The Ghostley Witch

or

How Come No One Noticed The Temporary Transformation of Frau Linkmeyer

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A puffy little cloud hovered over Stalag 13. In itself, that was nothing unusual: it was a typical autumn-day in western Germany, and the sky was overcast with gloomy rainclouds as far as the eye could see.

But believe it or not, there was something unusual about this one little cloud. For this cloud happened to be the personal retreat of an old German witch: Hella die Hexe. And if you looked real closely, you could see her peering over the edge of her little cloud.

"What a treasure!" she whispered with excitement in her voice. "A whole camp full of soldiers! This might mean the end of my troubles!"

She directed her cloud a little closer, to be able to distinguish the men milling about in the compound. It sure looked promising. Very promising indeed! Of course all these guys wouldn´t be of much help; according to their way of dressing, they were obviously paupers. Only a few of them would classify as middle-class. The bonus for marrying that kind was only a few years´ prolongation of her own life – surely you´re acquainted with the fact that witches keep themselves young by marrying? And Hella knew all too well her time was almost up. She had to marry within the week, or else...

It hadn´t been easy lately. The war had taken its toll on the stock of available bachelors, and those who had yet managed to escape the fate of death were not really in a marrying mood. And to think that things were just getting back to normal after the vast abundance of desperate ladies fighting over the few men left over after that other war!

But perhaps this was the turning-point. The area below was obviously some kind of prison. And a prison must have people in charge. Important people. Big shots. Marrying one of those would keep her with the living for another ten years at least! With so many men under his command! If only the Kommandant of this place were a bachelor... Please?

The best thing to do of course was marrying a king. Or a president. That would guarantee a twenty-five year´s extension of her life. Actually, she had contemplated on marrying that nut in Berlin. He may have a girl-friend, but he was not married yet. And he had power. Lots of it. But observing him from her little cloud, she had decided he was too much. Even for her. Usually she didn´t care if her grooms were stupid or ugly, as long as they´d agree to marry her. But everything has its limits.

Now where were the commanders of this prison? Could that be one of them: the impeccable guy emerging from the one finer, green building in the compound, yelling something about a report? Dressed in a becoming blue uniform, a monocle on his eye and a riding crop under his arm he was far more worth noticing than any other man within eyesight. Distinguished. Handsome even, in a way. And the best of it all – she peered closer just to make sure – he was not wearing a ring!

Excellent. He would be her next groom.

Now all she had to find out was who her competition was, and then...

xxxxx

After making some enquiries around, Hella discovered that the man in question was named Colonel Wilhelm Klink, and that he was the highest ranking military officer in the Hamelburg area. And that was the only reason some of the town´s female population were mildly interested in him, even though no one seemed to be certain as to whether the man returned any of those feelings. At least the feelings he showed towards them were highly inconsistent. No, instead he was generally disliked for being a pompous fool.

Well, so much the better.

There was however one lady who apparently did have a keen interest in marrying this colonel. Her name was Gertrude Linkmeyer, a widow, and sister to Colonel Klink´s superior: a General Burkhalter.

Good.

Then this Frau Linkmeyer would provide her with the necessary ticket to marry Klink.