Read Fatherland (Prequel to Primal Shift) Online

Authors: Griffin Hayes

Tags: #reincarnation, #apocalypse, #Supernatural, #Paranormal, #Thriller

Fatherland (Prequel to Primal Shift) (2 page)

BOOK: Fatherland (Prequel to Primal Shift)
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-5-

T
he readings on the
equipment were coming back now and everything seemed to be normal. Donald’s
heartbeat and vital signs. Temperature fluctuations.  Ionization levels. But
Thomson knew Brooks was right. None of this expensive gear was worth a damn
when investigating past lives. Perhaps, Thomson acknowledged, it had more to do
with looking official and scientific. Had more to do with wanting to stick it
to the critics and finally be taken seriously. How could they call themselves
scientific investigators without scientific instruments, right? 

Thomson would need to
question the kid. He knew that. The boy wasn’t more than a few feet away,
watching them both, displaying the patience of a saint. Apart from a few odd
circumstantial indicators, nothing they’d seen so far suggested they were
dealing with anything other than a little boy with an unfortunate skin
condition. 
So why don’t I want to speak with him?
Thomson wondered skittishly.

Brooks brought Donald
to the kiddy table, where he began playing with Plasticine and Crayola crayons.
For all his youth and awkwardness on the job, Brooks was a natural with kids
and Thomson couldn’t help feeling a little envious. Thomson pulled up one of
the tiny chairs and felt his knees pop as he settled into it, not entirely sure
it would hold his weight. Streaks of sweat were rolling down his face and he
dabbed at his forehead with a hanky from his back pocket.

“Donald.”

The boy looked up. He
was rolling a piece of purple modeling clay into the shape of a gun barrel or
was it a cannon? Thomson couldn’t tell which. 

“I’m gonna run some
names by you and I want you to tell me what you know about them. Can you do
that?”

Donald nodded. “Okay”

“Bob the Builder.”

Donald’s face lit up.
“He hammers stuff.” Donald swung his arm up and down enthusiastically.

“What about Thomas the
Train.”

“I know him too. I
watch him on TV, with my mom.”

“So far so good,”
Thomson said. “How about Strawberry Shortcake?”

The boy’s smile
disappeared. “I don’t know that one.”

“That’s a girl’s toy.
See I was testing you.”

Brooks was behind them,
trying to stifle a laugh. “Guess I’m not the only one that doesn’t get your sad
jokes.”

Thomson ignored him.

“I have another name
for you. Joseph Goebbels? Does that sound familiar?”

Donald’s eyes suddenly
looked glassy and vacant. “I don’t know that one either,” he said, sounding as
though he were miles away.

“What about Adolf
Hitler? Ever heard that name before?”

Donald’s eyes sank to
the clay cannon in his hands and he resumed rolling out that crude barrel
shape.

“Donald?” Thomson
nudged him gently. “Do you know the last name I asked you?”

No answer.

“Maybe the kid doesn’t
wanna play anymore, Thomson.”

“Let’s draw a picture
together Donald,” Thomson said, trying his best to block Brooks’ voice out of
his head.

On his left was a
bucket with more crayons and rolled up pieces of sketch paper. Thomson unfurled
them and laid them flat across his lap. A number of them already contained
images Donald had drawn.

“Oh, what a fine artist
you are,” Thomson said, hoping he didn’t sound fake or condescending. “Is this
a picture you drew at Christmas?” he asked holding up what looked like a row of
blockhouses and chimneys belching black smoke. Thomson held the picture in mid
air, rotating it, his head beginning to crane at an odd angle. No, this wasn’t
a row of blockhouses at all. There was a gate and spewing out the mouth of it was
a crudely drawn pair of train tracks. The smoke stacks were also too high. And
those powdery flakes tumbling to the ground wasn’t snow at all, was it?

“Donald, what have you
drawn here?” Thomson asked, although the question sounded more like a demand.
“Look at me. Is this what I think it is?”

Donald stopped rolling
his clay cannon. Their eyes met and suddenly the boy didn’t look so young
anymore. There was depth in the boy’s ink blot eyes. “What does it look like to
you, old man?” Donald snapped and Thomson wasn’t sure anymore who he was
speaking to. Children weren’t supposed to talk like this.

-6-


I
t looks like Auschwitz,” Thomson said, feeling Brooks move to his side, looking down at the pictures in
his lap. Brooks snatched them up, leafing through them one by one. Thomson’s
eyes rose and saw that Brooks’ face had suddenly turned the color of bleached
bone.

“What’s wrong?” Thomson
asked, not entirely sure he wanted to hear the answer.

Brooks fumbled the
phone out of his pocket and began clicking away. A second later, after he found
what he was looking for, he thrust the phone out for Thomson to see. “Look!”
Brooks said through cracking lips.

Thomson took the phone.

It was a sketch. Some
kind of church or bell tower. The image had a name: “Ardoye in Flanders.” Brooks clicked to the next page for him. Another image, this one a painting of a
crumbling cathedral called “Ruins of a Cloister in Messines.” There were many others
and Thomson looked over each of them before asking:

“What are these?”

Brooks placed Donald’s
drawings back in Thomson’s lap. “Now look at the kid’s pictures. They’re nearly
identical.”

Thomson compared them,
flipping back and forth between the images on the phone and the pictures laid
out before him. Donald’s images were very rough and drawn with a child’s
crayon, but the similarities were uncanny.

“You gonna tell me what
I’m looking at?” Thomson finally asked once he felt he’d seen enough.

“Paintings...” Brooks
replied, the ashen color of his face even more pronounced now. “Paintings done
by Adolf Hitler when he was young. He’d tried to become a painter. I’m not sure
if you knew that. Not many people do. He’d tried to become a painter and when
the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna rejected him for the second time, well, the
rest is history.”

 Donald had given up on
the cannon and was touching up the picture Thomson thought looked an awful lot
like Auschwitz.

Thomson stood up and
loosened his collar. “I think you better call Shrodder.”

-7-

H
anz Shrodder laid his
briefcase down on the table and combed back a mess of graying hair that had the
consistency of steel wool. Shrodder opened the briefcase and what Thomson saw
inside almost made him giggle. A bag of potato chips and a dustpan.

“What is it we are
dealing with here?” Shrodder asked.

“If it’s all right Dr.
Shrodder, I’d prefer not to say,” Thomson replied.

Shrodder’s left eyebrow
went up in an almost perfect upside down V.

“We have our
suspicions,” Brooks cut in. “We just don’t wanna prejudice your findings.”

“I see,” Shrodder said
and laid a potato chip on his tongue like he was receiving communion. He must
have seen the look of worry on Thomson’s face, because a second later he said,
“The salt keeps me alert.”

Thomson nodded. “As
long as we get some results, I don’t care what you eat.”

Shrodder crunched
another chip and turned to Donald, who was still sitting at his kiddy table,
drawing.

“This is the subject, I
presume?”

Brooks nodded. “His
name is Donald. We’ve checked his vitals and they all appear to be normal.
Environmental conditions are also standard. We’d like you to put him under and
see if you can find out any details of a past life.”

 “Uh huh.” He turned to
Donald. “Hello, young man,” Shrodder said, eyeing the burn across the boy’s
face.

“Hello.”

“We’re going to put you
under hypnosis and bring you back in time, would you like that?”

“I guess so. Are you
sure I’ll be able to come back?”

Shrodder smiled.
“You’re a sweet boy. Of course you will. Come here and lay down on your bed.
That’s it. I want you to lie down and relax.”

Thomson and Brooks stood
by the equipment in the back of the bedroom, listening eagerly.

Shrodder dropped
another chip on his tongue and crunched it silently. “Now, lay back and take a
deep breath for me. In and out. Very good. I want you to imagine you’re walking
along a beach. Have you ever been to the beach Donald?”

“Just one time.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

Donald nodded.

“The beach is lovely
isn’t it? I want you to feel the warm sand between your toes, the sun on your
skin, see the waves lapping against the shore. This beach is a kind of time
machine. Every step you take will bring you further and further into the past.
I’ll be with you the entire time Donald, so there’s nothing to worry about. I
want you to keep walking until the scenery around you changes. On the count of
three I want you to tell me what you see. One... two... three...”

“Blackness.”

The sound of crunching
as Shrodder popped another chip in his mouth. “Where are you?”

“I don’t know.”

The boy sounded scared
and suddenly Thomson wasn’t so sure this was a good idea after all. Wasn’t sure
if he wanted to know what they might find beyond the blackness.

“It’s warm in here,”
Donald said. His body tensed. “I hear voices.”

“What kind of voices?
What are they saying?”

“A man and a woman.
They’re fighting. It’s my mother.” And the next part Donald said so matter of
factly that the hairs on Thomson’s arms stood on end.

“I’m in her tummy.”

“What are they fighting
about Donald?”

“Me. He doesn’t want
me. My father says I was a mistake and he’s angry. You stupid bitch! What are
we gonna do now? Get rid of it, I hope.” The change in Donald’s voice was
abrupt and it made Brooks take an involuntary step backwards. “They hadn’t
really ever fought before I came.”

“Move back Donald. Way back.
Before you were in your mother’s belly. What do you see?”

“A small grey room,”
the boy answered. “It’s so very cold. I have a jacket on and I’m still freezing.”

“Where are you?”

“In the Fuhrerbunker
you idiot, where else would I be?”

Shrodder paused. “And
your name?”

“Hitler. Adolf Hitler.”

A potato chip fell from
Shrodder’s hand. He turned to Thomson and Brooks and for a moment, all three
men stared at one another.

-8-


W
hat have you involved
me in?” Shrodder asked, sounding like a man who wished he was back in the safe
confines of his home, with the doors locked tight.

Thomson stammered. “We
weren’t sure ourselves. I mean, Mrs. Kesler had her suspicions, but frankly
neither of us believed it was possible.”

“I did,” Brooks said.

Thomson rolled his
eyes. “Yes, of course you did. There isn’t much you don’t believe in.”

Shrodder stood on
wobbly legs and for a moment, Thomson wasn’t sure the old man was going to remain
standing. He reached a hand out to steady him. Behind Shrodder, Donald lay on
the bed, his eyes closed tightly.

Shrodder crossed the
room and was reaching for his briefcase when Brooks spoke.

“Doc, please say you’re
not leaving.”

The old man looked back,
horrified at the mere suggestion that he should stay. “Are you mad? Of course I
am.”

“And miss out on this
kind of opportunity?” Brooks cut in. “How many regressions have you performed
in your career?”

Shrodder swung his
briefcase into his other hand and rubbed his oily fingers along his pant leg. “Well
over a thousand.”

“And in all that time,
have you ever met anyone who wasn’t some no-name Ukrainian farmer from the
eighteen hundreds?”

“I’ve not come across
any Edward E. Lees or Elvis Presleys if that’s what you’re asking, but you
don’t understand. My parents and my brothers and sisters all died in the war,
killed by that madman.” Shrodder rolled up his sleeve to reveal a series of
faded blue numbers, distorted by skin that had shriveled with age. I spent five
years in Buchenwald, where I watched them fade away until the camp commandant
had no more use for them, simply because they’d lost the ability to work. And
you’re asking me to speak to the monster who did this? I’m not leaving because
I want to protect myself. I’m leaving because if I stay, I might discover if
I’m capable of murder myself.”

Shrodder flung open the
bedroom door.

“But the kid’s still
under,” Thomson protested.

“He’ll come out of it
eventually. Just let him sleep it off and hopefully he won’t remember any of
this.”

When Thomson turned, he
found Brooks already starting to pack up.

“What are you doing?”

“There’s something
seriously wrong with that kid,” Brooks replied, wrapping a series of wires
together. “And I think Shrodder has the right idea. Besides, without him what
more can we do? And I suggest we don’t breathe a word to Mrs. Kesler. She’s too
sweet a woman to torture her with this.”

“Spineless chicken
shit,” Thomson mumbled as he sat down on the bed next to Donald. “Do you know
that Brooks, you’re a spineless piece of shit! You finally find an opportunity
to study the real thing and what do you do? You run for the fucking hills.”

Brooks stopped at the
door, gripping one of the portable oscilloscopes, looking like a child clinging
to a worn out teddy bear. “You coming?” he squeaked.

The sap was itching to
get out of here. But Thomson hadn’t ever cut and run, no matter how weird a job
got.

 “Just because you and
Heinz 57 there are too freaked out to continue, doesn’t mean I have to give up.”
Thomson turned back to the boy.

“Suit yourself,” Brooks
spat and closed the door as he left. Thomson listened to Brooks’ footsteps as
they faded away.

Thomson took a moment
to collect himself, then: “Donal– I mean, Adolf,” Thomson stammered. “Are you
still there?”

A deep crease formed in
Donald’s brow. “Who let you in here? I better not hear Linge put you up to
this.”

Thomson went over to
the back table and pulled out his laptop from the remaining equipment He had a
portable internet flash drive and he plugged it in, entering a search for the
name Linge. “Linge was Hitler’s personal secretary,” he mumbled. Thomson
returned to the boy.

“I want you to go back
further now, much further. What do you see?”

“A drawing room. A
young boy is playing the piano.”

“How old are you
Adolf?”

“I don’t know who
you’re talking to. Who is Adolf?”

“What do they call you?”

“I am Ivan Vasilyevich”

Thomson heard a loud
sigh and realized it had come from his own lips. The laptop was on the kiddy
table beside him and he typed in the new name.

“Holy shit! Ivan Vasilyevich
was Ivan The Terrible.”

An hour later, the armpits
of Thomson’s shirt were soaked with sweat. He had run Donald through a parade
of history’s nastiest tyrants. Nero, Vlad the Impaler, Ivan the Terrible and
many others. Some even he didn’t recognize and eventually Thomson could go no
further.

“How is it possible
that one soul could have been so many badass sonsabitches?” Thomson wondered
out loud.

The deep throated
laughter that came out of Donald then made Thomson’s scalp tighten; he stood up
and backed away, knocking over the tiny chair he’d been sitting in and he
didn’t stop until his legs hit the table behind him. Donald was still laughing in
a voice that didn’t quite sound human.

BOOK: Fatherland (Prequel to Primal Shift)
5.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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