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Tiger Tiger

By

Teel James Glenn

Copyright 2016 by Teel James Glenn

Chapter One:

Berlin was a magic place in the year nineteen thirty; a place of dark magic and dark thoughts that passed through Major Geoffrey Smythe’s memory.

“Rudolf Ziesse is the most dangerous man in Germany,” Doctor Argent said when he assigned Smythe the mission, “And we think he is planning a coupe more violent than the nineteen sixteen revolt there. We could have the beginnings of another war on our hands; a definite threat to the British Empire.”

Smythe, tall straight-backed with piercing blue eyes and close cropped blond hair cut in the Teutonic fashion walked down the Leipziger Strausse. He smoked a cigarette in a long holder and relaxed into his surroundings.

He looked like anyone else on the street except that he was a British spy.

He knew that the key to blending in was simply to be; to have no thought that he did not belong. He took his true self, his inner man who had been raised in the Midlands of England and locked him away inside of the public persona of Dieter Von Holms. He did not play the part of a Saxony Architectural student turned businessman, he became him.

Smythe’s mother had been a German from Saxony so he spoke the language like a native and, indeed often went abroad as Dieter Von Holms. He had maintained the dual identity for several years and it had brought him into contact with many levels of German society and provided him much valuable intelligence.

The streets of Berlin were full of gay partiers, a Curt Bois film was playing at the Art House Theatre, and the air was crisp with an early fall storm looming. Smythe/Dieter passed the transvestite Eldorado Klub where the men dressed as women.

Smythe walked over to Jagger Strausse, passing the Cabaret of the Nameless at number eighteen where so many poor souls who hoped for a real career were humiliated by the emcee for the entertainment of the audience. It was all the rage and it, in a nutshell summarized for Smythe, the depths of cruelty that the German Republic had fallen to.

And the place that pointed to the darkest heart of the dark empire was the Klub Magus, Smythe’s destination. It was at the end of a narrow and dimly lit alley. A simple neon sign announced the club with the image of a wizard, arms raised, in red.

The entrance was gained by descending a flight of stairs to a crimson door. He knocked twice heavily and a small window in the door slid back to reveal dark eyes and a scowling brow.

“I have walked a narrow path to the Luminous Lodge from a golden dawn.” Smythe said. He knew that the occult society that operated the club had ties with the Golden Dawn Society in London.

“Let the light be both Luminous and Golden,” the ‘eyes’ said and the panel slid closed. Then the door opened and a thin man in evening clothes beckoned the secret agent in. “Welcome, mein herr,” the man said in a reedy voice, “It is good of you to join us.”

When the door was closed and bolted Smythe turned his attention to his host who was painfully thin with hair slicked back and with a pencil mustache, both jet black and obviously fake. Smythe looked more closely and noticed the ‘man’ did not have an Adam’s apple.

Nothing unusual for Berlin.

She turned to lead him toward the curtain with just a bit too much ‘English’ in her walk for a young lad.

Smythe thought he had become used to the strange and bizarre in Berlin but when the door ’man’ led him into the interior of the Klub Magus he changed his opinion.

Chapter Two:

The physical space of the Klub Magus had been a storage warehouse at one point and still retained the vaulted roof architecture in many divided rooms. It was lit mostly with candelabras and some small electric table lamps.

The center space of each room was a dance floor and when Smythe entered the first room a cabaret act was in progress.

The act consisted of several near naked women enacting a Roman gladiatorial battle in dance; two of the women were made up as warriors and another had been body painted to resemble a lion with her hair braided and teased into a fair resemblance of a mane. The three women danced and wrestled to a-tonal music played by three topless women. An androgynous man in a toga provided a humorous play-by-play as the women created a sensual combat scenario.

The ‘battle’ ended when the lion began to ‘eat’ one of the gladiators by chewing on her breasts and the third woman ‘stabbed ‘ the lion in the back. The three women took a bow as the crowd applauded with lackluster enthusiasm.

“My friends,” the emcee said as the women scurried away, “I know you are all waiting for the event of the evening, but you will have to wait just a bit longer; meantime enjoy the music of Fraulein Fritta Klum to drown your sorrows.”

The trio began to play Million Dollar Baby and a lanky blonde singer stepped out on to the dance floor to mesmerize every person in the club. She had perfect features; high cheekbones, huge blue eyes and a perfect bow shaped mouth that seemed to be trying to kiss every one in the room.

Her voice was good, but her presentation was better and she soon had everyone in the room clapping.

While the chanteuse performed Smythe was conducted to a small booth near the back of the room. “Your waiter will be with you in a moment, mein herr,” the faux doorman smiled.

Within a few moments a waiter did make an appearance. He was wearing only an apron, garter belt and bow tie. “What would you like, sir,” he said managing to make it sound like an indecent proposal. He also wore stark blue eye make up and bright red lipstick.

“Lager,” Smythe said doing his best to ignore the waiter’s implied offer; he knew it was standard practice in the ‘cellar clubs’ to mix business and pleasure.

“Very good,” the waiter said, “ I will bring it right away.” He moved away with more swing in his hips than even the faux doorman had in hers.

Fraulein Klum finished her song just as the beer arrived for Smythe. He watched her smile her way around the room and set about looking for his assignment; Rudolf Ziesse.

Smythe knew what the man looked like from the newspaper articles he had read on him; square, jutting jaw, piercing green eyes, unusual for a Teutonic and an arrogant expression that was the norm for members of the National Socialists.

Smythe watched the crowd of dilatants and degenerates and thought about how different it was from even the ‘down low’ night clubs in London. Save for such legendary nightspots as the infamous Hellfire Club, English society, even at it’s darkest and most deviant had passion in it. Those in the room seem detached from their own selves and their actions, as if they were being deviant because everyone else was; a herd mentality the cavalry officer could not understand.

Get hold of yourself, Smythe, he admonished himself, You are here not to judge or philosophize, but to do a job; a job that must be done.

As he concluded his thought he spotted the next best thing to his prey, Helga Brandstatter, the woman known to travel with Ziesse as his mistress and confidant.

She was thin and noble with short bobbed black hair and hooded dark eyes that regarded the room with a cool distain.

She knows she’s the queen, she does. Smythe thought, And expects to be treated like it.

A maître-de in drag brought the woman to what was obviously her regular booth. It was across the dance floor from Smythe’s booth but out of the direct line of the entrance to the club. She slid into her booth like a graceful panther and a waiter appeared immediately with a glass of absinthe for her. She sipped it while she scanned the room to settle her gaze on Smythe.

The English spy locked eyes with the woman and gave her a slight smile that she acknowledged without returning.

The emcee chose that moment to step out on the floor with a comical two-step. “And now my dearest of dear friends,” he grimaced and smiled, “I present to you the event you have waited your whole life for, the Magus of the Magus; Herr Doktor Ziesse!”

The trio of musicians struck up a martial tune.

Rudolf Ziesse entered the room followed by three barely clad women painted silver and gold.

Ziesse himself was dressed in a long flowing robe with a hood that all but concealed his face. It could not hide the piercing power of his stare, his eyes shone out from beneath the cowl like torches.

When he reached the dance floor the three women assumed positions at the three points of a triangle, kneeling with their arms spread wide in supplicating positions.

Ziesse stood still bowing his head to shadow his face completely. From the depths of the cowl his voice roiled out to fill the room.

“All of you are the brave ones who have faced the stolid, calcified traditions of the past and seen them lacking. You have looked beyond convention for the power of Vril.” He raised his head dramatically to reveal his handsome Nordic features.

“Vril, whose vibrations are given to us from the Masters of Wisdom will help us all to rise above the common, racially impure cattle who pollute the surface of the Earth.”

He made a complex gesture in the air and a burst of light grew from a single pinpoint before him. The flaming ball of light raced around the room, whizzing over Smythe’s head and fizzled out in a hiss of steam.

Smythe watched the woman Helga as she watched Ziesse. His mesmerism of her was different from the crowds. In her eyes he saw not the fawning and blind obedience of a follower, but the convinced and cunning power of a collaborator.

“The work for which we are responsible, “ Ziesse continued in a quiet voice, “will be able to spread and gain strength in the world. It will be accepted by only those who are able to generate higher energies.” Now the power glowed from within all of him rather than just his hands. It was an inner glow and Smythe was at a loss to say how the German had accomplished it.

The three women began to sing now, a keening song in ancient German.

Suddenly the song and the light reached a fever pitch and with a blinding flash Ziesse disappeared to be replaced by a huge white tiger!

Chapter Three:

The transformation of Ziesse was startling and the whole room gasped audibly. The tiger reared up on his hind legs and roared a challenge at the room.

The three women seem unfazed when it turned in a tight circle and sniffed at one of them. The animal moved to a second woman and sniffed her as well.

The sycophants continued to sing as the feline reared back and pounced on one of the silver painted women and began to savagely tear at her flesh.

The audience screamed at the gory display, paralyzed between fear and fascination. Smythe jumped to his feet not sure what he could do but determined to intervene just as there was another flash of light and Ziesse stood in the center of three uninjured women.

“Thus the power of the Vril can transform the surface of the world if we believe; believe with me my fellows and the destiny of Lebensraum will be fulfilled!”

The crowd broke into a firestorm of applause as the magician soaked in the accolades.

Ziesse acknowledged the adulation with a nod of his head and then imperiously headed off while the emcee took center stage again.

‘How is that for a show?” The MC giggled. “And what a dreamy robe!”

Everyone laughed as a release for their shock.

Smythe remembered Dr. Argent’s words “Just watch your back, believe only half of what you see.” And wondered again how he could find a way to get close to Ziesse. The answer presented itself when he looked across to see Helga looking once more at him.

Well, Damn the torpedoes! Smythe walked across the room to the woman’s booth.

“Good evening, Fraulein,” he said. “Quite a show; is it like this every night?”

She smiled disarmingly and laughed. “Oh, not quite so dull. I noticed you were prepared to intervene—a brave man or foolish?”

He slid easily into the booth opposite her and did his best to charm her; it wasn’t hard to try. Her eyes sparkled with intellect and something more, a wildness and lack of fear that he had seen in men going into combat, the ones who always led the charge regardless of danger.

“A bit foolish, I must confess,” he said, “I had no idea there was a magic show here; do I get to see him saw a woman in half later?” he saw a flash of something behind her eyes then, something beyond the wild girl. Yes, she is dangerous, but my best way to meet Ziesse.

“You shouldn’t make fun of Rudolf,” she said with sly smile, “He might turn you into a rabbit-or worse.”

“You know him?” I asked with my best innocent voice.

‘Biblically some might say,” she said. “So what is your name, bold animal fighter?”

“Dieter Von Holms, from Saxony.”

“You may call me Helga,” she said extending her hand that he bent to kiss. ”And you are a very forward man- I like that.”

They sat and chatted and fenced with innuendo and nuance for a half an hour.

“So, Mister ‘importer of suits and clocks’,” she said as she finished another drink, “do you have bravery on the dance floor as well as in the animal arena?”

He stood quickly and offered her hand “Never let it be said that the men of Saxony are not afraid to beard a tigress in her den.”

They moved out onto the dance floor as the band changed the tempo of the song from soft jazz to a wild swing song. The two dancers took it in stride and were soon wildly moving across the floor.

Smythe found himself dancing as if it were a battle. The woman challenged him with sparkling eyes and a lascivious grin. The band sensed that there was something unusual going on and increased the tempo.

When the song ended the crowd applauded. Smythe and Helga fell into each other arms laughing and out of breath. The musical trio switched to a slow tune and Helga pulled him to her and they danced cheek to cheek.

“You are as good as your word, mien herr,” she whispered in his ear, “Are you as good in other areas?”

“I have had no complaints in any field I have ventured into,” He said. “What area might you need some help, dear lady?”

She was about to reply when a hand touched Smythe’s arm and a deep voice said, “Excuse me, herr, I would like to cut in.”

It was a tuxedoed Rudolf Ziesse!

“If you wish,” Smythe said. He reluctantly released the woman and Ziesse stepped in to take her in his arms. She looked to Smythe and winked then allowed herself to be swept away.

Smythe went back to his table and watched.

“You were in dangerous waters,” a female voice said. He looked over to see Fritta Klum. She blew smoke at him with a languid gesture.

“You sing beautifully, Fraulein Klum.”

“And you dance across thin ice, herr.” Her eyes followed Ziesse and Helga as they moved slowly across the floor.

“Do I? I didn’t know.”

“Oh I think you knew,” she said, “And that is very intriguing.”

“Why is it everyone in Berlin likes to see a country fellow take chances?”

“Everything else is so dull,” she said in a droll voice. He saw that she too had the wild light in her gaze.

The music ended and the crowd on the floor dispersed to their seats. Ziesse and Helga went back to her booth. She paused to wave Smythe over.

“Safe dancing, fellow,” Fraulein Klum said, “and watch out for tigers.”

Smythe walked across the empty dance floor. He became aware of Ziesse’s green eyes boring into him as if they were searchlights. The magus smiled a reptile smile and extended his hand to Smythe.

“Good evening, mien herr,” Ziesse said, “I enjoyed your performance.”

“And I yours,” Smythe said. “Wonderful tricks.”

“Oh,” Ziesse said with a dark smile, “wait around, it will get better; I am full of tricks.”

Chapter Four:

Smythe sat with Ziesse and Helga for much of the evening chatting about the state of Germany and the world with Ziesse holding court on matters psychic.

“The Vril have resided for untold ages at the center of the world to strengthen their mastery of the divine Vril energy.” As he spoke others gathered around the booth to soak in the celebrity of his presence.

Smythe watched everyone and understood why this man was so dangerous to the British cause. Smythe could see that charismatic individuals like Ziesse and that fellow Hitler with the National Socialists could energize with religious zeal the hopeless masses of Germany to war. And religious wars were the most dangerous.

“We, the German people,” Ziesse said as he held everyone rapt with his low, deep voice, “Are the natural inheritors of this Vril power, but we must not squander it, we must harness it, clean the streets of the human refuse. You have seen just small sample of what this energy can do to transform matter; we the perfect people, the perfect masters of the world!”

No one standing around the booth dared to speak and the music of the band in the background seemed to fade as the mystic held court. It was not just a political movement it was a crusade and anyone who got in its way would be trampled: Jew, English, French all stomped beneath the boot heels of the army Smythe was seeing birthed right before him.

While Ziesse spoke Helga watched Smythe. The spy worked to hide his disgust at the Magus’ words.

“He is a powerful speaker, isn’t he.” Helga said to Smythe.

“He is a great man,” Smythe said sotto voce. “You must feel honored to hold his company.”

. “Yes, a great man.” She pouted, “but great men are so much in demand; so little time for the purely human needs.” She leaned into Smythe’s and he could feel the warmth of her through his jacket.

“But he is a man,” the Englishman whispered, “and I am a stranger here.”

“This is Berlin,” she said, “there are no strangers here-if you are good German stock.” She squeezed his arm. “Breeding is so important.” She emphasized the word ‘breeding’ with all the meanings she could give it.

“So, my friends,” Ziesse concluded his lecture with a benevolent smile, “ We must all work to better ourselves and keep the faith. But we are not divine yet, so, let us feel joy and make merry!” With that he suddenly stood up from the table and grabbed one of the women standing by the booth and whirled her out onto the dance floor.

The crowd erupted into cheers and all rushed to join the couple on the floor as the jazz tune went up-tempo.

Helga pointedly did not move to join them grabbing hold of the Englishman’s arm.

“You don’t want to dance?” Smythe asked.

In answer she reached up and placed a hand behind his head and drew him in to kiss him hard on the mouth. Smythe responded with passion, knowing that this dangerous tact was the fastest way into the inner circle of Ziesse’s followers.

The music of the club roared on around them but the two might have been on a desert island for the abandon with which the woman threw herself at Smythe.

Smythe’s natural shyness and reserve were in direct conflict with the sensations and the circumstance he found himself in. More so when she slid from the booth, pulling him after her and was led to the second room of the club.

This back room was dark and arrayed around the walls, instead of booths were small-enclosed spaces like sleeper compartments from a train. Figures could be seen in many of them, some unmoving as opium smoke drifted from the booths but some clearly writhing in carnal passion.

There was every combination of partners and the numbers varied from simple pairs to trios and groups of more.

Truly there were no ‘strangers’ in Berlin.

Helga pulled the English spy to one of the empty booths.

“This is so abrupt,” he managed to breath as she began to divest him of his clothes, “Shouldn’t we work up to it?”

“You could not be more worked up,” she said as her own clothing melted from her lithe form. “There is no time but the now in the new order,” she added, “We must seize the moments as we will seize the world.”

Still the spy resisted against his own body’s desire for the woman’s for one more attempt. “But the Magus-“

“Oh screw the Magus,” she whispered, “I have and it’s not a big deal. Come on, Dieter- don’t be such an Englishman about it all; take me now.”

And the spy did his best to not be an Englishman about it, all the while thinking, “The things one does for the Empire!”

Chapter Five:

Smythe’s ‘romancing’ Helga paid off in post-coital conversation.

“The cells are almost ready,” She whispered as they snuggled. ”We will soon have enough in place in England itself to cripple their navy. Believers like those you met in the Golden Dawn Society will prepare the way; The National Socialist are ready to join us when we are ready.”

This is the information that the Doctor must have, Smythe thought, but I must be careful to not seem too eager about it to Helga. He stroked her hair and let his outer appearance reflect his purely physical joy.

“It is a glorious prospect,” he said. “I often go to England on business and its arrogance is hard to take.”

“Jawhal,” she nodded, “They have no understanding of the world to come. We are the future!” She nuzzled her head once more into the hollow of his neck assured that he was completely in simpatico with her agenda.

“Had we not better return to the other room before we are missed too much?” He said.

“I suppose so.”

When they returned to the main room no one seemed to have noticed that they had ever left. The music still played, the crowd still danced Ziesse sat with Fraulein Klum and the two of them obviously had not missed anyone.

“It is a wonderful night,” Ziesse said as he sipped from a glass of cognac. “Comradeship, cause and the cosmic,” the magus said.

Fraulein Klum joined him in a toast and when Helga slid into the booth she snuggled up to the singer and the two exchanged a kiss.

I really am too English to not be shocked, Smythe thought, But I must keep my game face on.

“You were remarkable tonight,” Smythe said to Ziesse, “I had heard tales in the Society, but none do your skill and power justice, Herr Ziesse.”

The magus smiled with a canny expression. “I am surprised I have not heard more of you, Herr Von Holm. I have many friends in the Society.”

“I have been to a mere handful of meetings when they have coincided with my visits to that decrepit isle.”

“And yet you have not been to meeting of the Lodge here?”

“I must confess my interest in the energies of Vril are but newly awakened.” Smythe bluffed, “I know it seems silly, but I really had no inkling that such things existed until recently.” He did his best to turn his blush into a self-abashed shyness about his ‘psychic ignorance’ to throw Ziesse off.

“Well, yes,” the magus said, “Most of the world, and sadly most of the fatherland, lives in a state of disbelief and confusion. I am glad our words reached you.” Ziesse ordered drinks for the table and the spy inwardly relaxed.

When the nearly naked waiter brought the drinks the magus held up his stein.

“To the new world order,” Ziesse said, “and we who will make it!”

The others raised their glasses and all said, “The Fatherland!”

They drained their drinks in one swallow.

“So tell me, Herr Von Holm,” Ziesse asked, “What do you think of the transforming power of Vril energy?”

“Truly amazing,” the spy said, “It is astounding to believe that such power can reside in one man.”

“In all men, my friend,” Ziesse said, “If they have the true blood and the stalwart heart to take the risks needed to achieve it.”

He really believes this horsewash, Smythe thought, or at least thinks all his brainwashed followers do. I know it was a trick, but it doesn’t matter, it is what his followers believe—

Abruptly the English spy felt himself growing weak. His vision began to blur and the sounds of the club became muffled.

“Is there something wrong, Dieter?” Helga asked.

“I think the wild dancer can’t handle his liquor,” Fraulein Klum said with a bubbling laugh, “or maybe he can’t handle Helga!”

Both women laughed and the sound of it was like machinegun fire to the woozy spy. Ziesse joined in with his deep-throated laugh and Smythe saw a different light ignite in the magus’ eyes.

“I hear the English have no stomach for good German beer,” Ziesse said. “Perhaps that is Major Smythe’s problem.”

He knows! Smythe tried to rise but his legs were rubber beneath him.

“Well he may not be able to hold his liquor but he can hold me anytime,” Helga said, “He’s a regular English stallion.” This set the women to giggling again and brought a ‘hurmping’ sound from Ziesse.

“That will be enough, Helga,” he said. “Don’t disgrace yourself with the lower forms.”

“Oh, Please, Rudolf,” she said, “He is, after all, half German.”

The spy tried to walk away from the table. He has drugged me; he will kill me if I cannot escape. He took only one step but his legs would not support him and he fell face forward to the floor.

In the haze of his delirium he heard Ziesse say, ”We shall see just how much of a stallion our English turncoat is, Helga; I think there will be another show here tonight!”

Chapter Six:

When Geoffrey Smythe opened his eyes again he knew he was in trouble. He was seated but his arms were bound behind him. A dark figure approached and resolved itself the robed form of Helga Brandstatter.

“I could not come sooner,” she said to Smythe. When he started to protest she shushed him.

“Take at easy,’ she said, “It is all decided, I am afraid.” There was a tone to her voice he had not heard at any time earlier, a compassion he had not thought she possessed.

“Rudolf is livid with you,” she said. She gave a slight smile that was almost girlish and shy. “No one has ever made him so mad.” She stroked Smythe’s cheek. She leaned in close to his ear and whispered, “Remember, as long as there is life there is hope.”

Just then two burly men appeared and lifted the chair with him to carry out to the center of a circle of people. Rudolf Ziesse was dressed once more in his magician’s robes.

“Now you will see the true Vril power,” Ziesse announced to the room. “This man came to us thinking we were ignorant of the English agitator and unbeliever, Argent.” The magus leaned in to look the spy directly in the eyes.

“We have agents who watch him and saw you meet with him. We are the superior minds, Mr. Smythe.”

“Stop this nonsense, Ziesse.” Smythe bluffed, “Do you think we did not know your people were watching?”

Smythe had no idea that their network in England was so extensive. And he wondered if Helga had told him the truth in her pillow talk. He studied the near mad face of the woman and knew that it had been the truth, that she had not known nor not cared that he was a British agent. She was mad enough to tell me the truth, to risk divulging their real plan to make it more exciting for her, the chance that I might escape. Now, I have to.

The magus stepped away from the bound officer and raised his arms. His three sycophants, dressed more conventionally than at his first ‘performance’ in dark robes, surrounded him and began to sing in high keening tones.

The spy’s vision began to blur again and at first he thought ‘they have drugged me again, but it was different. It was as though the lenses of a camera were being replaced. The quality of his vision changed.

Things went out of focus and refocused again and he was aware that he was not seated anymore; in fact the chair had fallen away with a cracking sound. The shirt across his chest tore and the ropes that had bound him tightened and snapped.

“Now we will see just what kind of stallion you are, Mr. Smythe.” Ziesse said.

Smythe felt his chest tighten as he saw the look of horror on so many of the watchers. He also heard the murmurs from the crowd of “amazing”, ‘oh my God!” and “I’d ride him.”

Smythe took a step back, overcome by the oddness of the looks and heard something that chilled him; a clopping sound. It was a sound he new so well; it was the sound of a horse’s hoof. He looked down not believing it possible but fearing the reality and was still stunned to see the forelegs of a horse where the lower part of his body should have been.

“No!” Smythe tried to cry but the sound that came out chilled him to his soul. It was a high-pitched whinnying sound.

“Now we will see if you are the young stallion of the Queen we thought you to be!” Ziesse said with a dark laugh and the laughter was soon general around the room.

Smythe spun first left then right looking for some face without diabolical delight at his plight, but saw none.

I have to escape! I have to find a way to get to Dr. Argent. It was an irrational thought, a prayer for help to the dark gods that had trapped him but his mind was consumed with the desperation of his situation.

He tossed his head and felt his mane slap against his elongated neck.

“Go ahead, Helga,” Fraulein Klum chided her companion, “he rode you, now lets see if you can ride him!”

The dark haired girl nodded her head and threw off her robe to reveal that she was naked beneath. She strode across the dance floor toward the transformed Slater.

The crowd cheered.

Slater tried to back up as if the naked waif approaching him were the devil herself but his hindquarters came in contact with the wall.

She came forward slowly, sensuously with her arms wide and beckoning toward him. The crowd watching laughed at his cowering; it was an absurd sight; a thousand pounds of muscular animal retreating from barely a hundred pounds of waifish girl.

He could have crushed her, lunged forward and stomped her beneath his massive hooves but there was still the man in the beast and regardless of the circumstances of their tryst they had been intimate and he was a gentleman.

Not that his thoughts were so rational, rather they were a chaotic jumble. It allowed the woman to walk directly up to him so that she could reach out and touch his muzzle. She stared directly into his enlarged eyes and there was that wildness in her eyes that fixed Slater’s vision.

“Now, now,” she whispered as if to a child, “we will have a nice ride, Dieter.” She ran her hands along his muzzle.

Slater froze.

The girl walked along his flank until she reached his withers. She then nimbly vaulted onto the spy’s back.

Despite her size she felt like a heavy weight to the trapped Englishman. The warmth from her thighs seemed searing hot on his back.

She leaned forward, grabbed his mane and whispered in his ear, “Now my stallion, lets show them how we trot!” She kicked him in the sides and the transformed spy shot forward!

Chapter Seven:

Slater moved forward. His hooves clattered across the dance floor and the three singers jumped aside. Slater ran toward the crowd that was lining the dance floor who scattered with squeals and giggles like school children playing tag.

“Go on, fleet stallion,” Helga said in a breathless voice. He could feel her warm breath on his long muscular neck. Club goers leapt over tables and scattered steins and absinthe glasses every which way as he ran around the club.

Helga laughed like a schoolgirl on a roller coaster ride and waved her hands at the partiers as she passed them.

Slater’s mind was awhirl. He knew they could have killed him and indeed might still kill him but as long as he was alive he had a chance.

He knew he had to escape.

The crowd was running around in delicious confusion, still giggling with delight. Ziesse stood with this three singers and Fraulein Klum in the center of the floor watching his handy work with a sly smile on his face.

Helga tried to rein him away from Ziesse with a pull on Slater’s mane but the transformed spy raced straight at the magus picking up speed so that the robed man had no chance to react in any other way than to dive out of the horse’s path.

Slater gave a wild horselaugh as he raced by the panicked magician and toward the exit door of the club.

“Stop,” Helga called,” Stop!” But the spy was committed now and ran on until his hooves slid to a stop on the polished wood near the doorway. He stopped so that he could duck beneath the lintel to push past the curtain and out into the foyer.

The faux-man greeter at the door screamed when she saw his equine head poke through the curtain.

Helga somehow clung to his back as he went under the door jam. ”There is no point to this Dieter. Rudolf can not be opposed.”

He bucked at her comment. She grabbed more tightly to his mane and clamped her legs around his flanks.

Next he turned in the tight space and kicked hard his hooves hitting the exit door. He looked back over his shoulder and flank to check his progress and looked directly into Helga’s eyes.

There was something beyond the wildness there now, a real fear as if she had some how suddenly discovered that this was a real situation and he a real man whose life had been stolen from him. He thought that the fear had a changing effect on her and it made her feel human. And vulnerable.

He ignored her pleading eyes and kicked the door again this time smashing it down. He spun again slowly and ducked his head down through the doorway.

Somehow Helga still held on, perhaps too scared to drop off, as Slater fit his bulk through the doorway. He could faintly hear the sounds of the crowd behind him that had gone from delighted squeals to outraged indignation. Clear above the din was the voice of Ziesse admonishing the club goers to “Get him!”

Suddenly Slater was in the cool night air of the alley. Helga was still on his back but his only thought was flight.

He raced down the alley and out onto Mitte Strausse with Helga now screaming for Slater to stop but her voice just egged him on to further speed.

The crowd on the Strausse tried to evidence no shock at the sight of Slater and his burden, smiling and pointing with contrived nonchalance, but even for Berlin the sight of a fifteen hand white stallion with a naked girl on his back racing down the night streets was unusual.

Slater had no thought to where he would run but he knew he had to run.

It began to rain, a light drizzle that slapped against his face and flanks. It stung him and Slater could hear the girl on his back complaining with sobs.

He ran toward Leipziger Strausse and turned down it at a full gallop.

As he ran Slater noticed that the looks from the street crowds changed. They looked at him but then their eyes wend wide as they looked behind him. He had the strange sense that he was being pursued.

He paused at the corner of the Strausse and whirled.

What he saw filled the transformed spy with a new depth of fear.

Racing down the Strausse with great lopping strides was a ravenous white tiger!

Chapter Eight:

The white tiger was stark against the darkness of the street. Felis Tigris Regalis, nine hundred pounds of muscular carnivore was racing down the avenue with its jaws slack and moving in chewing motions. The feline shook its head and with a roar charged at an even faster pace.

A second roar of fear went up from the crowd watching as they fled in anticipation of the horse’s imminent disembowelment. The great cat hurled itself at Slater’s flank but the transformed man waited until the last second, and kicked backward.

The kick caught the descending tiger on the chest with both his hooves. The powerful hind legs struck dead center and propelled the startled beast upside down onto the sidewalk of the Strausse.

Helga was screaming at the top of her lungs, but it was not a mindless yell of fear. She yelled, “Rudolf, Stop this! Stop this!” and slid off Slater’s back.

The transformed spy reared back and whinnied at the top of his massive lungs. He set his head down and fixed his eyes on the monster cat.

The tiger came to his feet and snarled at the horse, his jade green eyes were aflame with rage that went beyond the animal and approached the demonic.

The tiger seemed to look directly at Helga and roared at her but within the roar was the echo of a human voice; Rudolf Ziesse’s. “Get away from him, Helga!”

She blanched and stepped against a streetlight. She ignored the sting of the increasingly heavy rain against her naked body and shook her head. “Stop this, Rudolf!” She yelled again.

The tiger ignored her now and fixed its attention directly on the horse. It moved forward at a slow stalking pace. The horse stood its ground shaking it head from side to side.

In the wild of the American west a Mustang will fight even a cougar to defend its harem of mares and the smaller cat will usually retreat; cats prefer to leap on the back of a fleeing prey if it hunts a horse.

A tiger, however, was more than twice the size of a cougar so the few hardy souls who lingered in doorways to watch the battle to come were sure the horse was going to die.

This horse, however, was not just a horse. Slater had the mind to resist and to strategize.

You will not take me without a fight, Slater thought. I will never surrender!

When the tiger got close enough Slater lashed out with his fore hooves and struck the great feline on the head. The cat staggered back.

Slater pressed the attack, lashing out with both hooves like they were fists working a speedbag. The magus-in-tiger-form had to back up under the onslaught.

Slater felt a fierce satisfaction as the great cat retreated and snarled his displeasure but it was short lived. The tiger-magus darted to the side with a rapidity that seemed impossible and struck back with a massive paw.

The slashing cuts across his foreleg caused Slater to whinny in pain.

The tiger moved forward with deliberate care to Slater’s right. He was trying to get at Slater’s throat but the transformed spy spun quickly and kicked back with his hind legs again hitting the feline on the shoulder.

This maddened the magus and he whirled with the kick. With a flex of his powerful legs the tiger leapt on the back of the spy.

Slater screamed in pain as the razored claws of the magus sliced into his back. He tried to shake him off but the cat dug in too tightly.

“Stop it Rudolf!” Helga screamed. The naked woman ran up to the side of the two fighting animals and slapped at the great cat’s haunches.

The tiger swatted at her with the back of its right paw and sent her sprawling to the street. The motion unbalanced the cat and he fell from the Slater’s back.

The transformed spy bolted forward when the weight came off his back but the rain slick streets and the wounded front leg caused him to slip. Slater went down on to his front legs and rolled.

He gained his hooves again before the cat was on him and, past the fearsome beast saw the naked, sprawled form of Helga, still and bloody. The image filled Slater with rage at the cruelty of the tiger-mage and he charged the cat.

The frontal assault so startled Ziesse that the tiger-mage did not react quickly enough to dodge. The horse collided with him head on and sent the two of them tumbling.

The mass of flailing legs and hooves rolled across the wet cobbles then exploded apart as Slater pulled free. The equine spy bounded into the air and pounced on the tiger before the cat could get off his back.

The hooves of the horse pummeled the fallen feline relentlessly until there was a cracking sound and the great cat went limp. Slater continued his deadly dance on the corpse of the cat until a convulsive shudder ran through Slater.

The transformed spy staggered away from the still tiger-mage and felt a spasm of pain that blinded him momentarily. When his sight returned he was human once more, naked and kneeling in the pouring rain.

The still form of Rudolf Ziesse, his skull crushed to pulp lie in a growing crimson pool of his blood, the magick and the life gone from him.

Slater took one more look back at the still from of Helga Branstater with a sigh of regret, then staggered off into the Berlin night to send his report to Doctor Argent.

Rudolf Ziesse is the most dangerous man in Germany would be dangerous to no one, ever again.

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