, that was pretty obvious. But, where are my manners? My name is Fremont,Fremont Baxter. I was out on a ride with my horse when I found you. I brought you back here and the doctor came and took the bullet out, stitched you up. And,” he walked over and picked up the tray. “My wife just sent this breakfast up for you. So, what’s your story? I know you’re a jew. That much was pretty obvious.” He leaned closer. “You can trust me. My wife and I along with our two kids have been hiding jews here ever since the Gestapo have started their midnight raids. Killing God's chosen people is a terrible crime. We feel that God has led us to be a part of the saving of his people, though why he would chose us is beyond me. I’m just a simple man, full of flaws just  like everyone else.”
Daniel looked at the man. There was something in his eyes that made Daniel rust him completely.
“Well, you may not believe me, but I am a lieutenant,” he paused to let it sink in. ‘In the Third Reich.”
At this the man sat up in shock.
“Yep, I knew you wouldn't believe me.” Daniel sad, taking a drink of coffee.
“It’s not that it just--wow! A jew in the Third Reich.”
“Well, I’m am no longer a “jew” in that sense. You see, I was adopted by German parents when I was just five years old. They gave me the German name Wilhelm. When I was adopted I became part of the higher circles in Berlin. No one ever knew I was a jew. Except my parents. Except me. I became friends with two other boys from  leading families. We were close friends, grew up together, entered the Wehrmacht  together. They are both Majors, I’m a lieutenant and we are still friends.  But they are friends with Wilhelm, not Daniel.’
“Daniel?”
“My jewish name. You see, I lead the life of two very different people. On one hand I’m a respect lieutenant, I’m am for Hitler, for the Third Reich. On the other hand, I’m the informer. I warn others of raid, pass on important information, and,” he sighed. “I was helping two children escape when I got shot. Shot by one of my friends, Major Ubel.”
“Does he know it was you?”
‘No, I have the weekend off to visit my parents. And believe me, I look much different in what I’m wearing now then in my uniform.”
Fremont chuckled. “I can believe it. You don’t look more than seventeen years old, especially with those glasses!”
“Well, let me assure you that I am older than seventeen! I’m twenty-three.”
“So what are you going to do now?”
“What else? I’ve got to be back in Innsbruck by Tomorrow afternoon and--”
“Wait,” Fremont interrupted him. “You’re going back? That’s crazy! What if they recognize you?”
“Be assured, they won’t. BUt before that I’ve got to get Helena and Max away into Switzerland.”
Fremont shook his head. “Now I know you’re crazy. You can’t move your shoulder, let alone lead two kids over the mountains!”
“Well, that's not even the worst of it. Helena can’t walk without help. Might not be able to walk at all now.” he muttered. “Not if Ubel got a hold of her.”
‘And why is that? What would he have done?”
“Ubel enjoys seeing people at his mercy. That would have been Helena. The past few weeks she’s relied on Ramond and Ada for everything. Then it was me.”
“Ramond and Ada?”
“Ada was one of the cooks back in Innsbruck and Ramond is the other Major.”
“But why would he help her at all?”
“Ramond is dedicated to the cause of Hitler, but he isn’t hard like Ubel. Ubel would have delighted in tormenting Helena. Kicking her, striking her, making her walk without help.”
“How do you work in that kind of setting?”
Daniel sighed, “Only by the grace of God. But back to the present, I’ve got to get to Helena and Max and get them over the border tonight.”
“Let us help.”
“No, no. I can’t get you involved.”
“Daniel, You won’t get far on your own. You must realize that. Let us help!”
Daniel sighed. “Thank you.”
Fremont stood up. “Well, you finish breakfast and I’ll go fill in my family. Then we can work on a plan.
*****************
“Wait, wait, wait a minute. So that’s your plan? Go in there and bluff your way to the kids?”
Fremont nodded. “I’ve done it once before. It wasn’t the best experience, but it worked out alright.”
Daniel shook his head. “There is no way either of them will let you near the children. It won’t matter if you’re higher rank, you don’t have papers. They’ll know immediately what you're up to. And there’s another problem. Ramond keeps Helena with him. All the time. When she’s alone the door is locked If it’s difficult enough to get Max out from there, it will be nearly impossible to get her out. “
Fremont sat back. “Well then what do you suggest we do?”
Daniel sighed. “That’s the problem. I don’t have any ideas either. If only we knew what the place was like! Is there anyone you know who has any access to the inside?”
Fremont shook his head.
Suddenly Daniel's eyes lit up. ‘I've got an Idea! What’s your son like?”
“What’s he like? I’m not sure I follow you.”
“Oh, you know! His features! Is he dark haired? Light haired? What about his eyes? How old is he”
Fremont nodded. “I see what you’re getting at. He’s the perfect example of a pure aryan. He’s tall with sandy blond hair, light blue eyes. He’s seventeen.”
“Perfect! Just what they’re looking for here in Austria! Okay, here’s my idea. Most people in Austria resent the German, but I probably don’t need to tell you that. If a certain young man was to walk up to the garrison and act interested and intrigued with everything. Major Ubel is tough, but his weak spot is flattery. He could get a tour then--”
“Yes, it’s perfect!” Fremont exclaimed. “I’ll go and get , Matthaus then you can give him some instructions.” He hurried out the door and returned only minutes later with a tall, handsome young man.
“Mathaus? It’s good to meet you! Has your father told you what we’ve been talking about?”
Mathaus nodded.” I’m supposed to pretend to be interested in everything about the Third Reich.”
“Not just interested, Mathaus, exuberant! So excited about the new agreement you can hardly contain it. Do you think you can pull that off?”
Mathaus nodded, the smallest hint of a smile showing through his eyes. “Yes, sir. I’ll enjoy it.”
“Okay, we need to know where exactly they are being held. Max is fifteen, he has blond hair, gray eyes. He’s almost as tall as you. Helena is a bit different. I think that’s one of the reasons Ramond keeps her with him. She’s fourteen, but small for her age. She has dark brown hair, dark blue eyes, and she’ll have a cast on her right leg. She may be small, but she’s full of spunk. Now the Majors. Major Ramond is tall and slim, he has blond hair and his disposition isn’t as hard as Major Ubel’s. If you see them together, you’ll know what I mean. Major Ubel is a couple inches shorter and he’s heavyset, he has steel gray eyes and trust me, you can’t forget them. Flatter him. Make him enjoy telling you about Third Reich, that’s one subject he’ll go on about for hours. Just don’t try that with Major Ramond. It won’t work Also, Major Ramond has a heavy German accent.”
Mathaus nodded. “I’ll leave right away.”******************

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Voting time!!

Okay, while I haven't yet designed the cover, I thought I'd post the two pictures and let y'all vote :)
Which one do you think would be better for the cover of Dark Storm Rising, A or B?
Let me know in the comments!!

Picture A.

 Picture B.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dark Storm Rising--Part 7

The flaxen horse trotted easily through the trees, the man riding it was whistling gently to himself. It was a beautiful day. The sun was rising above the mountains, the birds were singing and there was a warm breeze that whispered of summer. As he left the trees, he came to the small abandoned town that he rode past every morning. Only this time, there was something different about it. He dismounted and in two quick strides he was next to the old dirt road. Yes, that was in. Hoofprints. Hoofprints mixed with the prints of boots. He followed them, seeing that they stopped in front of an old cafe before once again leaving. There were also a different mark in the dirt as though someone had been dragged.
Suddenly he heard a moan.
“What’s that?” he muttered to himself. He looked around, seeing nothing. Then he heard it again. This time, he realized where it came from; inside the cafe. Hurrying up the steps he looked aghast at what lay in front of him.There on the floor lay a young man, not appearing to be more than seventeen years of age. But what what was the most appalling was the pool of blood that lay on the floor next to him. Even from here, he could see that it was coming from his shoulder, barely above his heart. Kneeling, he grabbed his wrist and felt for a pulse. To his surprise, he felt a slow but steady throb. Reaching into his pocket, he grabbed a clean handkerchief and pressed it onto the wound. A slight groan escaped the lips of the wounded man.
“A doctor. I've got to get a doctor,” the man exclaimed.
He stood, about to hurry away, then stopped. Looking back, he felt a sickening feeling in his stomach. Yes, this young man was a jew. That must have been what caused this. “Dear God, why do we have such wickedness in our country against your people.” he moaned. This changed everything.  The man still needed a doctor, but he must be careful whom he brought.
Making a decision he mounted his horse and galloped down the road.
***********
Major Ubel walked down the hall to the interrogation room. He knew Ramond was supposed to question them, but he didn’t trust him to get every bit of information. They were friends, but it was no secret that Ramond, even after all his training, still didn't enjoy questioning children. He wasn’t hard enough.
‘Well, if I get there before Ramond there’s nothing he can do about it.” Major Ubel muttered.
Walking in the room, he was surprised to see it was empty. . .except for Helena who lay sleeping on the bench.
At the sight of her a sudden anger swept over him. Why was she sleeping? She was supposed to be interrogated!
He walked over and roughly kicked her leg, causing it to fall off the chair and twist at a strange angle. With a sudden cry of pain, Helena sat up, grasping her leg with both hands.
An evil smile slithered across Major Ubels face. There was nothing he loved more than seeing someone helpless, totally at his mercy.
“So, did Ramond get anything out of you? Or your friend?”
Helena looked around the room, noticing for the first time that Max was no longer there.
“Max? Where is he? And Major Ramond? I haven’t seen him . I must have fallen asleep. But how did I get here?” she added, almost as an afterthought.
“Silence! I asked you a question. Answer it and don’t say anything more!” ge said, once again directing a sharp kick at her la, causing her to cry out in pain.
He walked over and sat in the chair behind the desk, the same chair Major Ramond had sat in less than five minutes earlier.
“Sit in this chair!” he directed, pointing to the chair where she had fallen asleep.
Helena shaily stood, trying to balance on herself on her one good leg.
Schnell!
Helena tried, wincing everytime any weight got put on her right leg. She was almost to the chair when she tripped, landing in a heap on the cement floor.
Major Ubel, by now furious, stood up and walked to her, then grabbing her by the arm, he lifted her up and shoved her unceremoniously into the chair. Then he resumed his seat behind the desk.
“Now tell me. Who were you with? We know he was a jew, so don’t even try to hide that.”
‘He--he was just someone we knew.”
‘Don’t you even think about trying those tricks with me! We all know he must have been on the Wehrmacht staff. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to help you escape. What was his name?”
“His--his name was Dan.” Helena said through clenched teeth, trying to keep from crying fronm the pain in her leg.
‘Speak up! I didn't hear!”
“His name was Dan.”
“Dan? That  is a Jewish name. Don’t play games with me.; jews are never part of the Third Reich!” he said, striking her leg with the riding crop he carried. Helena winced, placing a hand over her mouth to muffle the scream of pain.
“Major Ubel. Is zere a problem here?”
Both occupants of the room looked up to see Major Ramond standing in the doorway.
“Ramond. I came to interrogate, but found only the girl. And she had fallen asleep. But not to worry. I've dealt with her.”
Major Ramond glanced at Helena. Her teeth were still clenched in pain and he had seen what Major Ubel did to Helena as he walked in the room. Who knew what he had done before then.
“Major Ubel.” Major Ramond started, trying to keep his voice even. “I have already questioned Max and taken him to a room vhere he vill spend the night. When I came in Helena vas sleeping as you have already noted. I moved her to ze bench and then questioned Max. I was just now coming back to take Helena to her room. Vhich is vhere she vill stay.” There was no mistaking the edge in the his voice.
When Major Ubel answered, the ice in his voice was even more evident and he did not try to hide it.
“If I interrogate, I interrogate and you can’t make me do otherwise.’
“It vould be best for you to remember that ve are not at var and zey are not legally prisoners! Zey have simply been detained. Another good thing for you to remember is zat I am ze Major in charge here, not you. And I vhat I say goes. Ve are of equal rank, I can not order you to do anything. But this I ask this of you as a friend and fellow co-worker for the same cause. Ze cause of Hitler and Germany!”
As he said the last word he bent down and picked up Helena, the excited the room, leaving Major Ubel standing alone in silent fury.
************************
When Helena awoke the next morning the first thing she noticed was the sharp pain shooting through her leg. It hasn’t hurt this bad for weeks! She thought as she struggled to sit up.
Looking around at the tiny room, she noticed that the Major was sitting on a desk in the far corner. Why does he always keep me with him?
She shuddered as she remembered last night’s incident with Major Ubel. At least as long as I’m with him, Major Ubel won’t dare do anything to me.
The Major glanced over at her. “So, you’re awake. I vouldn’t try much vith that leg if I vere you. I think ve’re pretty much back to vhere ve started.”
Helena sighed. It had been so good to be able to get out, to walk, even though she had to be constantly leaning on something or someone.  A sudden sadness swept through her as she thought of Daniel. He had worked so hard; done so much for them. And know he was dead. She shook her head to clear the image of him laying there, blood gushing as Major Ubel dragged her away. There was nothing they could have done to help him.
“How is Max?”
The Major stood. “He is in good hands.”

Helena shuddered. She dearly hoped that those “good hands” didn’t happen to belong to Major Ubel.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Exciting story news!!

I'm really excited!!! At 4:52 pm CDT today, I penned (okay, typed) the last word in Dark Storm Rising!!!
It has a total of 24,380 words and is 46 pages long. 
I'm thinking about self-publishing it, so I'll be doing a vote on the cover picture sometime next week, as well as getting another post of Meet the Characters up. Are you excited??? I am!!

 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dark Storm Rising---part 6

Daniel felt his way along the deserted road, one arm outstretched feeling the way through the darkness, the other arm wrapped around Helena as he helped her to walk. After everyone had left, Daniel had found an old abandoned road that led past an old ghost town. Max followed closely behind, the dark and silent world hiding the three. The sudden the sound of hoofbeats caused Daniel to freeze, then hurriedly duck into the doorway of an old cafe. Max followed, his steps making no sound.
“Daniel? What is it?” Helena asked, her voice barely a whisper. Daniel shook his head, motioning her to be quiet.
“Let’s look over here. Those two kids gotta be around here somewhere. Them and that Jew that helped the escape.”
Helena froze. That was one voice they all recognized. He was back. She felt a shudder go through her. It was Major Ubel.
“Private, Vhere is Wilhelm?” That too was another familiar voice. “I telegraphed to the office in Innsbruck to have him come.”
“You’ll remember he had taken the weekend off, sir. To visit his parents.” Private Ralph reminded him.
“Ack! The one time I need him ze most, he is not here! Alright, ve vill split up and look for them. You go down here and check these buildings vhile I go and check closer to ze border. I’ll take Ralph with me.  Vould that work?”
Major Ubel nodded.
No! Please, Jesus. Don’t let him find us. Not him! Helena silently prayed. The sound of galloping hoofbeats filled the air as Major Ramond hurried away from where they hid. But a greater dread filled them as they heard another set of hoofbeats move closer.
Major Ubel took his time going down the road, shining his light thoroughly across the abandoned  stores. Daniel pressed himself deeper into the shadows, pulling Helena with him. As he did, the door fell back with a clatter. All three froze as the hoofbeats stopped.
“I know they were here.” There was the sound of someone dismounting, then, suddenly, the bright beam of a flashlight shone in their faces.
“Well, now we will see what happens when you disobey the Reich!” The evil in Major Ubels face was clearly evident.  “And this time, you will die, jew!” Before anyone knew what was happening, he had pulled his Steyr M1912 pistol from his holster and fired a shot. Helena fought to keep her balance as Daniel collapsed in a heap, nearly pulling her down with him.
Major Ubel walked over and roughly grabbed her.
“No, Daniel!!” she screamed, as Major Ubel dragged her from the building.
“You better come along too, boy. Unless you want your friend here hurt.” Major Ubel sneered.
Max shakily stood up and, taking one last glance and Daniel’s body then hurried to follow the Major.
*******************
Max slumped against the cold brick wall, trying to erase the events of the last couple hours from his head. After killing Daniel, Major Ubel had taken them to, what Max assumed, was the Nazi’s post in Surfaus. Major Ubel had then thrown them in a room, locked the door, then hurried off down the hall.  That was over and hour ago. The room was small consisting of only a desk, the chair behind it, a bench and the two chairs he and Helena sat in.
Helena sat on the chair next to him. She had fallen asleep, her leg stretched out in front of her. It was swollen from the walking, even though she had depended heavily on Daniels help. The walk with Major Ubel had proved to be very different. He dragged her along and hit her if she didn’t keep up. Max knew it hurt. She had told him as much before falling asleep.
He sighed. He was responsible for this whole mess. It was his fault Helena was here. He hadn’t wanted to go alone and had asked if she could come with him. It was his fault her leg was broken. He almost chuckled at the irony of it. He was responsible and she was the one hurt.
That was how it always seemed to turn out.
Suddenly there was the sound of a key in the lock. Max hurriedly sat up. In all his life, there was no one else he had ever met that he feared as much as Major Ubel.
The door opened the Major Ramond walked in. Max let out a sigh of relief. The Major closed the door behind him and locked it once more.
“Vell, I see ve meet again.” the Major said as he walked over to Max.
Max nodded.
The Major bent down, picked up Helena and laid her down on the bench. The he carried the chair over and placed her leg on it.
“Zat should help bring down the swelling.” he explained as he sat down in the chair behind the desk.
Max nodded, thankful for the small gesture of kindness.
“Thank you, Major Ramond. I know it was hurting her.”
‘Yes, I can imagine as much. She should never have tried to valk on it so soon. Vhich brings me to the small matter of vhy I’m here.” he leaned forward.
Max inwardly chuckled. The Major seemed to have a habit of doing that. Leaning forward whenever he wanted to make a point about something.
“Who vere you vhith? Who helped you escape?”
Yep, here it was again. The endless round of question after question.
“We were with a young man. But that shouldn't’ matter much anymore. He’s dead.”
“I’ll be the judge of vhat matters! Vhat vas his name?”
What does it matter? Max thought. He’s not coming back.
“Daniel. His name was Daniel.”
“And vat vas his last name?”
“I don’t know.” Max honestly answered. “He only told us his first name.
“And vas he your contact?”
“I didn’t even know we had a contact.”
The Major sat back, tapping his riding whip against the edge of the desk in a rhythmic manner.
“I believe you. I’ve been around you long enough to know  vhen you’re lying.”
Great, that’s just terrific. The Major knows whether I’m telling the truth or not.

Major Ramond stood up. “Come, I’ll take you to a room vere you can rest until ve figure out vhat to do vith you tomorrow. Then I’ll come back and get Helena.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dark Storm Rising--Part 5

“Hurry, we must move fast.” Daniel whispered as he entered the room where Helena lay, Max following close behind.
“Whoa! Daniel? You look a lot different.”
Max grinned “That’s exactly what I said.”
Daniel had taken off his uniform and was dressed in civilian clothes. His dark wavy hair had been brushed forward giving him a boyish look, and, most surprisingly of all, he wore thick, dark rimmed glasses. That, if nothing else, gave him the look of a young university student and Helena was sure that no one, not even his parents would recognize him now.
“Daniel, the disguise is great but won’t Major Ramond suspect something when he realizes that you’re gone and we’re missing?”
“Not at all. Major Ramond knows I’m simply visiting my parents for the weekend. As for you two missing? He’ll assume the informer decided to leave and take you two with him.”
Max laughed. “He’d be right you know.”
Daniel grinned. “I know.”
As they were talking Daniel had been helping Helena.
“Do you think you could walk at all?”
Helena bit her lip. “I’m not sure. I haven’t even tried since I got hurt. And that was three weeks ago.”
“Well, you’ll have to try. Unless of course you want to have another meeting with Major Ubel.”
Helena shuddered. “Never. I’ll try, just don’t you dare let go of me.”
“I won’t, I promise.”
“Helena shakily placed weight on her left leg, the one that wasn’t injured.  Holding tightly to Daniel, she took one small step then another.
“I can walk, but I’d need crutches.” Helena said, stating what seemed rather obvious.
“We won’t have time for crutches. If I help you like I am now, do you think you can make it?”
“How far are we going?”
We’ll drive as far as Surfaus, then it about another twenty miles to the border.”
“Twenty miles? We’re going to walk twenty miles?” Max exclaimed. “Why can’t we drive the whole way?”
“Because both of our favorite Major’s will be looking for any car that close to the border once they realize you are missing.  But first, we need to go to my parents house.”
“Will our parents be there?” Helena exclaimed, her eyes shining.
Daniel shook his head. ‘I’m sorry, No. They went on ahead just two days ago. They are already safe in Switzerland.”
“So why are we going to your house?”
“To switch cars. You really didn’t think we’d go all that way in my car, did you? Hopefully we’ll get to Sarfus by tomorrow morning, then we’ll rest and go out on foot once night falls.”
“So we’re going into town?”
‘Once again, no. Just leave it to me. And we really need to get going before the Major’s get back from supper.”
*************
Helena leaned back against the seat, closed her eyes and tried to sleep the ever-present jolting of the car making it difficult . As Daniel and his father mapped out the way and took care of the details, Daniel’s mother had fussed over the two getting them blankets, food, water, clucking over her broken leg and scolding Daniel for making her try to walk, even though they both knew there was no other way.
Helena sighed. It had been good to be fussed over after three weeks with only the Major. But it made the homesickness for her own mother even more acute and her excitement on being able to see her soon almost unbearable.  
“Oh no.”
She turned toward Daniel. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Look behind us?”
Helena turned to see two sets of headlight behind them.
“Oh, Daniel what will we do!” she glanced over at Max, who lay sprawled out on the back seat, asleep.
“We’ll lose them. Then start out on foot.”
“On foot? How close are we to Sarfus?”
Daniel looked grim. “Still 10 miles. I’m not sure If we’ll be able to make this in a day and a half.”
Helena turned back just as the car turned another corner in the winding road.
“Daniel!”
“That’s what I was afraid of. A roadblock.”
“What will we do?”
“Only one thing to do. Stop.”
Daniel slowed the car and pulled it to the side of the road.  A older officer approached the car, shinning his flashlight  in through the window.
“Hello sir, we’re looking for two children who are reported escaped from an office in Innsbruck.  We’ve been told to check every car headed toward the bor--. Sir, step out of the car. You and both children.”
Daniel opened the door and got out as did Helena and a sleepy Max.
“Wait here, jew.” the officer spat as he walked back toward the roadblock. Suddenly there was the sound of approaching cars. As they came around the bend, Helena swallowed hard as she saw who sat in the front; it was Major Ubel.
“Daniel! What if he recognizes you?”
‘We can’t have that happening.” he glanced toward the cars on both side blocking off any route of escape. . .except one. They were less than ten feet from the numerous trees that filled the hills of Austria.
Taking out his firearm, he quickly fired three shots toward the roadblock causing everyone to dive to the ground.
“Hurry, now!” he exclaimed, jamming the pistol back into the holster.
Max took off toward the woods with Daniel, who was helping Helena, not far behind.
They heard the shouts of the men as they hurried after them. Daniel, who was now nearly carrying Helena, suddenly turned and ducked under a grove of buses.
Max, who had been ahead, suddenly turned and realized they were gone.
“Max, here. quick!” Daniel urgently whispered.
Max ducked toward the bushed and the three were hidden beneath a leafy green camouflage.
“They must of stopped. The path ends.”
“How could you have lost them!’ a voice roared.
Daniel frowned, there was no mistaking that voice.
“Go back to Innsbruck and get the dogs. Major Ramond, Ralph and Myself will go to Sarfus to get some horses. We’ll catch these kids and that dirty jew if it’s the last thing I do!”
The footsteps faded of as everyone hurried to obey the Major.

The Tomb is . . . empty.

Matthew 28:1-9 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mar...