The Fourth Reich — intro & prologue
When I started rereading about the Second World War, and more specifically about the Nazis — a theme that since adolescence caused a lot of curiosity — I never imagined I would run into a great mystery, a big Nazi secret never before revealed. Any World War II fan has heard of Nazi military secrets: all or almost all of their research was focused on developing military technology, and historians are unanimous in stating that, if the Nazis had more time, the final outcome of the war could have been a third. But time worked against them. I re-read and deepened my knowledge on Hitler’s plans for terrifying explosive devices, aircrafts that seemed alien and, if they ever flew, would make science fiction authors blush.
The discovery of secret societies wasn’t so big for me; much has already been researched and explored on this matter. Some even believe that the Nazis had mystical powers, but this signatory is not a supporter of this line of thought. But, as I deepened my research — which consumed countless hours reading and examining thousands and thousands of pages on the subject, going over library research and expert interviews — I found myself pulling the thread on this story, what I believe to be the best kept Nazi secret of all time. The evidence is there — available to those who seek it out, connect the dots, and believe. What we will do with this information depends only on ourselves because, given time — and now time is on their side — the truth will prevail. So, not wanting to wear the historian’s hat, and much less to be an alarmist — because I believe in humanity and, above all, that good will always prevail — I beg your attention, your careful attention. Open your mind, because your life is about to become more interesting… and terrifying.
I open my eyes. A strong light stabs into them like a dagger, forcing me to close them again. I open them just a little bit now. I blink. The bright light is still there. The pain slowly gives way. Blinking my eyes, I begin to discern images. I see a blue ceiling, a fan slowly spinning. The skin on my arms feels warm. I hear murmurs. I close my eyes again.
Conversations, indiscernible chatter, a crowd. I listen, but do not understand. I can hear an intermittent beep pulsing at regular intervals. I hear the sound of my breathing. Where am I? What is going on?
I hear: James. My name. Someone says my name. It’s evolving. I’m pretty sure I heard that. I hear a thud like a closing door — or opening. I try to open my eyes again. This time I cannot open them. I’m in almost total darkness. I feel a nagging headache and try to move my hand to the pain, but cannot. I’m lying down, I now realize. I can now identify the same ceiling fan turning slowly. I hear the same rhythmic beep. I look down and see a bluish tube sticking out of my mouth. I try to speak but cannot. The tube is shoved down my throat.
I turn my head slightly to the right. I see a window with blinds open, and beyond them there is only night. I turn to the left and see a door and a machine with a display and numbers. That’s where the beep comes from.
I try to move my right arm but it doesn’t budge. I try to move the left and it does not obey. I start breathing fast. I start to panic. What is going on?
I try to talk, shout, but the tube does not allow. I want to rip it out but my arms still don’t move. I try to move my legs, but only my feet respond.
I begin to sweat. I begin to despair. I’m alone, and there’s no one to help. What could have happened? I try to remember how I got here but I can only remember being in Germany to interview the Nazi Rudolf Hess.
I can’t remember anything beyond that. I cannot find a reason and cannot understand why I’m here and why I cannot move. I try again: arms, legs, feet. All I can manage is to dangle my feet, and slightly lift and drop my arms. Exhausted, I fall asleep.
I feel heat on my skin again. I hear conversations. The voices grow louder and louder. Fear takes over, and I open my eyes to see who’s here. Excruciating pain. That light burning my eyes. I had forgotten all of it. I close my eyes again.
I open them slowly this time. Just a crack. I let my eyes get used to the sunlight. I blink a few times, shut my eyelids firmly again and, finally, I manage to open them. I see two people talking: one with a white lab coat — must be a doctor — and the other is familiar to me. I try to speak but I cannot. The tube is still stuck in my throat. I try to move my arms but they barely twitch. The speakers leave the room. I fall asleep with a tear running from my right eye.
I wake-up scared. I feel invaded by sounds, smells and heat. I feel the burn of bright sunlight, but this time the pain goes away fast. I look around and now there are three people, leaning over me, looking. Ray Cave smiles as he sees I’ve opened my eyes. I would recognize my chief editor and friend anywhere — that square jaw, prominent nose and thin body that has accompanied me for the past few years.
To my left I see a man in a white lab coat. And at the foot of the bed, almost out of sight, a woman, also in white. I recognize the nurse’s cap. I hear the sound of the rhythmic beep, the typical ether scent of a hospital. Nurse, lab coat man and my strange predicament must mean I am admitted in a hospital. The man who appears to be a doctor tells me to stay calm.
“You are in the Central Hospital of East Berlin. You had an accident. You were in a coma, but are now out of danger. You can go home soon.”
I fall asleep.