Exclusive Look Inside: Doctor Satan

Final Solutions

The streets of Paris were clotted with smog. Many months had passed since the occupation began, and the factories that had fallen silent as the French war effort ended had been brought lurching back to a semblance of life. Conscription orders had gone out; every able-bodied man was to report to their assigned duty or face repercussions. So those undead bastions of industry spewed forth new, bilious clouds that turned the sky and the streets black by midafternoon each day.
That conscription program was how they had found the Doctor. There had always been whispers about him, even before the war. Insinuations that he was willing to do the things that his more ethical compatriots would not. Yet now in this dark time, there was no denying that his moral flexibility was just what France needed. He had no compunctions about lying to the Nazis. Whatever else he might have been, abortionist or drug peddler, there was no denying that he was at his heart a Frenchman, and the same longing for freedom from the yoke of tyrants burned in his heart. His were the people who had beheaded their kings – was it any wonder that the little Austrian with the funny moustache grated on his nerves?
So when the conscription notices were sent out from whatever dingy office the Germans had commandeered, a series of polite envelopes were returned with a signed notice from a medical professional that they must be excluded from any forced work programs on the basis of disability. There were not many of these envelopes, not nearly enough to arouse any sort of suspicion, but it seemed that Paris housed many more disabled people than any census might have suggested.
In particular, those who resided by the Rue des Rosiers found that they were not required to attend any of these new jobs that the Nazis had found for them. Indeed the whole Jewish Quarter in Marais seemed to have suffered dreadful injuries during the Great War, and such being the case, only a very few of the men could be compelled to manufacture munitions and materiel for the war effort against the Allies. Very few Jewish men had to endure the judging eye of the Nazi overseers, quietly taking note of their heritage and preparing more permanent places for them and their families.
There were rumours about the Doctor even among those who made use of his services. There were those who said that he was more than just a kindly man, willing to sign what he must to protect his fellow Frenchmen from the wicked invader. Some whispered that he was a part of the underground resistance. Others that he served as a spy, feeding information out of France to the allies. It was this last part that was of interest to the Parisian Jews, because for information to get out, a route was required.
As the occupation marched on through the year with its jackboots shined, people began to go missing. There was no mystery whether the Nazis were responsible – if anything, they broadcasted the fact of their relocation programs and ghettos with great delight, as though the fear and the cruelty was the point of the exercise. The missing people that interested the Jewish community were the ones who put all of their affairs in order, withdrew all of the money from their accounts, and then vanished without a trace.
The French police made no effort to find them. If anything, they made deliberate efforts to muddy the trail where they could. Meanwhile, the Gestapo were run off their feet chasing after all of the very real spies and saboteurs still at work in Paris. They had no time to be chasing ghosts. If some of the racial enemies of the German state vanished, then whoever was responsible was doing their work for them.
Yet the trail was followed. Not by the police, or the Fuhrer’s errand boys, but by the Jewish community itself. None of them begrudged anyone their secrecy, but if there was a way out before the trap snapped shut, then of course they were going to take it.
Valentin was the latest to follow that trail. He had not been lucky enough to avoid the Nazis attention. He knew that his name was on their lists, that it was just a matter of time before the knock came in the middle of the night and he was hauled off onto a train to nowhere, never to be seen or heard from again. He did not know about the camps, the gas, the final solution – none of that would become public knowledge until long after the war was done – but he knew that danger stalked him. Doom followed in his footsteps every day that he trudged to his factory work and the overseers peered down at him, noting the curls of his dark hair, his pronounced nose, and his surname staring up at them from their list. He had seen the little star beside his name in their record books. He could see that same star alongside rows that had been crossed through. Men, Jewish men, who were no longer expected to return to work in the factory. He was not going to let them do that to him. He was not going to become another line in another ledger, moved from column to column.
So he was here in the smog now, stalking from alleyway to alleyway, hoping that he would not be caught breaking curfew. It had been a simple enough piece of detective work for him to realize that every one of the people who had vanished had also received a writ from the Doctor excusing them from work. Once you knew about that one illicit endeavour of his, it seemed quite obvious that the Doctor’s underground connections were getting the endangered out of Paris and into safer territory, sending his spying reports along in their hands to help the allies fight back against the occupation.
Every franc that Valentin owned was in his pockets. Whatever the cost to get out of France, he would pay it without complaint. What use was money if you were dead or imprisoned?
The same smog that made it easy to avoid the eyes of the patrolling Germans made the city into a stranger. Valentin had spent all of his years on these streets, and the Germans had made them alien to him. Not just their flags flapping in the breeze or the checkpoints they set up around the city – even the air tasted wrong. Where once he could lift his nose and know at once whether he was close to the patisseries of the Rue de Seine or catch a waft of perfume warning him he was near to Montmartre, now the whole city stank of relentless industry. He had to walk the streets by memory now, trusting his feet to carry him more than his eyes to lead him.
Yet despite all that had changed, memory still served him well. Though it may have been hours after the curfew, his journey through the city had been swift and unnoticed. He scrambled up the steps to the Doctor’s door and rapped on it firmly with his knuckles, eyes darting around to make sure that he was not seen by any neighbour or potential Nazi collaborator. Just when he was beginning to wonder if he should knock again, harder, and risk drawing attention, the door popped open like a cork from a bottle of champagne and the Doctor was there in all his quiet dignity.
With just a glance, he made his diagnosis of Valentin’s situation and swiftly ushered him inside. With the door closed behind them, he ushered him through, past the waiting room set up in what should have been a living room and into the doctor’s office that had supplanted the house’s kitchen. Even though it was quite apparent what his purpose in visiting was, still Valentin blurted out, “I must get out of France.”
“I know. I know why you are here.”
Even so, it seemed that there was an inevitability to their movements. The Doctor headed to his place behind the desk, Valentin to his place on the patient’s side, awaiting the prognosis. “They have already marked me. I must escape.”
It seemed enough to give the Doctor pause. He did not look startled, but he did pause in his digging through the desk drawers. “You have not led them here? You have not left any note or message of your plans that might be found? You have not spoken to others of your purpose in visiting me?”
“No. None of that.” Valentin was aghast. “I’m no fool, Doctor. I would not bring trouble to your door.”
The Doctor resumed his digging, emerging with medicine bottles and papers that had been hidden away inside of other folders. “Then you are wiser than many of the poor panicked souls that I have helped these past months.”
With all the pieces of paper laid out before him, the Doctor seemed to remember what came next. He blinked. “Money. Do you have money? You will need it to start your new life in South America.”
“South America?”
“Argentina. As far from the awful war as I can send you. Somewhere you and your kind can be safe at last. There are friends already waiting for you there, more of your own people than you can imagine.”
“I… yes… I have money.”
He fumbled in his pockets for it. He had expected to pay dearly to be smuggled out of Paris, but now it sounded as though he would be allowed to keep what wealth he managed to smuggle with him. He had foreseen dread and danger, a life of struggle once he was out of France, but from the way that the Doctor described it, it sounded almost like a holiday.
“Good, good. You have it with you? You are ready to depart?”
There was no turning back now. Valentin nodded. “Yes.”
“Excellent.” The Doctor clapped his hands together. “Most excellent. There are some preparations that we must make before I take you through the tunnel. There are health concerns that I must make you aware of. The viruses and bacteria in Bolivia are not the same as those here. You shall require vaccination to ensure your safety.”
Valentin was confused but still went through the motions of stripping off his coat and rolling up his sleeve as the Doctor drew out syringes. “Bolivia?”
Once more the Doctor froze in place. Like he was a turning record that had stuttered out of its groove for a moment. “My pardon, I mean Argentina, of course. Many things on my mind. You must excuse me.”
“Of course, Doctor. I cannot imagine all of the strain that you are under as a part of the resistance, and I cannot thank you enough for this. You cannot know how much the work that you do has meant to us.”
Like he was reading from a script, the Doctor went through his motions, drawing medicine up from the bottle. “My work has always been well compensated. I have no need of your thanks.”
“I do not mean your doctoring, sir. I mean the help that you give to my people. To all of France.”
Without delay or warning, the Doctor crossed the distance and plunged the syringe into Valentin’s arm. He let out a surprised yelp, but he did not jerk away. The Doctor stepped back and watched him. “I am a doctor. When there is pain, I seek to ease it. When there is sickness, I seek its cure. When there is a disease that I can remove from the world with just a simple injection, of course I will do it without question.”
The pain in Valentin’s arm had faded almost immediately, replaced with numbness that now spread out. His arm hung limp and useless, and as he tried to take in a breath to cry out and tell the doctor that something had gone wrong, his lungs stopped drawing in air. He tried to rise, to wave his arms, to do something, anything to alert the Doctor to his plight, but the man’s back was turned. He was digging through the pockets in Valentin’s jacket without a glance to his patient, behaving as though he were the only one in the room.
Valentin toppled from his chair, landing with a sickening crunch upon the tiled floor, then flopping helpless and hopeless upon the ground, his broken nose smeared blood in a curve towards the heels of the man who had killed him. For his part, the Doctor only looked down and tutted at the mess.
All of Valentin’s money and papers had been extracted with practised ease from the places where he had hidden them, the lining of his coat was slit open with a scalpel to retrieve those pieces he had hidden. The cold was across his chest now, down in his guts, climbing up his throat, It was competing with the burn of his stilled lungs to be felt in these final moments. His body was dead now, he knew that much at least, but still his eyes moved, his brain sparked. He was still there when the Doctor started stripping him. Marking the points where he would separate his limbs from his torso with a pen. Planning his disposal.
He was still alive right up until the moment that the Doctor fetched out his bone saw and crouched down on the tiled floor beside him and smiled for the very first time since he had met him – wide and leering and full of such horrifying delight that Valentin was glad that he would not be here to see what came next.

DOCTOR SATAN will be released on Amazon on 28th September 2021


  • Janie McCamey

    Reply Reply September 10, 2021

    Ryan Green has done it again, turning out a book I just couldn’t put down. As an avid fan of true crime, I find his talent and style to be quite singular and exceptional. This, like many of his books that I’ve read, is very well researched, and I love how he tells the story from the killer’s point of view. Makes for much less dry reading. His stories are both accurate and engaging, and I’d highly recommend them to any true crime fan. He also takes great pains to point out hearsay and rumors as such when he includes them, and I appreciate that. Do read this and all of his other books. You won’t be disappointed!

    • Ryan Green

      Reply Reply September 11, 2021

      Thank you for the wonderful feedback Janie. That really means a lot to me! Best wishes, Ryan

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