Glory and Reach – Part Two
By: Walter G. Esselman

"When the general told me about your family, I came right to you because you were important to me," said Isabella. "You are still special to me."

"I am nothing," moaned the man.

"You can not save your family, but it is not too late for you," said Isabella.

"Hah! There is no forgiveness for what I have done."

"You made choices only to save your family. Yes, you were with the bad guys, but you locked yourself in here in 1945. It’s been 69 years. Do you feel any better?"

The man did not say anything.

"Right. So this is not working. This starving yourself in isolation has not assuaged your guilt. But maybe doing something good will help."

"I am a criminal."

"A War Criminal no less. But not worthless. Your toughness is evident right here. You have endured with no food or water for all these years. And you are so strong. We need those skills right now. I need those skills."

"I don’t know…"

"Think of it as a work release program. Rehabilitation."


Isabella drew herself. "You will work until your crimes are cleaned off your record."

"Doing what?" asked the man. He tried to keep his voice steady, but she heard the interest in it.

"There is still evil in the world," said Isabella. "I work with the United Nations to go into hot spots and stop people who have committed grievous crimes."

"And we would do that? I don’t know."

"There is another reason that I am here," said Isabella and she tried to speak more, but her voice faltered.

The man saw her consternation. "What is wrong?"

"You have to understand...well, after the war, we thought you were dead."

"That was what I was going for," said the man gloomily.

"Well, I did get married," said Isabella.

"I would not have expected otherwise. You would be a fine catch, for a shiksa," said the man and he even gave a little smile.

"Well…," she started and then stopped. "This is harder than I thought."

"Just say it."

"I got married because I was pregnant and at that time, it would not 'Do' to not be married," said Isabella. She emphasized the word ‘Do’ as if it were a heavy burden.

"That happens," shrugged the man. "Sometimes the child is a member of the wedding…" The man stopped. "Was this man the father?"

"No," said Isabella softly.

The man’s eyes widened. "That time under Castle Blud?"

Isabella just nodded.

The man just looked stunned.

"I am a...papa?"

"A boy."

The man smiled. "A boy? That’s wonderful. Wait, is this the one you told about me?"

"Yes," said Isabella. "John needed to know."

"John," said the man in a wondering voice. "I have a son named John."

"And more specifically, a grandson named Joshua."

"Grandson too?"

"John was a really good boy," explained Isabella hastily. "He is a good man too. He even has powers like yours...but Joshua is another matter."

"What’s wrong?" asked the man.

"We saw early on that...that there was something wrong with Joshua. It’s like a piece was missing. We worked very hard to teach him right from wrong, but…"

"Something has gone wrong."

"Very wrong."

The man sat back on the floor. "This is all so much."

"I wasn’t going to tell you it all right now, but…"

The man shook his head sending his hair bobbing like snakes. "No, it was right to tell me. I...I just need a minute."

And Isabella sat back reviewing the conversation in her head. She had pictured this differently. But she had not realized that he was this...broken. Then a memory flitted through her and it warmed her.

"You recognized my voice," smiled Isabella warmly.

"What?" asked the man slowly.

Isabella looked up at the broken, sad man and came to a decision.

"The Reich is dead, really dead."

"What are you talking about?" asked the man.

"The Third Reich is dead and gone, and the poor man that they tortured has another chance."

"But I am the Reich. That is my name."

"Only if you want it to be. Or you can reinvent who you are. Become…" Isabella thought furiously for a moment. "You can become the Reach! Help those that can not help themselves. Pick up the hurt. Shield them from harm."

"You sound as if I could be a...a hero?"

"Out there, they will have to know what you did, but you can do something good, or sit in this cell."

The man looked torn and panicky. "I don’t know. I don’t know if I can go out...there."

"You can," said Isabella in a voice that left little room for argument.

But the man persisted. "I don’t...I deserve to be here. I deserve to rot."

"This isn’t doing any good," replied Isabella. "You can sit here for a thousand years and never feel redeemed. At least out there you can make a difference. Your son and I need your help. Your grandson needs your guidance before he does something that he can not be forgiven for. I guess then we can always put him in the cell next to yours…"

"Stop it," huffed the man. "I...I need more time. Can you come back next week?"

Isabella deflated. She leaned back in her chair.

"I just can’t...I just…"

Isabella stood up slowly.

"Belle?" said the man carefully.

Isabella looked up at the warden as she moved the chair away from the cell. "Could you assist me?"

The warden looked surprised. He stepped away from the wall and walked cautiously over. Isabella ignored his trepidation as she took off her white gloves. She set the gloves on top of her purse and placed held them out of the warden.

"Would you be so kind as to hold this?" asked Isabella, but her question has steel in it. It did not actually sound like a question. The warden found himself holding the purse and gloves in front of him and a part of him wondered how things had gone this far.

"Ah...wait a minute," started the warden.

"Time is a luxury we don’t have," said Isabella. Then she slammed one of her hands at the cell wall. The hand shattered the stone where the cell door was embedded in the rock.

"Madam!" exclaimed the warden. Isabella ignored him and grabbed the edge of the cell door. The metal bent under her fingers and the warden’s jaw fell. She could hear his heart racing faster.

"Isabella?" called out the man. He was suddenly standing there on the other side of the bars. "What are you doing?"

"You are needed," said Isabella slowly. "We need you. This is what they call today as ‘Tough Love’."

The man opened his mouth to speak but, then stopped. He looked at the warden who was trying to decide what to do.

Isabella shifted her grip on the bars, and then looked at the man in the cell.

"Under Castle Blud, we worked together," she said softly.

The man thought for a moment, and then he nodded. "We did."

Gripping the metal by her hands, Glory and the Reach pulled the bars of the cell open with little trouble.

Isabella stepped back and flicked some dust off her tan slacks that had fallen on her. Out of his self imposed prison, the Reach stepped out. His long hair hung about him like a mat and his clothes were frayed and worn. But he stood tall.

"I’m...I’m actually kind of hungry," rumbled the Reach.

Isabella stepped up to him. "Food, then a bath and a haircut so you don’t look like a shaggy dog."

The Reach looked down shyly, but he could not meet Isabella’s eyes. "Thank you."

She reached under and pulled up his chin. "Don’t thank me yet. I got work for you."

"What did you call it? Work release?" chuckled the Reach.

"And boy, do we have work to do," said Isabella. She turned to warden who was still in shock and took back her gloves and purse. "When you write the report of this morning, you can say I threatened you, if that helps. I don’t think any trouble should come of this." She fished out a business card. "That is a lawyer in the capital just in case. He knows to bill me if there IS any trouble for you or your men. Call him at the first hint."

"But you said…," started the warden.

"I don’t think there will be trouble," said Isabella quickly. "But I am not going to leave an ally in the wind either."

The warden took the card. "Thank you."

"Thank you for taking care of this big idiot," smiled Isabella. She stepped back as the Reach stepped forward to the warden.

"You have been kind to me," said the Reach. "I will not forget it."

The warden’s lower lip trembled, and then he turned away from them. He gave a little hacking cry and his shoulders shook. The Reach started to put out a hand, but Isabella gently stopped him. She shook her head. They waited for a moment until the warden turned around with his face composed.

"You escape now," barked the warden. The gruff tone stood out below his puffy red eyes. Then he turned to Isabella. "And you! You take care of him."

Isabella, who was not used to being talked to like that, took the order with grace. She took the Reach’s hand and tugged him towards the exit. As soon as they were out of earshot, she leaned into the Reach. She only stood up to his shoulder and Glory whispered warmly.

"You remembered my voice."



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