Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cutting Room Floor

Writing, at least the way I write, is an exercise in fits and starts (and an iterative process).  Until I get a firm grasp on my conflict, I will flail around for ideas.  Usually this is mostly in my head.  But sometimes I'll start to write something then realize it's no good or it doesn't fit into my story well.

With my current work in progress (WIP) I started out writing a scene but had very little idea of where I was going.  I needed a villain in order to have conflict.  I was playing with ideas and one I liked so I wrote a scene setting it up.

But then I had what I decided was a better (and more believable idea) then time-travelling Nazis.  And now 1,423 words are being discarded.  That's 1,423 heavily researched and painful to write words (anything dealing with the Nazis is not fun to write).  So I'm going to put them in this blog.  This would have be a prologue to my WIP (which is a western/urban fantasy mashup):

Berlin, Greater German Reich
April 23, 1945

Herr Leuchte strode into the Propaganda Ministry, prepared to show both his papers and his orders to the SS guards.  His clothes were clean and neat and he was dressed like the civilian he was. 
The structure had been bombed many times and was more of a shell than an actually building.  Leuchte wondered why there was such strong security for an obviously empty building.  Every few moments the ground would rumble with the sound of Russian guns shelling Heer positions east of Berlin.  Soon, Leuchte worried, the Kommunisten forces would be close enough to shell the city itself.
"Halt!" a soldier said, holding up a hand.  Leuchte recognized the Mauser K98 rifle slung over his shoulder but the soldier was not in a black SS uniform.  His uniform was shabby, seeming to match the bombed building.  But Leuchte was shocked by how young the man was.  Really a boy, he thought as he pulled out his papers and orders.
"I have been ordered to report to Minister Goebbels," Leuchte said with his usual disdain for lessers.
The boy looked over the papers, frowning.  Then he waved over an even younger-looking soldier.  "Take Mr. Leuchte to the Vorbunker, he is to meet with Minister Goebbels."
" Jawohl!" the younger soldier barked, throwing up a Nazi salute.
"Heil Hitler," the first soldier said, also saluting.
"Heil Hitler," Leuchte said, his own salute more than enthusiastic.
As he was led forward, Leuchte wondered where the soldier was taking him.  He was used to meeting the Propaganda Minister in his office, but he assumed that, like the rest of the building, was unusable.  But what was the Vorbunker (or "forward bunker")? he wondered.  Was Hitler displeased that Leuchte and his plans had failed to win the war for the Third Reich.  It would have been helpful if the Führer hadn't waited until the loss of the Hammer of Thor in August of '43 to allow Krupp and Leuchte to implement their plans.  Now Krupp was in Iceland but it was too late.  Had Hitler ordered Leuchte executed?  He smiled slightly at that thought.  He'd like to see someone try to kill him.  It would, at best, be very difficult.  Leuchte almost unconsciously touched his talisman, feeling its power course through him.
The soldier led him down stairs after stairs. They were obviously going lower than ground level, underground and into a bunker of some type.  Before a large steel door was an SS soldier, impeccable uniform, MP-40 sub machinegun slung over his shoulder and held across his chest.
"Halt!" the SS soldier demanded.
The young soldier stopped and held out Leuchte's orders.  "This man to see Minister Goebbels."  The soldier sounded nervous.
The SS guard examined the papers.
"You are dismissed," he said to the soldier, his disdain filling his voice.
The younger soldier seemed happy to leave and after a "Heil Hitler" salute, almost ran out of the corridor and back up the stairs.
"One moment," the SS guard said without regard to Leuchte's position.  He turned and knocked on the door.  A small bit at eye level opened and the soldier spoke to whoever was on the other side.  Leuchte's view was blocked by the helmet of the guard.
The guard stepped back and the door opened, another SS soldier in a neat black uniform standing inside.  "Come with me, sir," the man said.
Leuchte followed him into what he could only assume was the Vorbunker.  Except for the lack of windows and its small size, it could be an office anywhere in Germany.  There was a portrait of Hitler and a swastika on one wall.  Behind a desk was a sitting soldier who asked Leuchte so sign in on a sheet held by a clipboard.  A few more formalities, checking Leuchte for weapons and he was led down a corridor past barrels of water and gas masks hanging on a wall.  There was a kitchen and a dining area.  Finally the guard directed Leuchte into a room on the left.  It looked like a small, window-less hotel room.
Goebbels was seated in the room's one chair.  There was a bed and a chest of drawers.  A paperboard box was on the floor next to Goebbels' chair.
"Herr Leuchte," SS soldier announced.
Goebbels dismissed him with a languid wave of his hand.  "Close the door," the propaganda minister asked when Leuchte walked in.  He sat and watched as Leuchte pulled the heavy steel door closed.  Leuchte was shocked.  He'd never seen Goebbels act so listlessly.  The man was usually direct to a fault.
There was a moment of silence while the floor vibrated with the news of another Soviet shell landing.  Goebbels fixed his deep-set eyes on the adept.  "The war is lost.  Everyone knows this except Hitler who still thinks something will save us."  He almost snorted.  "Save him."
"Yes, Herr Minister," Leuchte said, surprised that Goebbels had given voice to what was forbidden to even think.
"Krupp has failed us," Goebbels stated simply.
"The location of the Æsir proved harder to learn than we anticipated," Leuchte said, noting a bit of nervousness woven in his voice.
Goebbels waved a dismissive hand.  "Relax, Herr Leuchte, I am not seeking to assign blame."
"Then what does the Minister wish?" Leuchte was a bit annoyed that Goebbels was not coming to the point of this meeting.
"I have a plan, a plan to save the Third Reich."
Leuchte nearly laughed, thinking this must be a joke.  But he'd never known Goebbels to joke about anything, and certainly not about the survival of Germany.
"It will require sacrifice on your part."
Leuchte frowned and nodded.  "How may I serve my Führer?"
"You may be aware that we have done extensive scientific study," Goebbels.
"Of course," Leuchte said.  Most of it was halted during the war except that which supported the war effort, such as the Vergeltungswaffen program.
"We believe we have found a method to travel through time," Goebbels said, his voice low as if afraid others may hear it.
"Surely, not?" Leuchte despite himself.  He knew, even with meta powers that time travel was impossible.
Goebbels nodded.  "It is a one-way trip and we only have the energy to send one person to the past."
Leuchte thought for a moment.  "And you wish to send me?"
"To what end?"
Goebbels was quiet for a moment, those deep eyes on Leuchte.  "To destroy America before the war even starts."
"We can send you back approximately seventy years."
Leuchte studied Goebbels' face for a moment.  "I do not believe one adept, even one as strong as I, could bring down the entire United States in the 1870s.  Maybe before its Revolutionary War."
"We can not send you that far back.  You shall attack it from within," Goebbels said.  He reached down and picked up the box, holding it out for Leuchte.  "Take it."
Leuchte reached out for it, pulled it open.  Inside was a very old book, hand bound he could tell, and hand-written in the Ancient Language.
"Our forces captured that on the island of Guernsey.  It was well hidden and protected by adepts who gave their life trying to stop us from taking it.  I had it translated.  You may find it useful."
Leuchte nodded.  There were other adepts aiding the war effort and they would, if ordered by Goebbels, translate the book.  The Ancient Language was not just a language, but a spell and it required a counter spell to translate it.
"May I ask what it is?"
"How to make an army out of stone, Herr Leuchte."
Leuchte's eyes grew wide.  "I have never heard of such a thing."
"It may not be possible," Goebbels said.  "But without the United States we would defeat the Russian menace and invade Britain and win this war.  It is a last gasp of a dying man, Leuchte.  You must do this thing."
"And if I refuse?"  Because he was an adept, Goebbels had very little power over him.
"Then you condemn Germany to utter annihilation."  Even Goebbels knew it was nearly impossible to force and adept to do anything they didn't wish.
As if to reinforce the minister's point, the ground shook with an extra strong rumble.
Leuchte nodded.  "I shall do this . . . for Germany."
Goebbels jerked his body to his feet and made the Nazi salute: "Heil Hitler."

"Heil Hitler," Leuchte answered with his own salute.  The gnawing in his stomach started then.

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