Rain had hammered the windows and roof all morning, while Charles waited while his impatience grew and his anger boiled inside his body. He knew that his father's last few hours of life was draining from the parent he despised most of his life. The swirling wind had found its way through aged cracks in the house walls, stirring up decades of dust inside. It was as though the wailing sound proclaimed that the angel of death has come for an evil man.
It was hard for Charles to believe that the man before him, who lay clinging to life, had for most of his life, caused fear to blanket his body with just his presence. Charles father, an omnipotent being, had achieved that status through years of intimidation and terror he had inflicted upon his son's heart and mind.
Charles' father a few years early had been a 200-pound healthy man. Now, lung cancer had reduced him to a frail, emaciated 100-pound skeleton.
"You're a bastard," Charles whispered, his eyes riveted on his father's frail body, his words hidden under a dying man's coughing spell. Believing that the coarse raspy sound would drown out his anger, Charles continued talking with a bravado he usually kept to himself when his father was in the same room. "Now I have the power and you're dying,"...He fell silent as the coughing stopped, fearful that his father had heard him.
Within an instant, his father's eyes opened wide. "What'd you say?" his father asked.
His cold, hateful stare made Charles squirm in his chair, igniting a nervous facial tick on his left cheek. He lowered his head like a scared child as beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He now looked like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot humid afternoon. He felt weak and limp from the power his father still had over him. He knew it would be only hours before Eric Kessler would die, but, even on his death bed, he kept his domination over his son intact and the nervous tick totally out of control.
Charles hid his tears, something that was brutally taught to him when he was a young boy. He could not stop thinking about the abuse inflicted upon him in his teens by his father. Dying is too good for you. He said cowardly to himself, his fists squeezed tight, his anger held in check.
Charles's rage and hatred remained hidden, while his eyes searched the floor for refuge. As strong and brutal Charles had become within the DRM, while in the presence of his father he was reduced to a frightened, insecure little boy.
It was ironic that Eric Kessler-his father's name before he would become a fugitive from Nazi Germany-had been captured not by the hunters of Holocaust criminals, but by death itself. Eric had hung on for the last few years, as he waited for Charles, his only heir, to return from his hell-bent on reclaiming the Confederate States as their new America.
It was a tenuous time when political leaders had disillusioned the people in the United States. Americans were fed up, especially in the South, feeling that the American dream could not be achieved in their lifetime. This discontent had opened the door for the DRM to be born. Like stirring a pot of soup, hatred towards the policies of the Federal Government had passed the simmer stage and was about to boil over throughout the entire South. One of the DRM's first supporters was the head of the Alaskan Independence Party. It was a group of Alaskan's who hated the Federal Government and wanted to secede from of the United States of America.
As the hatred towards America grew around the globe, a new domestic hatred was brewing, that was readying itself to meet up with the Islamic terrorists who wanted to see the United States destroyed. The training Charles had received from DRM set him up to become the new Messiah-a Czar of Industry who would promise everyone that believed in him the American Dream, with one important string attached, they had to give him their loyalty. If not, they would suffer financial ruin.
Eric was finally at peace, knowing his creation of a New Third Reich hidden within the DRM movement would live on with Charles. Over the next decade, rebuilding the wealth and control of corporate America with their powerful lobbyists was of the upmost priority. What Eric had witnessed, and what had been reported to him by the Professor, made Eric proud of his son for the first time.
Eric had tried to apologize for how he had treated Charles during his formative years, but the sincerity just wasn't there.
"I did what I thought was best, so you could lead our new order into the 21st Century." His coughing had once again erupted as he spoke, filling the tightly grasped cloth he held in his hand with blood. "Have no mercy for the weak. Be strong, or you'll be defeated in your goals," Eric preached, his voice raspy and coarse.
"You were a good teacher," Charles said sarcastically, realizing how hard he had become from his father's teachings. "Too bad, you'll never see how well I've learned from you."
Darkness had come over the bedroom as the last breath of air had begun to expire from his father's chest.
"It's over, father. Haven House is now mine," said Charles aloud, his twitch returning as he spoke. "Your dreams will reflect me and my ideals," he boasted as he watched the nurse attend to his father.
Over the past few years, it had not been easy for Eric to yield his dominion to Charles while his cancer ate away at his body, keeping him bedridden. However, Eric had no choice. His son had finally become educated appropriately, and Eric's dream of a New Third Reich would have to be achieved after his death. Everything was in place in case Charles failed. There was always plan B and now he could die knowing he had achieved his goals.
The rays from the sun provided the only illumination in Eric's bedroom as the nurse prepared her patient for his upcoming death. She adjusted the morphine drip. The room had become his coffin-a mausoleum of sorts-these last three months of his life. Over his headboard hung the flag of the Nazi Party he had taken from Germany upon his escape. On the wall directly in front of his bed, a portrait of Hitler stared at him. Forty skulls of the Jews he had put to death during the Holocaust intermingled with the skulls of Haven House's dead slaves that had lived on the plantation for over a hundred-fifty years. Each skull hung from wires attached to ceiling beams swaying ever so gently from the wind seeping through the partially opened window. Each Jewish skull had a Star of David stenciled on the top of the head and lined up in chronological order of when they had been put to death. The slave's skulls had just the date when they were recaptured after one of the Haven House ritualistic hunts. It was a room engulfed in evil.
The ceiling fan's slow revolutions circulated the stale air, disturbing decades of dust that mingled with the rays of sunlight slanting through the closed plantation shutters. Charles smiled, imagining that this was something heavenly, a joke that his father was going to a better place. If there's a hell, he thought, my father would soon find his new home.
Walking out to the veranda for some fresh air, and to waiting for the angel of death to arrive, Charles gazed over the expansive grounds of Haven House. A lush green lawn the size of three football fields stretched out to the dense forest that surrounded the plantation protecting it from the outside world.
Knowing that all of this was now going to be his, a profound satisfaction put him at peace for the first time in his life. His emotional insecurity had been hidden from public view. He masked it very well, remembering the many beatings he had gotten when it was bared.
Charles had become a brutal man, like his father. His weakness was his insecurity, and the emptiness he felt from the loss of his mother when he escaped from Germany with his father and uncle. This sensitivity made him vulnerable in his world, where there was little room left for frailties. His teenage years kept him searching for the female nurturing he so needed in his life. All he was permitted to connect with were the slave girls who lived on the Plantation. They had to like him or suffer the consequences.
His father had kept him very busy, not permitting him to date or have a social life. It was not until April, a light skinned Negro slave, provided him the love and nurturing he so longed for.
April was born a slave girl like her mother before her and her mother's mother before her. Her world was Haven House. She had never left the plantation. Her skin was surprisingly light, and her light blue eyes were the by-product of her unknown white father. Her cool hands, when they stroked his skin, brought back the wonderful times he had spent with his mother in Berlin.
His mentor, Professor Albert Cochran at the University of Illinois, had tried to mold the hard emotional side of Charles. The professor was twenty years Charles' senior, with thick gray hair and the bushiest black eyebrows Charles had ever seen. He liked to tap his cane as he spoke--not so much as a nervous habit, but more to gain attention. Charles had never asked how the professor got his limp, but the rumor was that he had gotten hurt on one of Eric's monthly hunts at Haven House.
Charles used the knowledge of the professor to help him understand the ways of a Neo-Nazi group, the White Angels, the group that ran the DRM. They were patriots loyal to his father, and now to him. Charles remembered the professor's words.
"They're ready to defend their country from inferiors," the professor would lecture. "No more white sheets. We need to achieve our power from the respect money produces and the rhetoric we can spew through the media. We lost the South once from a lack of wealth. It will never happen again. We now have friends in the Islamic world, as well as Russia, who, when the time is right, will come to our aid, like the French did during the Revolutionary War."
From what Charles had seen, the White Angels were far from being patriots, and closer to a well-seasoned mercenary group motivated by hate. They were no different from the Islamic terrorists around the world, except for one thing: Charles job was to control an uneducated group of killers. It was going to be a challenge he hoped he would be prepared for.
Charles learned fast, focusing his anger into channels of destruction. Unable to accept the old occult ways of the Nazis, he laughed at the rituals the professor and his father practiced. His forward-thinking ideas had not mixed well with what he was being taught.
Part of his long training had included twelve months with the White Angels and their leader, Wiley Jordan. Wiley's r?sum?, as an Army Special Ops sniper would have qualified him to be on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, if his killings had not been sanctioned by his job. During a Desert Storm mission, Wiley had become uncontrollable, killing fifteen fleeing, unarmed Iraqi soldiers. To avoid the public relations nightmare of another Vietnam-type scandal, Wiley was dishonorably discharged from the military.
Charles and Wiley became very close during these months, building a bond that would remain unbreakable. Wiley continued his training of Charles, exposing him to weapons, explosives, and the new revolution. His love for killing brought a new energy to the group.
"This is what we need," Charles had once overheard the professor telling Wiley. "Just learn to control him. It will be a challenge."
Charles enjoyed his time with the professor and Wiley. There was never any verbal or physical abuse when he made a mistake. His facial twitch remained dormant. His true strength had begun to mature, and it increased the longer he was away from his father.
During a training mission in Alabama in 1977, Charles had gone berserk. The objective was to firebomb a local newspaper that favored integration. Unfortunately, three black youths were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were brutally beaten and then shot by Charles. Wiley came unglued and almost killed his young prot?g?.
If not for the fast reaction of Wiley and the swift cover-up by the professor, they would have been caught. This setback had almost destroyed the White Angels. For the first time, the professor had lashed out at Charles.
"Nazis don't wear uniforms anymore," Cochran shouted. "We're in double-breasted suits now, blending in, becoming worshiped for our power. If you're to become our leader, you must leave the killings to our professionals, distancing yourself from their actions. Our Muslim brothers understand this very well. They have brainwashed their young men to die for them while their leaders live to a ripe old age. Don't be foolish, you have too much to lose."
For the first time, Charles felt panicky by the tone the professor was showing. His twitch returned. "Sometimes doing the job yourself can be so satisfying," he said smugly, trying to hide his apprehension. "I'm uncomfortable being asked to be a passive leader." Charles stared icily at the professor, which caught the man by surprise, noticing the rage in Charles eyes and his cheek spasm.
Raising his hands in surrender the professor tried to temper his prot?g?. "I'm not angry, Charles. I'm not your father," he said, his tone conciliatory. "This mission was our first step in gaining back the control that is rightfully ours. It was appropriate to have it executed in the South. All of our people are now in place, changing the way our new America will develop before the century ends. Over the next twenty years, our plan will be fully blossomed and we will have the wealth we need to form our new America." The tapping of his cane stopped, signaling to Charles that he was done talking.
"If I'm to lead this group," Charles replied, his tone challenging, "I have to have full power to make any and all decisions. Are you willing to take orders from me?" I have my own long-range plans, he smirked. Just don't get in my way, you outdated old bastard. Charles said silently.
I've underestimated Charles, the professor told himself as the rage cooked inside his head. This will not happen again.
Charles could read the reaction on the professor's face, and noticed the professor's knuckles turning white as he tightly gripped his cane.
"I'll respect the group's wishes for now," Charles replied patronizingly. He had become a very good liar.
"Good," the professor said, handing him an envelope. "Now here's your way to contribute to our cause. You've been hired by Silver Hawk Insurance Company as their new vice president of marketing."
"I've been what?" Charles' surprise showed.
"Your father will explain what will be required of you. You are being trained to lead the movement. Your cousin Kevin Kessler, your father's nephew, is being groomed in Alaska to be our political future."
"My cousin? What does he have to do with all of this?"
"Nothing at this time. His part will play out in the future, when our plan has matured," the professor said uneasily. "That's all I'm able to tell you." Professor Cochran turned, adjusted his suspenders, tucked the back of his shirt inside his pants, and left the study.
Charles noticed the professor talking on the telephone in the next room. He signaled with a wave of his hand that he was leaving. The professor responded with a nod, and turned away from Charles to continue talking.
"It went pretty well," the professor said into the phone. "He's a hothead, with a strong will. For him to following orders will not be easy. But I think in the long run, as he matures, and when his father is out of the picture, he'll be what we need to see our plan come to life."
"I hope you're right," Senator Kenneth Jenkins of Texas replied. "I'm very concerned we're going to lose control of that boy one day, and it will jeopardize all that we've accomplished."
"If that happens, we can institute other measures," the professor said confidently. "Let's not be too premature in passing judgment on him just yet. We need his energy and youth right now."
When Charles returned to Haven House, he found that the transformation had happened quickly. He was thrilled at having been shown the web of his father's organization. The power his father had amassed throughout the country had surprised him. He was amazed at how the DRM was integrated within the most important industry's that control the United States economy. The stimulation Charles felt from the power he would command one day sent a thrill through his body.
I've finally gotten control. Father, this is the first mistake you've made. He let his thoughts ramble. A sinister plan had begun to grow inside his frozen heart of pain.
He was shown how the Domestic Revolutionary Movement had infiltrated the oil, communications, and banking industries over the previous thirty years and now they needed control of the insurance industry.
"My group, with their army of followers, has begun shaping the new economy," Eric boasted to Charles. "Now, with Silver Hawk Insurance added to the group, you're ready to fulfill your destiny as the leader of the New Third Reich. You're not alone. There are three lieutenants, sons of former officers from Hitler's inner circle, ready to champion our long-overdue prominence we will have on the world. One day we will be able to cause a global economic collapse and be wealthy enough to pick up the pieces."
Pulling a file from his desk-the same desk Hitler had used before his death-Eric handed Charles a list of names.
"They're all arriving tomorrow at Haven House. Now the final phase with the four of you shall begin. It's important that you form a lasting bond with the three of them, because without them you won't succeed." Then Eric put his arm around his son, showing for the first time affection unfamiliar to Charles.
"Don't be a hypocrite," Charles said, grabbing Eric's arm and flinging it off his shoulder. "I'll be your leader, subordinate to my terms," he growled, his arrogance overpowering his thinking, his cheek twitching wildly.
"Don't undermine what I've built." Eric shouted as his face flushed with anger. "You'll do as I tell you to do."
Charles' smug smile further irritated his father. "Soon you'll be dead, and it won't matter," he replied coldly. Abruptly, he turned away from his father's rage. For the first time, Charles had almost fought back.
Eric put his hand on his son's neck, but Charles turned swiftly around, pushing the hand off. His fist stopped just short of smashing into his father's face.
You're too old and frail, it's not worth it, Charles' icy eyes said, his cheek shuddering out of control, causing Eric to step back.
Charles was out of the room before his father could have the last word. Outside the door, he leaned against the hallway wall, shaking, bent over, his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. He looked up at the dark, soiled walls covered with pictures from Nazi Germany, then spit at the image of his father in the one that showed him standing next to Hitler, who had a foot propped on a dead body in a concentration camp.
I wish I'd been stronger, Mother, he thought as the tears fell toward the floor.
Hearing the opening of the bedroom shutters, his mind was back to the present. He quickly returned to his father's bedroom. The smell of death circulated as a cool breeze rippled the bed sheet, exposing the gray, bony hands of a lifeless body. Gliding over, Charles glared at his father's ashen face. "Fuck you, I'm glad you're dead," he cursed, his spit landing across his dead father's lips. He spun around, almost knocking over the nurse in his rush to leave the death chamber.
Outside, the storm had subsided. The clouds had broken to reveal a bright blue sky. Charles' loud cries scattered the egrets in the trees above the house. He watched them glide, their expansive wings catching the air currents. He wished he could escape his evil destiny.
"Mother," he cried out, "everything I'll do from this point on, I'll do in your memory." He wept, holding the only picture he had of her.