An Alternative History Affair
An Obstacle Removed
I slowly opened my eyes after feeling a hand prod against my left shoulder blade. Carefully raising my head I noticed soldiers had arrived and were securing the area as had been expected. The soldier who had knelt down to prod my shoulder blade raised to an upright position to give me clearance to roll over off my stomach. As I completed my roll I glanced over to my left, noticing Rhiley was still laying face first to the side of the road.
The soldier who prodded my shoulder looked me and offered me assistance in getting up; which I gladly accepted. After getting into the upright position I dusted off my uniform with both hands and darted off to Rhiley, who was just now a prodding treatment that I had. “Halt!” I ordered as I began my race. The soldier who was kneeling over my nephew looked up, and after noticing the insignia followed the order.
I reached my nephew who had just opened his eyes and began scanning the surrounding area. “Rhiley, are you alright?” I said as kneeling down on the left side of his body, near the extended arm. I already knew the answer, but the play had to be done.
Rhiley cautiously turned his head to the left and looked at me for a second. “Yes Uncle,” he spoke with a bit of a mumble.
“That’s great. Let me help you up,” I responded while getting to an upright position and extending my arm to assist. In the meanwhile, Rhiley performed the necessary movement to be sitting on his rear inside of face down. He extended his arm and pulled himself using my right arm as leverage. I had never known Rhiley to care much for his appearance; yet I think that his promotion to first lieutenant had made him instantly acquire the skill.
I noticed more troops arriving with their weapons drawn and fanning out to patrol the area. A man who appeared to be the commander of the unit approached the location Rhiley and I were occupying. I instantly recalled this man before; I had seen him on the train with Hausser. We had briefly exchanged the stories about being Colonels within our respective branches. I noticed his insignia had changed since we last met, meaning recently he had been prompted from Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) to Standartenführer (Colonel).
“Herr General, Heil Hitler!” he said while performing the customary greeting. The tone in his voice indicated to me that he was a dedicated member of the regime. I had never met a member of the Schutzstaffel who was not an ardent supporter of the regime. I believe that Rhiley and I were the first and second confirmed exceptions, ever.
“Heil Hitler!” I said, after a three second delay that I used to suppress the hysterical nature that wanted to be presented. I noticed the Colonel’s eyes were carefully reviewing us, trying to find that piece of evidence that I knew would paint us as the culprits of the crime. “Your name is Tychsen, if I recall correctly?”
“Yes, General,” he responded while nodding. “I have a few questions for yourself and the Unteroffizier, if you are both in good health.”
From my peripheral vision I could see Rhiley nodding in agreement that he was in good health; which made me quickly follow suit. “If you don’t mind, Colonel, what was your first name? I can’t seem to recall it from the time on the train.”
“Christian,” he said, smiling. “This way, General,” he motioned as he began walking towards the burning Kübelwagen. The flames had died down since I last saw them before placing myself on the ground. There was a distinguishable stench in the air; Himmler’s remains had been burning for the past quarter of an hour.
The thoughts of what had been carefully planned were called from the storage locker of the brain and now front and center. Rhiley and I had practiced several scenarios; though his idealism and sometimes youthfulness seemed to erode diminish the effectiveness of the perfection I wanted to accomplish. Shortly after shooting Himmler, and calming down Josef’s offspring, we went back to work converting the evidence of the crime.
“Rhiley, help me find a suitable piece of wood or rock to hold down the gas pedal,” I said, while my eyes scanned the ground. Time was of the essence, in this particular situation as my headquarters had been expecting me for over thirty minutes; and would most likely follow standard operating procedures and send out lookouts or communication to the Schutzstaffel at any moment.
“Found one!” Rhiley said, picking up a piece of wood that measured about a foot wide by two, maybe two and a half feet tall.
We headed back to the vehicle; which was parked about a hundred meters from the felled stump. After arriving at the vehicle, I reached for the spare two cans of petrol that we had spent a week scrimmaging up – it had taken this long not to arouse suspicion – and began dousing the vehicle and Himmler’s corpse. After completing that task, I returned the cans of petrol to their original position in the rear of the Kübelwagen. Meanwhile, Rhiley started the vehicle and waited outside the driver’s door for me to get into position.
We looked each other after I had been handed the device to hold down the pedal. I had debated how to best get the pedal stuck, if I placed it gently down, I might get clipped by the vehicle. If I threw it, I had a chance of missing and having to redo everything over. I tossed the wood with a great deal of force, and it hit the top half of the pedal, its weight then forcing it down, accelerating the car. The vehicle began to crawl, slowly gaining speed, and then boom! The Kübelwagen that had served us well, had crashed into the felled stump and burst into flames.
With the car crashed, we sprinted towards the vehicle to assess the damage ourselves. Himmler’s corpse had flown from the backseat and was now impaled through the front windshield. I quickly calculated that Himmler had flown forward and to the left a tad. Based on this information, Rhiley and I walked around the fallen stump, and assumed our positions. Rhiley laid face down, three feet in front of the car, and about seven feet to its left; while laid face down, an equal distance but to the right.
“A tragedy it is,” began Colonel Tychsen, “partisan attacks such as these have been more frequent and violent since the Allied incursion into southern France. It is a miracle that both of you find yourself alive.” Rhiley and I only nodded in agreement.
I waited for three seconds to see if the Colonel would speak again. “Thank you, Colonel. I will be returning to my headquarters and making recommendation that protocol be followed by all dignitaries and generals when in the war zone. It is tragedy that such an honorable and dedicated National Socialist should die in a gruesome way.” Without further ado, Rhiley and I parted ways with the Colonel.