The hectic workday squeezed the last ounce of energy I had in me. The instant I closed my eyes, I dozed off like a dead chap. My wife, Clarissa, was a nurse, and she held the night shift that day. So, I slept with my lovely little daughter, Cassie; since she was afraid to sleep alone. But, this unusual fear did not exist in her until a few days before. Perhaps, it was a horror movie she watched, I assumed. But, I never knew, in the least, that I was letting her sleep with an evil spirit.
Somewhere in the midst of the silent night, I sensed someone at the corner of my bed. I was sure my limbs had felt the presence of some other person in this room; I was beyond terrified. The adrenaline my body procured in the next few moments were too much in quantity against the tiredness I procured from a day. My eyes were wide open, and I bounced away from the stranger who seemed like a man. On the second apprehension, I recognised this visitor, and a dread pervaded my mind.
He wore baggy brown pants with a plain white shirt, the suspenders of his trousers dangling relaxed on both sides of his ribs. His black-tie dragged down, the coat missing, he looked very distinct from his depiction in history books. It was the Fuhrer of Germany, Adolf Hitler himself, who was resting peacefully on the other side of my bed. He held his head down, his eyes vacant, and his iconic strands of hair tumbled over his blue eyes. He did not look like an arrogant, superior leader, but more like a weak, defeated man.
Though I recognised this untimely intruder, the first question that escaped the chambers of my mind was, “Who are you?” He glanced at me, surprised, but then lowered his head again as if he realised something. With trembling fists, he propped himself up and proceeded to the other end of the room. He stood near the windows. He was weak; only a shadow of the man who commenced a tumultuous World War and murdered millions of Jews. He could barely stand on his legs, his arms sought for support, but no shoulder served him.
He glanced up at the stars and muttered something; it was faint, but it possessed more power than I could ever gather, “I thought the world would remember me.” His vision danced around; he no longer had a purpose, he no longer had an aim, and his demeanour hinted that he no longer even had life within that frame. He did not turn around, not once; he could not even face a mediocre someone like me. His gaze transfixed to some point far away, and he again mumbled something weak, more uncertain this time, “I am afraid I was wrong.”
Six words. A total of six words summed up against the dictator’s entire life. Was this a confession? A regret? Was it that simple? Could grief possibly wash away his sins? Could anything? This man slaughtered millions, shattered cities, families, all in the name of a miserable objective; to cleanse the world. And he is afraid he was wrong? This man was wrong. Whatever perspective, whatever mirror reflects his story; no version of it will ever deem his motives pure as he stated they were. He was wrong.
All of a sudden, he turned around as if he could hear my thoughts. I was, for a moment, petrified; but his vacant expressions pulled me back together. He leaned against the racks and picked up the bottle of whiskey that I had stored away. He was not asking for permission, and I felt too feeble to question; he had dictated over an entire nation within his palms, and even proposed to dominate over the whole world. That man does not need an elaborate ceremony to take authority of an ordinary house.
“Would you like a drink?” He asked me, having found two glasses from the cupboard. The Fuhrer of Germany, the horrid nightmare of many, even seventy-five years after his death, and he wanted to share a drink with me. But, I politely refused; My daughter was strictly against my drinking habits, and I was putting in my best efforts to comply. But the lack of a company overnight did not stop him; he poured himself a drink and enjoyed the new flavours.
When he was halfway through his glass, Cassie exhibited signs of waking up; the noises inside the room was disturbing her peaceful sleep. Adolf quickly hid the drink behind his stocky frame. When I looked at him, surprised, all I could see was an innocent smile. It was the last thing I expected from such a figure in history, but yes, no matter, however powerful, it doesn’t change the fact that he was still human. And maybe, even a caring, childish heart.
He drew himself up and came closer to the both of us, but his eyes were not at all directed towards me. He only gazed at my daughter, and his features revealed nothing but the delight of seeing a little child. However, something unexpected happened. Just before he was close enough to Cassie, she moved back in fear; she hid behind me, clung to me so tight and her little eyes were full of fear. At this sorrowful sight, the epitome shattered; the happiness in his features faded, the hands once extended for caring trembled in mid-air, and his eyes turned gushing red. But before we could see the tears of someone who had never cried, he turned away swiftly, hiding his emotions and supporting himself against the windowpanes.
After a prolonged silence, he spoke again, “Children used to adore me,” He slowly turned, his voice almost breaking. His eyes were still red, and his hair covering his left eye, “But, I am nothing less than a monster, am I?” That moment, we felt weak air currents moving across our room, Cassie held on to me even tighter. Adolf again gained his vacant, expressionless face and held his body upright, though his left hand still trembled. A few moments later, one end of our room was not visible, but instead, some other infrastructure was present on the other end. A black border covered the places that no longer belonged in this reality; Adolf slowly moved into the portal, not looking back even once. All he left was a glass half-filled.
At last, he turned. An unbalanced grin crossed his face, but it was not one of happiness. But it was more like as if he retrieved a childish fantasy long forgotten. And before the portal closed in on itself, he uttered his last two words, glancing at my daughter, ”Blue Eyes.”
First of all, thanks to @Prose for this wonderful challenge. Usually, the challenges rang no bells inside me. But this time, I was happy. I was able to come up with something. I don’t even know if the dictator is still applicable to the challenge. But, here it is. And, I hope you guys like it. As always, it’s your support that keeps me going ^-^
A Collision of Worlds
When I nodded off, pillows at my back, laptop propped on my knees and browsing BNHA fanart, the last thing I expected was to wake up with a stranger sitting at the foot of my bed. Dad worked nights, and the shape was much too masculine to be my mother or sister. At 12:34 AM there weren’t many possibilities that didn’t involve me being robbed, hurt, murdered or all of the above. The man was shrouded in darkness as he turned his head to look at me. I dared not scream. What if my mom or sister came running in and he hurt them too? No. This man I’d have to face alone.
Reluctantly, I reached over to my nightstand and clicked on a lamp. The cast caught the man’s features just right for me to see. I let a sigh of relief. It was only Hitler. I must’ve been dreaming.
Lucid dreams don’t typically run in my family, least of all with me. I’m usually a slave to the midnight machinations of my mind. So this was...definitely new.
“Hayyy,” I mumbled awkwardly. “Wattup, dawg?”
“How dare you call me a dog!” he barked, his accent heavy. “Is that how you address your Fuhrer?”
“Relax, dude. It’s just an expression. What, uh...what are you doing here? You realize you’re in the bedroom of a fifteen-year-old girl at midnight. It’s kinda’ weird. I’d kinda’ like an explanation for that, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“I’m as confused as you are. I’ve heard our dimension occasionally collides with yours, leaving us partially perceivable to the living. But it’s never happened to me before. This is amazing! I have finally found a means to communicate with your kind. The intersections are said to commonly last five, ten minutes. I...I have so many questions. I can’t waste time with this—young as you are, you’ll have to do!”
“This is a weird dream,” I mumbled. “Okay, Hannah, you can wake up any time now.”
“What is my legacy?” he asked, a nervousness in his eyes. “It almost pains me to know. History is never kind to those who lose. But I suppose ignorance would be twice the torture. I’ve marinaded in it for years.”
“Well. They made a few movies about you. Like, films, picture shows.”
“Dare I ask?”
“I didn’t watch it, but there’s this one American film from the ’40s, The Devil With Hitler. Cinema Snob reviewed it, pretty much play-by-play. They took a few creative liberties.”
“You got shot in the butt with a missile and died.”
“Well, I’m glad they kept it dignified.”
“Pretty sure this was before your actual...yanno’. So maybe they were just hoping,” I shrugged. “Another one was called They Saved Hitler’s Brain. Didn’t watch it. Watched the Snob review. It looked...fairly terrible.”
“Did I get any good films?”
“Well, Tarantino made a good one in that it’s well made. But it still hates your guts.”
“Let me guess. Another missile?”
“Nah. You’re just machine-gunned to pulp and your bullet-ridden corpse gets blown up afterward.”
“Glad he had mercy.”
“But a lot of people die in that movie. It’s not just exclusive to you. Mercy in a Tarantino movie is like a needle in a haystack.”
“I see,” he glanced around at the sketches hung on my wall. “You are an artist?”
“Unofficially. I’m terrified to commit. Those art snobs can be vicious.”
“They know nothing!” he exploded (metaphorically, unlike in the Tarantino movie). “You could vomit on a canvas and they’d call it fine art. I applied for the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna twice and they rejected me on both counts. My art had promise. Even as a foolish child I knew that. But they...they couldn’t see. I needed a hand up, and they smacked mine away.”
“Things would’ve been a lot better if you became an artist. That’s for sure.”
“Is that what passes for art nowadays?” he looked at the laptop screen, where I was now scrolling through images for kawaii.
“Pretty much. It ain’t bad.”
“Ain’t bad? These supposed people don’t even look like people. The proportion is all off. The eyes take up half the head. Like a terrifying beast pulled from the depths of a nightmare.”
“Oh, that’s just anime. They’re not meant to look realistic. That’s the design.”
“The beast, it stares into my soul...” he shuddered.
“Huh. Maybe I’m just desensitized.”
“What are you eating with?” his eyes found the salad on my nightstand, and the curious utensil resting up top.
“Oh, this? It’s only the greatest invention ever conceived by man. It’s called a spork.” I grabbed it and brandished it enthusiastically.
“Someone combined...a spoon and a fork? Do you Americans not consider this an abomination? You’re crossbreeding utensils!”
“Nah. We think it’s cool. Some think it’s pretty useless; but you have naysayers with everything.”
“Get it out of my sight,” he growled, receding into the corner with a strange hiss.
I pulled the nightstand drawer open, paused for dramatic effect, and dropped it in.
“The spork was invented by Germany,” I muttered under my breath.
“What is that!”
“Oh, sorry. Clicked the wrong link. We didn’t need to see that. DeviantArt has a lot of...deviancy.”
“Degenerate swine.” He pressed further into the corner. More strange hissing.
“I wouldn’t take it that far. Though that was pretty gross. Gotta’ be careful when browsing the interwebs.” I paused to think. “Hey I got a paper coming up. You think you could help me out? Though, I suppose it would be in poor taste to cheat like that...so...nevermind.”
“Indeed. If you rely on being given the answers to everything you become soft in the mind, and turn into a malleable imbecile.” He hesitated. “But...we’re losing focus. What became of Germany?”
“Well, they lost, as you probably figured. They’re still around though. It’s no horrible dystopia over there, to my knowledge.”
“But Germany...doesn’t rule the world?”
“Not even Europe?”
“And my birthday isn’t celebrated as an international holiday?”
“It’s 4-20, right?”
“Then yesss. But don’t ask what for. It ain’t you.”
“Hannah, is everything alright in there?” I heard a voice outside my door.
“Yeah, it’s all good,” I called back. The footsteps slowly disappeared.
“Is that your mother?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. The voice was just familiar. For a moment it almost reminded me of my own mother. She died when I was just a few years older than you. Never was my sadness more unbearable than the day of her passing.”
“I’m sorry. I guess that was part of the reason you banked so much on art school. My mom and I are really close. I can’t imagine missing that acceptance in my life, looking for it somewhere else just to get shot down at every corner. I wish someone had been a little nicer to you back then. Maybe then you wouldn’t have had to try so hard.”
He slouched in defeat. “You are wise for someone of your age. Were you alive in my time, you would’ve set a good precedent to follow. A balance of knowledge and emotional maturity. It’s admirable—” A current of static rippled over him, and his already-transparent body began to fade. “The dimensions are starting to diverge again. I won’t be able to stay here much longer. I may have another minute at most...”
“Okay,” I said. “But there’s one thing you should probably know before you leave. Two things, really.”
I shut my laptop, and gently planted a finger above my name, first and last. My parents had gotten it personalized for me for my birthday.
His expression changed a bit when he read it.
“You’re...you have to be joking.”
“And I’m autistic. Aspergers. So in your book I’d be owe for two.”
For a long time, it appeared he’d lost the ability to speak. I didn’t intend it as revenge; rather to show him the people he so vehemently hated were still just that. People.
He vanished before he could get any sound out, but his expression was quite memorable.
Nothing more to do, I reached over to my nightstand, got my salad, and continued eating with my spork.
And just like that, I woke up. Totally called that one. I’m sure my therapist will love when I tell her Hitler made a cameo in my latest dream. First Epstein and now this.
#fiction, #strictlyfiction, #donttrythisathome
2020 Gave Me Hitler
Of course 2020 would give me – a liberal Ashkenazi Jew with a Ruth Bader Ginsburg tattoo – the gift of ghost Hitler sitting at the foot of my bed. It’s not like I was expecting a visit from RBG herself, because the woman deserves some damn rest, but I don’t know. I would have gladly greeted a host of other specters taken from us in just this year alone. John Lewis, Chadwick Boseman, hell…I’d take James Lipton just to hear that sexy voice of his again (we all have our kinks). And yet, here we are. A dumpster fire of a man for a dumpster fire of a year.
As I sat up against my headboard and put my glasses on, he stared at me expectantly. If he were a fully-formed human, I might’ve been unnerved by it. But in his translucent spirit state, he seemed fragile, like a piece of tulle that could tear in a light breeze and float away at any moment.
“Vut do you vant to know?” he asked me, waiting.
I took a minute to think. I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have with him, so I didn’t want to take too long to brainstorm. That said, this seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity to either A, get some invaluable insight I could share with the world or B, lay down an epic burn.
I went with option B.
“Who hurt you, sweetie?” I quipped in the same voice that Kristin Wigg uses on Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids, but G.H. (Ghost Hitler) didn’t seem to register the jab. His stoic expression was unchanged.
“Ze pain I’ve experienced in my life pales in comparison to ze pain I’ve caused so many. It is irrelevant.”
I opened my mouth, about to respond with “no shit, Sherlock,” but paused. Both because I realized it would be an insult to the Bohemian detective I love so much to give his namesake to G.H., and also because I wasn’t sure if what he’d said was true. Given the ascendency of Trump and his Nazi 2.0 followers, it actually seemed quite relevant. In order to prevent a modern-day monster that could rival his level of depravity, don’t we need to know how Hitler became Hitler?
So I followed up with “Sure, but you asked me what I want to know...and that’s the only question I’ve got.”
To this, G.H. let out a long sigh of nothing because ghosts can’t breathe, and while I quietly relished in being responsible for his exasperation, he continued.
“I have vhat you vould call ze…Daddy issues? I just vanted to paint pictures of ze petunias and get ze hugs and ze kisses. But fazah beat me and told me my passions vere vorthless. So, I left home and learned to embrace Germany - ze fazahland instead of my own fazah - and it embraced me back. From zat point on, I rejected all who rejected me and became crueler zen my fazah ever was.”
I sensed I’d just opened the door for a pity party and some revisionist history, so I pushed him further. “But what about free will? Plenty of people have shitty childhoods and they don’t all become genocidal maniacs.”
“Zis is true. But perhaps I vas a bit chemically imbalanced? You know, I had ze grand delusions, ze hypochondria, ze paranoia and probably ze Syphilis. I also had a lot of tummy troubles.”
I started to laugh. G.H. looked puzzled.
In that moment, I realized he was right. No amount of psychologizing could definitively rationalize him – once a behemoth, now just a shadow. No amount of backstory could excuse his atrocities either. Any attempt to understand him is for our own comfort – we simply don’t want pure evil to exist in this world; we need an answer for him. But the truth is that sometimes monsters are created, sometimes they’re born and other times maybe it’s a mix of both. No matter how it happens, though, the result is always the same - pain and suffering that simply cannot and should not be explained away.
As he waited for me to say more, I reached for him instead, making like I would take his hand to offer support. But just as he moved it toward mine, I quickly pulled away and pantomimed combing my hair with the swag of a 50′s Greaser.
“Too slow, motherfucker.” I said, and then purposefully gave him the finger on my RBG side. Not very creative, I know - but it felt good. I delighted in the surprise and anger I saw flash upon his face before I laid back down and got under the covers.
I aggressively fluffed my duvet and watched as he blew right out the window, like a delicate snowflake with a tiny stupid mustache.
Say her name
Indecipherably small to the naked eye, the handwriting penned each night into his journal was not meant to be erratic. James would construct each and every eensy letter with masterful precision, hours at a time, lost in his fervid thoughts, making plans without the urgency of watching the clock. Eventually, when he felt a sense of satisfaction, his journal would be placed by his bedside at an exact angle; the pen tucked in snugly next to the binding, as if it too was ready to retire for the evening, but sleep would elude him until he read from the manifesto, his bible, his voice from the grave, Mein Kamph.
Purchased at an obscure bookstore years back, the immediate inclination towards the text was kismet; as if Hilter had been born again within his soul. It was his fantasy that the words were written for him, personalized like a love letter; and as he’d place the book neatly on top of his journal each night with heavy eyes, he would imagine the Fuhrer incarnate was in the room with him, pleased by his unwavering loyalty.
His ailing mother knew of his fascination but she did not overreact. She assumed it was just an extension of an ordinary young man’s interest in militia and conflict, therefore as a believer in respecting his privacy and choosing when to pick her battles, she had not contemplated confronting him. Totally clueless about the depth of his depravity, at a moment of weakness, or perhaps it was strength, motherly love led her hand astray and she decided to open up the journal and take a peek without success. Even with a magnifying glass, all she saw was a single straight line of blue ballpoint ink. How could she know her current use of a wheelchair put a target on her back? No. James was not ready to murder his own mother, but he did consider if her health continued to decline, he may have to cross that bridge. Part of the written plan.
Perhaps Hitler was his father figure, having never known his own. On an ordinary day, while James lay unencumbered within his mother’s womb, his innocent father was walking across the street when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Close to, but not yet of legal age, alcohol was also placed on his hit list; it was what he considered the kiss of death in a bottle and he vowed to never let it touch his lips. But alcohol was not the only evil in the world according to James and his teacher, and when the time was ripe, he would rise to the occasion and make his mark, called into action by an occultist third eye that kept him company along with his dejected heart.
Book still in hand, it was a presumptuous cough alerting him that he had dozed off while reading; a rare occasion, but all things are possible once in a blue moon. Coming from the foot of the bed, a vision in all its glory, one James had wished upon, and now realized, was realized without fear. James sat up in awe.
“Mein Fuhrer. You have come.”
He was sure the shadowy figure at the end of his bed was Hitler in spite of the dimness, although he was not sure he could actually touch him. After all, he’d already been dead for seventy-two years, so James was left to ponder his presence, assuming a rational explanation.
“Yes. I have come to encourage you, to thank you for your loyalty and your dedication to my ideology. It has been a long time since I have become aware of someone so devoted to my words.”
“But how did you know? How could you know? You are dead.”
“I am not sure everything that takes place needs to be explained. Doesn’t the Christian faith call for us to believe in God blindly? To have faith without proof?”
“I suppose. Forgive me Mein Fuhrer. I have much to learn. Please teach me. Lead me. I feel there is so much more I need to know before I can carry out your work.”
“When I was your age, I too was conflicted. I relied on the wisdom of Dietrich Eckart, but at some point with maturation, it was I that could have taught him. You will see. Read my words, continue to write; plan and you will gain confidence by and by.”
“I am so glad you are here because there is something I am wrestling with. There is a rally next month, August 11th in Charlottesville, VA held by a group called Unite the Right. I’m planning to go. I believe it is time I gather with other Nazis. There is only so much I feel I can accomplish on my own. It is expected to be a peaceful protest but there are moments when I feel such rage towards our enemies, I cannot promise that I won’t react poorly if I am confronted and this has been keeping me from publicly expressing my views. Am I making any sense? Should I go and take the risk?”
“Ah. Anger. Yes. I understand. If I had let my anger hold me back, I would never have made any progress. My rise to power would have been doomed. Do you understand? Of course you need to join forces with others. There is power in numbers. You go. You may not be able to see me there, but know I am with you, always, mein Sohn.”
And with his last words to James, Hitler was gone; visibly gone and unbeknownst to James on a future ordinary day riddled with extraordinary circumstances his Fuhrer would be forgotten by him forever more. But Hitler’s face would not be replaced by another until sometime after the murder during his day of reckoning in the midst of the high profile trial.
“Murderer! Say her name!” Her mother yelled towards James from a courtroom bench.
Pictures of the victim laced the room, her goodness readily seen through her now dead eyes. Besides her family, intense grief was felt by even those who never knew her; palpably. James absorbed her. He was fascinated, captivated by her kind eyes. He studied them the way he had once studied his Fuhrer. He had seen them, and she his, through the windshield glass, right before he rammed his car into the crowd.
“Order in the court.” The judge pounded his gavel.
And at the sound of wood against stone, something in James broke and with his head in his handcuffed hands he did just that. Feeling no desire whatsoever to say goodbye forever to his former self or the sick mind that had molded his, repentance was understood, and he said her name.
James Alex Fields Jr., 22, received a life sentence plus 419 years for killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. Fields was sentenced to life in prison on 29 federal hate crime charges. Judge Richard Moore followed a state jury’s recommendation in handing down the sentence.
Darwin’s dream: The Descent of Man.
The dream was so ponderous and so vivid in its nature, it rendered me speechless on awakening. A cavernous dread has taken hold of me and I feel compelled to write this down, for posterity.
In my dream I was still asleep when a gloomy shadow passes over me. The air feels heavier, an atmospheric weight descending like a heavy mist on a barren land and from the darkness of the night I hear my name being whispered in a deep baritone forcing me to wake up from my slumber.
It felt so real. I was in my bed, in my room, with my dear wife sleeping soundly by my side. The window was ajar, and I could feel the soft cool of night air on my skin. A fly had snuck through the lace curtains and I
could even hear the background hum of its buzz.
Yet the dream was also absurd, as a strange young man sat on the end of bed.
His eyes were piercingly alert, his face was framed with an oddly shaped moustache. He wore a soldier’s uniform with insignia I had never seen before but the thing that struck me most was his striking persona. He was redoubtable, self-possessed, confident to the point of arrogance with a glint in his eye that unnerved me even in my dreamlike state. His back was straight, he sat rigid, his jaw firm. His whole demeanour radiated a nefarious intent and I had a strong sense that this man was real. Instinctively, I knew he was dangerous but of what and why I couldn’t say- it was, after all, only a dream.
“Doctor Charles,” He said as I roused from slumber. His voice was faint yet distinct. Though barely a whisper I could still detect a heavy Germanic accent.
“Doctor Charles Darwin?”
“That is I.” I croaked, pulling myself upright. My dear wife Emma stirred but her sleep remained heavy. “And may I ask your name?”
I was aware these circumstances were extraordinary, otherwise I would have screamed out at the intruder in my home, as it was, I embraced the abstract nature of proceedings and allowed my curiosity to take reign over fear.
“You don’t know me,” He replied, with half a smile. “But I know you. In fact, I am a great admirer of your work. I like to think we are comrades. United in belief.”
“You are a scientist?” I asked hopeful, yet nothing about this man’s character indicated a man of science.
“No. I am a leader. I have great scientists work for me.” He was very economical and precise in his speech, enunciating each word carefully. “In fact, I told my scientists that I am a follower of your work. My yearning fantasy is to speak with you- the greatest scientist of our time Charles Darwin- and my scientists in their zeal to please me, find a way. This is how we can meet. Only through dreams.”
“I see.” I say (although I don’t see at all). It’s apparent I was speaking to a madman but as I scientist I was intrigued.
“You see I belong to a different time and in my time- I continue your work. The Natural selection of mankind.”
“You have read my book- The origin of Species?”
“Oh yes. You are a freethinker as I am. I too believe in survival of the fittest, and racial hygiene. In my time, we call it eugenics and social Darwinism- we named it after you.”
“My country has also embraced our ideologies. We are cleansing our race as we speak.”
“Yes. The dissidents, the feeble-minded, the degenerates , the deaf, the blind, the Jews and homosexuals- all will be wiped out from our land. Exterminated. We will breed a superior race and soon the world will evolve at a rate previously unknown.”
A deep and morbid fear overtakes me.
I am speechless. I am sickened to the core. I am horrified at the mere thought and the casual fashion in which he mentioned of such atrocities; disgusted that a human being could think this way and speak to me as if I too share these perversions. My thoughts mimic the panic-stricken fly in the room: darting around in a haphazard manner, desperate to comprehend its predicament. Is it possible that someone could conceive these ideas from my theories?
“But..but my work focuses on plant life and animals,” I eventually stutter, unable to get my words out fast enough. “Humans are more evolved. We operate with an expanded law of nature. Love. Compassion. Don’t you believe that?”
The man doesn’t answer. He tightens his jaw. His eyes narrow like dark pits and peer into my own. A flick of his eyebrows and a slight pursing of the lips tells me he is disappointed with my response.
“What is your name?” I growl, surprising myself as my voice is louder now, like rolling thunder, anger bursting through my genial surface - even in my dream I am incensed that my life’s work can be twisted and misconstrued to this extent . “Tell me your name!” I shout when he ignores the question.
He stands and links hands behind his back. He is calm but his face darkens as he nears me and I detect something akin to murderous intent.
“My people call me “Mein Fuhrer”.”
I wake abruptly- thankfully. But the dream has left me alarmed and distressed to say the least.
A sense of foreboding follows me by day and I am reluctant to sleep again at night. I fear for the future. I fear my theories could ignite such a diabolical fire. I must expand upon my work. I must emphasize a moral sensitivity, mutual aid and the noble nature of mankind.
A determination like lightning empowers me, I will not rest. To this end, I have started new research and will compose a new book.
I shall call it “The descent of Man.”
A weird night
I have always been prone to daydreaming, but, as I grew older and became more mature, I understood that it is a bad habit which turns the attention away from the present moment, not allowing you to be happy, fulfilled, therefore I began to change my mindset, of course not succeeding often unless I put in a constant effort, yet forgetting to remain persistent. And so was I was bewildered when I saw the shadow of Dickens and I started to calm my self down, making exercises meant to clear the mind, feeling more and more uneasy and terrified that the transparent shape, instead of disappearing, kept staring at me in a way which you couldn’t call creepy if there wasn’t for the unusual, dreamlike circumstances, but rather melancholic and perhaps condescending.
“Surprised to see me?” he asked seated at the edge of my bed from where he made a slight move to come closer to me, but renouncing as soon as he noticed the fret in my wide-opened eyes. “You do not have a lot of guts, do you?” he inquired, the lilt of the voice scornful, mocking, but not in an exceeding fashion. Is this a friendly ghost, after all? If I am delusional, better be about something not scary, but charming and peaceful.
“But how do you think I should feel? You are dead, I am not used to such things,” I began the conversation, still not sure what to do exactly, but settling for a joking, ironical attitude, bearing in mind, not to go over the edge.
“Well, I guess you have a point here. My visit was unannounced, to say the least.”
“If you are really here, but not a product of my imagination.”
“Still not sure of my existence?”
“Can you blame me for that?”
“You are right,” he agreed with an intonation in which he made room for a nuance of benevolence, and I realised with a sense of strange relief that he was losing his menacing and transcendent traits. I guess I prefer to feel comfortable even with a thing of uncertain origin than to suffer. I cannot do anything to have it disappear, my attempts have failed, so it would be wiser to learn how to cope with the otherworldy presence, which, at that moment, decided to stand up from my bed and, with a gait which wanted to seem perfectly terrestrial, went slowly in a corner of the room, the dirtiest and darker place in my apartment, and put out two reefers, which I was using as a last resource in helping me to stop the inner dialogue.
“I think we should get to know each other more closely, and smoking should be the best way to do it. Don’t you agree?” he said and lit the cigarettes up, one of which he passed me nonchalantly, and I took it bedazzled. “Ghosts are able to intrude in your world and communicate with a person of their choosing if the said person has a predisposition which makes her extremely serene, relaxed. Smoking weed is yours.”
“I do not get high that often,” I tried to defend myself, not fully persuaded by the explanation, but willing to accept it in order to avoid to freak out.
“That’s not the point. The quality matters more than the quantity.”
“If you say so.” We smoked for a while and, abruptly, it did not seem so horrid, nor eccentric, to be there, but familiar and warm, as if returning home from a long journey.
Throw It Back For Hitler
Eee Eee Eee. I hit my alarm clock in the head. I roll over and see- ¨JESUS HELL!”
“Vello, I vas vondering ven you vould vake up.”
“How long have you been waiting there. Actually, no. That doesn’t matter, you’re Hitler leave!”
“Oh, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Vhen did everyone become so sensitive to that name. You know, I prefer Adolf, but nobody cares about vhat the evil Hitler thinks. I have feelings too you know.”
“Ohhh. I’m still dreaming, that must be it.”
“You’re not dreaming. Here let me prove it.” Then Hitler hit me in the leg.
“Oh, Hitler why did you do that?”
“Pain is zimply you’re nerves being distressed, you’re body von’t do that to itself, so if felt pain, vat means I’m real, vich means your not dreaming.”
“God, you know too much about pain Hitler.”
“So why are you here?”
“I onestly do not know. The last thing I remember, it was April, 30, 1945, I was about to fake my own death, then next thing I nu, I’m in zis room.”
“Uh, alright. I guess I’m just gonna accept that as a fact now. None of what’s happening makes sense.”
“Do you vant to here a joke? I love jokes.”
“Tells jokes? Sure, tell me one”
“Vats the difference between a pizza and a jew?”
“Oh god, no. I’m gonna stop ya there.”
“Oh, pleaze vet me vinish. It’s so funny.”
“No, god, no, please lord, no. Do not finish that joke.”
“Vine... A pizza doesn’t scream-”
“Ah... and you did it anyways. Alright.”
“Oh. Here’s another. Vhy am I a vegetarian?”
“Well, I thought it ’cause you didn’t like meat, but I suppose its some other reason.”
“Its because I love turning Jews into-”
“No! No. I see where this is going. No more jokes for Adolf.”
“Awww. Voo called me Adolf. Ou like me.”
“Sure, wait, no. I’m becoming friends with Hitler-”
“Right now. You are literally the worst.”
“Vell now you’re just being rude. Even if voo don’t like me, just lie. I have veelings. Vi do you care inywayz. No one vill know you and Adolf are homies.”
“We are not homies.”
“Voo are mt closest viend right now!”
“I’m the only person you know right now! I could be hitler and, well, no that analogy doesn’t work as well anymore. Whose someone you hate right now?”
“Yeah, I guess I just walked into that one.”
“Vell, this haz been vunderful, but time to give za people what they want.”
“Vell I’m basically zees people’s heroz. Zey must worship me, do ze not?”
“Oh... I see. I uh, I shoulda told you, uh. You... You didn’t win the war.”
“Huh? You must be joking.”
“No uh, you see we had two nukes.”
“Zut the hell are nukes.”
“Uh, they’re bombs, but they make very big explosions. And, well uh, America dropped two of them n Japan, Basically made two cities go extinct, and then everyone else was like ‘Not getting bombed sounds like the way to go so, uh, you win this round.’”
“Yeah... sorry ’bout this bud.”
“Um... I think I’ll go now.”
“You sure man, I could make like a cup of coffee or somethin’”
“No, I’ve, I’ve lost my appetite. I think I’m just gonna go.”
Then as mysteriously as he came, he went. Soon after my mother walked into my room.
“Did I hear you talking to someone?”
“Yeah, it was just Hitler.”
I tilt my head, nausea slipping into my stomach. "People are starting to think like you again."
His eyes are inhuman. "I don't think they ever stopped."
I can't look at those eyes. My blanket is strangled between my fingers, twist and twist and twist. "Did you really believe? In all that you did?"
He is not natural. Even in death, he is a demon. "I believed I was God."
Breath escapes my lips in a tiny sigh. "They're starting to do that again, too. Believe that they're God."
Dark eyes. Ghost eyes. Dead eyes, empty even in life. "And again, they never stopped."
A flame of loathing, pinpricks on eyes. "Why? Why would you--" I can't reason with this creature. I don't want to hear its answers.
"Why was I who I was? We all make choices. Sacrifices."
A quote whispers in my mind. Chills skitter down my spine. "One death is a tragedy."
"One million is a statistic." His words continue, as low and cordial as before.
Twist and twist. This isn't real. Sweat coats my palms. "I hate you."
"Many do. Many have. It still does not matter."
"You never cared for anyone."
His eyes, I can't stand his eyes. "Perhaps not. But what use is caring? Death overwhelms love. There is nothing more prevalent than death."
Another whisper, another quote. "Death is the solution to all problems. No man..."
"No problems." He doesn't stop staring at me. "Was I remembered?"
I flinch. "So you care about that?"
"No." He doesn't stop staring.
Breath comes short. "Yes. Yes you were."
And there is fury again, a candle flame, burning bright and hot. And there is terror, for people remember, but never learn. And sorrow, for the sin of man, even for the sin of those who are not men at all. "People never learn."
"No, they do not. They are shallow creatures. They desire order, always order. Freedom is forever unnatural to the human state. Give them perfect order, and they will follow, sheep to slaughter."
Fury and terror and sorrow. "You took away God. You took away family. You took away love. You took away individuality." My voice rises with every charge. "You removed what it means to be human, and they're trying to do it again." The words drop away into a sob. "They say that socialism is a good thing, and that family is a bad thing, and that God is meaningless and silly. They say you can't speak, and you must agree, and you can't say no. Wear this mask, take this vaccine, believe what we tell you, and it will be okay."
He listens, silence floods the room.
The blanket is soaked with sweat, twisted, twisting. "It's not going to be okay."
"You will not think so."
I finally look up, stare straight into those eyes. "You're dead. Do you now believe in God?"
He doesn't answer.
Fury terror sorrow. "Do you?"
A beat. "I have been judged. But God remains a lie."
He smiles, small, and horrible in its normality. "They are thinking again. Or rather, not thinking. My ideas never died, child. I was not the first, and I was not the last."
Again and again and again and again
He was not the first, and he is not the last.
The phantom dissolves. The presence lingers.
Tears slip across my cheeks, dripping down my nose as I slump into my pillows.
What does the future hold?
Hitler, can you forgive yourself?
My first thought was to run, however, as he made no attempt to harm me in my sleep, I assumed it’d be safe. It’s odd. He seems so peaceful and calm while textbooks have always made him appear cruel.
“Hello?” I whisper.
His gaze grazed mine before falling. There was a certain sadness in his eyes, eyes that told of war, regret, and misery.
“Sir, what are you doing here?” I demand, my voice quivering. It’s not everyday the ghost of one of history’s greatest villians visits you.
“I wish to speak to someone of the pain I’ve felt since my death.”
He wishes to vent... An odd concept. Perhaps humanity has been too harsh on others. They’ve painted an image of Hitler so he is nothing but a monster, but he is equally human as I.
“Okay,” I once promised myself should anyone need to vent, I’d allow them, why should I break it now? “Go ahead.”
Surprise fills his eyes. “The world hates me and my soul is forever tormente by the deeds I committed. I wish to be forgiven but the world depicts me as a monster.”
“The first step to having anyone forgive you, is to forgive yourself.” I decided to keep God out of this as I wasn’t sure if Hitler was a believer. “What you did was horrendous, leaving millions scarred, but that doesn’t mean you’re unforgivable. The next thing to do is to apologize to those you’ve harmed, even if they can’t hear your apology, it’s better than nothing.”
“How do I forgive myself?”
“Answer this, why did you do it?”
“I though I was doing the right thing. I thought the world needed to be cleansed.”
I cleared my throat, “Do you regret it?”
“You know it was wrong, you probably knew your methods were wrong before but believed that by cleansing the world via genocide, you were fixing everything. Correct?”
At first, he said nothing. “Yes, you’re right,” He finally says.
I nodded. “Your intention was to do the right thing however your belief of the right thing was way off. This can make it easier to forgive. However, the process of forgiving anyone, let alone yourself, is hard. Sometimes, you may think you’ve finally forgiven them, but the anger surges another day and you realize you haven’t. It’s more intense when you’re angry with yourself and can’t forgive yourself.”
Hitler was considering my words. It was odd that a long deceased murderer was coming to a teenage girl for advice on forgiveness when she struggled so greatly to forgive herself and the one who broke her.
“Do you think the Jews will ever forgive me?”
“I cannot say. However, forgiveness is not unreachable, it never is. Some may never forgive you but if their god is truly the same as mine and they’re true believers in their god’s commandments, they will.”
“How can you be so sure that forgiveness is unreachable?”
“I may be a teenager but sometimes, teenagers know more than the adults. In today’s world, we experience a lot that our parents and grandparents haven’t. It breaks us but builds us. A lot of teenagers are seeking ways to change things, despite being labeled as lazy. I’m one of those teenagers seeking to fix what’s broken in the world. And one of the first steps to fixing what’s broken is to forgive those that broke it.”
“You are too wise for a teenager though, what broke you to make you this wise?”
“Life, life broke me.”
“And what do you seek to fix?”
I looked at him, “Everything. It’s my fatal flaw, the flaw that will be the end of me. I seek to fix everything when I cannot even repair the fractures in my soul.”
“I hope you can one day fix yourself.”
Me too. “Thanks.”
When I woke up, the sun was streaming through the curtains of my room. There was no sign of my ghostly intruder from the night before. Perhaps it’d been a dream, Twenty twenty has been a bizarre year. Perhaps I was finally losing it and dreaming of late night talks with dead people.
Why Did You Do It, Hitler?
"There is always something that we don't know about other people. We can't just look at someone and be able to see their thoughts and feelings, their reasons on why they did something. I don't know what happened in your life that caused you to act in such a tyrannical and cruel way to so so many innocent people. People that in a way, were just like you. I don't know how you lived with the knowledge that you were responsible for so many deaths, so much pain, and so much loss but I don't know the whole story, do I. I wasn't there, I didn't witness these events. I cannot count on the history books to tell me the complete and whole truth, there are so many different versions of this story, so many different memories, so many different parts of the world that you lived in. What you did was wrong, and inhuman, but I want to know, why did you do it? Yes. I've read the textbooks, I watched the videos, they say you did it because you wanted to create a perfect race, a perfect, clean, pure world but that isn't the core of your reasoning, it can't be. That is merely the outer layer, the simplified version of your idea. What made you want that, who influenced you to want that? Who hurt you, Hitler, who made you hate so much that you wanted to get your revenge? Who, or what was the beginning of your twisted and cruel ideas? You did terrible things Hitler, why did you do them and how did you live with it?"
He sat there, almost transparent. The early morning light was bright enough that I could see him, slightly. His face looked stern and cold but tired. "I have my reasons, and I have a question of my own. Why aren't you scared?" He said, in a thick German accent, his voice cold and almost angry.
"Then what are those reasons. There is absolutely no reason to keep them hidden, your time has ended, your world is gone, we need the answers in order to not make the same mistakes again, have some empathy for once, have some compassion." I paused, glaring at him. "And I'm not scared of you because you don't exist in my world and also, underneath your actually scared, and hurt and you don't want anyone to know that you're weak and that you have no idea what you're doing."
"Maybe I just want to, maybe I just want the power, maybe I just want my perfect world. And don't you dare say I'm weak and scared, I'm Hitler, scared is not a word I know." He looked furious, angry enough to kill.
"But that's the thing, you just proved that you are scared. If those are really the reasons that you are doing/did what you did, then you have proved you're weak. You're afraid that someone or something is going to take away your power, you're scared that you will not be accepted if you aren't on top."
He turned away, clenching his fists, "I'm going now."
"Before you go, let me say one more thing. I don't know the exact reasons why you're doing this. I know in your time that you are still in power but listen to me. Don't do what you plan to do, don't follow through with your ideas, have a bit of compassion, and realize that nothing so twisted can form anything good. Evil cannot create good things; evil ideas, cannot create what you want."
The sun shone through the windows, and he was gone, leaving nothing but my memory, as proof that he was here.