A dozen eager eyes watched him, their attention impaled upon the hook of his story. The men, all young and eager; they were dreamers of violent dreams. However, Sebottendorff was surprised how peaceful they were. Most of them relegated their aspirations to passing fancies, seldom even holding demonstrations. Yet, they were eager to hear about the glory of the Third Reich, and Sebottendorff was willing to tell his mesmerizing tales. They didn’t care that he no longer believed in the Nazi ideals.
“Did you actually think that the Reich could have succeeded?” asked an intelligent looking man with inquisitive brown eyes. Sebottendorff stared coldly at the youth, who began to feel like he was going to die.
“I didn’t care if it succeeded or not. I cared that it filled my belly and my coffers.” snapped Sebottendorff. His joints cracked and popped as he strode swiftly towards the room’s exit, pulling the door closed.
“If you didn’t care about the Reich, why are you speaking with us?” asked the young man, almost consumed by fright.
“Because; when I talk about the past, it gives me perspective on the present. Sometimes, it gives me inspiration for the future. Other times, nostalgia is its own reward. As I talk about the war, the faces of men that served with me come back, even if they had long dissolved into the soil.
“Vampires are immortal, and to know a vampire is to become immortal. Few of us are forgetful, particularly when we’re feeling nostalgic. Even now, I can feel the weight of my MG42 and see the little scrapes along its barrel. I remember a soldier that I shared a machine gun nest with. His name was Herman Klempt, and he was fairly bright. However, he wasn’t bright enough to keep his helmet on at all times.” a sadistic grin was slashed across Sebottendorff’s face as he remembered what happened when some English men finally arrived at the nest to see him feasting on Herman’s remains.
“When did you become a vampire?” asked a frail youngster, likely only sixteen.
“Long ago, before there were calendars.” responded Sebottendorff proudly.
“Is what they say true? Are you actually from Atlantis?” asked the frail youngster. He had a pointed face and teeth that appeared to be too large for his mouth. Nervously, he smiled, seeming proud of his esoteric knowledge. Sebottendorff answered the question with silence, turning his back on the gathering.
“You are actually a real Aryan, aren’t you?” asked the man with brown eyes, whose thin, brown hair would eventually leave his scalp bare. Sebottendorff clasped his hands together, intertwining his fingers. He turned to face the group; his skin was white, his hair blonde, and his eyes icy blue. If there really was a race of Nordic super-men, he would have been among their number.
“Ask me a question that matters.” said Sebottendorff, tiring of the game he was playing.
“What do you mean?” asked the youngster with big teeth. “We asked you to come here and share your experiences with us.”
“What would you rather us ask?” inquired the brown eyed youth.
“Ask about the future.” Sebottendorff replied, his voice sending an arctic chill through the gathering.
“I disdain those things.” said Claude, pointing accusingly at Minerva’s cell phone. The vampire’s aura was a mix of violent, red wisps and soothing blue whorls. The auras of his lovers were a light, lustful pink, which didn’t worry Minerva as much as the volatile vampire. She knew she wouldn’t stand a chance if the vampire attacked her, yet she didn’t think he would actually do it. At his core, he was still mostly human.
“Then again, I don’t dig a lot of the new scene, you know? A lot of it seems like a way to avoid actually seeing real faces. Shelia had set up the Myspace for me, but it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t like the feeling of separation; somehow, it underscores how alone I am.” Claude’s voice had a tinge of sadness in it.
“I generally don‘t do social networking sites,” said Minerva, wishing she could find an easy way out of the conversation. She continued talking with the vampire, slowly making her way to the door. She found herself wondering if it was still sunny outside.
“Well, I need to get going.” she announced. “My husband will be here to pick me up soon. He, my partner, and I have a lot of ground to cover.”
“Be careful.” warned Claude wanly, “I’d like to see you again.”
“I’ll drop by.” she said as she left Claude alone in his dark home. Once she stepped on the sidewalk, she saw August approaching, followed closely by Tobias. They had all ready parked the car and looked very serious.
“Are you okay?” asked Tobias, rushing in front of August.
“I’m fine.” replied Minerva as she was nearly crushed by Tobias’ embrace.
“I was so worried about you.” said Tobias.
“I’m all right. What’s the matter? Your call was disconcerting; Claude was acting strange, and his aura was agitated. Did you find out something?”
“We’re worried that he’s working with Sebottendorff.” said August, standing with his hands in his pockets. “We’re not sure how it all fits together yet, but I can’t help but wonder if Claude knows more than what he’s letting on. I’m going to go to the office and read through the books and the folio I got from Mr. Zelinski; it might offer something of interest. If that’s what Sebottendorff is after, we might have a visitor sooner than later.”