Mein Fuehrer is Sleeping ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp
His name was Albrecht Fennerman and he was a ghoul. Tall and emaciated, with skin the color of ivory, he wore only formal attire, top hat and monocle. A most distinguished fellow. His teeth were long and gray and he used them for biting when necessary, but most of the time he wore a benign smile. He was over a hundred and thirty years old and by any reckoning should have been dead a long time ago, but, since the fall of the Third Reich in 1945, he had kept himself alive with a secret formula devised by Dr. Mengele and by self-administered jolts of electricity.
At one time Albrecht Fennerman the ghoul had been married to a witch named Rafaela, but Rafaela had been dead for, lo, these many years. From this blessed union had been born two daughters, Regina and Gloriana, whom Albrecht suffered to live with him in his castle.
Regina and Gloriana were half-ghoul and half-witch and, as a result of this duality, were temperamental and bitter in the extreme. They believed they belonged in neither camp, the ghouls or the witches, so they kept themselves apart and were mostly unhappy. Regina in her hulking enormity was not as formidable or as frightening as tiny Gloriana, who possessed the deviousness and cunning of a master criminal. She mistreated her servants and had been known to kill one or the other of them in a fit of pique, flinging their lifeless bodies down a ravine while Regina stood by and laughed uproariously.
Both of Albrecht’s daughters had been disappointed in love many times. In the game of romance, they didn’t seem to be able to get a decent hand. Men either ran away from them, or Gloriana for one reason or another had to kill them. Sometimes on very short acquaintance.
They still held out hope, though. Their one wish and their most fervent desire lay in a vat of formaldehyde in a sealed chamber in the castle.
Since the death in 1945 of the Fuehrer, Albrecht Fennerman had been in possession of the Fuehrer’s well-preserved body. When the time was right, he and some of his friends would return the Fuehrer to life and from that moment on the history of the world would be forever changed. The Fourth Reich would be born, the greatest the world has ever known. Mighty and invincible, with world domination its goal. Everything would go according to plan this time. Knowledge of past mistakes would smooth the way for the future.
And when he awoke from his long sleep, the Fuehrer was going to need a queen, a mate to stand by his side, to help him guide the destiny of the world. Regina, with her bulk and physical prowess, her horned helmet and breastplate, believed that she was to be the female ideal of the Fourth Reich. Gloriana, however, was convinced that the Fuehrer would choose the woman of intellect and the ruthlessness to kill anybody who tried to stand in her way.
So each sister harbored a secret desire to be Queen of the coming Fourth Reich, never discussing it with the other but all the time plotting what they would do and how they would do it when the time came. Each was as determined as the other. Their feminine wiles, so they believed, were inexhaustible and without peer.
One autumn day, after being gone for more than a week, Albrecht pulled up in front of the castle in his 1936 touring car. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he went around to the other side of the car to help somebody else get out. It was a lady and he knew that Regina and Gloriana were watching from the upstairs window.
Albrecht and the lady went inside the house, smiling and laughing. He welcomed her effusively and showed her into all the downstairs rooms with a sweep of his arm. He would show her the upstairs after they had rested a while and had a drink.
At the dinner of pig brains in a blood sauce and dinosaur eggs (an expensive delicacy), Regina and Gloriana discovered that the “lady” called herself Marie Antoinette and that she was a witch. They knew there had been other witches in Albrecht’s life before but none had ever been invited to dinner before.
“How long will you be staying with us?” Regina asked innocently as blood dripped from her mouth.
Albrecht and Marie Antoinette looked at each other and laughed. He reached over and took her hand in his.
“She’s going to be here always,” he said with his sly smile.
“Isn’t it rather ridiculous to suppose that she would want to live in a drafty old castle on a lonely mountain top,” Gloriana asked, “where the nearest town is twenty-five miles away?”
“Oh, I think the castle is marvelous!” Marie gushed.
“I have to let you in on a little secret,” Albrecht said and giggled foolishly. “She is to be your new step-mama.”
“Ooooh!” Regina said, clapping her hands in baby claps.
“You mean you’re going to marry her?” Gloriana asked.
“We were married three days ago!” Albrecht said. “We’ve been honeymooning in Switzerland!”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Gloriana exclaimed.
Marie looked from one to the other of them, expecting their congratulations. “I think we shall all get along famously!” she cooed.
“Oh, dear!” Regina exclaimed, looking at her sister.
“I know!” Albrecht said. “It’s a bit of a shock and it’ll take some time for all of you to get acquainted.”
“What if I say no?” Gloriana said.
“What do you mean?”
“I for one don’t want her here and I’m sure Regina feels the same way.”
“Oui, oui!” Regina said, reverting to the French whenever she became upset.
“Whose castle is this?” Albrecht asked. “Whose table are you sitting at? Whose food are you eating?”
“S’il vous plaît!” Regina simpered. “Il ne faut pas se quereller.”
“Tut, tut, tut!” Marie said. “I don’t want to cause discord in the family. I’ll go whenever my husband tells me to go.”
“That will be never, my dear!” he said.
“You and your sister are only about a hundred years old,” Marie said, facing Gloriana with a gracious smile. “I am hundreds of years old. The two of you are half-witches. I am a full-fledged witch. Your powers, if they even exist, are no match for mine!”
“There’ll be no reason for a display of powers!” Albrecht said.
“Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!” Regina said.
“I don’t believe she’s really Marie Antoinette,” Gloriana said. “She could make up any story she wanted to try to impress people. Well, I for one am not impressed!”
Marie loosened the collar of her dress to show the hideous scar where her head had been separated from her body. “Maybe this will help to convince you,” she said.
“Anybody can have a scar on their neck!” Gloriana said.
“How did you do it?” Regina asked.
“After my execution by guillotine, some friends took my body away and reattached my head. Quite simple.”
“And then they made you a witch?”
“I was always a witch. I was born a witch.”
“Did your husband, the king, know?”
“Not at first.”
“But you told him later?”
“He came to understand it on his own.”
“Anybody can tell a pack of lies!” Gloriana said.
“I don’t really care one way or another if you believe me,” Marie said. “I do not have to try to prove myself to any half-witch.”
“Do you know I have been known to kill?” Gloriana asked. “Just ask Regina.”
“Oui, oui!” Regina said.
“I am not afraid of you,” Marie said.
“I may not kill you but I can order you out of the house!”
“No, you cannot!” Albrecht said. “If anybody is ordered out of the house, if it be you and I will be the one doing the ordering!”
“I forgive you, my dear!” Marie said. “I know it isn’t easy being what you are.”
“You don’t know anything about me!”
“I know you are half-witch and half-ghoul, and that in anybody’s book is a very bad combination.”
“Nous nous intendons!” Regina said.
“That will be enough of all this!” Albrecht said. “I’ve had a long journey and I’m tired. Gloriana, Marie is here and here she will stay. If you don’t think you are capable to adjusting yourself to the situation, I invite you to leave at any time.”
“We’ll just see about that.”
“We should not engage in petty quarrels,” Marie said. “We are all nothing compared to the destiny that awaits us.”
“Meaning what?” Gloriana asked.
“A god sleeps in our midst.”
“Comment poétique!” Regina said.
“We will all live only to serve him. Nothing else will matter!”
“You told this woman of your plans to resurrect the Fuehrer?” Gloriana shrieked at Albrecht. “How could you?”
“We have chosen the date,” Marie said, standing up from the table. “It will be October the thirty-first, All Hallow’s Eve. Dr. Mengele, himself a ghoul since the fall of the Third Reich, now possesses the knowledge to awaken the Fuehrer from his long sleep. Albrecht and I, along with thirteen of our closest associates, will be present to witness the moment that will electrify the world!”
“What are you saying?” Gloriana asked. “Do you think the Fuehrer will want you as his queen?”
“My dear, I already am a queen! While you, I am afraid, are nothing! You don’t even figure into the equation.”
“Est-ce vrai?” Regina whimpered.
“I don’t think some of us will live to see the day!” Gloriana said.
With those words, she picked up a knife and hurled it at Marie’s head. When the knife missed, she lunged across the table to get her hands around Marie’s neck to strangle her.
What Marie had said was true. Gloriana was no match for her powers. With one movement of her finger, she turned Gloriana into a crow.
“Mon Dieu!” Regina said. “Qu’avez-vous fait?”
Gloriana hopped around on the table and looked around in amazement with her beady, blinking eyes.
“How appropriate!” Marie said. “This half-witch is now a lowly crow.”
“I think you may have gone too far, my dear!” Albrecht said mildly.
“Nonsense!” Marie said. “I think I know how to handle unruly children.”
“Can you change her back?”
“If she behaves herself and if I remember how to do it. I think it would be best for all of us if she remains a crow until well into November, don’t you, darling?”
“I suppose you’re right,” Albrecht said.
“What do we do with her in the meantime?” Regina asked.
“In the basement you will find a large bird cage. Go down and bring it up.”
“But I’m afraid to go to the basement by myself, father!”
“Find it! Put your sister in it and keep her in your room. I’ll leave her in your charge until we change her back.”
“If we change her back,” Marie said.
“Feed her corn or whatever crows eat. If she won’t eat corn, find something that she will eat.”
“Probably dead flesh,” Marie said, resuming her seat at the table to finish her dinner.
Copyright © 2016 by Allen Kopp