Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Forty-Five
3rd September 1973
Lenk im Simmental, Switzerland
It was a spa town and the private clinic advertised itself for its complete discretion. Even so, pains had been made to keep Kat’s presence and identity secret even from the clinic staff. Because she was here on a voluntary basis Kat could leave at any time. She was aware that she would pay a very high personal price if she left early though.
“My children are preparing for a new academic year at this very moment” Kat said, “And I am here doing nothing.”
“My understanding is that your children are mostly older, as in teenagers or in their twenties” Doctor Cremonesi replied, “Not much point in getting too excited Frau Müller.”
That was a reminder that Kat was here as Mia Müller, an anonymous housewife from Berlin who was here for nervous exhaustion and suicidal ideation. It was because of that last part that anything that could possibly be used as a weapon or to harm herself had been taken away from her when she had arrived. Peter Holz had not told Doctor Cremonesi who she was or what she was capable of. Otherwise, the Swiss Doctor might have handled things differently.
“Angelica isn’t” Kat replied.
“Your youngest foster daughter?” Cremonesi asked, “She is what? Eleven?”
“Yes” Kat said, “And starting at a new school.”
Cremonesi spent a minute scribbling on his notepad before asking, “You think that is important?”
“I made promises to her father, that I would give her the sort of stable home that she lacked before.”
“That bothers you?”
“Wouldn’t you have broken those promises” Cremonesi asked, “If your plan had worked as intended.”
“I don’t know what exactly Doctor Holz told you, but it wasn’t a plan the way you think it was” Kat replied, “It is a game that requires sacrifices, the kind I am tired of making.”
That caused Cremonesi to scribble some more. In that moment Kat wanted more than anything to knock the notepad out of his hands but thought better of it.
“We’ll get back to what you call a game later” Cremonesi said, “I am curious about your children, I understand that you have three of your own as well as three who you have fostered? You mentioned them yesterday. That you think your oldest biological daughter is making the same mistakes you are.”
The first few days here Kat had not left her room, hardly noticing that there was always someone around to keep a close eye on her. They had spoken to her about mostly inane things, but she had inadvertently revealed more than she had thought she had. Something that she probably knew better than anyone was that among the best methods of interrogation was just listening. Most people wanted to tell their stories and Kat was no better than anyone else in that regard.
“I had a great deal of experience with those who Tatiana has fallen in with, before and during the war” Kat replied, “They have no value of Tatiana as an individual, most certainly not as my daughter. They see her as a potential asset, nothing more.”
Cremonesi didn’t start writing in his notepad that time. He didn’t ask just who Tatiana might have fallen in with either. That suggested that none of that was new information to him. Kat had no idea what the name of the equivalent of the BND was in Switzerland but wouldn’t be shocked if Cremonesi was connected. Or was she being paranoid? It was the reason why she had hated Schultz and continued to dislike his successors. There was no way of knowing what was real when you had dealings with them.
“You also said you have no worries about your son” Cremonesi said, “While your youngest biological daughter seems reluctant to grow up, and…”
“Is this leading somewhere?” Kat asked.
“I notice that your children are growing older and don’t need you as much” Cremonesi said, “Do you think that your present problems might be the result of no longer being consumed with the pressures of your family?”
“I also have a career” Kat replied, practically daring him to say something stupid.
“That is a hypothesis” Cremonesi said, “I take it that you were an Auxiliary during the Soviet War.”
“I was in the Fallschirmjäger” Kat replied, “And I wasn’t an Auxiliary.”
Cremonesi gave her a look and Kat knew that once again she had said more than she wanted. There were very few women who had had been active combatants in the Soviet War on the Allied side. If Cremonesi didn’t know who she was, it would only take about five minutes in a library to look that up. And that was if he didn’t find her biography.
“You mentioned you were treated for Traumatic Stress back the 40’s” Cremonesi said flipping through his notes, “Psychedelic therapy, which was experimental at the time. Do you remember how effective it was?”
“It helped me process a few things” Kat replied, “My problems didn’t go away though.”
“I don’t imagine they would” Cremonesi said as he started scribbling again. “These things are a process.”
“Do you say that to all your patients” Kat asked, “You do know the reputation of places like this?”
“I like to think that my patients get from this place what they put into it, Mia” Cremonesi replied, “If they are just here for a vacation escape or a bit of experimentation in a controlled environment, then that is what they will get. If they actually want help, then we shall do our best.”
“Nothing is ever that simple” Kat said.
Cremonesi just gave Kat a bemused look.