Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue 2

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ASTONISHING ADVENTURES MAGAZINE

The Auslander in

“A Taste of Treachery” By Michael Patrick Sullivan

T

he Auslander wasn’t entirely sure he was even in the right place and already he had deprived two men of some of their teeth. The dive seemed familiar two him. It was the kind of place where old, spent men go to hasten their death and numb the pain at the same time. Of the three sad examples he found in the dump, he was sure that the wrinkled, smelly mess at the far end of the bar had achieved that goal. Rather than be conspicuous by having a look around without drinking, the man with the white shock of hair and contrasting black trench opted to order something. He spoke just one word. “Beer.” There was a subtle suggestion of a second syllable in the word. A slight change in the vowel sound. It was enough the for the 4F-rated barman, who clearly wanted to go kick Nazi butt overseas as a form of legalized murder, to think that it was said with a German accent. He wasn’t wrong in noticing it. He was only wrong in bringing it up. That barman and a me-too drunkard who was itching to punch something would be seeking immediate dental care, after they woke up. The quick and definitive action must have been just enough to rouse the dead, as the man with cadaverous qualities at bar’s end raised his head, looked at the black and white man and struggled to mumble some words. “Who the hell are you?” He gave the only answer he ever gives. “Ich bin ein auslander.”

“Oh.” And the man returned to his own personal undiscovered country. Since waking up several weeks ago with no memory of who he was, a wallet full of false I.D.s and the nagging suspicion that, prior to regaining consciousness that night, he was on the wrong side of the biggest war the world had ever seen, The Auslander had unusual dreams. These dreams led him to places where he felt he was needed. Places where Hitler’s war machine had come stateside to commit acts of subterfuge, sabotage and murder. His most recent dream led him to seek out the brick-hole bar and its back hall. Outside a black-painted door, The Auslander stood silently and listened. He couldn’t make out the conversation being held behind the door over the sound of a boiler on its last legs. He did make out two words, though. The only words he needed to hear. “Sig heil.” He readied the Luger he’d taken from one Nazi agent unfortunate enough to have met with this lost son of the Fatherland and steeled himself. In the split second just before the strange foreigner busted through the door, he saw in his mind the flurry of bullets he would loose on those unsuspecting on the other side. Upon clearing the threshold, as the doorknob bounced off the interior wall with a sharp thud, The Auslander found that that is exactly what did not happen. A tall, stern-looking man in a black leather naval coat and jet black hair met his gaze. Before