Hi everybody, do you mind taking a look? --- The man stared out through the windows. They stretched from floor to ceiling, these windows. For the light. The oak-clad office would be as dark as night, hadn’t it been for the windows. The man appreciated that. Outside, the rain was falling ever so softly, and the banners waving ever so slowly in the accompanying breeze. His banners, with his symbol. The man felt a sudden... twinge. - Is it really necessary? He spoke to the empty room. Suddenly, a shadow behind the corner of a bookshelf shifted, shortened, widened, took form. It answered with a deep, silk-smooth tone, the kind that came from a naked woman. - Of course it is. They were expendable. The man swallowed. A single droplet of sweat eased itself down from his temple into his collar. The rain became stronger. - Why... are they? - Because those are the rules, my dear partner. Floorboards started creaking. Other shapes took form in the dark corners, horned beasts, fanged serpents. The man started to cry. His shoulders shook, the rain becoming stronger. - Why can’t you just leave me alone? The faintest of whispers. The shadow heard it like a bellow. - What did you say? Are you wishing me gone? Are you tired of this now? The man sobbed. The rain intensified. - It’s just... I don’t want to be responsible. - Oh, but you are, my partner. You wanted power. Power comes at a price. Right now, that price is every soul of the Chosen People. When they are gone, you will see me no more. The man looked up, out at the rain. A single flash of lightning bolted across the sky. - Can I... pay you... in any other way? Please? Not these people. All of those men, women and children... The man turned, fury rising in his face. - YOU ARE HERE ON MY SUMMON! The shadow grew. The silk in its voice fell off. - AND WHAT IS THAT? MY LEASH? DO YOU THINK YOU CAN CONTROL ME? Lightning spread a flashing white light across the room. The shadows encircled the man, surrounding him. A figure stepped forward, flames twirling in his dark figure. - You invade my privacy, you offer me a deal that I can not refuse, and now you think you can just send me AWAY?! The man fell on his back. Fear painted its pale colour onto his skin. - I did not want... any of this- - Shut up, fool, I know exactly what you want! You want gold and riches, whores and feasts! Banquets and orgies, tournaments and POWER! ALWAYS POWER!! Lightning struck the building. The rods on the roof sizzled with energy. The man broke down. - I... c-cannot... do thi-this... Tears streamed down his face. The shadow smiled, revealing his moulding teeth and decaying gums. - Exactly my opinion. The shadows closed in. *** - Mein Führer? Is everything all right in there? The guard was nervous now. He had heard shouting, and then a horrible scream had emanated from the other side of the door. His hand trembled as it gripped the handle. It was opened from the inside. The office was dark, what he could see through the gap, but smelled strangely. Suddenly, the Führer appeared in the opening. - What is it?! The guard didn’t like this. Herr Hitler never sounded like this. At least not what he had heard. He cleared his throat. - Well, I heard voices and I- - Voices, private? Don’t be daft, there’s no-one in here with me. - I know herr, but if you would be so kind as to let me search the room- - I think not! Good evening! The Führer slammed the door in the guard’s face. He stood so for a few moments before moving. The smell still lingered, a sweet one of old fruit and overgrown gardens. He snapped to attention and went back to his post across the hall. Odd... --- ARGRGRH FEEDBACK ARRAGRGRAH!