Everything in the little house containing the German high-security prisoners was back to normal. That was, as normal as it could get. For two men were now missing.

But the common room was as crowded and noisy as ever. There was a lot of wrestling taking place: Göring was trying to fend off Hedda and Heide Goebbels and his own daughter Edda, while Ribbentrop was being bullied by Wolf-Rüdiger Hess. Moreover, Eva was chucking little paper balls at Bormann at regular intervals. And whenever communications officer Rochus Misch walked across the room to get himself another magazine, little Heide would burst into song: "Misch, Misch, you are a fish..."

The three eldest Goebbels children – Helga, Hilde and Helmut – were crowded around Hitler, playing a board game. As usual, Helmut from time to time accused his elder sisters of cheating. Hilde accused Hitler of cheating. Hitler accused Helmut, though only jokingly. And Helga from time to time looked over her shoulder at Manfred Rommel, who was reading in a corner.

Rudolf Hess watched his Leader. Like always when together with children, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Rudolf was glad he was.

But on the other hand, he longed to tell him what was worrying him. He longed to confess everything, to tell him the truth about the recent meetings with the British. All those lies and half-lies, all those concealings and veilings, all those things not said were bringing him down. It was becoming too much to bear.

Goebbels was gone now. But how would Ribbentrop act? And would Magda become involved instead?

It was time he told the Leader that Goebbels had been betraying him all along.

But had he really? Hadn't he just done it all for everybody's best?

Doubts were gnawing Rudolf. Their teeth pained him.

What would the future bring?

Was it true what he had heard about Bormann, his diligent old assistant Bormann? That Bormann had turned out to be a liar, an smith of intrigues, a swine? That Bormann had turned against his former boss as soon as Rudolf had left for England? That he had declared Rudolf mad? That he had changed the names of two of his children, those called Rudolf and Ilse?

And this traitor so close to the Leader!

And was it true what they said about the Leader's will? That he had made Goebbels and Admiral Dönitz his heirs?

Well, Dönitz was a straightforward officer. And Goebbels certainly seemed to be a prudent choice.

But Goebbels was no idealist. He did not believe in any idea. Goebbels was ruthless.

And at once Rudolf had a vision that shook him and made him groan: Goebbels was bargaining again, but this time he was offering the Leader's life for the freedom of Germany. And there he was, Chancellor Goebbels, at last lord of the German Realm, grinning as ever, but this time in utmost triumph.

And suddenly he changed into Bormann, sneering slimily.

Rudolf gasped for air, shut his eyes and opened them again. There was nothing there.

Pearls of sweat were moistening his temples. He had to be wary.

A dark time had come for the German Realm.