The architecture reflected a museum built in the 18th century. It had resulted in a crescent shaped building of riches. A 19 year old Adolf Hitler smiled as he strode up the marble steps of the museum, past grand stone pillars and archways that look liked a curved backbone. Once inside, he wandered aimlessly, examining the ancient artifacts the Hapsburg Museum had to offer. Towards the back was a row of treasures. In between a solid gold pendant and a ruby handled sword was something that made Hitler stop dead in his tracks. A brown, narrow spear tip was encased by a see-through glass shield. In the middle of the spear tip was a sparkling gold band wrapped around the spear. As he stared at this timeless piece of history, Hitler began to see his upcoming destiny: Flashes of speeches before hundreds of thousands, red flags bearing a black emblem, and a crumbling bunker. Startled and completely enthralled by these images, Hitler bore his eyes into the Spear of Destiny, eager to see more of his future accomplishments.
Hans Schreiber opened his eyes, temporarily blinded as he was rudely greeted by the morning sunlight. He muttered a curse as he noticed the blinds were open for some apparent reason. “That lazy, good for nothing…” tapered off Schreiber as he mumbled darkly. A careless hand pressed down on a worn, tired looking metal bell, surprisingly resulting in a stinging ring that lingered in Schreiber’s ears momentarily. A boy entered carrying a tray of Brot and hot tea, he looked exhausted. Dark circles cast unhealthy tunnels under his eyes, painful red bruises were spotted around his body, yet he mustered the energy to stand up straight and stand wordlessly as Schreiber examined his breakfast. A slight motion of a nod allowed the boy to escape the grand room. The boy returned to the kitchen quickly, avoiding eye contact with anyone he passed in the halls, even reluctant to let out a breath of relief when he was in the kitchen. For once, the boy only had to make the dreaded trip once in the morning. Schreiber had been preoccupied for the past few days. The Spear of Destiny had been roaming Schreiber’s dreams, teasing him with the thought of being the ruler of mankind. In the crucifixion of Christ in 30 AD, the spear tip pierced the side of Christ, spilling blood and water alike. As history progressed, the Spear had been passed from ruler to ruler, being stolen and pillaged. Alaric, Charles Martel, and Charlemagne were all previous owners. Napoleon had fruitlessly chased the Spear. The power to conquer the world for good or evil is said to be within the Spear. Instantaneous death was said to be given to the Spear’s last immediate owner.
All the glory belonged to Schreider. Back when Schreiber was a child in Berlin, he would frequently visit Potsdam Patz, a popular market street. Here, with his childhood friend Paul Schmidt, he would often perform petty theft. Swapping out stranger’s bills for counterfeits, gold fancy watches for cheap street watches, it became an amusing game for Schreiber and Schmidt. Hans smiled at these childhood memories, he missed Schmidt. Ah loneliness. He ran his smooth hands through the few strands that littered his head. His baldness was apparent, he was reluctant to accept that too.
In a matter of days, a native of Germany would think Vienna had always been German not Austrian. The swastika was proudly shown, draped as flags on buildings. There was a very lengthy line at the police station that was not much more than a hole in the wall. Women were tugged impatiently by their children, annoyed at the rate the line was moving. The statue of Archduke Charles was very imposing, he was one of Napoleon’s most formidable opponents. He was frozen in mid battle cry as his steer reared. Massive, detailed buildings surrounded the streets, statues perched atop some rooftops. A gargoyle was perched atop one particular building. It’s curved stone wings blended in with the cloudy day in Vienna. A slight motion of a smirk on the gargoyle’s face angered Schreiber and gave him a hostile impression. Well, what do you want gargoyle? They now drove by the Hotel Imperial on the Ring. This grand building was where the Fuhrer slept, cheering crowds were stationed outside the Hotel. Schreiber wondered what it was like for the Fuhrer to see his face blazoned across entire nations. For a minute, Schreiber allowed himself a dream of pure joy. He was holding the Spear in one hand and the world in the other. The Spear must be mine. As they approached the Hapsburg, fountains littered the perimeter. Statues of gods formed hundreds of years ago were the centerpieces of these grand pools of water. Outside the museum was a contingent of armoured cars, the Fuhrer must’ve arrived already. Schreiber had expected this, he knew the urgency the Fuhrer possessed when he had a goal in mind. Maybe he could even meet the man, possibly slip in a suggestion as well. Without thanking the driver, Schreiber exited the car, conveniently forgetting to close the door behind him. A soft chuckle escaped from Schreiber, a noise that he secretly had meant to make just loud enough for the chauffeur to hear. His chauffeur eyed him with disgust as he got up to close the door. “Rich scum,” the chauffeur thought silently. He did not dare say that out loud as he would be punished quite severely.
Uniformed Nazi soldiers stood outside the museum, arm raised in salute. They were each lined up directly in front of a pillar, elaborate designs of holy animals and Gods were etched into these support beams. Schreiber held out his ID with a smirk as he passed over the entrance archway, silently in awe of this 13th century architecture. Once allowed entry, he passed relic after relic, eyeing them greedily. Schreiber couldn’t resist the temptation and swiped a golden dagger the size of a finger. A small space in his pocket was the new home for this piece of history. As he quickly made his way back to the edge of the museum, he was greeted by three Nazi soldiers. Blocking the doorway, they barked in German, “Identification!” Schreiber calmly pulled out his I.D. card and was granted entrance. He passed under a smiling angel and was led into a plain, square room. Being a donor had its advantages. Inside were about 20 men dressed in ties, about 10 uniformed soldiers and Adolf Hitler. Hitler was eyeing a glass case, blocking the contents. He seemed oblivious to all the eyes pointed at him. Unacknowledged, Schreiber maneuvered his way around the crowded room and finally laid eyes upon his future. In the middle of the case was a jeweled cross, standing proudly upright. To the left was the Spear. Schreiber eagerly stared at the Spear but saw nothing. Why can’t I see anything? Perhaps the stories were false, however Schreiber immediately rid himself of this thought. Murmurs of uncertainty had began to fill the room, however when Hitler motioned to an assistant to lift the glass case, the room was silent in an instant. With that, Hitler cautiously grabbed the Spear, seemingly hesitant to make physical contact. HItler carefully wrapped his fingers along the rough exterior of the 2,000 year old spear tip. Another assistant held out a cloth and Hitler triumphantly placed it inside. The wrapped cloth was placed in a black case. Hitler ordered, with a ghost of a smile, “Bring this to Nuremburg by train.” The assistant quickly nodded and left to comply with the assigned task. Schreiber quietly took in this piece of information. As the room slowly emptied out, Schreiber incidentally made eye contact with the Fuhrer. Schreiber’s nod was not returned.
Years later, Schreiber stood outside St. Katherine’s Church in Frankfurt. The War was not going well, and it showed in Germany. The Allies had been pelting Germany with artillery. Smoke clouds often hid the sun, leaving a depressing tinge of gray as the sky. Schreiber did not care about this War anymore. He had ceased his flow of cash going to the Nazis. In 1942, Schreiber had been struck by a piece of shrapnel after the bombing of Berlin. A statue of the Fuhrer had been ripped to shreds by a strategic Allied bomb. No complaints there. Schreiber, who had been walking by with his chauffeur, was nearly decapitated, dodging a piece of stone inches away from his head. His leg however, was not so lucky. He was able to keep the upper half of his leg, but he was bedridden for 2 years. Incredibly, Schreiber’s chauffeur was spared, he didn’t suffer a scratch. A man of Schreiber’s age and shape was lucky to survive this, however he was never grateful. He cursed at his surgeons and laid in bed miserable. While he was bedridden, Schreiber still had one thing in mind. It will be mine.
After failing to procure the spear for 6 years, Schreiber was waiting no longer. The latest rumor was that many Vienna artifacts were in a Frankfurt Church. After checking 3 other churches unsuccessfully, he now limped up the steps of St Katherine’s Church, taking in the the 16th century Baroque modeled church. Schreiber was not a Lutheran, a Catholic, or any type of religion. He had once considered starting his own religion, but decided against it. Surprisingly, there were no soldiers standing guard outside the Church. This troubled Schreiber, who would’ve thought the Nazi’s treasures would have enough cause to station guards to protect their stolen artifacts. No matter. As he creaked open a towering door, he turned around to make there were no curious passerbys. For some reason, the streets were deserted. No one was there. Schreiber was now very uneasy, but he didn’t care. He was going to rightfully receive the Spear today.
Inside the church was a colorful glass facade with rows of wooden pews. Lanterns hung from the ceiling, somehow they were shining brightly. Treasures were scattered around the pews, just to the left of Schreiber was a golden cup, encrusted with rubies. He greedily picked it up, amused at how easy this was. The golden cup became a cheap toy as Schreiber aimlessly tossed it back and forth. Row after row Schreiber was impressed, but he was in search of one object. At last, there it was. Finally. It looked as if it was shining, but he assumed it was because of the sunlight flooding in the church. However, as he looked outside, it was very dark. He then returned his gaze to the Spear. Finally, his vision began to cloud. It’s happening. After a moment of darkness, all he saw was fire. Flames danced across his eyes, he could feel the heat against his skin. Bright flashes of lights popped across Schreiber’s eyes. The golden cup in his hand dropped to the floor with a clang.
Suddenly, he was in Potsdam Patz with his childhood friend Paul Schmidt. They both laughed as they jubilantly tossed a golden watch back and forth. After another flash, an image of his late mother smiling was now etched into his brain. Schreiber was terrified as his mother waved to him. Schreiber’s mind darted all the way back to 1899 when he lay by his mother as she died quietly. Shaking, Schreiber opened his eyes, and swore loudly. His mother was standing in front of the pews, waving warmly to her son. She looked exactly as she did the last day she lived. Sunken skin, a deadened looks in her eyes. Schreiber slapped himself but his mother never left. In fact, it looked like she was getting closer. In the corner of the church was a mound of Euros. With a twisted smile, Schreiber’s mother tossed a flame onto the mound, instantly lighting all the money on fire. Even the coins were rapidly melting. Teetering on the edge of insanity, Schreiber closed his eyes in an attempt to escape this madness. He was now on a street back in Vienna. He was driving a car in front of a grand museum. Pulling to a stop in the front, he awaited a thank you but did not receive one. The back door opened and out stepped an overweight man who looked very much like Schneider himself. With a slight grin and a faint chuckle, the man walked away leaving the door open. “Rich scum,” Schreiber silently thought. After another flash, he was on the streets of Germany. Rags were his clothes and he was clutching a small thing of moldy cheese as if it were his lifeline. An elegantly dressed man in a crisp uniform arrogantly approached on the sidewalk. Without trying to, Schreiber held out his hands. “Please sir. Something please..” The man chuckled and walked by, bumping into Schreiber on purpose. Schreiber collapsed to the dusty floor shaking uncontrollably. His blood flow stopped to his heart and he went into convulsions. Suddenly, the glass artwork shattered, crashing on the floor in a symphony. The northern part of the church had caved in, billowing clouds of smoke rose to the sky. The Spear was now entirely gold, shining as if it was just crafted back in 30 AD. As the support beams came crashing down, Schreiber had no time to register that he would never conquer the world, never rule mankind, and never make it out of the church.