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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 64, Part 5

El Nariz plunged up the steps of the White House. The AS gun rested heavily in his hands. Metzger was not in the building proper. El Nariz dashed out and into the buildings outside the White house where the Oval Office was.

Here he was, actually doing it. He had managed to survive his swim in the icy Potomac and had run immediately into Claw troops.

"Who are you?" they demanded.

"Nariz, Coalition spy. Escaped from American clutches to get here..." he managed to cough out before collapsing of hypothermia.

They had, as the American had told him they would, checked him out thoroughly. By the time he had regained consciousness Claw doctors were catering to him gently. He was considered a hero. He made up a cock and bull story on the spot about being found out by the Americans, captured, and then made a daring escape up the Potomac river to Washington and safety.

When he had been told the Germans were invading, he demanded an AS gun to go fight. They went through the full rigamarole of demanding that he had to stay and get well, but no, he was too bold and heroic to sit and be healed while others were dying. He left a step higher in the doctors' minds. And now, here he was, betraying them.

He battered the door down and burst in. Metzger was sitting at his desk, engrossed in yelling over a phone at someone. He was trying to conduct the defense from his office, where he could contact all of his commanders at once. A scanner was on his desk. He looked up and rose when he saw El Nariz. He carelessly dropped the telephone into the waste basket, aiming for it's cradle.

"Who the hell are you?" demanded Metzger in English.

El Nariz swallowed his fear and tapped the trigger of the AS gun, just enough to fire a single shell. It tore through the flesh of the Master of The Claw's chest, not far from his heart. A stain of true blood began to spread over his crimson colored uniform, and with a gasp he dropped to the ground.

The German was still alive, for the moment at least. El Nariz knew he'd be dead any minute. He considered his task fulfilled. He turned to leave the office but walked right into a group of Claw men.

Otto Krauss grabbed the Colombian by the scruff of his neck. El Nariz turned limp suddenly. He had given up. He had given up on his life. The spy had let loose the tenuous hold he had on his mind and his body. He descended into the pit of madness.

Krauss thrust the spy into the hands of one of The Claw men behind him.

"Get him out of here," the general choked out.

Krauss went over and knelt down where Metzger was lying. His wound was gaping, as though someone had taken a double fistful of flesh and torn it straight out of him. He was, by some mistake of luck or aim, alive.

"Krauss?" the Butcher of Bavaria wheezed.

"Yes, marshal, I'm here."

"Krauss," said Metzger in a relieved manner.

Suddenly, the Master of The Claw looked urgent.

"Krauss," he said, "Was it a spy?"

Otto Krauss felt a burst of emotion for this man like he had never felt before. The man had two terrible nicknames: "The Butcher of Bavaria", "The Master of The Claw". They both described him perfectly. He was subject to vicious mood swings: one minute he'd be subdued, clever, calm, and the next he'd be angry and sadistic, full of wrath and hatred. He had killed more people than Krauss could count. For that matter, he had basically kidnapped Krauss. He was a madman. And yet, suddenly, Krauss felt very close to the man, and very sorry for him.

"No, no," the German general lied, "It wasn't a spy. It was the German soldiers. They've come into Washington. Your own men. The ones you trained. Only they could've killed a man like you, sir. It's like you always said: when a student outdoes his teacher, it's a time of great joy."

"Yes," Metzger nodded, seeming to believe Krauss' lie, "My own men. The ones I trained."

Metzger strained to hand Krauss his marshal's baton, which he had been lying on. He placed the crimson officer's cap he was wearing on Krauss' head and adjusted it to a jaunty angle. With his last ounce of strength he stretched himself up and whispered into Krauss' ear.

"Surrender the city, Krauss. These...rabble don't fight...real soldiers. My soldiers."

Metzger fell back into the puddle of his own blood. He touched Krauss' cheek affectionately.

"The best thing I ever did was make me."

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