Read Butcher Online

Authors: Rex Miller

Tags: #Horror, #Espionage, #Fiction - Espionage, #Fiction, #Intrigue, #Thriller, #Suspense, #Horror - General, #Crime & Thriller, #Horror & Ghost Stories, #Espionage & spy thriller, #Serial murderers, #Fiction-Espionage

Butcher (8 page)

“A real saint. I agree.” The two women who secretly hated one another stood watching the kindly physician across the room from them.

What Royal was thinking, as he looked down at the cadaver in the expensive box, was Brother Roddenberg got a bit rushed there with the jawline. Barbaric custom. Open casket rituals were nonsense to begin with, but this cancer-ravaged corpse would be displayed only briefly prior to cremation: what was known in the spade trade as a “shake and bake."

“He looks so good, doesn't he?” a man said, patting Royal on the back.

“He does. How are you, Bob?”
You idiot
.

“Fine doc. You doing okay?"

“I'm good."

“I'm sure gonna miss him."

So shall I
. Royal thought it had been rather enjoyable taking him through the final weeks of structured agony, ringing the changes on him with a carefully orchestrated regimen of injections calculated to send him screaming to the utmost wilderness of his pain threshhold, bring him back, send him out a little further, bring him back, send him out again. “I miss him already,” he said.

“You know what, Doc, you'uns brought him some relief there at the last, and that was a real blessing,” the smiling man patted Royal again, as if he were a dog.

Take your wretched hand off me, you drooling imbecile. Or would you prefer I amputate it at the wrist?

“I did what I could,” he said, softly.

21

Tel Aviv—1960

T
he prosecutor emanated righteousness and ratiocination; the truth and nothing but, so help you God. His posture and kinetics were those of an avenging angel of the court.

Witness number 113 for the State in the special investigation of Nazi war crimes before the War Crimes Tribunal of the State of Israel, was a woman of indeterminate age, a witness for the prosecution against one Emil Shtolz, being tried in absentia.

“Anna Kaplan is your name?” She was his witness.

“Yes."

“You also go by the name Anna Purdy, do you not?” he asked, carelessly.

“Alma Purdy, yes."

“Alma Purdy,” he corrected himself. “And would you tell us why you go by this name?"

“So that I keep my identity to myself."

“Yes. I understand. But you don't you want your identity known?"

“I don't like people to know my business. I keep to myself, that's all."

“Isn't it true that you don't use the name Anna Kaplan because it sounds Jewish, and you think the name Alma Purdy sounds less Jewish?"

“Yes."

“Are you an American citizen, Miss Kaplan?"

“Yes."

“By birth or naturalization?"

“I have naturalization papers."

“And what country were you born in?"

“Germany."

“Where were you in 1944?"

“I was in Germany."

“Where specifically in Germany?"

“München."

“And what were you doing there in 1944?"

“I was a patient at the Clinic for the Fatherland."

“What was this clinic?"

“A medical clinic for the care of women and infants."

“Did this clinic provide room and board for pregnant women?"

“Yes. I believe so. Yes."

“And did it provide room and board and medical care for other women who were not pregnant?"

“Yes. In some cases it did."

“Isn't it true that the Clinic for the Fatherland provided free medical care, room and board, and other accommodations for you, Miss Kaplan, when you entered the program?"

“Yes."

“And what service did you perform to obtain this free care the clinic provided for you?"

The witness mumbled an inaudible answer.

“Please speak louder. The question was, what service did you perform to obtain this free care the clinic provided for you?"

“I became pregnant and had a baby."

“Was the father of the child your husband?"

“No."

“Who was the father of your child?"

“I was not told his identity."

“You were required, were you not, to have intercourse with a man you did not know?"

“I ... uh ... was told he was an officer and that he'd met all the requirements set by the clinic."

“What organization maintained and operated this clinic?"

“The SS."

“So in 1944, you became pregnant with the child of a German officer in the Waffen-SS, or so you were led to believe. And then you had a baby?"

“Yes."

“Was this baby healthy and normal?"

“Yes, he—” Suddenly she broke down and began crying. The avenging angel of the court had seen this phenomenon many times and he said nothing. The tribunal and the prosecution waited. After a few moments her tears subsided.

“When your baby was delivered, tell us what happened next."

“They brought my baby son to me and I was allowed to keep him with me for a short while. I kept him with me for four—almost four weeks."

“And after your baby son was four weeks old, approximately, what happened?"

“They took him from me."

“For what purpose, do you know?"

“I don't know.” She blew her nose. “They said I was unfit.” She looked down for a beat, and the prosecutor thought she was going to lose it again, but she straightened and continued. “They said they'd discovered discrepancies in my medical history, and that I was no longer considered a fit mother for participation in the childbirth program."

“Isn't it true that you were forced to enroll in the program, that you'd had no choice in the first place?"

“Yes. They came to me and said it was required."

“Required by law?"

“Required by the SS."

“The SS needed women to be mothers?"

“Yes. They said they needed healthy German women with untainted bloodlines."

“Were you going under the name Anna Kaplan at that time?"

“No."

“What name were you using when you were recruited by the SS?"

“Anna Schumann."

“And you were using this name so that you could pose as an Aryan-born German?"

“Yes. They were rounding up Jews."

“Whose idea was it for you to use the identity of Anna Schumann?"

“It was my parents’ idea. They made me leave home and take the new identity."

“What happened to your parents?"

“The SS took them. After the war I found out they were taken to Treblinka. They both died in the camp."

“And so when the clinic said you were unfit and took your baby, did they elaborate about why you were no longer a fit mother?"

“No."

“Did they tell you they had found out you were Jewish?"

“No. They just said there were discrepancies in my records."

“Were you then released from the clinic?"

“No. They took me to this other house where they said I had to stay."

“And what happened to you while you were at this other house?"

“There was a doctor who had been at the clinic and he came to the house. I was forced to do things with him."

“He had sexual relations with you?"

“Yes."

“Do you know the name of this doctor?"

“Yes. Dr. Shtolz."

“Is this the individual whose photograph I now show you, which is prosecution exhibit 294-L? Let the record show this is a photograph of Emil Shtolz, taken in 1943, and documented by the Ludwigsburg Center for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes. Is this the Dr. Shtolz you knew?"

“Yes."

“Dr. Emil Shtolz had a nickname while he was assistant director for the Clinic for the Fatherland. Do you know what the nickname was?"

“Butcher. The Boy Butcher."

“Do you know why he was called the Boy Butcher?"

“He cut people apart. He was a monster. Because he was very young they called him Boy Butcher."

“And you were forced to do things with this young doctor?"

“Yes."

“What were you forced to do?"

“To have sex."

“Normal sexual relations?"

“No."

“Please explain what you were forced to do."

“Depraved sex acts. Awful things."

“And isn't it true that you were told that if you did not perform these awful sex acts that Dr. Shtolz would hurt your baby?"

“Yes. He said he would kill my baby if I didn't do what he wanted."

“And you believed him?"

“Yes."

Anna Kaplan, witness number 113 for the State in the special investigation of Nazi war crimes before the War Crimes Tribunal of the State of Israel, felt as if she'd been questioned for a week, but she'd been giving testimony for less than an hour.

The prosecution was very experienced, and read exhaustion in her eyes, as well as melancholy, hatred, shame, and pain. He decided to spare her specific enumeration. “How long did Emil Shtolz continue to force you to perform these depraved sexual activities?"

“A few weeks. I...” She shook her head slowly, eyes downcast, as she reached back for the hideous memories,

“...have no way of knowing. A month, perhaps."

“And then what happened?"

“When he grew tired of me he took me back to the clinic. I begged him to show me my baby, to let me hold him before they killed me. I was bound and taken into the room where they performed the experiments and he showed me what had been my baby boy.” The woman started to break down again, her shoulders moving up and down as if she were having trouble breathing. She was able to stop herself somehow and managed to continue.

“He was in a case among some of the others. Some of the other babies. I wouldn't have recognized him but there was a tag on him. The babies had been operated on ... the skulls, you know—their little heads were open."

“Miss Kaplan, you were able to escape from this clinic. How did you manage it?"

“I cut my hand very badly. I tried to break the glass case with my hand and lost a lot of blood. There was a moment while they were sewing me up that nobody was watching and I jumped through the window on the second floor of the clinic. I ran...” She shrugged. “I was found by good people who helped me to hide."

“Are you absolutely certain the photograph you have identified for this tribunal is that of Dr. Emil Shtolz, whom you allege to be responsible for the atrocities you've just described?"

“Yes. That's him."

22

Bayou City

P
erhaps a quarter of a century back in time, the woman called Alma—Anna Kaplan—had shut down. To lose a child in such an unspeakable manner, to endure inconceivable depravities, to survive the nightmare of evil that was the Holocaust, what were these experiences but stepping stones to a kind of quiet madness?

Her way of coping, of surviving, was to close her doors to the world, both literally and metaphorically. Part of her that shut down was the part that once felt love for children. It was a mild enough lunacy, given the circumstances of her youth. This woman, chronologically in her sixties, but mentally and emotionally ancient, lived a barren life long since reduced to the bare essentials of existence.

Once a week she would trudge the three and a half short blocks to Bob's Discount Store, a weekly stop in her agenda that included City Grocery, Bayou City Bank and Trust, and, occasionally, the post office.

At Bob's Discount, however, there was an added hazard: children. When they were out of school, or if she timed her visit wrong and arrived during the noon hour or in late afternoon, she was face to face with noisy children. Only Bob's low-priced merchandise, such as bargain-basement toilet paper, gave her the courage to brave the perils of the store each week.

There were no kids in the store when she entered, and that was a relief. She cringed at the abrasiveness of their loud, piercing voices, the blundering oafishness of their actions. They seemed to know she felt great distaste for them and it made them hate her, she suspected.

Summer vacation, teacher's meeting days, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course dreaded Halloween, as they called it here, these were the times she feared and loathed the most. Noisy, awful children would be running through the streets, and if you ventured out of doors they would come very close to you, threatening to touch you, sometimes shouting things. She favored inclement weather for the reason it kept most of them out of sight and out of mind, even if it pained her old and crippled bones.

Halloween, the night of October 31, was the most feared of her personal abominations. All Hallows’ Eve was a time of devil worship, when the cruel calendar would conspire to pull the children forth in unsupervised clots, the spirit of the darkness encouraging their more sadistic impulses.

Alma Purdy would spend these nights quietly in the living room of her small frame house, all the lights off, the curtains and blinds pulled tightly shut, an ancient but trusty revolver loaded and clutched in her lap. She would sit this way for hours, fearing to make a sound, praying to her harsh gods they would not come to her door again—the loud banshee children, cloaked in their disguises—mean snickers stabbing through her as they threatened “trick or treat."

So when she found no noisy kids clamoring in the aisles of Bob's Discount, her first sight of the man brought only gratitude. She went on about her business, an old cripple homing in on the cheap toilet tissue.

He had a purchase in his hands and was on his way toward the cash register to pay when they met, almost colliding, two ships in the same lane, between School Notebooks! Special! and Big Chief Tablets—Save!

There was a second or two of recognition, shock to her nervous system, a startled shudder through his, no doubt or question in either of their minds. She'd seen the Boy Butcher. He had been recognized. He knew it. She knew it. He was smoother, and managed a flicker of a smile. She could feel her body jerk in frightened reaction as she forced herself to keep going.

He waited until the old woman had paid and left the store, as he fought to get himself back under control. Adrenals in overdrive, heart thumping like a long-distance runner's, he stood in back of the far aisle, his back to the round security mirror. All he could see was that shocked flash of recognition in the woman's eyes. He forced himself to calm down and put a smile on his face, moving up to the counter to pay.

“That be all today, Doc?"

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