Stefan was left alone once again, but thanks to Klein’s instructions, he was able to survive. He had also gained the skills he would need to exact revenge. He was now 12 years old and had located his first target. Yuri was stationed at a guard house located on the border between East and West Berlin. It was a cushy assignment, an apparent reward for fighting valiantly in the assault on Berlin. Unfortunately for Stefan, Yuri was quite popular and was never alone, a major inconvenience. Stefan studied his habits carefully and every morning before he started his guard post duty, he and a few of his comrades would have some strudel and coffee at a local café. It was a simple matter to plant the bomb a few minutes earlier. In the end a total of ten people were killed by the blast, including Yuri.
It took Stefan another three years to locate Pietro. He had retired from the military and somehow purchased a local steel mill. From what he gathered from the workers, Pietro came from a wealthy family back in Moscow. When the opportunity to make profit in Berlin was made available, he was fast to volunteer to stay behind. He had sent for his wife and two children to join him, and was now living a very comfortable life. Stefan began watching Pietro very carefully and soon discovered that killing this man would not be easy. The steel mill was well guarded; he used other retired soldiers as security personnel and labor enforcers. Stefan found his home equally as secure. His manor was surrounded by a tall metal gate and he also employed several men to serve as guards for his family. The use of a bomb would not work.
After a while Stefan decided to watch Pietro’s wife instead, and there he found his opening. Pietro’s wife Svetlana was very particular about the food she fed her family and always picked out the best groceries herself. This habit would give Stefan his chance. It was easy enough to get a job in the grocery shop. Offering to take a half wage in order to garner employment was all it took, terms the grocer quickly accepted. Within a few weeks, Stefan had figured out Svetlana’s shopping patterns. From that point, poisoning their food was simplistic. Stefan added generous amounts of cyanide to their wine and combined the toxin with butter and glazed it onto the large amounts of bread they routinely purchased. Later that evening, a stroll through Pietro’s now unguarded and silent home, gave Stefan an intense sense of peace. He gazed upon Pietro’s contorted face; it was locked in visage of agony and panic. He had hoped that Pietro had lived long enough to watch his wife and children suffer the same fate. Stefan was long gone, by the time the Stasi came looking for the grocer. The cyanide after all was easily recognized and ultimately traced back to Stefan’s former employer. The grocer, his wife and son were all arrested and charged with the murder of the entire household, seven in all.
Finally after another three years, Stefan had located Ivan at last. The man had been working for the Stasi for many years and was now quietly retired. Stefan found him living alone in a single story house a few nights earlier. He decided that tonight would be the night he killed Ivan. He exited his shack and made his way across the city on foot. At last the nightmares would end, and his mother could finally rest in peace. He arrived at Ivan’s house and spied on him through the window. The man looked much older than he remembered, but it was definitely him. He could make out that Ivan was boiling something in a large iron pot on the stove. He decided this was his chance and made his way to the back door.
Stefan pulled out an iron rod that he brought along, kicked in the door and rushed into the kitchen. He looked around but the old man was nowhere in sight. He sensed something behind him and before he could turn around was struck on the back of the head. When he awoke he was tied to a chair in the kitchen, and Ivan was putting away a blackjack away in one of the kitchen drawers.
“Who are you, and who sent you?” Ivan asked.
“My name is Stefan, and no one sent me,” he answered coldly.
“Are you trying to rob me then, if no one sent you?”
“I am not trying to rob you.” Stefan kept a cold eye on him. Ivan put on a pair of heavy rubber gloves and walked over to the pot on the stove and pulled out a medal that was simmering in boiling water. He walked back over to Stefan.
“Then why are you here?”
“I want you dead.”
“So someone did send you,” Ivan placed the star-shaped medal in his gloved palm and then pressed in on to Stefan’s face directly over his left eye. Stefan cried out in agony as the scalding hot medal seared his flesh, “who sent you!”
“No one,” Stefan yelled out!
“I can keep burning you all night, so you best tell me who. . .” Ivan stopped and then took a good look at Stefan. “Do I know you?”
“No, but you knew my mother,” Stefan clenched his eyes to force the tears out, and cleared his vision.
“I guess I was responsible for her death then?” Ivan turned and started walking back toward the stove. “I was worried you were a bigger threat, but I see that is not the case. I will make your death quick boy.” Ivan placed the medal on the counter and opened a drawer and reached for his pistol.