The Madman Across the Water

U-234

Rare color photo taken by the U.S. Navy of the capture of the U-234 at the end of World War Two

Kapitänleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler commanding the U-234 had been convinced by Luftwaffe General Ulrich Kessler and the two high-ranking Japanese passengers that the radio message to all U-boats from Admiral Karl Dönitz ordering them to surrender to the Allies was a fake. Dönitz was supposedly now German Head of State following the death of Adolf Hitler and the Soviets were reported to have captured Berlin. The orders commanded all U-boats to surface, hoist a black flag, and to surrender to Allied forces.

Fehler was not terribly fond of the two Japanese, respectively a naval architect and an aircraft specialist, but Kessler’s loyalty to the Reich was without question. The General kept emphasizing how their mission to deliver Germany’s remaining cache of 1,200 pounds of uranium oxide to the Japanese occupied harbor at Konan in Korea was vital.

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Restoring a Lost Eden (Expanded)

eden

Early photo of the Eden Hotel, Argentina, circa 1912.

It was dark but they still had to be careful. Ever since the anti-Fascists took over the country, Germans were being rounded up, incarcerated, and brutally interrogated for information related to the Nazis.

The woman looked to be thirty to thirty-five years old and about six months pregnant which was obvious even through the overcoat she was wearing. She and a man stood by the car watching the Hotel Eden in the distance. Once it had been a sanctuary for high-ranking party members and their friends. Albert Einstein had once stayed there as did many other notables, dignitaries, and celebrities.

But those days were over.

“It’s so sad, Juan. The end of a glorious era.”

“Indeed, Senora. But those days are not gone forever. Your husband’s legacy will live on in a future generation.”

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UXO London

london bus line

© A Mixed Bag 2013

The American wasn’t used to public transport being colored red. He boarded the bus at the Kings Reach Building stop, paid his fare and took an available seat near the back. He was supposed to meet her at Tower Gateway Station. From there, they’d walk to Tower Hill tube station and continue their journey. The usual UXO team would be on hand, but the two “yanks,” who just happened to be visiting London as tourists, were specialists and had been asked to assist.

Christopher Faust stared out the window into the bright autumn sunlight which he understood to be unusual. His partner and lover Johnnie Albarran had come equipped with every form of rain gear known to man while he came prepared for almost nothing. It was why they worked so well together. She was the planner and he was the intuitive. He hoped they’d be enough.

The Blitz in 40 and 41 left an untold legacy of unexploded ordnance here in the city, but the police believed their current problem was delivered during the lesser known Operation Steinbock, probably in early 1944. Faust and Albarran normally wouldn’t be involved in such a thing but this UXO was different. It was radioactive.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for October 22nd 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Fortunately the original image was rather large, so I was able to read the bus’ marquee. From that, I found the photo was taken in London, discovered the vehicle’s route, and that it terminated at the Tower Gateway DLR station. While I was writing all this, I was still wondering why my two characters were going to meet. Crime? Romance? Then, when I started to think of the London Underground, the idea of unexploded ordnance or UXO entered my head. I looked up a London UXO map and there are scores of such devices left over from the Blitz.

I needed something more unusual though, which is why I had to find out when the last time was the Nazis bombed Southern England. From there, and recalling that at least in theory or rumor, the Nazis were also attempting to develop an atomic bomb, the conclusion of my wee tale became clear.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.