Friday, July 31, 2015

Gathering Clouds--Part 1

Okay, new short story! When I asked the questions for Dark Storm Rising,  there were some people who mentioned that they'd like to get to know Leisel, Daniel (Wilhelm) and Finch a little better. Thus Gathering Clouds came about. This story takes you back before Dark Storm Rising  starts, and you get to know Daniel before he joined the Third Reich. If you remember in chapter nine, Daniel and Max recount the story of how Daniel met the Autenburg family and how Arnold got mixed up in everything. This tells that story. ;) Just so you know, Daniel is referred to as Wilhelm in this story.

Lieutenant Wilhelm opened the door and strode into the small Cafe in Vienna, Austria. Glancing around he noticed the usual variety of customers. Some older women with shopping baskets by their side, some business men who stoped in for the afternoon meal, and the occasional couple sitting together happily chatting over a cup of tea with a scone or puffed pastry in their hands. One such couples caught his eyes. Seated off to the side, a rather pretty young women sat smiling at the gentleman across from her. But is was the man that caught his attention. Rather tall and good looking, the man had a look about him that Wilhelm recognized, but couldn’t seem to place.
Settle down, Daniel. he scolded himself using his Jewish name, Don’t be so suspicious of everyone you meet.
Walking through the room he took a seat at his usual table directly across from the one where the couple sat.
“Can I help you?”
Wilhelm glanced up at the waiter, “Yes, just a cup of tea please.”
“Will that be all?”
Wilhelm nodded, “Yes, ma’m.”
She nodded and hurried off, leaving Wilhelm alone. Sighing, he lowered his head into his hands and rubbed his eyes. Being a part of the Austrian Volkswehr had always been his dream as a boy but now, in light of Germany and Austria’s relations, it was getting to be harrowing. There was something simmering just under the surface. Everyone could feel it. Ever since Hitler had taken over Germany, relations had been strained between him and Austrian prime minister. Something is going to happen soon. Something no one expects. Those were his thoughts at least. For the first time in his life, Wilhelm was thankful to his parents for keeping his Jewish background hidden; there wasn’t a person in Austria who didn’t know how Hitler felt about the Jews.
“Here is your tea, sir.” The waiter set the cup and saucer as well as the sugar and cream and a cloth napkin down in front of him. Daniel smiled and thanked her, then watched absentmindedly as she moved on and set a tea service down in front of the man and women he had been watching earlier.  At that moment, the man reached across the table to take the woman's hand and bumped the tea cup. The cup tipped and spilled its hot liquid down the front of the women’s skirt. She shrieked and hurriedly jumped up, frantically pulling the material away from her body. The man sat there, momentarily stunned. 
Well, he’s not as much of a gentleman as he lets on, is he? Wilhelm thought wryly as he quickly stood and grabbed his napkin.
Hurrying over to her, he pried her hands off her skirt and wrapped the napkin around the fabric where the tea had spilled.
“There, that should help. Are you alright? Are you badly burned?” he asked.
She looked up at him, tears still in her eyes, “Thank you for your help. I don’t believe I suffered very much injury,” she grinned sheepishly, “Apart from that of my pride. I can’t believe I screamed like that.”
“It’s quite all right, ma’m. I don’t believe anyone blamed you for screaming as you did, I know for a fact that the tea is quite hot when it’s first served. It’s a miracle you weren’t hurt any worse.” While talking, he pulled out her chair and she took a seat, “Thank you again for your help.” she glanced up at him gratefully.
He tipped his head, “Don’t mention it.” At that moment, he glanced across the table and his eyes locked with those of the man’s. As the man glimpsed his face, his eyes widened, then a look of anger and hatred filled them. A look that was soon replaced with one of concern as he leaned across the table, “Are you alright, Leisel? I’m truly sorry, I had no intention of spilling your cup.”
Leisel gave a shaky laugh, “I know you didn’t, Arnold. I’m quite alright.” She turned to Wilhelm, “My family is vacationing here in Vienna for the week. Perhaps you can stop in and see us sometime?”
Wilhelm, still confused about the look Arnold had given him, turned back towards Leisel, “That sounds like it would be most pleasant. Thank you for the invitation.”
“Here,” she drew a card from her purse and quickly wrote an address on the back. “This is where we are staying.”
He took the card and thanked her once again, then returned to his table. In truth, he had hardly heard what she had said, his mind had been so focused on the gentleman, Arnold. We must have met before. But where? He tipped his cup and finished the now-cold tea, then placed his hat on his head and headed toward the door. For some reason that man doesn't like me and I intent to find out why.
“Ahh,Wilhelm. It sure is good to see you back.” Sergeant Finch’s eyes twinkled merrily as greeted his long-time friend.
Wilhelm gave a feigned exclamation of surprise, “You missed me when I was only gone for an hour?” he clucked his tongue, “I fear you’re not going to do very well when we get our orders.”
“Enough vith that already! You two aren’t here to play around. Vork!” Both men turned as Captain Ramond entered the room, then stomped out after uttering the last word.
“Well, now that Mr. Crab has left, we can get back to the fun,” Finch grinned.
Wilhelm shook his head, “I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately.”
Finch shrugged, “Don’t ask me. Although there have been rumors he’s planning on joining the Wehrmacht.”
At that, all trace of humor was gone from Wilhelm’s eyes, “Are you serious?”
Finch nodded, “No one knows if it’s true or not, but you know Ubel joined it just after it was created. Didn’t you say there was always some sort of rivalry going on between them? Why would Ramond want to be left behind?”
Wilhelm shook his head in disbelief, “I honestly can’t believe that I used to call them my friends. It incomprehensible how the lies of one man can influence others.”
“And, by that, you mean the lies of Hitler influencing some of the men here.”
“Here, in Germany, everywhere.”
Finch nodded, “I agree, but we need to be careful about how we talk about Hitler. There have also been rumors he’s planning a union with Austria. If that happens, you want to be on his good side.”
“A union with Austria? But that is forbidden in the Treaty of Versailles. It’s be breaking the peace treaty which would mean. . .”
“War,” Finch finished,
“Yes,” Wilhelm’s face was grim, “But how do you hear about all these rumors before I do?”
Finch grinned, “It’s what happens when you leave for lunch everyday.”
“Are you saying all these rumors are presented in the mess hall?”
“No, I’m simply saying that’s where I’ve heard them. While you’re sipping tea, I’m keeping up with the world news.”
“Hey, that’s not all I do.”
“Ahh, of course. While you’re at the Cafe you uncover some long forgotten mystery.”
“Actually, I did.”
Finch chuckled, “I’m only teasing, Wilhelm.”
“I’m not. Does the name Arnold mean anything to you?”
Finch narrowed his eyes, “Arnold? What are you talking about, Wilhelm?”
“There was a man at the cafe today. I noticed him when I first walked in and he seemed familiar, but I thought nothing of it. There was a woman with him and as he reached across the table to take her hand he spilled the hot tea on her skirt--”
Wilhelm didn’t get any further because Finch was laughing, “He actually spilled hot tea on her?”
Wilhelm nodded, “Yes. When she jumped up he seemed momentarily paralyzed. . .or something of that sort. So I went over and helped her. When I glanced up and my eyes met his, it was as though he recognized me, and then. . .and then he gave me the most hateful look I’ve ever seen. Now that I think about it, he never actually spoke to me. Leisel said his name was Arnold.”
“That was the lady’s name.”
Finch’s face took on a thoughtful expression, “I’m not sure. I can’t say that the name sounds familiar. Well, there was that one man a couple years back who we caught trying to rob the bank, but he didn’t seem like the hating kind. Besides, after he got caught I heard tell he went back to Germany. Not much reason he’d come back now. And actually, now that I think of it, his name wasn’t Arnold, it was Archer.”

As Finch had been talking, Wilhelm's eyes suddenly lit up with recognition, “No, no it wasn’t the man who robbed the bank, it was his accomplice! Remember, we took them both. I only remember now because it struck me funny how close their names were. It was Archer and Arnold.”

What do you think so far? Will you be back next week?


  1. I like it! And I can't wait for more!!! :P

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it!! I had a ton of fun writing it. ;)

  2. I love this Jesseca! Great start. :) I'm looking forward to more! I like seeing more of Leisel, too. ;)

    1. Yes, Lesiel is a fun character! :D I'm glad you're enjoying it, thanks for commenting!

  3. I'm enjoying this story! I haven't read your Dark Storm Rising yet but this makes me want to go back and read it!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Lauren! Actually, if you finish this story before you read Dark Storm Rising, you'll understand a little better what's happening In the story and who the characters are. :)

  4. Is really liking this story, yes is! :D Is curious as to know what is going to happen, yes is. ;) Is wuvs story. Sank you! (Okay, that was really random... I will introduce you to "Is" Language next week. :D)

    1. I didn't really understand this comment. . .I guess I need to meet you so you can translate.