Almost Eternal Avici
By Karen Williams, Written as Karen Plaisance
I found Hitler at the end of his life-that is to say, I found his spirit in the room where he died. This isn’t unusual. Most people, when they perish tarry in or near the area of their demise. For Adolf, this happened to be in the personal study of his Fuhrerbunker, a cold, damp room made to be as comfortable as possible for the former leader of the Third Reich. It must have been quite the shock for such a once powerful man to find himself alone in a tiny room, staring down upon the blood stained sofa where his corpse lay slumped over, brains leaking out of his skull, frozen in time.
It was strange meeting him here after all this time, and not just for the obvious reasons. He appeared to be much older than the last time we met. Older even than the last news-reel I had seen him in. This new world war had aged him much more than the last one. Such are the perils of those who lead during wartime, especially those who lead the losing side.
“Where is this place?” he asked, eyes wide with fear and confusion. “Where is Eva? She was sitting next to me when we…”
“Your wife will not be joining you in this place,” I explained to him. “This is your Avici, not hers.”
He whirled toward me, fear receding, quickly being replaced by that hate filled, toothbrush mustachioed snarl the world had come to know.
“Who are you?”
“You don’t remember me? Honestly, I didn’t think you would. It’s been quite some time since our last meeting. And it isn’t as if we were formally introduced.”
“How did you get past my guards?” He looked me up and down with such a look of disgust, it would have withered me had I not been beyond such things. “Are you a member of the Soviet scum come to string me up by my heels like that fool Mussolini? I will be damned if I allow myself to be taken by any of you Communist Juden!”
I smiled at the irony of that. “Damned is an interesting choice of words. However, you’ll be happy to know I am not a member of Stalin’s Red Army, and if you were thinking straight you would have figured that out for yourself. Do I sound Russian, Herr Hitler?”
“No. No, you are British,” he said, pausing for a moment in his puzzlement and shook his head. “I received word that the Russians had broken through the
lines. They have already advanced to the Potsdamerplatz.
I’ve been expecting them to storm the Chancellery at any moment. Them or the
“Neither the Russians nor the Americans will be coming for you, sir,” I said somewhat amused at his relieved expression. “No one is coming for you. Well, no one living.”
Fear and confusion returned as his eyes darted from me to the corpse on the sofa and then back to me again. His eyes grew cold and his face became hard as his obvious predicament finally started to sink in.
“You said this is my ‘Avici’,” he said eyeing me and keeping his distance as if I were some new and dangerous creature. “I am unfamiliar with the term.”
“It is a word I learned from an old Chinese Buddhist by the name of Zhang. I met him in
Hong Kong a few years before my own death while I was
there on business. I was living under the false assumption that men of his
religion did not believe in such a thing as hell. From what he told me, I was
only partially right. Buddhists do not believe in ‘a’ hell,” I said watching
him carefully. “They believe in many hells, some being the freezing torment of
Dante’s Inferno, other’s being the fire and brimstone the bishops teach
us on Sunday mornings. The way it works is like this: the worse you are in
life, the more bad karma you accumulate. The more bad karma you accumulate, the
nastier the hell you are born into and the longer you have to reside there
before you can burn off that bad karma and be reborn into one of the higher
worlds. He was right about most of this, but not about the nature of the hells.
But you’ll soon learn that.”
Herr Hitler gave me a cold look. “I won’t be learning anything. If what you say is true, I must truly be in heaven. No man lived such a blameless life as myself.”
I stared at him long enough to make any ordinary man uncomfortable. Hitler was no ordinary man, however. You would think the blood stained sofa behind him would have dropped a few hints. The man may have been born with a silver tongue, but his brains were pure Pyrite. I sighed.
“You are not only in hell, sir. You are in the worst level of hell. What the Buddhists might refer to as the ‘Avici’ realm. Your suffering will be epic, and it will go on for eons (upon eons).”
“I’m afraid it is the truth whether you wish to believe it or not.”
He tore at his hair and began to pace the room. “But why? What did I do to deserve such a fate?”
“Well, among a long list of sins, you killed millions of innocent people in a bloody war nobody but you wanted.”
“I didn’t start this war!” he yelled. “It was the doing of the international Bolshevik Jewry and their like-“
“You killed or had killed men, women, and children who were no threat to you, had done nothing to you or to anyone. And this does not even begin to cover the small deaths inflicted on the one’s who will live through this mess you helped to create. The concentration camp survivors who will live with the torture of their insufferable memories of a hell on earth and survivor’s guilt, for instance.”
“Subhumans, all of them! Just waiting to stab us in the back like they did during the Great War,” he raged, waving a clenched fist at me. “They got what they deserved.”
“And what of the war widows, orphans, and myriad other friends and family of fallen soldiers that won’t ever be coming home again? Your own men who will come back wounded and disgraced or not at all?”
“They died defending the Fatherland. The most honorable death there is.”
“Be that as it may,” I said through clenched teeth, knowing any argument on my part would be ignored, “you are here. All of these lives were affected by the turmoil that you caused, Adolf. You. Not the international Jewry. Not the Gypsies or the Slavs. Not the Homosexuals or the Communists. You did this. You allowed this to happen, and it will be you that pays for it.”
He only shook his head. “I did everything in my power to save my people. I only did what I thought was right.”
“You’ve heard the old saying, ‘The road to hell is paved by good intentions’? Well, now you’re about to learn the truth of that expression. And you’re about to learn just how ‘good’ those intentions of yours were.”
“I do not accept this!” he snarled.
He shoved me out of his way, marched past me through the door behind me. I knew where he was trying to go. He was trying to escape to the staircases that led to the emergency exit of the bunker and to the gardens of the Reich Chancellery above. I knew it would be useless, but I didn’t try to stop him.
As I predicted, the door to the study opened. The corpse on the sofa had disappeared. The room was clean. Adolf entered with Eva, his newly wedded wife of just forty hours. She had been waiting for this day since the moment she laid eyes on him in 1929, the day he walked into Heinrich Hoffman’s studio where she worked. She loved him then as she loved him now, longed to make their love known, but he had kept their relationship a secret from the German public, fearing he would lose his appeal with the female voting population if he were to marry. Now she had what she had always wanted, a wedding ring and a piece of paper declaring her to be Mrs. Eva Hitler, the wife of Adolf Hitler. But the feeling of joy and triumph was quickly being replaced by dread. She had her reward, and soon it would be taken away from her along with her life. Because they were losing the war. No, not losing. Lost. And now the Russians were on their doorstep, ready to storm the Chancellery at any moment. It was all for nothing. Her shining knight had failed. He had failed
and he had failed her, and deep down she
hated him for it. These were the treacherous thoughts that were going through
her head as they entered the room. Germany
I watched as she sat with her husband upon the brown sofa, listened as he whispered words of encouragement to her, watched as she bit into the cyanide tablet, writhe upon the sofa in agony and perish just as her husband pulled the trigger against his temple. And all the while, I could hear Adolf’s spirit inside of her body, screaming to be released.
It wouldn’t end until he felt her death-all of it, but it would start again somewhere above us. Soon, he would be screaming inside the body of a Berliner being gunned down by a member of the Red army. And then inside a child being torn to pieces by artillery. And after that, by the hundreds of people dying or praying for death within the city. One by one, he would experience it all. One death at a time. He would be killed outside the city as well, in the trenches, on death marches, in the liberated concentration camps. He would die of typhus, dehydration, starvation, etc. He would die a million deaths, each one connected to the evil he had started when he came to power.
And that was just his first moments in Avici.