Thursday, November 17, 2011

A cut from "Mittilagart"

The sequel to my fantasy novel, Okeanus, is Mittilagart. The protagonist of the sequel is a dark angel by the name of Antonius Bleak. Here is a cut from the latest chapter. It takes place in an alternate-history Berlin in 1951. Story lines from Vogel and the White Bull and Okeanus cross in this novel.

As they walked the German told Bleak what he knew about the people they were going to meet. The woman lived on the fourth floor of a six-story building near Tempelhof Airport that somehow had escaped destruction. Her apartment, which she shared with four other women, was large and relatively well-appointed. She and her roommates were involved in most of Berlin’s vices: prostitution, illegal contraband, primarily cigarettes and alcohol, forged papers, and currency exchange.

When they reached the apartment, a rat-faced man in his late forties, wearing a new gray pin-striped suit and a garish tie, opened the door. He recognized the German and opened the door a bit wider but stopped when he saw Bleak standing behind him. “Who is he?” he said, as he reached into his suit pocket for his gun, a .38 revolver that he extracted in one fluid move.

The German blurted out nervously: “He’s looking for letters of transit. He has dollars.”

A woman’s voice from inside ordered: “Let them in.” And the man stepped aside and waved his gun, indicating they should enter and follow him. They passed through a narrow foyer into a large living room with carpets on the floor, chairs, love seats and couches, a grand piano in the corner and a fire burning merrily in the marble-framed fireplace. Above it hung a Nazi painting of naked men and women cavorting in a clearing in a Teutonic forest and below it, inches from the grate, a man in a United States Army officer’s uniform sat in a leather chair, puffing on a Cuban cigar, while a tall, thin blonde, wearing a black evening dress cut to emphasize her large breasts, leaned against the arm of his chair, holding a brandy snifter made of cut crystal. Nearby, another woman, a brunette, also in a black evening gown, sat at the piano, playing some Chopin piece. As Bleak and the German entered the room, she asked: “Where do you want to go?” Bleak’s escort answered, “He wants a letter of transit for Frankfurt am Main.” The woman, ignoring the German, pushed back the bench of the piano and approached Bleak, drawing very close. She was tall, almost the same height as Bleak. She stared directly into his eyes, as if she were either trying to discern his character or make him nervous. He remained calm as she edged even nearer to him. He could smell cognac and cigarettes on her breath, as well as her perfume, something French with a citrus base. With her lips almost touching his, she said with a sneer on her dark red lips: “What are you, a cop or a Russian spy?” He noticed a slight smear of lipstick on her white teeth and he wondered if she were a product of the Lebensborn Project.