The anti-mirror from Stalin's secret bedroom

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story where a character is experiencing parallel realities.... view prompt

1 comment

Historical Fiction Mystery Suspense

The anti-mirror from Stalin's secret bedroom

    The wrought-iron gates of the British Embassy in Moscow opened slowly and quietly, giving way to the four-wheeled "monster" - ZIL KARATEL Ansyr (ZIL PUNISHER Anti-Gradient) - belonging to Russian special armed forces. The military vehicle turned right, towards the New Arbat, going parallel to the bank of the Moscow River. Inside it, which looked like a spaceship, not as a land vehicle, were four people.
    In the front seat, to the right of the driver (a lieutenant- major dressed in the uniform of special troops), was a plainclothes colonel, one of the deputy commanders of the High Dignity Protection Division in the Russian capital.
    Jonathan was sitting in the place behind the Russian colonel and to his left was another lieutenant-major, also in civilian clothes. On the liquid crystal displays on the backs of the chairs in front of them, the two could see a 360-degree panoramic view of the area around them. The images were transmitted in real time by an "invisible" drone, located a few tens of meters above. 
    When they reached Kutuzov Boulevard, they turned right, crossing the river, and headed for the Kuntsevo District. On a path well hidden from prying eyes, the special forces vehicle slipped through the trees, albeit like the threads of a new brush, until it reached a massive gate, embedded in a monolithic perimeter fence, over four meters high, painted in camouflage colors. As the Punisher approached her, the anti-tank armored gate opened with astonishing rapidity. As he passed, Jonathan noticed with surprise that the perimeter enclosure was double.
    They entered the alley guarded by secular trees, heading for the building that loomed before them, shrouded in mystery. Jonathan hurried down from the PUNISHER and headed for the sinister building.
    The Russian colonel was walking to his right, about half a step ahead, while the young lieutenant-major, in civilian clothes, came one step behind them.
    He was right in front of the entrance to the best guarded house in the world!
    Between the double fences were camouflaged modern anti-aircraft batteries, which had replaced the 30 millimeter cannons from the 1940's to the 1950's. Even the three hundred people in the NKVD's special security forces, who provided security in the past, were had been replaced, over time, by very mobile, well-equipped, and „invisible” command groups. 
     This was the secret house in which, in the last twenty years of his life, "Daddy" Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was located and lived alone, haunted by his fears of betrayal and traitors, and especially of Death! This executioner of the Russian people, this cynical and venal mass murderer, was hiding behind these wooden walls even by his own family!
    Supported by his quartet of four villains: Lavrenti Beria, George Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, in the "good" times of Terror he executed several thousand innocent people a day.
    Like a Nero, associated with Tigellinus and his gang, Stalin commanded from his office, which he seldom left, the massacre of his own people!
    The Russian colonel put his hand on the doorknob at the entrance to the „Near Dacha” and pressed it carefully. To everyone's surprise, the door opened easily, without any noise or blockage, a sign that it was very well maintained.
    They entered a rather large austere hall, where only two hangers were found. On the wall on the right, somewhere, around in the middle, they could still see the trace left by a former painting that had been in that place.
    Beyond the middle of the hall at the main entrance was a common door that bore no resemblance to the historical cargo it had carried for decades. It was one of the best-guarded doors in the world, and its view, in the terrible years 1940's and 1950's, filled anyone who had to cross its threshold with horror. Behind her was the official working desk of Dictator Stalin (the War Office), where he spent most of his day.
    Through a well-concealed door in the center of the wall on the left (exactly opposite the entrance to the official office), you could reach Stalin's personal Office, furnished with an armchair, a sofa, a desk, a board and a radio, received as a gift from Churchill in 1942. Finished with a semicircular wall and wide, floor-to-ceiling windows, this desk looked like, strangely, with a huge aquarium.
    On the axis of the main hall, straight ahead, a second door opened to the living room, while at its end, to the right, was a long, narrow corridor that ended on a huge, open porch, where Stalin sat for a long time. from time to time, even on cold winter days, reading books and reports, or feeding birds.
    On the right side of the corridor were two doors leading to two guest bedrooms, while on the left, near the end, was the elevator to the upper floor, built especially for the dictator's daughter, Svetlana.
    The living room was a huge room, intended for meetings with the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), where late-night dinners and major decisions were made not only for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) but for the whole world.   
    Rectangular in shape, the living room ended in a semicircular wall, with two tall, narrow windows overlooking the garden.
    The floor of the living room was covered with carpets with roses as floral patterns, in the middle of which was a huge table, in four corners, of 16 people, draped with a simple tablecloth, made of ivory damask. In addition to the side walls, there were a few round tables for 6-8 people, and some comfortable sofas for 2-3 people. Somewhere on the right, near the big table, was a Donets music combo with a radio and pickup truck. The walls were decorated with paintings depicting Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Maxim Gorky.
    On the left wall, near the middle of the room, was a well-hidden, almost invisible door that led into a vestibule that provided access to Stalin's secret bedroom, as well as a kitchen with a traditional Russian stove that he had an oven for baking bread. The stove was attached to the wall of Stalin's secret bedroom to provide him with the heat needed to treat rheumatism and radiculitis.
    There was a bathroom between the bedroom and the official office.

                                                    *

    On the evening of Saturday, February 28, 1953, Stalin and his four favorites (Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin, and Khrushchev) were watching a movie in his Kremlin apartment. After midnight, the five of them left for „Near Dasha”, in the Moscow suburbs, in the birch forest of Kuntsevo.
    Stalin had a diabolical pleasure in keeping his ministers awake until late in the morning, in order to force them to work all day in that state of fatigue, and to "hunt" them for the mistakes on which he would condemn them, also, to death!
    That night, the five had fun until dawn, consuming, as usual, large amounts of alcoholic beverages. After drinking a glass of mineral water, Stalin did not feel well and signaled to his comrades that they could leave the party.
        At about six o'clock in the morning, the four ministers left for Moscow.
    Stalin ordered the commander of the guard not to be disturbed, asking him to lock the door at the entrance to the living room. He lay there on a more comfortable couch.
    It was already March 1, 1953, and all the staff in Dasha in Kuntsevo were relaxed, enjoying the extremely rare times when the dictator gave them a „free will” program.
    As time passed without anything happening, Legaciov, the commander of the guard, decided to unlock the door and check on Stalin's condition.
    There was no one in the living room... They found him in his personal bedroom, dressed only in pajama pants, falling from the couch to the floor and into hypothermia. He was conscious but stiff and could not utter a word... 
    Only a sinister hiss came out of his mouth. They lifted him onto the couch and covered him with a blanket. Overwhelmed by a massive cerebral hemorrhage, Stalin suffered in solitude. It had been 15 hours since he had fallen to the floor and lay there paralyzed on the right side of his body and into hypothermia, without anyone helping him. After another 16 hours in which he was allowed to suffer on his own, a doctor was finally called. Although the official diagnosis was a concussion, doctors secretly treated him for poisoning with a poison cocktail.
    After an agony for almost five days, on March 5, 1953, around noon, he vomited blood. At 950 o'clock in the evening, with his eyes wide open for fear of death but with a look full of the madness of hatred, with his left hand raised, Stalin gave up his spirit like any ordinary mortal.
    The sinister wind had brought a chilling cold over all of Moscow. There was a deadly silence in the Near Dasha in Kuntzevo.
 
                                                         *
    Jonathan entered in the secret bedroom of one of the greatest criminal - leaders in the whole history: Iosif Vissarionovici Stalin, alias Osip Giukashvili (Djugashvili).
    From the first moment, his gaze was drawn to a huge, oval-shaped mirror that resembled with a living organism, the surface of which was disturbed by the relentless ripples of black-violet-colored "waters".
    The strange mirror attracted him like a magnet. He approached her and his eyes were lost in her deep, trembling water.
    There, in its gynoecium's depths, were projected, as in a still unseen film, the images of an identical history, spent in other times, long before...
    He felt like a passenger in a space capsule hovering lightly into a completely unknown world...
    Strange and dark landscapes unfolded in front of him, like the images of a movie made from a helicopter. Dark forests, turbulent waters, rocky slopes, steep slopes, deep and dangerous valleys, wild steppes...
    As if he had a telepathic guide, Jonathan could hear, in his inner mind, the name of each geographical landmark he visualized, and a description of the land he "traversed with his mind's eyes".
    He had already crossed the great rivers Hebros (Mariţa), Donaris (Danube) and Maris (Mureş), on a route followed by Priscus of Panium, from Constantinople, passing through Sardica (today's Sofia), Naissus (Niş) and Dierna (Orşova), going somewhere in the area of ​​today's Tăşnad (in Romania).
    Not far from that place was a settlement about the size of a city, surrounded by a huge enclosure, consisting of massive fenced logs of impressive thickness, four to five meters above the ground. He saw, like Priscus of Panium, also quoted by Jordanes, a wooden palace built solely of polished woodwork, with towers and huge guest rooms, connected by porticoes of great beauty.
    In that place, in the heart of Dacia, was the favorite residence of the Hun king Attila, the place where he ruled over all the lands he had conquered. 
    Although it was evening, there was an indescribable bustle in the courtyard of the palace. Throughout the day, countless crowned heads and great chiefs of the tribes from the eastern part of the Hun kingdom had arrived  there, invited by Attila to accompany him to Solva where, in three days, his wedding to the princess Hilda of Burgundy was to take place.
    There was a frenzy of frenzy in the palace kitchens, and thousands of guests were to feast on feasts worthy of a great leader of armies and peoples.
    In the main guest room, Attila was sitting at a large table, seated on the north side, surrounded by his closest people. In front of him, on the surface of the whole room, were the tables of all the other high-ranking guests. All the other diners, accompanied in the suites from the eastern frontiers or lower-ranking Huns knights and nobles, were seated at the tables in the other dining rooms, according to their rank.
    Attila's servant entered the main hall first, bringing only meat dishes on a wooden tray. After him came all the servants of the other tables, bringing in the gold and silver trays select dishes, bread and fruits.
    Everyone ate to their heart's content and worshiped, full of joy, the gold and silver cups full of the best wine from Dacia Superior. Only Atilla was drinking from a very old, simple goblet, made from wood. Just a few of his relatives knew that the cup had been brought from the Cathedral of Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, where it was kept with reverence, being considered to be the Holy Grail.
    The next day, after noon, the processions of those leaving for Solva began to take the order in march, after which, at the signal given by the leaders, they set in motion.
    In the peaceful afternoon, in a gentle, soothing light, on the winding roads leading from King Hun's residence in the heart of Dacia to his camp in Solva, many miles away, the impressive cohorts of knights of the Middle Ages lined up early. Dressed in rich robes, protected by light, shining armor, adorned with feathers and scarves, they proudly wore the shields on which were the coats of arms of the noble house of which they were a part, armed to the teeth, they sat proudly on their saddles, just like their masters.
    Accompanied "with shouts and trumpets" by the instrument clusters of the day, the companions and guests of the great Attila advanced slowly but surely to the place where the one known as the "Whip of God" was expected by the future bride and all the guests which had come from the whole west.
    The day before the wedding, the columns accompanying the Hun king began to appear on the borders of the region where Solva was located.
    In an already predetermined order, each went to the place where he was planned to set up his future camp.
    The camp of the Hun king, spread over several acres, was already arranged and populated, in part, by the suite of Princess Hilda, as well as by the Hun nobles and their armies who were to provide additional protection for their great leader.
    The other guests, led by the three kings of the Burgundian court of Worms, the brothers of Princess Hilda - Gunther, Gernot and Giselher, had their own camps, in the immediate vicinity of Attila's camp.
    By dusk, they had all settled into the tents that stretched out as far as the eye could see on St. George's Plain at the bend of the Danube, near Solva, and were quietly preparing for the ceremonies and the next day's party.
    After a courtesy visit to his future brothers-in-law, the three Burgundian kings of the court of Worms — brothers Gunther, Gernot, and Giselher — followed by another in Princess Hilda's camp, Attila retreated to his imposing tent located in the center of the Hun camp. He was in a state of extreme contentment, close to ecstasy. He asked for plenty of food and plenty of wine and asked for the immediate presence of his Gothic concubine Ildikó (Hildiko), who was about to turn 17 that summer.

    It was already day, for a long time, but there was no sound in Attila's tent. Worried, the head of his security group revolved around the entrance like a lion in a cage. He didn't know what to do: to enter or not to enter? - when an unexpected help came to him.
    Accompanied by a large guard of well-armed knights, Princess Hilda, wearing a steel chain shirt with a helmet on her head and a huge shield, with the coat of arms of the Dutch royal house in Xanten in her left hand, approached King Attila's tent, waving his famous Balmung sword in his right hand. Everyone present immediately recognized the warrior Kriemhilda, the widow of the hero-prince Siegfrid, who had been killed in a conspiracy by King Gunther - Kriemhilda's brother - and his trustworthy, perfidious and treacherous man, the dark Hagen.
    - I want to see my future husband, the great King Attila now! - cried the Burgundian princess commandingly, in a voice so loud that it resounded throughout the Danube valley.
    Edecon and Onegese, Attila's brothers and trusted men, suddenly stormed into their master's tent. The image that appeared left them perplexed! Fallen on his back, Attila was lying on his bed in a pool of blood that had burst into his nose and mouth. He was dead... 
    As Edecon and Onegese interrogated the young Ildikó, the Huns in Attila's guard threw their heads at the tent door, and after seeing the gruesome scene, they began to howl like a snake:
    - Attila is dead! Attila is dead! 
    Instantly, Princess Krimhilda raised her Balmung sword to the sky and shouted for the whole of St. George's Plain:
    - Betrayal! Betrayal! King Gunther, in a plot with Marcian, the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, corrupted Ildikó to poison the great Attila! Revenge!
    
    The Huns, unleashed, rushed to the Burgundian camp where a real massacre began. Dozens of knights and brave fighters fell on both sides. Among them were Gernot and Giselher, the Burgundian kings, Kriemhilda's brothers.
    Although King Gunther and the dark Hagen were taken prisoner, the relentless Kriemhilda cut off both of their heads with the Balmung sword, and was beheaded by the master of arms of the prince of Bern.
    As Princess Kriemhilda's head rolled toward them, staring at him with her wide, bright blue eyes, Jonathan instinctively took a step back...
 
    And in the gynoecium's depths of the anti-mirror, new histories were emerging...

July 22, 2022 17:03

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Moon Lion
16:07 Aug 04, 2022

This is such a unique and puzzling story, but is was very well written! Great job on the title, I'm surprised more people haven't read this.

Reply

Show 0 replies