Chapter One: Lietuvēns.
“He will tell us exactly how he stole 200 million euros from the Latvian Government. Otherwise, we’ll strap him to a chair. We’ll insert a hypodermic syringe into his left eyeball. Then we’ll inject it with petrol. Does that answer your question? However, something makes me think he will tell us everything we need to know before it even gets to that point.”
That’s what Alpha told his team. Alpha was the commander and founder of a group of Latvian vigilantes who had devoted themselves to the task of eradicating high-end corruption in the Republic of Latvia. They were not a unit of Latvia’s police or armed forces. I can assure you they were not working for the government. They were self-styled and self-funded. Well, to tell the truth, they weren’t exactly self-funded. It’s probably better to say that they were the very grateful recipients of a few ‘involuntary donations’ from five rather dishonest politicians in Daugavpils, whose lives have since been completely destroyed. If you’re going to spend money to bring an end to corruption, you may as well be financed by money taken from the ill-gotten gains of corrupt people. That’s how Alpha saw it.
There were nine members in this radical group. They were well-armed, well-equipped, and very well-trained. Each one came from families that had suffered from the cruel actions of unrestrained kleptocrats in Latvia. All were driven by intense feelings of anger and a lust for revenge. All wanted to eradicate this cancer that had infected the highest echelons of life in their country. Not one of them believed that would ever be achieved by due processes. In their hearts and minds, the system was broken. Latvia was a big marionette show controlled by a coterie of ruthless oligarchs who pulled the strings attached to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. This was such a source of outrage for these men, they were prepared to physically and psychologically torture and kill anybody necessary to bring an end to the illegal Deep State that was ruining the lives of hardworking people from Valka to Ventspils.
They viewed themselves as the antiseptic to kill the germs.
Who am I, you might ask? I’m sorry, I’ve been very rude, haven’t I? Allow me to introduce myself: They call me Lietuvēns. I’m a demon. I normally come to people at night while they’re sleeping. If you’ve ever suffered sleep apnea or sleep paralysis, I’m usually the one who gets the blame for that. There is little that gives me greater joy than tormenting people while they sleep. But it wasn’t always that way.
Apparently, I was once alive. I was a living, breathing human being before I died and became a demon. To be honest, I don’t have a clear memory of my life as a human. Some say that I drowned. I’ve even heard a rumour that the remains of my body, a pile of bones, lies at the bottom of a lake called Pinku ezers, near the town of Ēdole. The rumour tells I might have been an investigative journalist during my mortal life and that I was beaten and drowned after writing an article that contained allegations against a very rich criminal who lives in Ventspils. If that’s true, it would explain my fascination with criminals. Another rumour says I was on the Board of Directors of a large Latvian brewery. Many years ago, a wealthy Russian businessman tried to buy that brewery for a somewhat deflated price. His offer was rejected and then senior executives from that company started turning up as dead bodies floating in the Daugava River. If we can go by that story, maybe I was one of those dead bodies.
Anyway, who cares? I don’t remember anymore, so it doesn’t matter. All I know is, as a demon I can move through time and I can transcend the normal limitations of space. I can be wherever I want to be. I can watch whatever I want to watch. I can hear whatever I want to hear. Nothing happens behind closed doors in my world. Because of this ability, I can know about things that the rest of you don’t, and I have one hell of a story to tell you if you’re willing to hear me out on this. You will be telling your grandchildren about this. Trust me, your head will spin.
Now, where shall we start? I say we start with this group of paramilitary vigilantes headed by Alpha. They called themselves The Prometheans. Their codename, of course, was inspired by the mythological Greek, Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. In many ways, that’s what they intended to do. They wanted to destroy the stranglehold that criminal oligarchs had on the people of Latvia and to get all the money these robber-barons had stolen returned to the nation’s people.
I am absolutely dying to tell you how they planned to go about it. But first things first, let’s find out what made these guys so upset. It more or less got started when a stripper was arrested by police in Rīga one afternoon while she still had her panties around her ankles.
(to be continued, Friday 1st June, 2018)