Chapter One Shuffle and Deal
Where:- New Amsterdam. Earth Seven.
Date:- Friday 7th February 1941
Time. 3 O’clock pm
Place:- The Western Bank.
The room was pleasant and airy with a piano in the corner.
The news paper, the Jewish Chronicle, showed the date as being November the 9th 1936.
Thirteen year old Jonas Nachman sat at the upright piano gently playing a piece by Chopin a smile on his face as his younger sister joined in with her violin.
His father took up the second violin as his mother played the cello.
The music filled the room. Swelling and ebbing with palpable peace and calm.
The sun shone through their window, that shattered with explosive force.
A fragment slashed across his mouth cutting it open. He screamed out in pain his mouth filling with blood.
“Filthy Jew!” A voice yelled. “Your day has come scum.”
With a crash of splintered woodwork the main door crashed open. SS troopers in their black uniforms with the Death head insignia piled into the room knocking everything flying.
A Gestapo officer followed.
He signalled the soldiers to take his father and mother.
Bloody though he was, when Jonas tried to interfere he was clubbed down and kicked in the ribs for his temerity.
Unable to do anything he and his father watched as the soldiers took turns at raping his mother and sister before they were all dragged away.
Outside a crowd of strangers had gathered.
They spat at them, cursed them and even threw stones at them. The locals they stood silently watching in obvious shock.
It was November the 9th 1936 in Munich.
The Kristallnnact, The Night of Broken Glass had begun.
Jack woke up screaming and thrashing about from a nightmare only for a strong pair of arms to embrace him and draw his head down to her breast.
“It’s alright. Just breathe slowly, deeply.” Her voice said. “I have you, you’re safe now.”
Jack wept for awhile before recovering.
“Remember none of it is your fault. None of it Jack.” She tried to hide the tear that ran down her own cheek but he caught it on his finger. “Remember I love you. Cling to that.”
Slowly sleep overcame him once again.
Halley held him for a long time before she too fell asleep.
Monroe stroked Mary’s hair as he stared up at the ceiling.
She lifted up her head off his chest and asked drowsily.
“Do you think he’s another of those Mystery men?”
Mystery men and women had popped up all over the United States in the last two years. Vigilantes they may be but they were effective.
Some had been absorbed into the law enforcement units. Quasar worked with the FBI whilst The Sandman here in New Amsterdam was a Lieutenant in Monroe’s department.
“He could be. I just don’t know. I’ve left a message on the web for Sandman.” He stretched “I’m more concerned with the robbers that were caught. They have a Diamond tattoo on their necks. One had two on him, another had three and the last four. If they are gang marks it’s the last thing we need what with the Families getting jumpy.”
Mary suddenly looked up at her husband wide awake.
“Say that again but slowly?”
“I’ve put the Jokers details out on the web for the Sandman.” He told her.
“No not that bit, the bit about tattoos?” She asked.
“They had playing card pips on their necks, Diamonds. Why?”
“We had a couple of prostitutes in this morning. One of them had two heart tattoos on her neck. The playing card heart pips.”
“What happened to her?” Monroe asked.
“Not much. We read them the riot act and then let them off with a caution.”
“Oh great!” He sighed. “Can you give us the details tomorrow.”
“Yes no problem.” Mary traced a shape around his nipple with her finger nail. “Are you tired?”
“No, not now.”
“Good.” She said as she swung her body over his and smothered him with passionate kisses. “Make love to me darling?”
“Again?” He said with a laugh.
“Well we are awake and it seems a shame to waste the time.”
“True, how true.” He said laughing as he gave into her rising lust.
Douglas parked up his bike and hurried with his equipment over to the body.
He’d made it he had got their before the emergency services.
Pushing through the little crowd that had collected he came across the body of the woman.
Working swiftly he began taking pictures.
The victim had fallen from at least fifteen stories up and at that high it was obvious their would be considerable damage to the body.
But even Douglas quailed at the ruin that was her face but that didn’t stop him photographing it.
The body was naked and twisted as it lay there on the ground.
It was then that Douglas noticed the blood pouring out from where her hands should have been. They had both been hacked cut off.
He noticed that a piece of skin on her neck was hanging off. With the sound of the emergency services sirens ringing in his ears he snipped it of and fled back to his motorbike and left the scene, shooting past the patrol car.
Back at his rooms he slumped into a chair to catch his breath. He was trembling from pure excitement.
He carefully removed the piece of skin from his pocket and spread it out on the table. With infinite care he took a photograph of it before putting it into an empty jar.
The rest of the night was spent in carefully developing the photographs and enlarging those parts that excited him most.
As he hung the last one up he didn’t notice the white figure in the doorway of the apartment block. A figure in a white cat suit with ten black spade pips under a beige raincoat watching the scene with satisfaction. A figure with a bare face.
Pegged up to dry was the photograph of the piece of skin. The image showed the nine heart tattoos clearly.
Douglas left the house to find his favourite prostitute while the lust was still with him.