READ THIS DISCLAIMER: This story is set during World War II, and it
depicts an action that many women suffered during war. There is a very
short rape scene at the beginning that is used to set up the rest of the
story. The scene is not glorified, nor used as shock value, but to isolate
and shift a character's behavior. I apologize if this offends anyone, and
that is not my intention. If this bothers you, then please do not read
Other than that no disclaimers are required for use as the character and plot are my own. This story does depict a relationship between women, and may not be suited for children under 18 or illegal in your given area. Please use your own judgment. Comments, questions or suggestion may be sent to me at Pallas3@yahoo.com*
NOTE TO READERS: Thank you for keeping with me over the time it's taken to post this. I try and write whenever I get time, and I appreciate all of you who have written me notes encouraging me to post more often. Believe it or not, it's helped.
Part VIII: Victory Waits on Your Fingers
(Another great WWII propoganda poster)
sound of the train whistle drifted back on the wind, and Sophie found
herself slowly climbing to consciousness. Her eyes opened, and she felt
the rise and fall of the American's chest against her arm. As she slowly
began to comprehend her place, a fear rose unbidden in her chest and her
instinct told her to move away. Her body began to shift, but as soon as
she moved a stronger feeling of loss replaced the fear, and she lowered
herself back against Jackie's body. The American was in a deep sleep, and
Sophie studied the woman's profile in the pre-dawn light.
skin was tanned and healthy, although Sophie could see a few scars around
her forehead that hinted at childhood chicken poxs. Sophie let herself
wonder what Jackie might have been like as a child. She imagined the girl
was a leader. That quality usually developed early. Had she been popular
with the boys? She imagined that Jackie would have had a lot of
boyfriends. Handsome young men who tired to seduce her - - - and she bet
Jackie had let them.
sat up quickly, her heart pounding angrily at the thought of Jackie with
someone else. The cold hit her immediately, and she didn't realize how
warm Jackie was keeping her. Her green gaze fell on the sleeping woman,
and then shifted away. 'I've got to stop this,' she thought. 'She's
an end to my means. That's it.'
that wasn't it, and Sophie knew it. It had never been it. She'd been angry
at the American for Henri and for Caron and for what had happened to her.
But it really wasn't her fault. She'd managed to blame Jackie for
everything, and all the American had done was treat her with honesty and
kindness. 'After everything I've done to her. She should hate me. She
should have never let me come back - - - but she did.'
Sophie asked, looking back down at Jackie, wishing the American would wake
up and do something so Sophie could find a reason to hate her again. It
was easier to hate Jackie then deal with the strange feelings that seemed
wholly connected to the American.
The name rose uncalled for in her head, and suddenly Sophie found herself
unable to stop thinking it. The arrival of the Gestapo agent last night
had terrified her, as had the control the German's voice had over her.
Hearing Caron barking orders dug past all the defenses she'd thrown up to
keep both her memories of Caron and Jackie's actions at bay. In a second
she'd been stripped naked again and she'd found herself torn between two
women who claimed rights over her.
could make her forget the things Caron had made her do, and Sophie was
just beginning to realize how easy it had become for her to trade her
dignity for survival. Her body had become her shield, and Caron had never
stopped assaulting her. Somewhere in trying to survive, Sophie's actions
had become natural.
Jackie her body had become her weapon. She used it to keep the American
off guard, but every time she'd seen a look of confusion pass across
Jackie's face, Sophie had felt incredibly shame. Yet she couldn't stop
herself from trying to control the situation, even at the detriment of
their shaky relationship.
Jackie had begun as a weapon to unbalance the American, but Sophie found
herself craving the contact. Not once did she feel like she did with
Caron. Jackie accepted her touches with a quiet solitude and never asked
for more. 'Then why am I still trying to use her?' she thought,
taking in a deep breath to slow her pounding heart and clear her mind. Her
arms closed around her body, trying desperately to give herself the same
feeling of safe comfort the American's arms gave her.
okay?" the voice made her jump, and Sophie looked down to find the
American's blue eyes watching her.
fine. Have you been awake long?"
got cold," Jackie responded, pulling herself into a sitting position,
her knee brushing Sophie's leg. "How's your arm?" she asked, her
hand gently touching Sophie's hastily bandaged arm.
kinda forgot about it." Sophie looked down at the black cloth tied to
guess that's good," Jackie said, her fingers tugging at the knot.
"But let me take a look."
flinched slightly as the bandage peeled away from her arm, the dried blood
tugging at the skin until it came loose. A small trickle of blood still
seeped from the center, and she watched it run down her white skin.
doesn't look bad," Jackie said, and Sophie lifted her eyes to watch
the American. "Looks like the bullet just grazed you." The
bandage ran up her arm capturing the slow drop of blood, and Sophie
concentrated on the concern she saw in Jackie's eyes.
still bleeding," she breathed.
nodded. "I probably pulled it open when I removed the bandage,"
she said, pushing the cloth against the wound. Sophie winced, and tried to
pull her arm away, but Jackie's hand held her tightly and the girl gave up
fighting. "You've got some bits of the sweater stuck in there,"
she said, pulling the cloth away and running her finger over it. "I
wish I had something to clean it with, but overall it doesn't look that
bad." Her hand dropped, the fingers just brushing against Sophie's
leg before falling on her own lap.
looked down at Jackie's hands, noticing for the first time how strong they
looked, but also how feminine. Despite the fact that her nails were
clipped short, Sophie bet she used paint them and let them grow. She bet
the men liked that, too.
didn't you leave me?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the back of
wasn't an option," Jackie responded.
always an option. In fact, it's probably been your best option all
along." She looked up. "Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that you
wouldn't move faster without me."
opened her mouth to answer, but she shook her head. "That's not the
point," she said.
it because of the promise you made my brother?"
Jackie answered, and Sophie didn't know why that hurt so badly. "It
was at first," the American added.
shrugged. "Because I've promised myself."
put her hands on the ground and scooted backwards. "My reasons aren't
important, Sophie. Leave them to me."
like to know."
shook her head. "No."
deep silence descended upon them, and Sophie wanted so badly to ask again.
She didn't know why she needed to know, but at the moment it seemed a dead
end. She inhaled and blew out a deeply frustrated breath.
me tie that bandage back up," Jackie practically whispered, scooting
back across the floor and grabbing for the rag on Sophie's leg.
she reached for it, Sophie noticed the dried blood on the palm of Jackie's
hand. Without thinking she grabbed for it, and flipped it over. "Good
God, Jackie. What happened?"
pulled her hand back and studied it. "I guess I cut it crawling up
the tracks last night."
grabbed her hand again, and let her fingers run over the ragged flesh,
hunks of dried blood or dirt flaking off at her touch. She picked up the
bandage from her leg and licked the edge of it. This she pushed against
Jackie's palms, tightening her hold on the American's hand when she tried
to pull away. She repeated the gesture until she'd cleaned away most of
the blood and dirt. Finally she looked up, not surprised to find Jackie's
blue eyes clouded and confused. She released her hands and held out the
bandage, gesturing to her arm when Jackie didn't move.
your sweater off," Jackie said, quietly. "Please," she
didn't know if she should comply or resist, but she found her fingers
sliding under the edge of her sweater and lifting it. Her arm hurt, and
Jackie must have seen this, for Sophie felt the American's hands grabbing
at the sweater and lifting it slowly over her head. The sweater fell to
the ground, and both woman looked at it with great interest.
nodded, and reached for the bandage. Her fingers brushed Sophie's arm,
causing more goose bumps than the frigid air, and Sophie shivered again.
No spit bath?" Sophie joked, giving a short nervous laugh.
just smiled and tied the bandage, adjusting it as best as she could to
cover the cut. When she finished, Jackie scooted away, her movements
hurried and unplanned. Sophie watched as she backed herself into a chicken
crate, causing the occupant to squawk and throw a mess of feathers that
landed like snow in Jackie's dark hair.
couldn't stop herself and she laughed. For a long second Jackie scowled at
her and then broke into laughter. With a smile, Sophie crawled over to the
American and began plucking the fluffy white feathers from her hair. She
leaned forward, pulling at feathers, and her eyes met Jackie's. She felt
the pull deep down, and without realizing what she was doing, she leaned
in and brushed her lips against the American. The touch was light, and for
the briefest of seconds Jackie seemed to move into her kiss before pulling
back, her face frozen and unreadable.
Sophie scooted back, her hands grabbing for her sweater. She turned her
back on the American and quickly pulled it on. "I'm sorry," she
whispered, folding her arms over her stomach, trying to stop herself from
heaving. "I'm so sorry."
waited, desperate to hear some word of encouragement from Jackie that
might make her feel better, but she heard nothing. No movement or sound
came from the American, and a full five minutes passed before Sophie could
stand no more. "Aren't you going to say anything?" she asked,
lifting her head.
Sophie cried, turning around. "Why the hell not?"
I don't know what to say," Jackie said, her voice laced with a lack
me I was wrong," Sophie said. "Tell me I'm stupid. Tell me you
hated it. Tell me you hate me."
looked away. "The sun's up," she said. "We should think
about what we're going to do."
Sophie fell silent, her eyes resting on the hard wood of the box car, but very aware that the American was staring at her.
crawled to her feet, and shaking the last of the feathers out of her hair,
moved to the door and pushed it back all the way.. The French countryside
sped by, one field after another, and Sophie watched with abandonment.
you know where this train is going?" Sophie asked, her voice hollow
sensed instead of saw Jackie shake her head. "No, but my gut is
telling me we should jump before the next stop."
Sophie said again, climbing to her feet and standing next to Jackie.
"Now?" she asked, her body leaning forward, poised and ready to
throw herself from the speeding train.
no," Jackie said, her arms sliding around her waist and pulling her
away from the door. They took a step away from the door, but Jackie's arm
remained tight about Sophie's waist and her body so close - - -
- - -" Sophie began, trying to move away, but Jackie's arms grew
tighter as she forced her body around until Sophie's breasts pressed hard
against the American's chest. Her head lifted slowly, and she barely had
time to breathe before the American's mouth closed over her own. She felt
Jackie's hands move up her back until one cradled her neck.
fought to control the American's kiss, but no matter where she made an
attack Jackie's lips countered until Sophie gave up and just let the
feeling spread. There was nothing in this kiss that reminded her of Caron
or anyone else. It was completely unique, and when Jackie finally released
her and backed away, Sophie found herself wanting more.
Jackie said, coldly. "Now we're even."
Oberfuhrer," her bleary-eyed Sergeant said.
you seen the train?"
but I think we've beat it here." He turned slightly in the seat.
"It isn't one of the Reich's fastest trains."
Caron said, dismissing his chatter with a wave of her hand. "Where is
the train depot?"
the west side of the city."
me there," she ordered, her hands searching the pockets of the car
for her cigarettes. "Damn," she said, tossing her empty gold
case onto the seat, her mood worsening.
be silent and drive, you oaf. I won't lose them this time, do you
he said, pushing harder on the gas and speeding them forward.
walked past her and stared out the door. "I know what you're doing
Sophie," she said. "And I don't think you really want
you want this?"
turned around. "How would I know?" she said, running her hands
over her face. "I haven't even been given time to think."
you saying that you don't like me?"
shook her head. "It scares me what you can do to me," she
rasped, her voice husky and uncontrolled, but then she shook her head
again. "I just think you are doing it for the wrong reasons."
turned. "I'm sorry you think that."
crossed the distance between them in two steps, her hands grabbing Sophie
by the shoulder and spinning her around. "If it's not some game, then
do you want me to do?"
released her and stood back. "I don't know." She released a
breath in slow frustration. This was all wrong. She knew it with every
fiber of her being. 'She's using you,' she thought, staring out the
door. 'That has to be it. Why else would she have kissed me?'
not using you, Jackie," Sophie said, as if reading her mind.
why did you kiss me?"
did you kiss me back?"
stepped closer. "I felt it."
I did," Jackie relented. "But you didn't answer my
hand settled on Jackie's arm, the small white fingers curling around and
pulling the taller woman slightly. "I don't know why," she
whispered, her voice shaking slightly. "It just felt right."
playing with me," Jackie said, unable to meet those verdant eyes that
always seemed to trap her.
not like that."
pulled her arm away. "So you're madly in love with me?" she
laughed, hoping it covered the fear.
nodded her head. "Then what's the point, Sophie? Why the touches, the
kiss - - - Why any of it?"
needed you," Sophie said, her voice ringing so strongly with honesty
that it surprised Jackie into silence. "I figured if I touched you -
- - If I pretended to find you attractive - - - That you'd help me
escape." She turned away. "That's all."
I was already doing that," Jackie said, unable to keep the hurt from
I was unable to pretend," Sophie whispered turning around slowly.
took a step back, her mind fighting to understand. She shook her head, and
moved past Sophie to the door. "We have to think about getting off
this train," she said, rubbing her hand over her face.
Sophie said, her hand reaching out for the American.
shook her head. "I can't think about this now. No!" She spun
around, her eyes wild and confused. "No more, Sophie."
girl looked like she'd been slapped, and she stepped back.
"Okay," she whispered, looking at the ground for a long second
before finding those stunning blue eyes again. "But I'm not using
you. Please believe that."
stared back for a moment and finally forced her eyes away. "I don't
know what to believe," she breathed, looking up. "But I want to
only succeeded in moving them a little further down the road before they
encountered an old man pulling a milk wagon. Cans of still steaming milk
were carefully stacked on the back of the rickety wagon, and if Caron had
been driving she would have bumped him off the road. Instead her driver
pulled quickly around and sped down the road, moving them deeper into the
bowels of the small city.
quick turn to the left brought them directly to the platform a large train
station. It wasn't as large as the stations of Paris or Berlin, but the
number of tracks impressed the German. What impressed her more was the
group of Waffen-SS that quickly snapped to attention as her car came to a
peak-capped Captain quickly opened her door and gave her a crisp salute.
Caron raised her hand, and as always felt nothing at the insane gesture.
Her god wasn't Hitler, and her current motivation wasn't the Fatherland.
She did, however, accept his assistance from the car, and tried to look as
imposing as possible on her crutches.
morning, Fraulein Oberfuhrer. I trust you had a safe journey."
Caron held up a finger to silence the man. "I'm not in the mood for niceties," she warned, the sharp jawed Captain.
I want is immediate compliance with my orders."
won't be a problem, Oberfuhrer. My men are among the best in France."
she responded absently, her eyes scanning the station. "Have any
freight trains entered the station this morning?"
Captain turned to view the tracks. "A train from Caen arrived
earlier. It was carrying . . . "
one doesn't interest me. Anything from Cherbourg?"
the Captain said. "There are two trains due to arrive from the
Cherbourg region this morning." He checked his watch. "The first
should be arriving in the next thirty minutes and one less than an hour
trains?" Caron couldn't hide her surprise and anger. "I thought
there was only one train!"
Captain looked uncomfortable, and he nervously pulled at the tight collar
on his black uniform. "I don't know, Oberfuhrer. There are two trains
Caron cried, her morning suddenly growing complicated.
you have orders?"
clenched her jaw trying to decide how to best approach the problem.
"Yes," she snapped. "I want half of your men to proceed to
the Cherbourg tracks just outside town. They are to stop both trains and
you have the authority to do that?" the Captain asked with caution.
she purred sweetly. "I have all the authority I need. Do you have the
ability to do what I require?"
Search the cars of every train entering from Cherbourg."
women. One small and blonde. The other tall, dark and American. She's
probably dressed in black clothes."
you know how the other is dressed?"
Caron said, her eyes glazing slightly as she remembered Sophie standing
before her in those ridiculously baggy khaki green pants and sweater. She
looked so . . . cute. The Gestapo agent shook her head, angry at the
thought. "Khaki green," she told the Captain.
what shall I do with the other half of my men?" the Captain asked
want you to arrest every French man, woman, and child suspected of
traitorous activities in St-Lo."
Captain ran his hand across his freshly shaven jaw. "I know we have a
local list of suspects," he said. "But may I ask why?"
weighed the question for a moment, deciding this man wasn't as easy to
subdue with her position. Taking him into her confidence might convince
him to complete his task more effectively. She gave him a sweet smile.
"Both women have been caught spying, and it is imperative that the
Fatherland interrogate them."
they are to be captured alive?"
smiled at the thought of the American bitch's dead body being brought to
her, but she knew that wouldn't be half as satisfying as killing her
herself. And Sophie? "Yes, Captain. Alive."
Oberfuhrer." The Captain clicked his heels like an old Prussian
officer. "Where shall I find you?"
wanted to stay at the station, but she knew from the way her leg was
throbbing that she needed more medical attention. "German
Command," she ordered, dismissing the man with a wave.
waited long enough for the Captain to escort the men from the station
before lowering herself back into the car and ordering the Sergeant to
take her to the command center in St.-Lo. "Maybe they'll have a
competent doctor," she said, touching her throbbing leg.
wanted to believe in the girl. Or more specifically she wanted to believe
that what she was feeling wasn't because she'd been played a fool. The
girl seemed to be truthful, and Jackie had to admit her kiss hadn't been
like mine,' she thought, with a touch of shame. She didn't know what
made her grab Sophie and kiss her. There was something about having Sophie
next to her - - - She shook her head. 'It's the danger and the fear
we've experienced,' she told herself, leaning against the open freight
door and staring absently at the passing countryside. 'My instructors
told me about how tense situations can lead to sexual outpourings. I was
supposed to be immune to that . . . or so I thought.' She gave a small
Sophie said, and Jackie turned her head, realizing for the first time that
the girl was standing next to her. Sophie pointed out the train.
"There are more houses now," she said.
. . . yeah, I know," Jackie lied. "We must be getting close to a
their feet there was a palatable shift in speed, followed by the squeal of
metal brakes against the rails. It wasn't a quick break, but enough of one
that Sophie was jolted forward and Jackie found the girl caught in her
arms. Her arms started to squeeze, desperate to feel every inch of
Sophie's body, but reluctantly she released her as quickly as she could.
we slow down?" Sophie asked, grabbing onto the door's handle to
steady herself. Jackie was already hanging out the door and looking down
God dammit!" she cried, pulling herself back into the car.
the track ahead. Looks like they're stopping the train."
washed over Sophie's face, her eyes darting back and forth like a
terrified rabbit. "What are we going to do?" she said, the tenor
of her voice raising slightly.
American hardly knew what to say, let alone do, and she watched as the
grass that had been whizzing by outside slowly became more solid until she
could actually see the different colors in each clump. "We need to
hide," she said, looking around.
grass wasn't tall enough to hide them . . . especially in broad daylight.
That left the box car. She turned to the interior, desperate to find
anything large enough to conceal them both.
box car was about half filled with crates of various sizes. Near the front
was about fifty chicken coops, the occupants sitting quiet and unaware of
the dangerous situation Jackie and Sophie found themselves.
boxes," Sophie said, her body moving towards them. "We can hide
quickly, Jackie shook her head. The boxes would conceal them from a
cursory inspection, but if the Germans entered the car they'd certainly be
found. If the Germans didn't search the car then there was a better than
average chance they would slam the door shut, and a quick glance at the
door told her they'd be trapped until the car reached its final
destination. "Which could be Berlin for all I know," she said,
need to get off the train," she said. "Not get trapped
stepped away, her back slamming against the wall of the car. "We need
to do something," she said, her voice shaking with fear. "We've
American looked outside again. From where the train was coming to a stop
their car appeared to be hidden from the German's immediate view. That
would give them a little time. She looked down at the tracks. "It
will be risky," she said, furrowing her brow in concentration.
me," Jackie said. "Do everything I do, and don't make another
felt Sophie's hand on her arm, and she turned slowly with the pressure.
Her eyes immediately found Sophie's green ones, and she didn't even notice
the smaller woman's hand on the back of her neck or the fact that she bent
down. All she remembered was closing her eyes and feeling Sophie's lips
pressed against hers. When Sophie released her, it took a second before
she opened her eyes and straightened up.
"If we don?t make it," Sophie said. "I don?t want you thinking you are a game to me. I tried to convince myself that I could treat you like that, but I couldn't. I don't know what this means or where it'll go, but you aren't a game."
ran a finger over her lips, still tasting Sophie's touch. "Follow
me," she said, gently grabbing the smaller woman's hand. "And
please, be careful."
another word she sat on the wood floor, waiting for the train to come to a
complete stop. As the steel beast rolled to a halt, the American lowered
herself to the ground, trying to keep her body flush against the car.
Turning around she put her hand around Sophie's waist and helped lower
her knapsack she threw it under the car, and crawled after it. Turning her
head she waited long enough for Sophie to join her before contemplating
the undercarriage. 'It might just work,' she thought.
her hands she tried to explain what she wanted Sophie to do, and with a
smile she watched the smaller woman crawl up and over two iron rods and
pin herself against the side of the car. The wheels were dangerously close
to Sophie's head, but they only needed to keep out of sight until the
train began moving. Then she could shift Sophie more to the center.
wrapped the knapsack around one of her legs and lifted it up over the iron
bar, finding a secure spot before lifting her other leg and scooting her
body into position. She'd just stopped moving when they heard the crunch
of boots on the rocks.
"This door is open!" a man shouted, and Jackie watched with trepidation as the boots stopped a mere foot from Sophie.
girl looked over, and Jackie held her finger to her lips.
second pair of highly polished officer's boots joined the first.
"Well climb in and look, Private," his voice ordered.
the first voice said, and his feet jumped, swinging in at Sophie before
disappearing into the train. She could hear boxes being moved around
overhead. "It's empty, Lieutenant." His boots stopped directly
over her. "Lieutenant, here is a blood stain. It looks fresh."
the officer said. "Get out, and finish the search. They probably
soldier's boots reappeared, dangling over Sophie before sliding to the
ground. The car over them rumbled as the door was slammed shut and the
soldier moved off down the train. The lieutenant stood near the car for
another minute before turning and moving towards the front of the train.
looked over at Sophie. The girl had gone totally white, and a light sheen
of perspiration clung to her face. Jackie watched as Sophie jammed a hand
over her mouth and her body convulsed several times. Thankfully she made
no noise, and all Jackie could do was watch helplessly as Sophie's body
was about to give the girl a smile of encouragement when she heard the
soldier's boots crunch on the gravel behind her. The soldiers gait was
slow and methodical, and Jackie just knew he was checking under the cars.
His step slowed next to her and came to a stop. She closed her eyes,
waiting for the soldier's voice to order her out from under the car, but
instead she felt a warm liquid splash on her face. Her eyes opened to a
yellow stream of urine crashing against the ground just in front of her
the lieutenant yelled. "Front and center!"
soldier gave one last squirt before running off up the train. 'Probably
stuffing it in his pants,' she thought, shaking that mental picture
from her mind. She looked over at Sophie and smiled. The girl opened her
mouth to speak, but Jackie held her finger up to keep silence.
train groaned forward, their car slamming into the car in front before
pulling back. Both women had to hold on tight to avoid being shaken to the
ground. With the speed of a dying snail the train lurched forward, and
Jackie motioned for Sophie to stay exactly where she was.
move," she hissed.
girl nodded, her hands gripping an iron rail until the white's of her
knuckles could be seen. Jackie longed to say or do something to help
Sophie, but she couldn't risk giving them away. Not when they were so
close to escaping.
head turned towards the outside, needing to see when they passed the
Germans. She guessed they were positioned about 30 yards up the tracks,
but she didn't dare risk moving until there was no chance of being caught.
your hand," she cried, just loud enough to be heard over the clack of
the tracks. "You've got to move more towards the center."
do it!" Jackie ordered, feeling Sophie's hand slap into hers.
pulled the girl closer, fighting to keep them both balanced over the
tiles. Once she got Sophie in the middle of the train she wrapped an arm
about her waist to keep her safer.
now?" Sophie cried.
looked down at the track that was beginning to speed by and she could just
make out the individual rail ties. This was looking like it might have
been a bad idea.
got to drop to the track," she said, her eyes pleading with Sophie to
no!" Sophie responded. "I can't do that."
can and you will," Jackie ordered. "If that Gestapo agent has
sent Germans out here, how many do you think she has at the station?"
could be killed."
definitely be killed if we enter the station."
closed her eyes. "Fine," she said. "What do I do?"
didn't have the guts to tell her she really didn't know. This was hardly
an area covered in training. Taking a quick swallow to keep the taste of
fear and bile out of her mouth she put on her most authoritative face.
tricky, but you can do it Sophie." She looked behind. "You have
to lower your legs first. That's going to hurt, but only long enough to
pull yourself back and drop all the way to the ground."
your head down, and lay flat until the train passes."
about the Germans we just passed?"
shook her head. "I'm hoping we're far enough away they won't see us.
The track turned a little back there so we should be out of sight."
clenched her jaw, her eyes boring into Jackie. "If I die, I'm gonna
be careful." She reached out and settled a hand on Sophie's back.
girl's eyes were locked on the ground, but she turned her head and nodded.
start by taking one leg off and try and don't let it drop yet."
Sophie did what Jackie ordered, her body twisting slightly as she pulled
her leg off and held it up. "This is the hard part," Jackie
yelled. "You've got to slide forward on this bar and then back before
your drop both your legs. Understand?"
let me fall," Sophie yelled back, her face distorted in fear.
won't," Jackie said, digging her fingers into the fabric on Sophie's
I go," Sophie said, pulling herself forward. She overcompensated and
Jackie felt a sudden jerk on her hand and Sophie tilted, her body dipping
face first towards the ground. Jackie didn't have much leverage, but she
held on, struggling to pull Sophie back.
girl's entire weight was balanced on her stomach, and Jackie could see
that it was hard for her to hold her legs parallel to the tracks. It was
hard for her to keep her tenuous hold on Sophie's back, but she couldn't
let go. Not yet.
closed her eyes and nodded her head.
back just a little. I've got you, don't worry."
edged her body back until the tip of her rib cage was pressed against the
your hands on the top of the bar," she ordered, watching as the girl
complied. "Now drop your feet and slide off."
felt the incredible drag on her hand as Sophie's feet hit the ground. The
girl screamed, but the sound died away as her body was sucked under the
train. Jackie strained to see if she landed right, but couldn't get the
right angle. Her heart pounded and she sent up a silent prayer that Sophie
had made it.
turn," she said, trying to pull her leg off, but she couldn't move.
Her body twisted to get a better look and Jackie saw that the knapsack
she'd wrapped around her leg was stuck on something. She tried to tug it,
but she nearly fell forward and onto the tracks.
she murmured. "Okay, I can do this." She put her hand against
the side of the box car's undercarriage and gave her leg a hard yank. It
took two more pulls before the canvas of the bag ripped away and fell, but
in falling it pulled her leg with it, and Jackie felt the bag bumping
against the ground. She shook her leg until the bag came free, and she
quickly copied Sophie's moves before letting both her legs fall to the
pull from the tracks was strong, and she felt her body being yanked under
the train. She let the momentum carry her until her hands were clinging to
the rail. Holding her breath she released and tried to cover her face
before she hit the tracks.
the train rattled on, but Jackie's head was buried in her arms and it
wasn't until she heard nothing did she lift it. She smiled as she watched
the train's caboose shake its way down the tracks.
she said, rolling over and sitting up. Her legs stung, and her black boots
were scuffed beyond repair. Her eyes ran down the track until she spotted
Sophie's body. The girl was still laying on the tracks, and with fear in
her heart Jackie scrambled to her feet and broke into a run.
quickly covered the distance, and fell to her knees by the girl.
"Sophie," she whispered, her hand resting on the girl's back.
Sophie lifted her head, and Jackie couldn't stop herself from scooping her
up in a big hug. "Oh God you scared me!"
pushed herself back a little. "You were scared? What about me? I had
to fall from a speeding train!"
didn't want to burst her bubble by telling her the train wasn't moving all
that fast, but still she couldn't hide her smile. "Yes you did,"
she said, reaching out and brushing some dirt from Sophie's face.
"You were fantastic."
smiled back. "You certainly know how to show a girl a good
time." Her hand closed around Jackie's. "Are all your dates like
this?" she joked.
a little new at all this, but I thought dinner would be boring."
now what?" Sophie asked.
let her thoughts return to more serious matters. "I'm hoping this
city is St.-Lo. If it is, then we need to locate an SOE operative who
works in this area. His codename is Anastasie."
nodded. "And I assume you know where to find him."
can contact him through a dry good shop near the center of town." She
looked behind her. "We should get moving before the Germans change
climbed to her feet and held a hand down to Jackie. "No more trains
for awhile, okay?" she asked, her free hand brushing dust from
fine with me." She gave Sophie's hand a squeeze. "C'mon, let's
get off the tracks."
need new clothes," Sophie announced. "Your shirt is filthy
and," she motioned to her ripped pants. "Those tracks shredded
also need food."
put her hand over her stomach. "That would be a good idea. I'm
smiled, suddenly feeling like things were going right for a change.
Standing here with Sophie's hand in her own and the girl's green eyes
shining on her Jackie felt good. It was almost easy to forget that their
ordeal wasn't over. And even easier to forget to ask herself the question
of what in the hell was she doing. At that moment everything felt right,
and with a playful tug she started them walking.
small city loomed less than a mile away, and it was with both trepidation
and excitement that she approached. Finding Anastasie would be hard, but
when they did he'd be able to either contact London or pass them onto the
underground. 'With any luck we could be on our way back to England as
early as tomorrow,' she thought with a smile, that froze and fell from
her face. 'We?' Would Sophie want to go to England with her? Or America
for that matter? 'And what am I thinking? I don't even know her!'
we try and find clothes before we get to the city?" Sophie asked,
breaking Jackie's thoughts. "There are a lot of farm houses around
. . . I think we should just buy clothes in town. Only one of us should
hand tightened. "I don't want to leave you," she said.
what about when we get out of this, Sophie?" Jackie heard herself
do you mean?" the girl asked, furrowing her brow.
you going to stay in France or - - -" her voice trailed off. "I
mean I need to tell our contact so he can plan."
don't know," Sophie responded. "I've always wanted to go to
America. Henri promised to take me there after the war."
nodded. "I could take you," she said quickly, looking over.
"If you wanted to go." She bit at her lip. "I know the OSS
would help you get set up."
about . . ." her voice trailed off. "Let's talk about it
was probably best,' Jackie decided, but her mood dampened a little.
walked in silence for a few minutes, their steps leading them to an
unpaved road. Here Jackie debated about using the road, but seeing how it
was morning, they stood as much of a chance of being seen in a field as on
the road. At least on the road they were less conspicuous.
the city grew closer the houses became more numerous, they saw several
people working outside, but Jackie made sure they kept their heads down
and passed at a good pace. It took them about thirty minutes to reach the
first brick building, and Jackie felt her mouth go dry. Her training made
her want to wait until dark, but by then it might be too late to find the
do we do now?" Sophie asked, following as Jackie led them into a
gut is twisting on me," Jackie said, rubbing her hand over her
stomach. "Something doesn't feel right."
stared back and Jackie knew she didn't know how to respond. That was fine.
It was probably her own over-excited senses that were playing tricks on
her. The town seemed calm enough, and she was sure it was only because he
training really hadn't extended to this level. She was a covert operative
which usually meant move in, destroy something or gather information and
then get the hell out. Right now she was leading them by her wits, and
they were growing frazzled.
need you to wait here," she told Sophie, her eyes darting around the
alley for a safe place. She saw a partially boarded up doorway near the
back and grabbing Sophie's hand walked her over there.
can't I come with you?"
need to look around," Jackie responded. "And two of us will
cause more interest." She turned her blue eyes on Sophie, desperately
fighting the urge to touch the younger woman's face. "Especially if
the Germans are looking for two women."
girl nodded in understanding, her hand grabbing for Jackie's arm.
"Promise me you'll come back."
furrowed her brow for a moment, and gave into her need to touch Sophie.
"As long as I'm able, I'll come back for you." She smiled, her
thumb caressing the younger woman's dirty cheek. "I promise."
washed over the girl's face, and she leaned into Jackie's touch. "How
long do you think you'll be?"
going to look around and try and buy us some clothes and food."
Jackie stuffed a hand into her pocket and brought out the Reichmarks. She
roughly divided the money and handed half to Sophie. "If I can't come
back," she held up her hand. "If something happens and you don't
see me by dark, then take this money and try and get out of here."
please . . ."
me you'll go."
took the money, and stuffed it into her pocket. She looked up her green
eyes suddenly darker than Jackie remembered. "Come back soon,
please," she whispered.
nodded, pointing at the doorway. "Try and stay here as long as
possible," she said. "If someone comes and you have to leave
then meet me ?" she thought for a minute. "Meet me just outside
town on the road we came in on. Remember that irrigation ditch and a small
bridge?" Sophie nodded her head in understanding. "It looked
deep enough for you to hide, if necessary."
go there if I have to."
Jackie said, taking a deep breath. "Wish me luck." She stood
there for a long moment debating herself over what would be an appropriate
way to say good-bye to the girl, and unresolved she gave her a quick nod
and walked off.
come back," Sophie whispered in her ear. "I think I need
couldn't admit it out loud but she was beginning to need Sophie, too.
"I will," she ended up saying, releasing Sophie with one last
didn't look back as she exited the alley. She felt Sophie's eyes on her
all the way, and she fought with herself to keep moving alone. It tore at
her to leave the young woman alone, but the danger of them traveling
together was real, and she knew that the Germans didn't have a good
picture of her looks, but the Gestapo agent definitely knew what Sophie
was beginning to get a better idea of what Sophie had been through, and
every time she thought about it an angry bile rose in her throat. It
didn't take too much to figure out that the Gestapo agent had made Sophie
use her body for safety. No wonder she tried the same thing with her.
Jackie still wasn't sure if Sophie's feelings were genuine, but they had
reached some sort of understanding and Jackie found herself insanely
concerned about the girl. So much so that she hadn't gotten a block from
the alley before she found herself turning back, but the sound of an
approaching motorcycle made her look up.
German cycle and sidecar was moving up the street manned by two goggled
soldiers. Jackie turned around slowly and jammed her hands in her pockets
before walking down the street, hoping she looked inconspicuous. The
motorcycle drove past, and with her heart pounding in her throat Jackie
knew she had to complete her tasks. Sophie was safer off the streets.
city of St-Lo looked run down and Jackie wondered if that was because of
the war or the shift in industry prior to the war. It really didn't
matter, but as she found herself turning onto the main shopping street a
lot of empty shop windows stared blankly back at her. With a sigh she
continued to walk, keeping her eyes to herself whenever she passed anyone.
halfway down the street she found a small dress shop that had a few items.
Crossing her fingers she pushed the door open. A matronly woman emerged
from the back at the sound of the bell and smile gently. The inside of the
shop wasn't well stocked, but maybe Jackie would be able to find something
may I help you?" the woman asked, and Jackie saw the suspicion in her
need a dress."
woman shook her graying head. "I'm sorry, but I don't think I have
anything that would fit you."
"That's fine," Jackie responded. "What about something for a woman about ?" she held her hand out to her chin level.
would be easier if you just brought your daughter in," the woman
mailing it to her," Jackie lied.
Then how much does she weigh?"
brow furrowed, and let her hands fall open to Sophie's waist size.
"Maybe 110 pounds," she said.
tasted blood in her mouth as she bit her tongue. "I should go,"
she said, stepping backwards, her hand feeling for the door knob.
woman stepped forward. "What ever your business is, it's not
mine," she said. "I need money."
I can buy your trust?" Jackie said, the cool brass of the knob
pressed against her hand.
shop owner shrugged. "You can buy a dress. I won't lie if anyone asks
me, but I won't offer information either."
don't have much money."
I haven't had many customers. No one has been able to afford the luxury of
new dresses in quite awhile."
know what I want," Jackie replied, her gut not sure if she should run
me your money."
American pulled the Reichmarks from her pocket, amazed at how wide the
woman's gray eyes grew. "My God," she breathed.
can't give you all of it."
woman shook her hand. "I only need enough to buysome food and wood
for my daughter and me." Her fingers reached out greedily pulling
five or six bills from Jackie's hands. She stared at the money with a
quirky smile on her face.
"Oh yes, absolutely." The woman stuffed the money in her apron pocket and turned to survey her inventory.
simple," she said out loud. "You don't need to draw any
attention." She pulled out a simple calico dress.
you have pants and a blouse?" Suddenly Jackie was having a hard time
seeing Sophie in the dress.
size might be off, but ?" the woman grabbed a pair of gray wool pants
followed by a simple white blouse. She handed these to Jackie before
reaching for a small black belt. "Here," she said. "That
looked the size over, deciding they would probably fit. "I'm sure
they will," she replied, handing them back to the woman to be
wrapped. She pulled off two more bills. "Are you sure you don?t have
anything for me?"
is a woman's shop, and you're dressed like a man."
pulled one more bill off. "Can you look?"
woman nodded and disappeared into the back. Jackie grabbed the dress and
was mentally counting to 100. If the woman didn't appear before then she
was going to take off quickly. She'd reached 89 before the woman pushed
past the curtain carrying a dusty tweed jacket, a tie and a fedora. She
handed these over with a shrug, grabbing the bills off the counter and
stuffing them away.
your height, you make a better man than a woman," she said, passing
her hand down Jackie's clothes. "Best to continue the illusion."
chose to not make a response, and she quickly shrugged her arms into the
jacket and stood while the woman's bony fingers tied the bland brown tie.
She handed Jackie a piece of string. "Use it to tie your hair up and
then wear the hat."
American did as she was ordered, checking out her appearance in the mirror
while the woman tied up Sophie's outfit. Jackie waited for her to finish
and took it without a word. She was about to turn and leave, but the
woman's hand on her arm made her stop. "Thank you for the
money," she said.
welcome," Jackie responded. "I was going to pay anyway."
woman bit at her lip. "You must be the reason the Germans have been
running around town all morning arresting people."
Jackie said, every inch of her body alert.
German suspect has been arrested."
gut told her not to reveal anything to this woman so she just nodded.
will," Jackie said, opening the door and exiting without looking
need a room," she told the soldier.
personnel stay at the Grand Hotel, Fraulein."
also need a doctor."
me get my lieutenant," the soldier said, waiting for Caron to dismiss
him with a wave.
few minutes later a middle aged lieutenant exited the building. "How
may I help you, Fraulein?"
may address me as Oberfuhrer," Caron ordered, pleased to see the
man's smug expression slip from his face. "Now as I told your
private, I require rooms and a doctor. See to it."
man nodded quickly. "The private will show your driver to the Hotel
and I will call ahead to have a suite arranged and our best doctor sent to
your rooms immediately."
Caron said, taking the man's hand as she maneuvered her swollen leg back
into the car. "I have given orders to a Waffen-SS Captain
somebody," she called from the backseat.
him bring his report to my rooms as soon as he returns."
Oberfuhrer. Please call me if you need anything else."
reached over and slammed the door in response to his offer.
"Drive," she ordered her Sergeant, barely glancing at the tiny
head of the private who now sat in the front seat.
so-called Grand Hotel wasn't grand at all, Caron decided hobbling into the
shabby lobby. The Sergeant handled her registration, and Caron followed
him to an ancient iron elevator that shimmied its way up to the top floor.
suite was nothing more than two semi-clean rooms, and Caron immediately
dismissed the Sergeant and collapsed on the large bed. She stuffed two
pillows under her leg and stared at the ceiling. There was a water stain
near the window that drew her attention and she concentrated on it with
all her strength until a knock at the door made her jump.
she called, pulling herself up slightly.
elderly white coated doctor walked in followed by a rather cute, blonde
nurse. The doctor dipped his head in greeting and the nurse smiled
brightly. Caron's eyes narrowed tightly and her face set. The nurse smiled
her out of here," she ordered, pointing at the nurse.
why?" the doctor asked, his face perplexed.
don?t want her here," Caron said, her hand grabbing a small flower
vase on the bedside table and throwing it at the nurse. "Get
doctor turned. "Wait for me downstairs," he said calmly.
scowled and refused to watch the frightened woman flee the room. Once the
door clicked shut she turned her eyes on the doctor. His white hair was
still wavy, and he pushed it off his forehead in a confident but absent
manner as his dark brown eyes searched the room for a chair. His hand was
steady as it clung to his black bag, and Caron quickly surmised that he
looked a great deal more competent than that boob in Valognes. "Fix
my leg," she ordered. "It hurts."
sure it does," the doctor replied, setting his case on the bed and
opening it. He withdrew a pair of scissors and laid those on the bed next
to her leg. "I need a chair."
the one from the desk," Caron said, motioning to the desk near the
door. The doctor nodded and claimed the chair from the desk and sat down
next to the bed.
hands slid under her leg and lifted it gently from the pillow. The
scissors were used with quick precision to remove the bandage. Once her
leg stood naked before him, it only took a moment for him to look up.
Caron replied dryly, irritated by the obvious. "I suppose the bullet
has been removed, but it still hurts."
should be off this for at least a week, Oberfuhrer. It needs time to
body jerked upright in the bed. "Listen to me, you little medical
person," she took in a deep breath. "I can't do that now. Make
it well enough so I can continue on my mission."
Oberfuhrer - - -" A knock at the door drew Caron's attention and she
motioned the doctor into silence as the door opened and the Waffen-SS
Captain entered. "Just do something," she said to the doctor
before turning her attention to the Captain. "Report."
did not find the fugitives," he said crisply.
felt her body go rigid, and she fought to control herself. "Was there
any sign they were on the train?" She couldn't bear to hear that
Sophie wasn't in St-Lo.
first train had blood stains in one box car. The door was open and my
lieutenant reported that it's his belief they jumped."
the Captain called over his shoulder and the door opened, admitting a
young man carrying a bag. This he took from the boy and dismissed him.
"This bag was found on the tracks approximately 2 kilometers from the
hands snapped for the bag and she couldn't stop herself from pressing it
to her chest. When she noticed both the Captain and the doctor staring at
her she pulled it back and opened it.
a pair of black pants," the Captain announced as Caron removed the
cloth. "It's also been ripped. Maybe to bind a wound, which would
explain the blood in the train."
you know who was wounded?"
nodded absently, her fingers idly rubbing the canvas bag. "So they
escaped you?" she asked, not looking up. "And what of my other
have arrested nearly all suspects in St-Lo."
are looking," the Captain said. "Information of our plans has
leaked and many have run. We will find them."
nodded again. "Keep me informed," she said. "I need to
you have further orders?"
closed her eyes for a long second the rate of her breathing increasing
with the pain that spread from her heart. It was on the tip of her tongue
to call off the search and return to Berlin, but then she felt her hands
closing around the American spy's pants and smoldering gray eyes turned on
the Captain. "Begin a door to door search," she said. "Use
whatever force you think is necessary to terrify anyone in this miserable
town to exposing my fugitives. If you suspect a person of lying - - -
arrest them." She narrowed her eyes. "Bring them to the hotel
and I will see them personally."
you wish, Fraulein Oberfuhrer," the Captain said, clicking his heels.
she ordered, turning her attention back to the doctor. "Well?"
not much I can do," he said. "Healing will take time."
don't have time."
need rest, Fraulein." He held up his hand. "Don't try and bully
me, young lady. I know your uncle, the Field Marshall, and I'll call him
if I have to."
clenched her jaw before forcing a sweet smile on her face. "Fine,
Herr Doctor. I will rest until I'm needed again."
doctor nodded his head in approval. "I will send up something for the
pain and to help you sleep."
send that nurse," Caron warned, knowing she couldn't bear to see
someone who reminded her of Sophie.
he said. "I will also give you something to take later."
you, Doctor," Caron cooed, knowing better than to push this man.
close your eyes while I re-bandage this." His warm hands lifted her
leg. "I don't think that obnoxious splint in necessary." He
smiled. "But you must continue to use the crutches."
Caron said, leaning back against the headboard, suddenly feeling exhausted
and weak in the doctor's presence.
you want to tell me about these fugitives you've turned our little town
upside down for?"
Gestapo agent lifted her head and stared hard at the elderly doctor.
"It's my business," she said.
doctor nodded. "Of that I am most assured," he said, looking up
over his work. "Do you have the authority to do what you're
just stared back in silence.
not going to get you in trouble, girl," he said with a smile. "I
was just curious."
important to me," Caron relented.
who is this girl that makes someone as hard as you lose
none of your business."
Caron, I'm merely curious."
dare you call me by . . ." her voice tapered off and she pulled her
arms tight across her chest a pout settling on her face.
look just like I remember you."
very long ago. I told you I know your uncle. We are old friends." A
far away look settled in his eyes for a quick second before he looked back
down on her. "I met you once at his estate in Bavaria." He
smiled. "You were probably seven, but you had that same
don't remember you."
doctor shrugged. "You were bossy then, too."
didn't know what to say so she remained silent. It disturbed her that this
old man knew her. She felt some of her authority undermined. Her scowl
who's this lass you're chasing?"
one who betrayed me," Caron answered.
not what your face says."
do you mean?"
hurt you, that's easy to read," the old doctor said. "But she's
also touched you somewhere else."
untrue. I . . . " She stopped and regarded the old man. "It's
none of your business," she repeated.
he conceded. "It's probably not." His hands revolved around her
knee wrapping a white bandage, and for a moment both just watched in
have to find her," Caron finally said. "I need to discover
doctor finished tying off the bandage and reset Caron's leg on the pillow.
"My dear," he said, giving her thigh a gentle pat. "I think
you already know."
looked up, unwilling to confirm verbally that he was right. She let her
eyes drift to the window.
have something sent up," he said, picking up his bag. "Call me
if you need anything."
you," Caron said absently, not moving her eyes from the window until
she heard the door click.
with her," Caron said, picturing the American touching Sophie. Her
hand lifted and slammed against the bed. "I'll kill her."
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