In her coffin Lotharina's mind raced as she considered the possibilities. "I can go direct for the jugular," she mused, "and go right after Peter himself. Or I can go for several of the important people around him and hopefully cripple his regime. Even so, he's bound to replace them and things will get back to normal for him. I'll give him that, he's a capable son of a bitch."
Lotharina was a vampire. She found it ironical that here she was lying in her coffin in the middle of the night. For a moment she snickered over what people would think. They would think she had to prowl around each night for her prey and race back to her hiding place before the sun came up to escape being vaporized by the early morning rays.
"I am not that vulnerable," she said to herself aloud. "Yet in some ways my powers are not as great as the vampires of television and cinema lore. I can go out whenever I want, and come home when I like.
Plain truth is coffins are cool if one's mind runs that way, which Lotharina's did. And so did most other vampires. For most of them the coffin was an affectation much the same as the trade musket and the rifles that would replace it was for many American Plains Indians. Indians would decorate the stocks of their rifles with numerous studs whereas Whites wouldn't. The coffin just appealed to the vampire's sense of humor or circumstance. It was a symbol of death, of those many deaths that would keep the vampire alive.
"And the coffin is supremely comfortable," thought Lotharina. She thought about how hardly anybody ever lay in a coffin until they were dead and that they just didn't know what they were missing.
"This leaves me free to go out whenever I like so I can meet either Peter or his accomplices. I think I'll meet Sergei Soronovich tomorrow."
She found him at the art museum. Sergei had seen a lot of death. And although his principal function for Peter was supervising his training camp for Peter's Praetorian Guard of elite troops who owed their allegiance direct to Peter, Sergei still killed now and then when the master called. For Sergei art was a welcome escape from the world he had to live in.
He had never seen a woman so attractive. She was blonde, and a natural blonde at that. Long legged with a firm derriere, her waist was trim. Her back and arms were lined with smooth muscles that showed how well she took care of herself as well as her impeccable genes. Sergei was smitten by her intelligent appraising green eyes studying the painting hanging on the wall before her.
"One can tell it is Russian," she announced loudly enough to be overheard. Then she looked at him directly. "Can't you tell how it shows the unmistakable signs of being Russian art?"
"No. I really can't tell, and I should know because I lived in Russia most of my life, but I'm not catching whatever you are seeing in that painting."
"Well look. It is a painting of Jesus Christ being crucified. Hundreds of years ago there were lots of painters painting the crucifixion but all of them are pretty much the same. They really don't show the agony Jesus was experiencing. And many of them show him with a halo above his head. His face is one of kindliness, the exact image the New Testament sought to project. Not this painting though."
"Notice," she continued, "that Jesus appears more animal than man. He's experiencing unbearable pain. And unbearable pain does that to a man. His face is a mask of agony, a visage of a perpetual scream. That was the gift of the Russian painters in the time period. They were true artists, unlike the Dutch and Italian painters that art history is always extolling. Do you agree or disgree?"
"It is different. I never thought about it that way," said Sergei. You are giving me new found pride in my old country.
"You are Russian?" Lotharina asked with a surprised lilt.
"I was. But I'm American now."
"Once you are Russian it never leaves you. It remains in your soul."
"What would you know about that? You are an American."
"I've studied Russian Literature, History, Art and Music. That painting is just an example. It doesn't show an idealized version of Jesus that is unbelievable to anyone viewing it who uses his brain to think about the situation realistically. Crucifixion was an excruciatingly painful way of dying. It is inconceivable to think of a man dying on the cross in agony, looking up peacefully towards the Heaven's asking: "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." It takes a Russian mind to grasp with the reality of what was occurring it and then to have the balls to paint the scene as he actually envisioned it. The Dutch art masters never had that capacity and neither did the Italians."
"You do have a firm grasp on the Russian character, for so it seems," said Sergei.
"And how about Dostoevski? He wrote some of the greatest psychological stuff of all time. He first tackled the phenomenon we call schizophrenia in his work, "The Double." You don't see anything like it nor as good today. That's why your vision of yourself as being Russian will never leave you."
This woman has a way with words I've never seen in a woman before, thought Sergei. And then he took a long and hard look at her. Her face was incredibly youthfulthe face of a twenty year old. Her eyes were wide and trusting, and therefore completely out of character with the words coming out of her mouth. She spoke as a woman of the world, who had been practically everywhere whose eyes and ears missed nothing.
His eyes were like x rays that could see beneath her t shirt and look at her breasts. Firm with nipples that stood at attention underneath the cloth, they were so succulent and perfect that a man could be driven to orgasm just thinking about them firmly pushing against his cock. Her entire body was so firm, from her legs to her trim belly, to betray a certain tightness for the man who would be so privileged to enter her.
"You are looking at me the way a man should look at a woman," she said to him with sudden boldness. "And you like what you see, I can tell that."
"You are very appealing," Sergei confessed. "And I find you utterly fascinating. Next thing I'm going to want to talk to me about is how you find the Germans."
"Controlling," she replied without a moment's hesitation. "You see, the Germans once might have thought of themselves as the Master Race. But that wasn't entirely true. That is simply a fabrication by Hitler that most Germans bought into. Truth is the Germans think they are the masters of everything. As if they are the grand masters at engineering and that they control the weather, what can be built and how, that they can conquer space, and that they can control how mankind thinks and acts, and that they alone can lead mankind to realizing its mastery of the elements and everything else."
"Have you eaten?"
"Not since around 11." She glanced at her watch. It's now getting past four. Have to be thinking about dinner, whether I cook for myself or go out and have a bite and let the restaurant do all the work."
"Then let's head to a restaurant. I want to learn from you about the English next. And then the Americans. Even the Swiss."
As he watched her following him through his rear view mirror, Sergei thought: "I wish we didn't have separate cars. We could go to the restaurant together, just the two of us, talking, sitting close to one another and after the meal I could take her home. But this is a start. A good start as he watched her gliding through traffic behind him in her green BMW, whose color strangely matched her green eyes.
The Peter the Great Episodes
The Peter the Great Reincarnation Pages introduction
Episode 1--Mission from God--July 2002
Episode 2--Peter the Great becomes President--August 2002
Peter the Great--The Golden Odyssey--October 2002
Peter the Great and the Coliseum--November 2002
Peter the Great finds out about Father Joseph--January 2003
God and the Lawyers--March 2003
Peter the Great takes Revenge on the Spammers--April 2003
Shootout at Peter's Corral--May 2003
Peter the Great--The Seduction of Sergei--August 2003