Art and words of Josh Burns.

Soldier of Will – Part 2: The Gypsy’s Daughter

Vandlo Hearn was respected among his people, the Romani, German Gypsies. He was known as a leader, a scholar and a source of hope. Unfortunately those qualities were not revered by those who looked to persecute his people. His powerful words often found him a beating within the work camp at Marzahn. Before the police crack-down Vandlo and his daughter made a decent living around Berlin trading goods and doing odd jobs. But in the camp he was forced to work in an armament plant. Aishe, his daughter would help tend to their tribe’s needs when she wasn’t pickpocketing the guards, or breaking into the supply shed. A girl of only eight years, she had a knack of understanding how things worked. She could pick almost any lock, Vandlo secretly admired his skill, but always scolded her for taking such risks. He would point to the scar above his eye, one he had gotten after they were first moved to Marzahn, and ask if she wanted to end up like him. Aishe was his world and he would do anything to keep her from harm.

In August of 1938 all armament plant workers were told to stay home and prepare for examination and interviews. This was not the first time the Nazis had done this. It was usually an attempt to track down other tribes or tribe members. Vandlo and Aishe knew this time was different when the guards handed out extra food. In the early morning the gates opened and four men entered the camp they were all officially dressed, not members of the SS, these were Ahnenerbe scientists. They initially walked through the camp sizing up its inhabitants. The leader of the group, a rail of a man, seemed to look right through the Romani prisoners. When he passed by Vandlo’s tent Aishe was reduced to tears. She didn’t know why, but he terrified her. Upon her reaction one of the Ahnenerbe scientists started writing vigorously in his notebook. After the walk through the group retired to the interview building. They didn’t exit the building until morning when they started the interviews. Vandlo stood in line with the others and waited his turn to be interviewed. Aishe was in his arms, she had not slept that night. The line moved slowly, and as he got closer to the building he saw his tribe mates exiting the interview building. It was a large structure with eight interview rooms. the rooms were connected by a long corridor, there was an exit at either end of the corridor. The building was fenced in at both doors, so prisoners who had already been interviewed couldn’t talk to those who hadn’t. The men and women who exited the interview building looked overwhelmed, like a great secret had been unduly forced upon them. When it was Vandlo’s turn to be interviewed he set Aishe down and told her he would be back before she knew it. But the guard at the door cut short his sentiment and motioned for them both to enter. Children were usually not part of the interviews, Vabdlo’s eyes started to water, and they entered the building. Aishe pawed at her father’s pant leg as the guards attempted to separate the pair. Vandlo struggled to keep Aishe with him but received a rifle but to the chin for his trouble. Knowing it was futile, he didn’t resist as they were each ushered into individual rooms.

Once in the room Aishe produced a small pick from the hem of her dress, But the door didn’t even have a knob on the interior side. after her attempts to get out of the small room failed, she moved to the chair pushed up to the wooden table in the center of the room. Across the table was a few papers and a dark blue coin purse. After ten minutes of waiting Aishe’s curiosity got the better of her and she opened the purse. Into her small, grubby hands over a dozen two-mark copper coins fell. Amongst the standard coins was a strange darker coin. She picked the shiny dark coin from her handful and held it close to examine the odd piece. The surface was almost black, with a mirror finish. The Nuremberg Eagle was embossed into one side, and the horizontal figure eight symbol for infinity adorned the opposite side. As Aishe looked into the strange metal she heard a slight hum resonate from the coin. The rattle of the door on the opposite side of the room broke her concentration. Shortly after, the door opened revealing the silhouette of a tall skinny man. It was the same man who had frightened her to tears the previous day. The coins, Including the black infinity coin, fell from her hand as he entered the room and swiftly closed the door. He was wearing glasses with dark red lenses and side guards that completely obscured his stare. The man sat in the chair across from Aishe. “Pick them up, if you please.” he said pointing to the spilled coins with his gloved hand. She quickly knelt, her hands were shaking and she struggled to pick them all up. Once she placed the last copper coin on the table the man spoke again. “Can you count?” Before Aishe could answerer he spoke again “Count them, Please.” She looked quickly at the scattered pile of coins on the table and then looked up at the skinny man. “Fifteen” she stated tentatively. The man nodded and smiled slightly. “…And how much does it add up to?” He questioned Aishe. She looked again picking up the black coin. “Thirty-Eight” she stated holding the black coin out with the infinity symbol sideways towards the man. He produced a sinister smile and nodded. “Look into the that coin. What do you see?” He asked Aishe. She again, stared into the coin. The man leaned in and watched her closely as she gazed into the coin. “Nothing, just the eagle” she said timidly. The man sat back in his chair with the look of visible anger on his face. His anger quickly turned to disbelief as he glanced at the table. “Count them again!” he boomed. Aishe jumped with fright at his sudden command. Again she looked down at the pile of coins and started to count. After double checking her number she offered her count “fifty-four!?” Excitement washed over the man’s face, as he stood and straightened his uniform. “Aishe Hearn, My name is Wolfram Bischof and we are going to do some amazing things together!” Aishe was awash with sadness and confusion. How did the coins appear? What amazing things were in store for her? She sat dazed as Bischof placed the black coin into the purse, placed the purse in his pocket and exited the room.

The next time she saw Bischof was in an operating room inside a facility within the Harz mountains. It was here that he inserted the same black infinity coin into Aishe’s frontal lobe. Aishe and seven others were chosen for the experiment that Bischof named “The Chisel”.

Please watch out for part three “The Man from Below” in the next week or so. In addition I will have a new picture to go along with the conclusion of the story.

Question Time…Hopefully a few people read this far… What do you think having the coin in Aishe’s frontal lobe will allow/prevent her from doing?

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