I shall not hold back the truth of what I felt when a madman held a knife to my throat in a darkened movie theatre on that Sunday afternoon in 1928.
I sat rigid in my seat in the balcony. What was happening to me was beyond fear, this evil monster seeking revenge upon me for something I didn’t understand. I had to unmask him in the dark, not with a plea for my life but with defiance.
“You won’t get away with this,” I insisted. “I’m not alone.”
“Your protector won’t come to your aid, Fräulein,” he said, laughing. “He’s too busy chasing my shadow.”
What was he talking about?
Still resisting him, I continued with: “You killed Else. Why?”
“Like all the others, she laughed at me,” he said. “She had to die.”
I could barely breathe when the man put his hand on my knee, lingering there before reaching up under my skirt, his rough fingers scraping the tender skin on my thigh before unsnapping my garter. I didn’t resist when he reached under my stocking and stroked my bare skin. How could I? He continued to hold the knife against my throat. My whole body convulsed.
I detested his touch…
“I’m not laughing at you,” I said in a low voice. I gripped the velvet seat, my fingers digging into the armrests and snagging the fibers with my nails.
“But you will, Fräulein…and then you will die.”
The anticipatory intonation in his voice made me suspect that he harbored an urgent need for the ghoulish sexual pleasure he found in watching the reaction of young women before he cut them. A sadistic thrill that hung somewhere between a drunken stupor and a dream.
Was he a member of the extensive criminal underground in Weimar Berlin that numbered more than sixty organized gangs? Gangs that controlled illegal gambling, drugs, motorcar theft, much of the child prostitution as well as blackmail.
I shuddered, knowing that even if he were caught and brought to trial, the German courts often listened to criminal psychologists who tended to gaze upon offenders of sexual violence as unfortunates with hormonal imbalances.
He forced me to leave with him through a rear exit and outside into the rain. Dripping wet, he dragged me toward an alley. I kicked and screamed, determined not to be an easy victim.
The man laughed and refused to stop. A shot rang out, but it missed him. I screamed. He threw me against the wall, knocking the breath out of me.
“You…can’t…escape,” I sputtered.
“They’ll never find me, Fräulein,” the man vowed. “But I can always find you.”
With that, he ran out into the rain as I heard more shots fired. Several policemen raced after him, but they couldn’t catch him. I swear he disappeared into the rainy mist. All I remember was hearing the haunting anguish of a creature that didn’t sound human.
Days passed and they never found him.
Two more dancers quit and the box office receipts continued to fall. The management decided the murderer’s threat was bad for business and closed the show.
I was jobless and hungry over the next few weeks. No wonder I was easy prey for the monocled gentleman with the secret fetish…
(contains adult subject matter 18+ only)
Lady Eve Marlowe