Reichstag

Reichstag

A Story by Alex
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Annaliese’s eyes widened as the cab sped toward the Oberbaum Bridge over the Spree River in Berlin, Germany. The taxi driver knew who she really was, and he wanted to kill her.

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Annaliese’s eyes widened as the cab sped toward the Oberbaum Bridge over the Spree River in Berlin, Germany. The taxi driver knew who she really was, and he wanted to kill her.

 

                A few hours ago, it was 8 P.M. on Friday, February 27, 1933. Annaliese Koch arrived at the Reichstag building in Berlin. She was posing as a young politician, but she was really part of a conspiracy to help burn down the Reichstag. The plan was simple. While food was being prepared, during the busiest time in the kitchen, Annaliese would slip into the kitchen, where other members were disguised as the wait staff. She and the wait staff would “accidentally” start a fire in the kitchen and leave the building with everyone else. The Reichstag would burn down. Unlike the Reichstag, the Nazis wouldn’t fall overnight, but this was the big push they needed.

            Annaliese stepped inside. She greeted the president, Paul von Hindenburg. Hallo, Herr Präsident. Wie geht es Ihnen? Danke für die Einladung.Hello, Mr. President. How are you? Thank you for the invitation. He replied that he was doing well, and that he hoped she would enjoy the party. Annaliese hoped he would manage to escape before the fire completely consumed the Reichstag. As part of her job, she struck up a conversation with a real politician. The conversation was actually interesting. They didn’t talk about politics or Nazis, or anything like that. Instead, the other politician was actually funny, and she enjoyed talking to him. She hoped he, like the President, would also escape.

            At about 9:40 P.M., while everyone was busy talking to one another, Annaliese slipped into the kitchen. At 9:45 P.M., everyone sat down as dessert was being prepared. Annaliese could hear someone coughing and hacking all of a sudden. She knew it was an older member named Ernst Torgler, who had served as her mentor for ten years. She imagined him standing up with his hands around his throat. Even though she knew he wasn’t really choking, it still made her anxious. Someone shouted, “Er würgt! Jemand, hilf ihm!He’s choking! Someone, help him! Someone else muttered to the others at his table, “What the devil could he be choking on? They haven’t even brought out any food.” Torgler had swallowed an ice cube from his water glass, which should have taken less than a minute to melt enough to slip down into his stomach. He was to use that as an excuse to leave the building, since there was no other way he would have escaped the building alive if everyone panicked. And that was the signal.

            The cook winked at Annaliese. Only that cook and five of the wait staff knew the plan. The cook turned the stove on and turned his back. Annaliese grabbed a bottle of olive oil and stepped towards the stove. She noticed a group of cooks near the back of the kitchen. If she started the fire right there, they probably wouldn’t escape. The fire would close off the exit. The realization surprised her. In her hesitation, one of the cooks looked at her, noticing her lack of wait staff uniform. He also saw the olive oil bottle angled towards the fire. “HEY!” he shouted. Everyone turned to watch as he sprinted towards her and snatched the bottle away. “What do you think you’re doing?” he yelled. One of the wait staff who knew Annaliese muttered angrily, “Move!” She shoved Annaliese aside and quickly tore the bottle out of the cook’s hand, dumping it over the stove. The fire roared up, and the cook leaped back.

            She hurried out of the Reichstag, followed by the other members from the kitchen, and started looking for Ernst Torgler. Politicians streamed past, climbing into their cars and screeching away. Eventually, people stopped exiting the building.

Ernst Torgler didn’t come out.

After about twenty minutes, Annaliese walked a few blocks away and climbed into an empty cab. She gave the cab driver the name of her hotel and slumped back into her seat.

The driver watched as tears slid down her face. They pleased him, made him want more. She deserved it"conspiracy should have a price.

            “So,” the driver said. “Why are you crying?”

            Annaliese didn’t answer.

            The driver asked, “Heard there was a party at the Reichstag. Did you go?”

            “Yes.”

            “Why did you leave so early? Afraid of the arsonists?”

            Annaliese stiffened. She replied tersely, “What arsonists? It was a kitchen fire. Careless cook.”

            The driver stared at her hard in the rearview mirror. His eyes showed hatred, but also a glimmer of triumph and amusement. “Guess you had nothing to do with it, huh?” Annaliese’s eyes slid down to the windshield. This was not the way to her hotel. She could see the Oberbaum Bridge about two kilometers away, above the Spree River.

            “Why aren’t you taking me to my hotel?” she demanded, her tone steelier than his stare. “My hotel is the other way.”

            He gave a short laugh but said nothing. Soon, all would be over. Annaliese’s heart beat quicker as she noticed that he was going a lot faster than necessary. The bridge shot towards them, and she noticed that they were angled toward the side, rather than the middle. He was going to drive the car over the edge of the Oberbaum.

            Annaliese unbuckled her seatbelt in desperation. “The Reichstag is already burning down. The Nazis will fall. It’s already in process; you’re too late.”

            The driver said nothing. He already knew everything. He knew exactly what happened at the Reichstag, including her hesitation to start the fire. She was unable to do her job because a few innocent people were in the way, and that was the difference between Annaliese and the driver. She wasn’t strong enough to do what needed to be done. He was.

 The bridge was yanked out from underneath the car’s tires, and the edge of the bridge disappeared as the car became airborne as Annaliese thrust the door open and threw herself out of the car. 


© 2010 Alex



Author's Note

Alex
I need to figure out what I'm doing with the ending...I also wanted to explore the driver's mind and emphasize the contrast between his and Analiese's levels of remorse. I also need more dialogue between Analiese and other politicians to help the readers identify with them more. Any suggestions? Other than that, what do you think? :)

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Added on June 7, 2010
Last Updated on June 11, 2010
Tags: reichstag, germany, german, nazi, wwii, world war two, hitler
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Alex
Alex

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I'm prone to obsessions, whether it's a band or a book or a language or a country. Once I start eating chocolate I have difficulties stopping. The Internet is kind of essential to my existence. .. more..

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