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MORNING SERIAL; The Element of Water.

Byline: Stevie Davies

THE blood had rushed to Dahl's head upon seeing Michael Quantz: he was one of these milky complexioned men who blush so easily, his wheat-pale hair nearly white, like a girl's. With his fellow lickspittle, Karl Muller, there stood the inseparable friend of Michael's childhood. On the white sand at Travemunde, building sandcastles, their mothers gossiping in wicker sunchairs, they had crouched close as brothers. Michael had not thought it strange that Paul's father kept a room as a shrine to his ancestors, but accepted this as children do accept vagaries and obsessions, in a world where all is novel. Not that he had envied Paul his father, for while Mrs Dahl had doted, Mr Schoolmaster Dahl had been dissatisfied with his thinskinned younger son. He bullied and threatened; humiliated and scored cheap points off the boy. Come here, blancmange; come along, milk pudding. Michael had regularly done Paul's homework for him. The two children, dressed from earliest days in sailor suits, had been destined for the Navy. But Paul had spat in his father's eye, and got out of range, opting for a profession of butchery instead.

It had been Dahl and Muller who passed on the news of the Little Admiral, with gloating they took no trouble to hide. Michael had watched rather than listened to Dahl spouting. He was still a well-nigh perfect animal. He had risen in Himmler's brotherhood by virtue of blond, obsequious good looks, and perfect blood which showed through the translucent skin with exemplary purity. Not a lot of beard to shave off. The hair off-white. Albino perfection. As Dahl told him of the hanging of Canaris, he raked his hand through his hair and Michael remembered how Paul had caught his first wife dyeing their child's hair blond: denounced the one as an adulteress and the other as a Slav bastard and got shot of the two of them.

> The Element of Water by Stevie Davies is published by Parthian in the Library of Wales series CONTINUES TOMORROW


The Element of Water by Stevie Davies

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 2, 2019
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