"My name is Alix Strauss," Alix said stiffly. "And how on earth did you get here, when my daughter killed you nine years ago?"

"I have been suffering great torment in the afterlife for the harm I brought to your family and many others," Rasputin told her. "I have just been offered a shortening of my sentence in exchange for coming here to warn you of things to come. The man you heard speak today, Adolf Hitler, is an evil man. He's one of the most, if not the most, evil people of all time. More evil than I was, even."

"Erich thinks he's a strong leader who will bring our nation back to its former glory."

"Your husband is mistaken, Alexandra. There will soon be another war involving many nations, a terrible war, one even worse than the Great War. There will be much suffering and death."

Suddenly Alix realized that she was no longer standing in her house but what was obviously a battlefield. The bodies of injured and dead men lay everywhere. Alix saw that she was standing beside a man lying on the ground who was bleeding copiously from a large wound in his chest. She looked into his eyes and saw the pain and fear there. Only a few feet away from him lay another man who was perfectly still. Already flies buzzed busily around the exposed areas of his body. Similar scenes extended for as far in the distance as Alix could see. Her mind recoiled in horror.

"Stalingrad," Rasputin said solemnly. "The bloodiest battle in history."


"You know it as Tsaritsyn."

"Oh, yes. Tsaritsyn."

"These are the countrymen of your children," Rasputin continued. "Slaughtered by your own countrymen."

"Oh, no!" Alix sobbed.

"Germany and her allies will be defeated," Rasputin told her. "But victory will come at the cost of over half a million lives, including forty thousand civilians. But that's not the worst of it."

Alix now found herself standing at a train station, watching as hundreds of bedraggled people were herded out of the cars like livestock. As the men, women and children disembarked from the train, Alix noticed that they were being separated into two lines. One line was composed of healthy young men and women, and the other was composed of children, elderly people, and the sick or crippled.

"Watch what happens to those in the second line," said Rasputin.

Alix watched as the group was led into a building and told to strip. Once they were naked, they were led into what appeared to be shower stalls. Within seconds the screaming began, and it continued until every single person lay dead. The bodies were unceremoniously dragged to ovens and cremated.

"Those are the more fortunate ones," Rasputin told Alix. He led her to another building, one which housed those who had been in the first line of an earlier train load. Here Alix saw walking skeletons, fully grown men who weighed at most fifty or sixty pounds each. A thin layer of skin covered their bony frames, of which Alix could clearly see the outline of each rib. In their eyes she could see that not a shred of sanity remained. Occasionally one of the men would fall, and when that happened, he just lay there until the sadistic-looking guards came to drag him to the same crematorium ovens.

"They are Jews," Rasputin told Alix. "Six million of them in all will have died before it's all over with. Also gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and many others."

"Do you mean to tell me that I have to choose between my heritage and what is right?" Alix wailed.

"Of course not," said Rasputin. "You can always join the Resistance."

Alix found herself standing in a prison cell that was occupied by three young adults, two men and a woman.

"Their names are Sophie and Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst," Rasputin told Alix. "They belong to the White Rose Society, a group dedicated to fighting Adolf Hitler and his regime. They were caught distributing pamphlets at their university."

Alix watched, horrified, as first Sophie, then the two men, were led to a guillotine. She covered her eyes as the blade fell.

"I must warn them!" Alix cried.

Rasputin shook his head. "There's nothing you can do, Alexandra. The die has been cast. History will proceed as it must."

"Then please tell me that the perpetrators of these horrible deeds will not go unpunished!"

"Adolf Hitler will kill himself in an underground bunker in Berlin on April 30, 1945, to avoid being captured by the Soviets," Rasputin said. "On May 9 of that same year, Germany will surrender, and the bloodshed will finally come to an end, but not before millions have suffered and died."

Alix found that she was once again standing in her own home.

"I must tell Erich the things you've shown me!" she exclaimed.

Rasputin shook his head again. "He won't listen to you. In his heart he has already committed himself to the forces of evil."

Alix was devastated.

"The only person you can save is yourself," Rasputin told her. "Return to Paris, Alexandra Feodorovna, while you still can. In just a few years it will be too late. Go back to your Nicky. He loves you and misses you dearly. In the three years since you left him, not a day has passed that he hasn't cried."

"If he loves me so much, then why did he have a relationship with Mathilde after he told me that he loved me?"

"He was young, Alexandra. You were in Germany, and he was in Russia. He loved you, but he had to wait a few years before he could be with you. Mathilde was right there, ready and willing. She was beautiful, and the temptation was just too strong for him to resist."

"But I waited for him!"

"You were a bit younger, and as you well know, young ladies don't have the same opportunities that young men do."

Alix glanced toward the bedroom. "Erich has always treated me with the utmost respect. He's been completely devoted to me since we met. He's my brother's best friend, and he's of my own people."

"Nicholas was devoted to you from the time you became engaged to him. You know that deep down inside, you still love him. Don't you think you've punished him enough?"

Alexandra gave the bedroom one final glance, and as Rasputin began to dematerialize, she fled the house and ran toward the railroad station as quickly as she could.