Flowers of Grindelwald
My name is Vorteil Heinrich. I was born into the Heinrich family on the 10th of October 1909, where we lived inside a mansion in the capital of the German Empire, Berlin. My father, Walter Heinrich, was a businessman where he owned a factory where it produced railways- which the government looked forward to since they were continuously building rail infrastructure across the nation. Since my father was a really loyal and patriot to his nation, he and the government made a good mutual relationship that lasted for a long time.
My mother, Marie Heinrich, used to work as a supervisor at a textile factory on the outskirts of Berlin. She then resigns from her position after she got married to my father. She was then in charge of households in our mansion and took care of her three children. I had an older brother, Richard Heinrich, who was 4 years older than me and an older sister, Paula Heinrich, who was 3 years older than me, which made me the youngest between them.
Throughout my childhood period, both three of us loved playing together. My mother always accompanied us- especially me since I'm the youngest in the family. The three of us received proper education that was higher than the standard of the public school ones. No wonder that the one's who taught us were all famous teachers and professors across the nation and even across Europe! We lived a very affluent and decent life which was a normal thing for us.
Moreover, I got to get everything I wanted without any hitches. My own private bedroom- equipped with the things that I wanted. We have had the facilities that match no other mansion in the capital! Everyone was so nice in this mansion- our butlers, maids, chauffeurs..., there was no single person in this mansion who didn't want me to feel sad because of not being able to get the things I wanted.
Of course, this was the result of my father's greatness of wealth! Those people who worked under my father's company must be trying so hard to achieve his dream... well to be honest..., I don't care how they lived their lives in that way. Without any acknowledged skills and knowledge- of course, they deserve to work hard!
"It was a nice way to live a life like this" so that was I thought.
However... that day...
It changes everything...
On the 9th of November 1918, every member of households in our mansion was busy preparing for the worst. At that time I did not know what were they preparing for. I was in my room, reading a book about geographical science which was one of my favorite books from the whole subjects that I had learned before. All of a sudden, there were footsteps rushed in the hallway outside my room where it was loud enough to notice me. "What could it be..?" was I thought in my mind. Then I decided to take a look outside my room to find out the noises that were made.
"You two!! Bring the timbers from the warehouse!"
"Move them to the ground floor! And- tell Albert that those are the last one!"
"For those of you who are not in charge of the ground floor, go to the second floor to assist right away!!"
"Yes sir!! Three of us will go there now!"
"And- you there near the stairs!! Tell the people near the gate that preparation for the first floor is complete!"
"Right away sir!!"
As I stood still in the hallway watching them rushed around, I began wondering, "What's with all the ruckus..? Is there something wrong?". With my curious expression, I approached Robert who was the head of the butler in this mansion and also the guy that just commanded his subordinates. As I approached him closer and closer, he then turned his body towards me and surprised to saw me was in the hallway.
"Mr. Vorteil!!? What brings you here!?"
"N-n-no..! I-I'm just wondering if everything is alright"
"Everything is alright, sir"
"O-Oh... I see..."
"Please sir.., kindly return to your room. Everything is alright"
"A-alright.." then I slowly walked to my room leaving him behind in the hallway.
After returning to my room, a noise of the crowds suddenly enters my room softly- made me wondered what was going on outside the mansion, which made me check to the balcony of what was going on.
"REVOLUTION! REVOLUTION! REVOLUTION!"
"BRING DOWN THE KAISER!" *kaiser means emperor in English
The noises that were made by the people outside who were marching all together made me confused about what was going on. They yelled louder and even louder every time, demanding their request- judging from their chants, it seemed for me that they wanted the kaiser to step down from his throne. I thought again in my mind, "For what reason?? Why these people are so angry with the emperor??".
As I thought about it, my father then entered my room without knocking first like he usually did. As I looked at him while he still stood still, I could instantly saw his expression about what was going on. His usual smiling and bright face were vanished and turned into a worried face -yet I knew that he tried to hide his actual feelings that he hid from me.
"Can you listen to me for a while?"
"Listen carefully okay?"
"I want you right now to pack your clothes and things that are necessary, okay?"
"O-okay... W-wait!! Did something wrong father?"
"Just do it first alright!?"
"Once you've finished packing, bring your suitcase and go to the dining room. Please be there quickly"
"Y-yes... of course..."
I then rushed to open the wardrobe inside my room to packed my clothes. While I was packing these clothes, I never stopped thinking about what was actually going on at that time- it felt like that I was the only person inside the mansion who did not know anything about the situation.
"I think I'm finished.." said me in my mind while I exhale my breath slowly. Without any further ado, I went straight away to the dining room with my luggage in my hand.
As I opened the door, both of my family members were already there- sitting down at the dining table including my older cousin, Anna Hedwig, where she was staying in our mansion for 5 years already. Anna was uncle Hedwig's only daughter who was living in our mansion to work as an apprentice under my father's company.
"Oh... Vorteil. There you are. Have you finished packing everything?" said my mother.
"Y-yes. I'm just finished.."
"Take a seat, my son.." said my father softly.
As I walked to take a seat, I observed Richard and Paula's faces at a glance. I could tell from their expression, something was not right. As I finally took my seat, the whole room fell silent as if as it was the final day of living- where everyone inside the room contemplated with themselves of what they have done for their entire life.
"Since... Richard and Paula have already know what's going on... it's-"
"YOU CAN'T DO THAT FATHER!!" as Richard stood up and slammed the table.
"Calm down Richard!!"
"HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CALM MOTHER!!??"
"RICHARD...!!" as she yelled to Richard, Paula who sat right next to him grab his hand limply.
"Please..." said Paula softly while tears came down from her eyes. Richard then silenced himself after seeing Paula and the mother cried as water also starts to broke down slowly from her eyes. Richard then decided to sit back down.
"Just listen to uncle first...!" said Anna. I was silenced instantly by the atmosphere they had created as I did not bravely ask what was going on.
"From now on..."
"You- no.. all of you need to leave this house"
"Yes... H-huh..?? W-why father!!?"
"I already gave the letter to Anna... as you will all flee to your uncle's town"
"W-wait father!! Why..?? Why do we need to flee away??"
"It's... it's because the city-"
"HEINRICH!!!" "COME OUT YOU ENEMY OF THIS NATION!!!". All of a sudden, the outside crowds yelled to us loudly. There were also the sounds of cobblestone that hardly hit our mansion's window, while it was blocked by limbers that were already been installed by the butlers of the mansion.
All of it made the atmosphere inside the dining room became more and more intense as one of the butler came and informed us that people were trying to enter from the main door. Soon, my father called the butlers to hold them outside and to not let them enter the building.
"Listen everyone!! I want you all to follow Robert to the back of the house!!"
"What about you dear??"
"I'll catch with you all later on! It's alright, just do as I said before"
"Take care then.." said mother to father as she hugged him for the last time. She then told every one of us to follow Robert.
"Y-y-yes!!?" as I stopped walking and father walked to me- then kneeled and hugged me tightly for the last time.
"Good luck... Vorteil" said my father while he also smiled at me. I didn't know what to felt at that moment. Either sad, or scared, or even confused.
"Now go! Go Vorteil!"
Thereafter, I turned back towards the door and I hurried to walked outside the room to follow the rest. And that was the final time I saw my father lived before then, hundreds of machine gun' bullets came into the room- penetrated the limber that covered the windows inside. At that moment, I was already outside the room with the door still remained open.
I witness those bullet striking through my father's left eye- shattering his eyeball, his left hand was shot several times until it became loose and apparently disconnected from his body. The bullets also went into my father's stomach- while it made the blood burst from it as if as his body was exploded in pieces. There were small pieces of my father's flesh everywhere on the floor as the result of the bullets cutting his stomach.
I was so terrified. I couldn't move my body to catch with the others since both of my legs were shaking violently. I collapsed to the floor with still having a view of my father that was no longer showed a sign of life, while the sound of the bullets still loudly dominated the whole building.
Soon after that Robert, the head of the butler, reached and grabbed me outside in a hurry while looking down to avoid the bullets from the outside. I was forced to leave my father who was lying down inside the room, with the feeling that was really difficult to explain and possessed. I couldn't even hear what Robert was saying since I had been so terrified of what I just saw back then. One thing that I realized straight away was that we were attacked by the people who seemed to target us as a media to release their anger to someone.
"VORTEIL!!!" yelled my mother at the distance after she saw me running with Jakob towards the stairs where then the two of us finally gathered with them. "EVERYONE. FOLLOW ME!! REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN!!" yelled Robert to every one of us since the whole building was filled with gunfire's noise. The whole situation was so intense- the most suited word to this situation was chaos... total chaos! We kept running towards the door at the back of the mansion.
We apparently get out of our mansion via the door at the back in order to avoid the people that tried to barge in from the main entrance door. There was a Mercedes-Knight car waiting outside in front of the back door, where it will transport us to flee from our mansion. The chauffeur, Albert, helped us entered the car since the car's height was quite high especially for myself who was quite short.
Once we were all inside the car, Robert took a look at ourselves for the last time before we departed. "I leave the rest to you, Albert! Good luck!" said Robert as he concludes his final task for Heinrich's family. A sign of gratitude and loyalty was clearly visible on Robert's facial expression as he said "It has been a pleasure for me, Ms. Heinrich. Please take care!" to my mother- which she then replied "Thank you. I hope we can meet each other again real soon".
It was unfortunate that the two of them will never be able to meet with each other again. As we depart, Robert was shot by one of the people on the streets, while my mother turned back to look at what happened and realized that he was shot again by the same group of riots. The shot was quite loud that all of us in the car can hear it. "NOO...!!!" as my mother screamed hysterically while looking at Robert being kicked there and thereby those people, Richard pulled my mother away immediately since he sat right next to her.
"HE'S GOING TO DIE!! IF WE DON'T HELP-"
"STOP IT, MOTHER!!"
"BUT WE NEED TO STOP THEM!!"
"MOTHER- STAY STILL!!" said Richard while he tried to make mother calm and not to look at the back of the car.
"There's nothing we can do in this situation!!"
"Calm down aunt Heinrich!!"
"Albert..!! Stop the car!!"
"I'm sorry mam... I need to fulfill Mr. Heinrich's task"
"Albert... why..?? Stop it... STOP THE CAR-"
"ALL OF YOUR SAFETY IS MY TOP PRIORITY AT THE MOMENT!!! PLEASE UNDERSTAND..!!"
"There really is nothing I can do aside from transporting you to the final destination... Please forgive me. I don't want to disappoint Mr. Heinrich's wish to save you all. Please do forgive me..." said Albert to us all, while then my mother stayed silent and started to calmed herself.
"It's alright mother! We will go through this together!" said Richard with his tone and expression that he wanted to show us that he was strong enough to face the situation.
Throughout the journey to the main train station, I was speechless as we cross most of the streets filled with rage and rebels demanding for change. Due to the loss of the German Empire during the World War, people were so angry that they wanted the emperor- where they called Kaiser to step down from the throne. In order to support the soldiers during the war, they rationed the food supplies which made food prices raised during the war which became the main reasons that pushed the people to protest against the government since they didn't want to give up in winning the war although every step had been taken.
During the exact day when the revolution began, the people and the remaining soldiers of the war were hand in hand fighting for change. They were so disappointed with the emperor and they regarded those who had close relations with the emperor as enemies of the nation including us, the Heinrich family.
As we came near our final destination, a group of people with some soldiers armed with mini canon saw us and decided to forcefully stopped us since people who own a car during that time were only nobles and officials. They threw more than enough rocks- damaging the car that took us, at the same time they set the mini canon towards our car, which made us have no other choice but to leave the car immediately. But as soon as we stepped outside of the car, the artillery of the canon hit the front of the car- caused the car to explode because of the reaction between the gasoline and sparks from the machine. The explosion was quite loud and enough to throw us away to the streets, while it also caused me unconscious.
"Vorteil... Vorteil... Vorteil...Vorteil... VOORTEILL!"
"..who... who's... there...?.."
"Vorteil... Vorteil...Vorteil... Vorteil..."
"-we al**ys *o*e y*u.."
As I was still unconscious, those phrases always echoing in my dream, I kept questioning myself. "Who..? Just who are these people trying to call my name!!?". The whole thing that I could say was just a pitch-black space with no one inside but myself. But all of a sudden, a soft sound of a woman screamed was sounded in my ears as I slowly began to open my eyes bit by bit. The streets looked as if it was tilted ninety degrees, and soon I saw it, I realized that it was just me who was lying down on the ground. I couldn't hear what the people on the streets talking about as they saw me heartily. I said to myself, "Oh... am I going to die here... huh..". When all of a sudden, a girl appears right in front of me- the same silhouette of girl that was in my dream whole this time.
"Vorteil... Vorteil... Vorteil..."
"-I.. love you... always.."
"Vorteil... Vorteil... VOORTEILL!"
- The Start of a Bad Dream -
Chapter 1 END