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The Fire of Forgotten Gods [MultiFormat]
eBook by Frantisek Emmert

eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: At the end of World War II, the Nazis, desperate to ward off near defeat, create a secret weapon from the Ancient World. On the shore of North Italy, a British parachutist lands by accident on an inaccessible island and finds what the Nazis are hiding....

eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, Published: SynergEbooks, 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2005


7 Reader Ratings:
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Prologue

Eastern Africa, 1942

--

Dawn over the Great African Desert is usually just as quick as dusk. The temperature rises more quickly than the intensity of light during the dawn.

The foreheads under the scarves of the men standing on the ridge of a sand dune broke out in sweat. A few moments earlier they had woken up into the cold morning, when the vapor rose out of their mouths. It was the only moisture in this parched country, so remote from their German homeland. Until now, they had been posted in other distant regions by a secret and special order from Hitler.

They stood ankle-deep in sand-like statues of desert giants. The silhouettes of their figures suddenly stood out of the darkness and seemed all at once to be huge, even unnaturally big, with the shining morning sky behind their backs. Then one of them pulled a telescope from beneath his uniform and focused into the distance on a narrow, sand-covered road. It meandered through dunes and weather-worn rocks. On it he spotted a cloud of raised dust that was drawing along the road, nearer and nearer towards them like a small tornado.

When it swung over a ridge in the terrain, the man recognized a two-wheeled cart in the range of vision of his telescope. Two white horses dashed at a gallop with a whip cracked above their heads. The two-wheeled cart leapt behind them along the stones, swaying from side to side. On the cart a figure towered with an arm sharply raised. It looked like a very wild ride.

"Captain!" The man passed the telescope to his superior.

The Captain focused the binoculars over the horizon. Dust was rising from there as well. But that was not only a small tornado, but rather an approaching storm. It was accompanied by the earth trembling from the thunder of hoofs. Two riders galloped on their horses along the road and chased the two-wheeled cart. The figure on the cart cracked the whip again.

The Germans standing on the sand dune couldn't even reach for their guns. It was not necessary. An aircraft engine roared above their heads. A shadow shaped like a cross quickly flitted by on the sand. It was the hull of the airplane with its outstretched wings. The soldiers lifted their chins towards the sky. The German dive-bomber was gaining height, rising upwards. Then it tilted into an attacking maneuver. It swooped down from its height towards the road like a buzzard dives for its prey. The loud howling of its engine reverberated through the empty desert. That whistling made the men's ears ring. They covered them with their palms. It seemed to them as if this unpleasant sound was made by the very trumpets of Jericho.

* * * *

A woman on the cart turned toward her pursuers. She clenched the reins in her hands. The riders covered in white desert clothes were slowly catching up with her. Now and then she spotted their figures blending with the bodies of their horses through the swirling dust that remained behind her cart.

They mustn't get me now, she said to herself. There would be only one punishment in her country for what she had done to them, the strictest one.

"Faster! Quicken your pace!" She cracked the whip.

The dive-bomber found itself above the riders' heads. An aircraft machine gun rattled. Little geysers of sand sprang out amongst the horses' hoofs. The first horses went down onto the sand with their front legs, their riders falling from their saddles. The frightening neigh of horses and the ceaseless rat-a-tat-tat of an automatic gun resounded through the desert. The pilot also dropped a couple of bombs on the riders.

On exploding, the earth boomed even under the feet of the men standing on the nearby sand dune. They looked at each other with triumph in their eyes. The two-wheeled cart had gotten rid of its pursuers. It slowed down and arrived at their dune along the road. The men in German uniforms ran down from it.

The captain blocked the cart's way and raised his hands in front of it. He calmed down the horses and stroked their manes with his palms. The horses were puffing, snorting loudly, shifting from one foot to another.

"Come down, Madam." An unshaven soldier in a scarf helped the young woman climb down from the cart.

The group of men examined the exotic figure of a young Ethiopian girl. She was tall and slim--taller than them--with supple posture, scantily clothed, with a narrow, long face, a pointed chin, a prominent Oriental eyebrow and specially shaped pink lips. As she walked with a lofty expression along the road to a little church crouching in the middle of the desert, the gracious moves of her naked legs as well as her bare narrow waist were accompanied by searching looks of the rough men. For more than a year these German men had been fighting the famous Rommel's Afrikakorps in the Great African Desert, out of touch with the real world where women live as well.

She walked past the convoy of parked military vehicles to a small stone building.

"Ethiopian tigress," one of the soldiers nicknamed her. He had the name at hand. The name of her tribe had directly called upon him to do it: The Tigers.

"These Tigers have been ruling over the whole of Ethiopia for three thousand years, from as early as the times of King Salomon and the Queen of Sheba," the unshaven soldier, nicknamed the Expert, enlightened the others. "Even today's Emperor of Ethiopia considers himself to be a direct descendant of King Salomon. That's why he let himself be called the King of Kings and the Lion of Judea."

"How modest!" the captain exclaimed.

The tall beauty with dark-velvet complexion entered the small stone church with dignity. Her beautiful naked back flashed in the frame of the entrance door. She couldn't understand a word of German. She disappeared in the semi-darkness of the building, which the Germans didn't dare venture.

"Are all of the Tigers so tall and slim? Advise us, Professor." The captain squinted his eyes against the glaring sunshine.

"They are Christians," the Expert went on, and he and the captain stepped forward to the deserted two-wheeled cart.

"But they also consider themselves to be descendants of the Jews and the only chosen nation. They observe all of the Old Testament regulations, even circumcision. They are said to keep in their churches the biblical manna, with which God the Lord fed the ancient Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, and to use it as the host up to this day."

"And do they ever learn how to read and write?" The captain smiled contemptuously and his eyes flashed at the cart.

There was something lying there, covered with a white cloth.

"Do you dare to look under it?" The Expert turned to him, as if this German, educated in archaeology and the culture of ancient Africa, was himself afraid of raising the white cloth.

Therefore, the captain did it for him.

"This is It!" he announced to the others.

"Come, guys, we'll transfer It!" he commanded.

* * * *

The airplane was just taxiing along a stony plain behind the church. The dive bomber stopped and its engine became silent. Dust rose from the landing runway.

The tall young girl kneeled in the dark church in front of an altar. Inside the church only one single tongue of flame blazed on a narrow candle. The girl piously folded her hands.

"My God, you're the only one who knows how strong my love is, for which sake I have broken my oath of allegiance and betrayed my nation. You have sent him to help me just in time--is it perhaps your sign that I'm acting right? But if you want me to be condemned for my deed, I'll accept your punishment. What is eternal life as compared with my love?"

The voices in front of the church disturbed her from her prayer. She recognized them. She quickly drew a cross with her finger on the stone floor in front of her and turned to the entrance door.

The stout colonel was just unstrapping his airman's cap while glancing inside.

"Come!" She was pulling his hand. "I'll show you something!"

The colonel made a few obedient steps after her. The others followed him. They hadn't known their colonel like this before. He smiled at the tall girl almost shyly and guilelessly. His moves were charming. Yet the men knew him as a rough companion from the desert holes in which he had shared the contents of a can with them and entertained the others with wild jokes.

"You're my treasure," the colonel kissed the girl's hair when she had raised the white cloth on the jeep in front of him.

She had kept her promise.

"Come to the church with me once more," the colonel led the girl back to the entrance.

They disappeared inside.

"What do you want?" The girl leaned her elbows against his chest and piously raised her eyes to him.

"This is your last day in Africa, isn't it?" the colonel announced to her gently. "So, aren't you sad?"

"I am with you. I will never be sad with you!" They kissed passionately. She clamped his neck with her elbows, and then briefly turned to the altar. The colonel clasped her smooth hips.

"But we can't do this!" She resisted him. "Not here, before God's face!"

"Right here, before God's face!" The colonel pressed against her with male determination.

* * * *

The Germans sat in the jeeps in front of the church and smoked cigarettes. It was high time to go away with that stolen Thing.

They were suddenly horrified. A couple of dull shots sounded from the church. Everybody's eyes turned towards the entrance door. In its frame appeared the expected figure of the stout colonel. He was just buttoning up his pistol holster.

He jumped onto one of the jeeps.

"Drive off!" he commanded to the others.


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