For a moment that felt like forever I was so surprised and confused that I forgot I had been scared and running just seconds ago.
I blinked. The image didn't go away. The man in front of me looked exactly like he had on my TV in my apartment. I opened my mouth, then shut it again, unable to get a single syllable out.
'Okay, now it's obvious this is a dream. You didn't actually just meet Richard Dawson at night in a non-existent forest in northern Germany. No, of course not, Richard Dawson is old...wait, dead. You're dreaming, it's a dream.'
„Was machen Sie hier?" I blinked distractedly when Dream-Newkirk suddenly asked me a question in near perfect German. What was I doing here? Kind of an odd question for the figment of a dream...and why was he speaking German anyway? My head seemed to really have messed things up this time...
„Fräulein," his voice was hushed but urgent now, „What are you doing at night in the forest all by yourself?"
Before I could get myself to react in any way, the sound of heavy footsteps nearby interrupted us. There was the sound of guns being cocked, and more rough, shouted German: „Find him! He has to be close by!"
I jumped yet again, having just enough time to see Dream-Newkirk glancle at my frightened expression before I was pulled behind the tree again, into a crouch and out of sight.
„Sh, quiet," the hand that wasn't holding my arm covered my mouth, „They're Gestapo."
I stared up at him, perfectly still, watching as he watched out for our followers. Newkirk and the Gestapo.
Gestapo. Right, of course. It wasn't enough to be stuck in the forest of mystery with a dead British actor -my mind had generously supplied me with bad guys, too. It seemed my earlier assumption held true and this was a nightmare after all. I listened to the shouting, the curses and threats.
A frighteningly realistic one.
We stayed still for a very long time, he, peering into the darkness, his hold on my arm never wavering, and I, too stunned to even make up my mind about what to make of my insane situation. A dream, a dream...but why wasn't I waking up then? I wanted to...now at the latest.
But no, I was still here...and it was starting to feel less an less like a dream, a fact that made me more and more upset. Why did it feel so real?
I could barely feel my body now as cold as I was, and it was all I could do to keep my teeth from chattering so as to not give us away. Newkirk was perfectly still beside me, seemingly not feeling the cold in his thick, dark jacket and pants. His lips were moving, like he was cursing, but I didn't hear anything.
When finally he turned his attention away from the silent forest and back to me I was no more prepared to deal with him than I had been in that first second.
„We need to get out of here, Fräulein," he was still speaking German to me I noted numbly, but in a softer tone now, „The Gestapo cannot find us here."
He'd let go of my arm and taken one of my hands to pull me to my feet, supporting me at the elbow. My whole body seemed to rebel as blood rushed back into my legs and I shuddered violently. He paused, for the first time actually looking at me it seemed -and noticing my severe shortage of appropriate clothing no doubt.
More confusion flashed over his face. He opened his mouth but before he could ask whatever he was going to ask, the sudden sound of a gun being cocked right behind us made us both jump.
„Halt! Don't move!"
We spun around only to find we were faced with four real life Gestapo men who had their guns trained on us. Again, Newkirk cursed intelligibly under his breath but I could do nothing but gape, my brain unable to catch up to what was happening while my heart was already racing in fear again.
Well, those guns sure did look real. So did the swastikas.
„Gestapo! What are you doing out here after curfew?"
Curfew? What was this, Nazi Germany? I glanced over at Newkirk. Oh, right. Definitely not the actor but the character then. Brilliant. Of course my mind couldn't send me to Hollywood to meet some actors, no, I had to wake up in a war-zone, just begging to be shot.
Speaking of which... The Gestapo man didn't seem like the patient type. "Speak!"
Newkirk thankfully found his voice rather quickly. He smiled, as I had so often seen him do on TV, and it almost didn't seem strained at all. „Er, just, you know, a little rendezvous under the moonlight...away from prying eyes. How bout you chaps?"
The lead Gestapo man growled. „Don't be funny. We were chasing a man suspected of sabotage through these woods!"
„Huh," Newkirk laughed, casually wrapping an arm around my shoulders, „Well, sorry but we haven't seen him, right, Liebchen? Been a bit busy if you'll understand. Good luck on your chase though."
He made to turn us away and walk off but was stopped when the Gestapo man barked at him to stop again. „Halt! Show us your papers."
„Afraid I misplaced them, good sir. Wagner's the name, I live in town." A dark look, then the man's attention turned to me. „You, Fräulein. Die Papiere, schnell!"
„Ich-" It was only the certain feeling that I was going to get shot and that, dream or not, that was going to hurt like hell- that made me finally snap out of my stupor. „I'm sorry but I don't have them with me. I must have left them at home."
„What is your name?"
„E-Elsa..." I swallowed, „...Richter." I hoped that was German-sounding enough. The man looked at me through squinted eyes, „You live in town, Fräulein Richter?"
Before I could go and mess up my poor attempt at lying, a sudden sound of thunder ripped through the night. The ground shook, and leaves and twigs rained down on us.
The Gestapo men ducked, instinctively covering their heads with their arms, and I suddenly found myself with my face buried in Newkirk's dark jacket, a warm hand on my head.
The moment of shock didn't last long for any of us.
„The factory! It has been attacked!" one of the Gestapo men shouted. Immediately, all rifles were aimed at us again. „You! You will be brought in for questioning! To our car. Move, now!"
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