The ride to Bonn was fairly silent between us. Chris still didn't trust me and I could understand why. For a time I had lost myself and nearly killed him, but I couldn't blame my stolen memories for it all. Perhaps deep down I had some dark desire to harm people. Was this something I was at fault for? Was it something I could repent of? Christ had said to pluck out one's eye if it caused one to sin. I had never considered the saying literally but I did reflect on my abilities. Could I determine the truth without resorting to my eyes?
Now Bonn was the former capital of West Germany and after a bitter debate the capital was ultimately moved to Berlin during the reunification. Bonn still held many government offices for the purpose of administration and diplomacy. Using my GPS I drove the car up to the Beethoven Monument. Chris took some obligatory pictures of the green looking monument.
"It amazes me that I am three years older than him," I said.
Chris couldn't help but smile at that. "Maybe you will have your statue someday."
"Do you ever wonder why God would inflict an ear illness on a man that loved music?" I asked. "Why he would inflict a bi-polar disorder and depression on him. He was poor most of his life owing his living to rich patrons but he lost all of his money to take care of his relatives," I said.
"Sounds like the right example," Chris said.
"Maybe in heaven he can hear and know of every kind of music and sound," I wondered.
"They don't call them a choir of angels for nothing," Chris said.
"I didn't hear any of this man's compositions until after he was dead. Now, I can listen to them all on my phone," I marveled.
As we turned away from the monument I wondered what it would be like to no longer hear for all of eternity. My ear organs were capable of immediate regeneration, and it was seemingly impossible for me not to have super human hearing. I had been around musket fire, cannon fire, high-caliber machine gun fire, and explosions but my hearing never diminished. I gave the statue one last look and then departed.
I took Chris to St. Martin Minster. It was one of the oldest churches in Germany. "It was here that St. Cassius and Florentius and their commander St. Gereon were beheaded because they refused to sacrifice for pagan gods for victory against the Gauls. They were Roman soldiers," I said.
Chris looked over the church impressed and then I went inside to meet anyone who worked there. After I was done I saw Chris touring around the church. "I have a school to go to. A private Catholic college prep school," I told him.
We headed over to the Aloisiuskolleg run by the Jesuits. "This school is an elite institution in Germany. It was named after St. Aloysius Gonzaga. He was a noble by birth but he renounced his inheritance by joining the Society of Jesus. He seemed always to be in ill health yet treated the sick anyway. He was also well-known for teaching children the catechism," I said.
As we came onto the school grounds I met with the chairman and told him the purpose of my visit. Like all the others he was surprised by my position and the timing of my visit as well as my youthful appearance. After he made a number of phone calls to Rome he allowed me a tour. I searched his mind for anything to incriminate but found nothing.
"I wish to see the teachers," I said.
"Do you intend to question them?" the chairman asked.
"No, I merely wish to see them face to face," I said.
So, I was allowed to see each of the teachers and some of the students. When I was done we had a second meeting. "You currently have two teachers abusing students right now," I told him.
He seemed shocked like the others and perhaps a little angered by the accusation. I told him all the details of what I had found in their minds. The chairman seemed amazed by my retelling of where the teachers were at any given time, place, and who they were with. I then proceeded to tell him the consequences of his inaction.
"This isn't proof," he said to me.
"Find the proof. You can decide whether or not to trust me but if I am right expect the entire school's reputation to suffer. I was able to examine the teachers currently here but there are many teachers and students over the last fifty years that I did not," I revealed.
"Now, to your credit you weren't as bad as the last chairman who took some…unclean photographs. Unfortunately he can't be prosecuted because he's dead. I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here only to observe. Do your job chairman," I said.
I left the chairman to ponder his fate and that of the school. "Where to now?" Chris asked.
"I am going to need you to assist me on this one Chris," I said.
"How so?" he wondered.
"I need you to keep me from killing someone."
Our next destination was a nursing home where an elderly priest was staying. Being in a nursing home always gave me a weird sensation. I was older than many of these people by a factor of three or four and yet they appeared so old. It was here that I was reminded of my immortality. Despite my years I looked exactly the same as when I was 17. I could not get sick in anyway and my strength was super human. Unlike many of the people present my mind was as sharp as ever containing the memories of thousands of people. It was here that I realized I was nothing like a human.
I came to visit a specific patient and was led to his room by a nurse who looked on as I visited. Despite his frail body his mind was still sharp and focused. When a person is that old they start appreciating the power of the mind. As we made small talk I went through his memories of all the horrible things he had done to the children at that school. Once I was done I took Chris with me to the exit and said goodbye to the nurses. I had destroyed the man's mind so that everything up to the point of being in a nursing home remained. For a brief period the nurses wouldn't know the difference until he would need to talk about something from the past. When a person becomes older they realize that the most important thing is their memories. It is a precious commodity that cannot be bought or saved for. People live for the experiences of love and excitement. What kind of life would it be to never remember anything? For the vampire the important thing in his immortality was not his senses, speed, or strength. It was not his wealth, influence, or power over others. The most important thing for a vampire; the thing they valued above everything else was their memories. Never again would the priest remember fond memories from his life. It was in every sense a wasted life.
I was about to leave Bonn when I received an email from Frederick. My email address had been implanted into his memory from our last encounter, but I hadn't told him I was in Europe. Someone tipped him off, probably from somewhere in the Vatican. Not only was I exposing abusive priests but I had Vatican officials trying to get me killed. I had already received a phone call from the Vatican Bank that the funds would continue after they had unexpectedly been shut off. The email gave me the personal description, name, and job of a vampire working inside the German government.
"I wonder if it's a trap," I said after explaining the email to Chris.
"Yeah…probably," he winced.
"A little too good to pass up. If I find this vampire I will have access to all of his memories including the locations and descriptions of other vampires," I said.
"They're testing you," Chris said darkly.
"Let's see if I am up for it."
I approached the Bonn UN campus, a tall skyscraper on the Rhein River. "I am just going to take a look. You should stay here," I told him.
"Good luck," he said as I walked off.
While my skills had improved significantly since my last fight and I did have the element of surprise I did feel a little nervous. I walked into the building and passed through the metal detectors. I then implanted the memory that I had already shown my ID to the security guard. I then used the elevator to the appropriate floor indicated on Frederick's note. As I walked through the floor I scanned for anything irregular in the memories of the employees. Finding none I approached a worker in a cubicle.
"I'm looking for David Baur. Do you know where he is?" I asked him in German.
"I'll show you to his office," he offered.
I followed the cubicle worker to Mr. Baur's office and then went inside. "Can I help you?" he asked with a bored expression.
I scanned his memories and immediately knew the truth. Frederick hadn't lied to me. This was the real thing and I felt an immediate excitement go through me. It was the same excitement I felt so many years ago when I would win a court case as a criminal prosecutor. For a brief moment I knew who he was, but he had no idea who I was. In addition to his memories I could immediately smell the blood on his breath. It was too faint for a human to detect it especially since Mr. Baur liked to conceal it with alcohol. However, within less than five seconds he knew who I was.
He was a tall man with short blond hair and blue eyes. His complexion was pale but not unusually so for a German. As I read through his memories I realized that he was part of a network of vampire clubs across Europe hoping to manipulate relations between Europe and the rest of the world. Within Mr. Baur's mind was a treasure chest of names, addresses, occupations, and faces. At some point Frederick;s master Xavier had recruited this man for their social events but he had politely declined. So, I was sent here to do Xavier's dirty work.
"Take a seat. Did Xavier send you?" he asked.
"He wishes to extend another invitation," I said.
"I already told him no and I don't appreciate one of his lackey's showing up at my place of work," he said disgruntled.
"I had to try," I smiled.
He nodded. "Well, you're a lot younger and beautiful from the other ones," he complimented.
"So, your answer is the same?" I asked.
"It is," he said bored with me.
I stood up and turned away from him towards the door. "One last thing Mr. Baur," I said.
"What is it?" he asked annoyed.
Within in a flash I kicked his desk over sending him to the ground. I quickly extended my blade from my pocket and slashed down on the desk splitting in half. He immediately got to his feet and tried to exit. I swiped my sword at him but he was too quick. He kicked the door off its hinges and fled down the corridor. I quickly followed him and using my sense of smell I tracked his movements. He ran down the hallway towards the elevators. I ran after him but he managed to get into an elevator. Using my sword I sliced through the elevator doors and then morphed the blade so twin blades extended outward. The blades effortlessly pried the doors open. I then went inside the elevator and took the blade from the elevator doors. He immediately kicked the blade out of my hands. The sword flew through the air and sliced into the wall of the elevator.
As the elevator went down we fought to the death in the small space. A rush of excitement and perhaps joy went through me as I struggled with the vampire. His punches and kicks hurt but I never felt endangered. I enjoyed breaking his bones and smashing his face. The two of us slammed into the walls of the elevator causing it to shake. I saw his confused and fearful face as he realized his immortality would soon be gone. He fought like an animal striving in desperation to survive at any cost. I then grabbed my sword and cut off his head in one swipe. I then punched the elevator to go to the basement level and shortened the blade to dagger form.
The doors opened and thankfully no one was around at the time. I walked casually away from the elevator and then ran back to the car. "Time to leave," I told Chris with urgency.
"What did you do?" he asked.
"I killed a vampire, but law enforcement is going to be everywhere soon," I explained.
I drove away from the scene and out of the city. Even as a vampire I felt my heart race and my adrenalin glands pumping. I had killed my second vampire since the killing of the Countess at the church. I had no only killed the vampire but I had dominated in the fight. My body felt a little sore after the fight, but I felt nothing now. With my improved body and sword I was invincible. Killing vampires would be too easy.
Frederick watched the BBC news intently as details unfolded on the murder of a high ranking diplomat. While in the service of Xavier, Frederick took up residence in one of his houses in Paris. The news was too courteous to Mr. Baur to mention that he had been beheaded. That was what the internet was for. There was neither motive for the killing nor any witnesses who remembered anything. There was however a video camera image of a possible suspect. Frederick eyed the picture of myself with interest. It was out of focus but Frederick knew it was me.
"So, she took the bait," Xavier said behind Frederick.
"Yes Sir," Frederick said.
Xavier looked over the picture. "She is exactly as you said," he commented. "She reminds me of…," Xavier muttered.
"Reminds you of her?" Frederick asked curiously.
Xavier ignored the question. "Inform all of our so called friends that if they do not join my coven they will meet the same fate. We must be united," he said.
"As you wish," Frederick said obediently.
Xavier gave my picture one last look and then left the room.
As I drove south, I noticed Chris was a bit anxious. "They won't catch us," I assured him.
He winced at that. "You had to behead him?" he asked.
"As opposed to what? Slicing him through the heart?" I asked.
"Kind of leaves a mess doesn't it?" he asked.
I rolled my eyes at that. "I'll be sure to make a cleaner kill next time."
"Now that you've killed a diplomat the entire German police force is going to be looking for you," Chris said.
"The hazards of the trade," I said.
Chris grimaced and I knew he was worried. "No more killing until you get back to Rome. I would never allow them to take you anyway but still," I said.
"Do what you have to do. By killing that vampire today you may have saved a life today," he said.
I considered that and realized Chris was likely correct. The amount of people killed by the vampire was staggering. Once we stopped I would have to write a report to the Vatican on what that vampire was doing at the UN.
"What is our next destination?" I asked Chris who was holding my phone.
"We could go to Frankfurt," Chris suggested.
"I think it best to hug the German-French border," I said.
"Then we're headed to Saarbrucken," Chris said, and then gave me the directions.
We stayed the night in Saarbrucken in two different rooms. Chris and I were still not on the best of terms after I had assaulted him. He knew it wasn't really "me" that attacked him, but a part of me did. I watched the news reports as people tried to make sense of the murder that had occurred in Bonn. Interestingly "family members" of the victim wanted a quick burial without an autopsy.
We proceeded to move towards the Swiss border while hugging the border with France. It was true that in the European Union French and German law enforcement could cooperate with each other rather easily. However, my hope is that if there were any law enforcement complications there would be enough confusion by the two governments to allow me to escape. On my list of targets was a Jesuit school in St. Blasius.
"Tell me about this saint," I asked Chris as I was driving.
"He made shoes and was a physician of the throat. He became a Bishop in Armenia and was arrested, and they tortured and executed him," Chris said as he looked on my phone.
"I wonder why there's an Armenian saint in Germany," I said.
"Well, he was one of the 14 saint helpers made popular in Catholicism. It became a cult like thing all over Europe and Pope Nicholas V put an indulgence on these 14. It was said that intercessions to these 14 were more effective," Chris said.
"I guess the other saints were slackers," I joked.
Chris shrugged disinterested. We eventually came upon the Jesuit school in Sankt Blasius. The school was college prep like the others and officially called Kolleg St. Blasie. Chris toured the quaint town while I interrogated some Jesuits. I approached the headmaster and had a small chat about the school while I read his memories. After a casual conversation I started detailing what members of his order did in years past that he also was aware of.
"So, you had a sports teacher acting as a priest that molested children here in the 1980s and 90s and upon this discovery your predecessors helped him avoid prosecution by sending him to South America. Then while he was in South America he continued to molest children," I revealed.
The headmaster appeared paler than usual. "The question I have is why wasn't the Vatican told?" I asked.
"They were told, but the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith did nothing. They wanted to just remove the priest from the school," he said.
I read his mind and determined that to be true. So, Cardinals knew about the scandal but didn't tell the Pope about it or to other Cardinals. "I have been told many times that Jesus is about love and forgiveness," I began.
"But I have also read the Gospel many many times, and one passage comes to mind that's relevant to our situation. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea," I said.
"Matthew 18:6," the headmaster said flatly.
"It is the current policy that these molesters be thrown out of the school as soon as you are made aware and that the police investigate them. That you bring forth the allegations to the police once you find out," I said before leaving in disgust.
When we crossed into Switzerland I was already in a bad mood. The border patrol on the Swiss border looked at our passports and then had us wait. They made some phone calls and it appeared they were going to detain us.
"What's the problem?" I asked in German.
"Our government has been notified that a person matching your description and vehicle have fraudulent documents," the border agent said.
"You don't say," I said. I searched his mind and discovered the source which was his superior. I couldn't access his superior's mind without him being there. It was a small outpost with little traffic so I entertained them.
"This is who I work with. You call this number and you will verify my purpose," I said.
Another guard called up the Vatican number and started talking in Italian. The border patrol superior eventually came to the scene. He was not happy to be out in the cold. I looked through his mind and saw the source. It was from an Italian official in Rome. Once they were done with their call with the Vatican they talked amongst each other.
"They have verified you," the border guard said.
"Thank you," I said annoyed.
They let us pass but it became obvious to me that someone in the Vatican was trying to hinder my job. Once I was in Zurich, I called the Vatican to chew someone out. "I'm doing my job out here, and I have my bank account shut down and I get harassed by Swiss border agents," I said ticked.
"We have corrected the financial misunderstanding. There should be no additional problems with your account," the priest said on the other end.
"I have people inside the Vatican trying to get me arrested or worse," I said.
"I can't verify that kind of claim. How can you know that the source was from Rome?" he asked.
"I just know. It's my job to know. Do you know who I am and what I do," I said displeased.
"Your file is highly confidential. If I had to guess I would say you were a…," he began.
"A spy. An intelligence officer. Now, I understand that you will deny that I exist if I ever get caught. But I want my money and my connections," I said.
I hung up on him after I heard additional excuses. "We're getting a new car," I announced to Chris.
I went shopping and got myself an expensive car courtesy of the Vatican and went straight for Italy. After getting past the border I gave Chris a tour of Italy starting with Pisa and then Florence. I finally arrived in Rome and went through some old Roman ruins such as the Coliseum and the grave of Julius Caesar.
"Kind of puts things into perspective. This old ruin is the grave of Julius Caesar, a temple that is no longer here anymore. You compare that to the legacy of a poor Jewish rabbi in Palestine," I said.
"Both were betrayed," Chris commented.
"And their betrayers are both in the ninth circle of Hell."