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Historical Fiction
(Fic)
Traces of Evil: Angel Maker Series
by Barry B. Wright


Chapter One
1923

In the poverty-stricken neighborhood where the Gruener family lived, tuberculosis was a well-established part of life. But in the fall of 1918, something new visited their Frankfurt community that remained until 1920. It began as a fever and sore throat. Headaches, body aches, cough and nose bleeds were common. Doctors advised their patients to take up to 30 grams of aspirin per day. For some, this regime appeared to work as their symptoms improved. Days would pass before this mysterious manifestation re...



Chapter Two
Gisella

 

Werner glanced out the train window with indifference at the countryside passing by him. His breakfast with Heimrich had been its usual mundane chatter about inconsequential things. The only good thing about it was that Heimrich had paid for it. Such a nosey bastard! Werner mused. Tight-lipped and mastering the art of deflection ensured that his erstwhile friend never got close to the heart of his personal business. Anyway, as he saw it, friendship was one of those lean words that c...



Chapter Three
Settling In

The early morning shadows were receding and traffic, both foot and vehicle, animated the city landscape. Berlin’s daytime soul was rising while the Babylonian night, admonished by the austere and conservative, flourishing with youthfulness, explosive sexual freedom, creative thought and expression, receded, sparingly, anxious to awake into its hedonistic daily dive into the city lights again.

Werner pulled back the heavy curtains and peered out onto the street from his second-story bedroom wi...



Chapter Four
An Offer Is Made

Everything about Wilhelm Richter’s attitude discouraged conversation, though, in a perfunctorily sort of way, he did raise his eyes from the newspaper to acknowledge Werner’s presence. The large window behind him furnished amble morning light to assist in his present endeavor while its wedge made the recently starched white tablecloth almost blinding to the eye. His black hairline was receding along a tongue-shaped peninsula. He was close-shaven, had small hands and a cautious, candid manner ...



Chapter Five
Destiny and Fate Unfolding

Werner had moved what little he had brought with him to Berlin across the hall into Meinhard’s room. He sat on the freshly made bed soaking in his new surroundings. Except for the clothes hanging in the armoire and the tightly filled bookshelves on one wall, all personal remnants of Gisella’s brother had been removed to another, undisclosed, location in the house. He could see that the rugs and furniture that remained had been chosen with care while the bed he sat on was not only deeply comfo...



Chapter Six
Arrival at the 'Resi'

Berlin was a city living in its libertine moment. It was a city where the post-war shimmering light had become a jewel-like sparkle. A capital deemed representative of the new democracy where women were emancipated like nowhere else, and its people were obsessed with the arts, ballets, and cabarets full of burlesque performances and transvestites.

 But it must be remembered that the preface to Berlin’s culture was WWI. On June 28, 1919, under intense pressure from the victors, Germany wa...



Chapter Seven
Albert

The moment Werner entered the Residenz-Casino, commonly called the ‘Resi,’ he knew he had entered another world. ‘A fish out of water’ barely scratched the surface of how he felt while people brushed past him. Unseen like a cellophane man he watched the gyrations of the congregated mass on the dance floor cocooned in a cacophony of laughter, whistling and joy-filled screams and the general clatter of a night running wild. To his left was a cigarette stand. Making a beeline to it, ...



Chapter Eight
An Understanding Is Reached

Werner’s eyes raked over the raven-haired beauty who in his judgement was all too aware of her stunning good looks and the effect they had on men. Yet it was obvious to him by the company she kept that she was urbane and well-connected. The guarded manner by which her worldly-wise eyes scrutinized him said a lot.

“Herr Schilling! What a surprise!” Gisella said, tilting forward to light her cigarette on his lighter. She peered at his companion and smiled. “Hello, Eva.”...



Chapter Nine
A Night Sanctioned

“How did you enjoy your first night out in Berlin?” Gisella asked, gazing out the window.

“Memorable,” Werner replied. He observed the chauffeur’s undue attention in the rear mirror as if more interested in what was going on in the backseat than the road ahead. His eyebrows pinched together to display his angry displeasure with him before returning his attention to Gisella. “Is everything alright?” he asked.

She peered at Werner from the corners of h...



Chapter Ten
The Morning After 'Resi'

The next morning Werner was surprised to see Frau Richter in the breakfast room at the buffet. Until now, he had only thought of her as an apparition in the family’s mind, and therefore not real. She smiled at him, and he nodded back in return not really knowing what to say. There was a resemblance between Gisella and her except Frau Richter was to say it politely a stout woman. The silk-satin frock she wore was designed to ameliorate her plumbness by elongating her body with vertical details, subt...



Chapter Eleven
The Meeting with Paul Schulz

Gisella stood and came around her desk and said, “Good morning again, Werner.” She tilted her head slightly and peered at him with a mischievous expression. “Did you enjoy your breakfast this morning?”

“It was interesting to say the least. Let’s leave it at that.”  

Werner glanced around the sparsely furnished, nondescript outer office. One large window took up most of one wall with heavy dark curtains hanging on either side. The rest of the wall...



Chapter Twelve
Gisella Takes Charge

Gisella had a skip to her step as she and Werner walked down the stairs and out of the front doors of the Reichswehr Building to a waiting taxi. Once they were settled in the back seat, Werner gave her an askance look.

“Is where we’re going a surprise? Or can you tell me?” he asked.

She slid across the seat and squeezed her arm under his and gazed up at him with that innocent baby-face smile that he knew was far from innocent.

“First,” she said, “tel...




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