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Into The Forest

(France – 1918)

Stepping onto a dirt road in a forest, Bren tried to steady Hans as he fell to his knees, head and stomach reeling from the translation. Hyperventilating, then sobbing, Hans slowly calmed down as Bren held him as best she could. Finally, coming to himself, he sat back on his haunches and asked, in a weak voice “What are you Fraulein?”

Bren simply said, “I’m your friend.”

Just then, they both heard the roar of an engine and ducked behind some bushes on the side of the road. In a moment, a green jeep drove up and stopped. Out stepped a tall officer. Spreading a map on the hood of the vehicle, the man seemed to be trying to figure out where he was. Bren whispered in surprise, “I know this man, he is the one I saw with Colonel Barns.” Hans swallowed hard, knowing what this meant, feeling his heart pound hard in his chest. “Stay here until I call you over,” Bren cautioned in a low voice.

Stepping out from behind the bushes, Bren said “Excuse me, sir”, causing the soldier to turn around with lightning speed and weapon drawn.

“Declare yourself!” he shouted.

“It’s me sir, Brenzel, the nurse from the camp. You saw me the day that Private Sam died. You were with Colonel Barns.”

Lowering his pistol a little, the man looked around and said, in a stern tone, “Are you alone?”

“No, sir, I have a prisoner. He is unarmed.”

“Tell him to step out,” commanded the man impatiently. Hans, still clutching the satchel strapped over his shoulder, timidly came out from behind the bushes and slowly approached. “Hands up!” shouted the officer impatiently.

It’s time to defect

As Hans reached Brenzel, she whispered, “Tell him you want to defect…Do it now!”

Hans said, “Sir, I wish to defect to the Americans. I have valuable information to offer in exchange.”

Hans sat bound in the back of the jeep while Officer Macintosh examined the documents from the satchel. “My God”, he exclaimed, “if these are real they represent the whole German military strategy as of only two weeks ago, complete with troop numbers, munitions, and supplies.”

Back at the camp, Doc came running up to 3 as he came from the command tent after taking Hans’ information to Colonel Barns. “Is she alright?” Doc asked breathlessly.

“Yes, she is fine, Hatty. She did very well.”

“Did she forgive him? Is Hans alive?”

“Yes, and he has chosen good. Hans asked to defect to the Americans and help them with military information he took from Von Roar’s private vault.”

“Thank God”, Doc said with a look of immense relief on her face.

Breakfast in bed

That night, Bren collapsed into her cot, feeling 100 years old both mentally and physically. Sleep took her quickly as she felt safe for the first time in over a week. Waking at nearly noon the next day, she slowly opened her eyes, seeing Doc sitting across from her, smiling. “I brought you something to eat, dear,” Doc said looking intently at Bren as she propped herself up on her elbows.

Yawning, Bren looked at the tray of food that Doc held and exclaimed: “Oh my, where did you get this!”

Doc grinned as she handed the tray of bacon, eggs, and toast to Bren in bed, saying “Compliments of Colonel Barns.”


“Nice dress, by the way,” the small woman chided, as Bren noticed that she was still dressed in the lace she was told to wear the night before. Looking down, she realized that, in the daylight, the lace revealed a lot. With all that was going on, she hadn’t noticed she was next to naked the whole time. No wonder Officer Macintosh had offered her his jacket on the ride back to camp.

Doc, spreading some jelly for Bren, said, “The officer that brought you back told me the information from Hans is the mother-lode. They told the top brass right away.”

“That’s great” Bren mumbled as she wolfed down the food.

“I’m also very proud of what you did with Hans. I know that was a tough assignment.”

Bren, eyeing Doc, said, “Yeah, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” Suddenly, after finishing her unexpected breakfast, another wave of fatigue overcame her and she sank back down into her cot. Doc, moving her stool closer said comfortingly, “Sleep now, dear,” as she gently stroked her hair.


(Vatican City – 1647)

Passing the golden gate, Slim walked slowly, entering into entered the main chamber. The necropolis formed the very foundation upon which the grandeur above was built. However, here it was more than a mere historical title, it was part of the true underworld. Coming to a cautious halt, he first gazed upon a great golden table, impossibly ornate, topped with a single platter of carefully arranged red apples. Beauty, his mistress, sat writing at her lavish baroque desk.

Trying to control his cough, Slim stood at uneasy attention in a large, dimly lit room. Everywhere, candles of various sizes and colors, gave off of flicking light, bouncing off mirrors which hung on tall walls. Clearing his throat, about to speak, Beauty raised her hand abruptly, silencing him. In careful strokes, she wrote, in red, “Yours, Beauty.” Then, laying the quill down in precise alignment with everything else on her desk, Beauty stood and moved across the room, snuffing out a single candle. Turning to face her chief agent, Beauty asked, “What news do you have of the recurrence?”

Is she beautiful?

Getting used to the smell of sulfur just a little, Slim replied, “The rage appears genuine, although the subject either is not aware of what it is or is hiding what she knows.

“Is she beautiful?” she said, eyes piercing his soul.

Slim, trembling a little, simply said, “Yes.”

“Does she have grace?” Beauty questioned further, to which Mr. Jenkins said, “I could not ascertain that under the circumstance, but it is a strong possibility.”

Beauty, moving her tall, slender body towards the divan, arranged herself while sitting in silence for a moment. Slim, feeling nervous, offered, “I could arrange for her death if you wish. It will take some doing, but it might be possible.”

With a slight smile, as small red sparks flashed from her fingertips, the fallen Seraph said, “No, I have other plans for this one.”

Visions in the night

(France – 1918)

As Bren slept deeply her mind and spirit drifted far and wide. Like some gigantic filing system, images, some real, some seemingly so fantastical as to be imagined, coursed through her as she slumbered. However, while she breathed deeply, slowly, suddenly a world opened up and she walked in a luscious meadow, grass flowing around her legs as cool water. Ahead, like giant loaves of bread stuck into the ground, rose a grouping of large, tan-colored rocks.

What are you doing, child,” a voice came from behind her.

Bren, smiled as she turned around to see an old woman, clothed in a tan dress with beads. “Just walking and enjoying myself. It is beautiful here,” Brenzel replied sweetly.

Beauty is not always good

Braided hair hanging neatly over the old woman’s shoulders, her clear black eyes looked inquisitively at Bren. Returning her gaze to the big, blue sky, Bren felt a sense of well-being infuse her. Noticing a slight tug at her sleeve, she turned around again, as the old woman said. “Child, beauty is not always good and evil is not always ugly.”

Bren, puzzled, simply said, “Ok.”

Drawn to the sky again, now it appeared to be sunset as everything glowed a deep indigo. Bren heard a screeching and shifting her eyes towards the sound, saw a beautiful bird, larger than she’d ever seen before, soaring in the heavens.

“Oh my! Do you see it! Do you see it? How beautiful!” Brenzel said as she turned around, but no one was there. On the ground lay a hoop with some type of web in the center, beautiful feathers hanging down. Picking it up, Bren exclaimed, “How lovely!”

Great expectations

The next day, as Bren sat in the mess tent, Officer Macintosh, the one who found her and Hans, entered. All the enlisted men stood and snapped to attention, as well as Bren. “At ease, soldiers”, the tall, good looking man said. Coming immediately to Bren, he sat unceremoniously across from her. “How are you doing, Nurse Bren?” he started.

“Better Sir, thanks for asking,” Bren replied.

Taking out a letter from inside his jacket, Officer Macintosh held it in his hands for a moment as if considering something, then said, “I have a letter from Hans Roar for you.”

Bren, looking first at the envelope, then up, said, “Sir, where is he?”

“We had to send him away, but I assure you he is OK.” Officer Macintosh replied, and with a note of finality, added, “I’m sorry, but that is all I can say.” Then, with a look of admiration, officer Macintosh said, “I do want to say, though, that you handled yourself quite well in the field and there will be a commendation in it for you.”

Bren, a bit sad at not being able to say goodbye to Hans, said, “Thank you sir.”

“Your type of talent can’t go unnoticed for long. We all have great expectations for you.” With that, he handed Bren the letter and took his leave.


Opening the letter, Bren read,

“Dear Fraulein,

My sincerest apologies for not being able to say goodbye in person. It seems that I have been granted asylum by your military. I will be working with the intelligence arm of your forces and advising them on German military plans and tactics. Oddly enough, from reports, it seems that Colonel Von Roar has gone missing.

I wish to say thank you Fraulein, the kindness and forgiveness you showed caused me to believe I could be better. I’m truly sorry for my actions towards you and Private Sam. I hope I can do some small thing to help win the war and repay some of the debt I owe you both.

I still don’t know what you are, but I think you as close to an angel as I have ever met. My prayer is that God keep and protect you always.

With deepest gratitude,

Hans Roar”