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that Sadness Brings
|NOTE TO READERS: Hi
everyone. Many thanks to everyone who's kept with me and sent great notes
of encouragement. I finally got it finished!!! I hope it's to everyone's
approval and expectations. Thanks again!
looked with relief around the burial crypt at the small group of men and
women. "I'm so glad I found you," she said, smiling at the
rotund man in front of her. "Are you Maquis Resistance?"
are your friends?" Anastasie asked, lighting a stub of a cigarette.
"And where is Violette Szabo?"
looked at the young girl sitting next to her. The girl's eyes widened
slightly at the mention of Violette's name before falling to her shoes.
friends, Sophie," Anastasie repeated, taking quick puffs on his
don't know," she lied, pulling her eyes away from the girl.
come, girl," Anastasie said. "There need not be secrets
were supposed to meet Violette in St-Lo," Sophie said, sticking her
chin out. "Why didn't you?"
laughed, and looked around the room. "The child thinks she can
question Anastasie!" He laughed again and several of the others
answer his questions, Sophie," Manon said, laying a warm hand on
her shoulder. "You can trust him."
I?' she thought, looking back at Juliet, who appeared too scared to lift
Anastasie said, pointing at the child. "Take Juliet away so she can
rest. Tonight is a big night for her."
daughter," Sophie mumbled, her eyes jumping between the girl and
Anastasie. She watched in mute horror as Manon grabbed the young girl's
hand and yanked her off the bench. The girl's brown eyes turned towards
her as she was lead away, but all Sophie could do was stare.
Sophie," Anastasie said, pinching the tiny stub of his cigarette
out between his stained fingers. "Tell me about this Jackie."
dead," Sophie said, dropping her eyes to the floor like Juliet had
was shot last night while fighting a German patrol. She died this
this true?" Anastasie said, his gaze roving around the room for
German soldiers were reported killed outside Caumont last night," a
young man, not much older than Sophie said. "I don't know if the
American woman was shot or not."
see." Anastasie's gaze shifted back to her. "And Violette
decided on the truth, or a partial truth. "We got separated in the
darkness. It was so cold," she said. "We couldn't walk as
Madame Szabo left you and the wounded American spy?"
She told us to meet her here." Sophie met his eyes. "She
wanted me to look after her daughter."
has plenty of care takers."
wants me to take Juliet back to England."
man laughed, a shallow laugh that held little mirth. "She thinks
she can make demands?"
wants her daughter safe."
man leaned forward and lifted his upper lip like a wolf. Sophie tore her
eyes from his brown teeth. "It matters little what Szabo wants.
What we want is more important."
suddenly felt very afraid. 'Jackie,' she thought. 'I have to
get back to Jackie. She'll know what to do.' Without knowing how,
she managed to convince her legs to stand and she began to back towards
are you going, Sophie?" Anastasie asked, his voice calm like an
going to find Violette. We were supposed to meet . .. ." she
thought quickly. "just outside town." With as much strength
and speed as she could muster she turned and darted for the tunnel. She
put her head down and pumped her arms. The opening of the tunnel rushed
at her. Behind, she heard voices, but she didn't try and make out what
they were saying. In a second she would be in the darkness of the tunnel
rushed into the tunnel, not caring if she could see or not. It was a
race. She had to be out of the tunnel before they caught her. Once
outside she could make a commotion and try and draw someone's attention.
foot caught on something and she stumbled, thrusting her arm out to
steady herself. The sounds of her feet reverberated off the walls and
she had no idea how far she'd traveled. The steps should be . .. . Her
toe slammed against the bottom step, her momentum carrying her forward
until her hands scrapped across the stone and her knee crashed against a
step. She let out a howl of pain. The tunnel behind was briefly
illuminated with light. They were coming.
the pain away, she clawed her way up the stairs until her head bumped
into the steel doors. It didn't take her long to find the bolt and slide
it back. With her shoulder lodged against the steel she pushed. The door
wouldn't move. "Please," she prayed. "Open for me."
She pushed again.
locked, Sophie," Anastasie said, and Sophie turned her head as
Anastasie strolled up. "There," he said, pointing his beam at
the lock dangling at the bottom. "It's a security precaution. You
understand, of course."
want out," Sophie demanded.
down from there."
felt her strength leave her and she slumped onto the uneven stone steps.
A lump swelled in her throat that threatened to spill wet tears down her
cheek. She was determined to not cry in front of these people.
down here, child," Anastasie said, his voice almost kind. "It
will all be alright. You'll see."
want to go," Sophie repeated, surprised her words could squeeze
past the painful lump. "I shouldn't be here."
you are. Now, come down."
working for them," Sophie accused. "The Germans."
for them, Sophie," Anastasie explained. "With them. There's a
stepped back and motioned someone forward. "Marius," he said.
"Bring her down. I'm not going to discuss things in this damp
Sophie cried, when Marius began up the steps. "Leave me
alone." She kicked out feebly, but the much larger Frenchman moved
her leg aside and grabbed her around the waist. Immediately Sophie was
transported back to the day of her rape and she screamed with all her
strength. Her fists beat against the man with rage and fear, but just as
before she couldn't stop him from taking her and doing what he wanted.
"Jackie," she whispered, no longer caring if they saw her cry
afternoon sun blazed through the stained glass window and fell against
Violette's bent head. The warmth became uncomfortable and the French spy
stirred, lifting her face and blinking several times before recognizing
stomach growled, and she placed a hand over it to quiet the rumble while
looking around the church. The building was empty, so with a shrug she
leaned back in the pew and pulled off a hunk of the baguette. The thick
crust breaking seemed to echo throughout the hallow place, and a wave of
guilt passed over it. It had to be some kind of sin to eat in church,
Jesus ate bread, too," she said, biting into the crust.
ate other things, too," a voice said, and Violette's body jumped in
there?" she demanded.
not, my child," the voice said, and Violette watched as the velvet
curtain of the confessional moved and a middle aged monk poked his head
out. "I'm sorry if I scared you. I was just amused by your
comment." He motioned around the church. "It woke me,
sorry, Father," she said, not sure if that was the correct way to
address the man, but determined to keep up the appearance of being a
actually. Brother Michael." He narrowed his eyes. "You aren't
from around here, are you?"
through," she said, quickly. "I came her to reflect and
monk nodded. "Well, all are welcome in the house of the Lord."
He hesitated. "And you are safe while inside the Abbey."
Brother Michael pulled a watch from his pocket. "Ten till four," he said. "Confession is almost over." He looked at her.
me, daughter, would you like to confess?"
Violette said, shaking her head. "My conscience is clear."
nodded. "Then stay as long as you like to rest and reflect."
He leaned back into the confessional and pulled the curtain closed.
Violette called. "Why am I safe in here?"
monk didn't answer, and with a determined step, Violette crossed the
church and entered the adjoining box. She didn't know what was supposed
to happen, but she waited. Finally the shield slid back, and Violette
could just make out the man's silhouette from behind the iron screen.
"Tell me why I am safe here?" she demanded.
house of the Lord is always ready to protect those who are lost or
you are here to seek."
doesn't matter who or what you are seeking. The Abbey is a refuge from
that storm. All you have to do is ask for our help."
is offering the help?" Violette asked, the hairs on the back of her
see," Violette said, and she did. This man knew nothing of what was
going to happen. He had thrown out a line and she'd swallowed it. He had
nothing to offer her. "Thank you, Brother," she said.
"I'll keep that in mind."
we are here for you. All you need do is ask."
you," Violette said, standing and pulling the curtain back. 'Great,'
she thought. 'Two hours to go and I can't stay here with this nutty
monk.' She gathered up her things. "Guess I could get myself
sat on the banks of the River Orne staring at the churning waters. She'd
been watching a twig bounce and fight for its survival in a small pocket
of rapids. Just when she thought it had finally been waterlogged beyond
help, the small thing would pop back up and make another run for the
rock blocking its escape. It never succeeded, and like herself, it
seemed hopelessly trapped.
not trapped," she said, tearing at a handful of grass. "I'm
merely cornered." She let the strands of grass fall from her hand.
"Everyone knows a cornered animal is the most dangerous."
had been a long, tedious day. Even finding this peaceful spot by the
river couldn't quench the rage in her heart. As the minutes ticked by
she felt more coerced and angrier.
now as the sun began its death dive in the western sky, she knew the
time of reckoning was rushing at her. Soon she would have to leave this
place and face herself. That was something she'd never done before. So
Caron etched Lillian Rolfe's face on her fear. In her heart she knew she
was battling her own demons, but in her head it would be that old bitch
who would suffer her wrath.
her a throat cleared and Caron turned her head slowly, half wondering
why she hadn't replaced this man yet. With a raised eyebrow she
questioned his interruption, slightly amused that he still looked
terrified of her. "If I haven't shot you by now," she said, in
a feeble attempt to explain herself. "You're probably safe."
man stared for a moment before remembering his purpose. "It's
nearly 4:30," he said, wisely avoiding comment on her words.
"You asked that I get you at 4:30."
me another minute," Caron said, turning back towards the river and
searching for the stick. Her eyes scanned the small rapid and then down
the river, but the twig had disappeared. "Does this omen spell my
own doom?" she asked, slowly getting to her feet, still searching.
"Not if I can help it."
disgusting," the Major said, his voice farther away than it had
searched for him, but a darkness clung to her vision making it hard to
see anything but blurry shapes. She strained weakly against the
restraints that bound her hands, but they wouldn't give. Defeated and
exhausted she slumped in the chair.
before she fell asleep, a hand grabbed her hair and her head was
wrenched back. Even with her blurry vision she could make out the
Major's sneer over her. "Maybe you'll think twice about killing
Germans again," he said, a bit of spittle splattering against her
likely," she mumbled, her words sounding distorted. A cry of pain
escaped her when the Major pulled her hair harder and she thought the
strands would surely fall from her head.
American," he growled, dropping her hair. "I'll kill you
before the night is out."
unlikely, Major," the old woman's voice said from behind her, and
Jackie heard the Major straighten up for a salute.
didn't know you'd returned, Frau Rolfe."
Lillian Rolfe said, and Jackie sensed instead of saw her approach. She
wasn't surprised when the woman's cold hands grabbed her jaw and her
face was twisted back and forth. "Very sloppy, " she said, her
voice dropping with disappointment.
didn't know I was being judged," the Major replied, and Jackie felt
the sheer danger of the situation expand around her.
obviously you haven't had much experience with life, Herr Major. You are
judged on everything." Jackie could see the woman straighten up and
turn towards the officer. "And here, I'm your judge. Don't ever
seeped into the room as Lillian Rolfe waited for the Major's response.
Jackie closed her eyes, thankful that for a second the attention was off
her. Finally the Major spoke. "What would you like me to do, Frau
Rolfe?" he said, his voice more contrite.
Rolfe turned back to Jackie, her fingers almost caressing the American's
aching face. "Get out of my sight," she whispered. "And
send me someone more competent."
Frau - -"
Lillian Rolfe stressed, and Jackie felt a cloth pressed against her lip.
"You," the woman said, but Jackie couldn't see who she was
addressing. "Find someone to take care of her."
fine," Jackie rasped.
Captain Bradford. You're not, and if I don't get you taken care of, then
I will be robbed of the pleasure of your company tonight. I so want you
to appreciate all my work."
really don't care."
I do," she said, dabbing Jackie's lips again. "And since I'm
in control here, you will be cleaned up."
you can kill me later?" she said, her nostrils filling with the
decaying scent of Lillian Rolfe. "Save us both the trouble and do
what of the peasant girl. What is her name? Sophie?"
felt her eyes widen, pulling at the swollen skin. "What about
her?" Jackie said, trying to make her voice impassive despite the
fear coursing through her blood.
tried to shrug, but her bound hands made the gesture appear lopsided.
"She ran off." It was the truth, even if Jackie hoped it
night after the crash. I couldn't find her."
Rolfe leaned forward, her warm breath burning Jackie's bruised face.
American squared her jaw and attempted to make direct eye contact with
the old woman. "Prove it," she said, and Lillian Rolfe
sure I won't have to prove it." She looked up and the cold smile
fell from her lips. "Clean her up," she said, tugging on her
black uniform jacket. "Then put her in my car." Her eyes found
Jackie one last time. "Everything starts at six," she said.
"I'm sure you won't be late."
won't win," Jackie said, which caused Lillian Rolfe to laugh
can't lose," she practically sung. "And the sooner you accept
that the easier it will go for you."
out of my face," Jackie said, lunging for the woman, her bound arms
pulled painfully back against the chair.
bravado does you credit, Captain Bradford. But I wonder how you'll feel
when I and the Fatherland receive your top secret invasion plans."
probably feel like killing you more than I do now."
gray woman studied her for a moment before looking at the man who must
have stood behind her. "Clean her up," she said, curtly and
walked past Jackie.
time is it?" she asked, wincing as the young medic dabbed her
wounds with something that stung.
five," he said, moving the cloth around her face.
she thought. 'I hope you have the brains to stay out of this.'
dumped her unceremoniously on her feet, but kept a strong hand on her
upper arm to prevent her from running again. 'A lot of good it would
do,' Sophie thought, dropping her eyes in defeat.
gone with the child," someone said, but Sophie couldn't bring
herself to lift her head to see.
her," Anastasie ordered, his bulky form standing near her. It
reeked of stale tobacco, and Sophie began breathing through her mouth.
"Manon seemed to bond with her."
Sophie muttered. "She duped me."
came here willingly."
lied!" Sophie spat, lifting her head to glare at the fat Frenchman.
where would you be now, Sophie?"
here. That's for damn sure."
lowered his head so his brown eyes were even with her. "Believe me,
you are safer here."
really like me to believe that, wouldn't you?"
have no issue with you," Anastasie explained. "Once our
business is done, you will be set free."
I'm safer being a captive. Is that it?"
you rather get yourself killed out there tonight?"
least I'd be dying for what is right."
you think what we're doing is wrong?"
snorted her response and shook her head.
to me, Sophie," Anastasie began. "What we've done . . . What
we're going to do, it's to help many."
just how do you figure that?" Sophie said. "Thousands will die
because of what will happen tonight."
Anastasie shook his head. "Because of Violette Szabo, the Americans
will not pursue any invasion. They won't commit so many to fruitless
deaths, and the French countryside won't become scarred with war."
already has," Sophie responded. "Or haven't you been paying
attention to the last years?"
hefty Frenchman held up his hand. "I'm not going to debate this
with a mere girl," he said. "You know nothing of politics or
how National Socialism will halt the spread of Bolshevism from Russia.
Adolph Hitler is the future for France."
crazy." Sophie could see it now. The madness seemed to swirl around
him like a mist.
a patriot," Anastasie said, thrusting his meaty chin out in
defiance. "We all are."
have no idea what you are doing."
of this banter," he said, dismissing her with a royal wave. "Manon
will guard you until everything is done."
can't trust Violette," Sophie said, hoping to further cloud his
judgement. "She told me she planned on lying."
smiled, his tongue jutting out to lick his lips. "The Germans have
a way of guaranteeing the truth. Madame Szabo's veracity will be proven
regardless of what she says tonight."
Sophie asked, the realization making her heart go cold.
man lifted his hands as if to prove he had no control over what happened
to Violette Szabo. "What will be will be," he said, nodding
the child?" Sophie asked, remembering the girl's terrified eyes.
"Does your patriotism so easily condemn a child?"
child goes free. That was promised to me."
leave her with me."
has to be seen."
let me come with her."
clenched her jaw. "The child will become an orphan tonight,"
she growled. "Show some compassion and let me take care of
Juliet ready," Anastasie said to Marius, his attention then turning
to Manon. "Watch her," he told the young woman.
"Closely." He walked off towards a chamber Sophie hadn't seen.
Manon replied, somewhat insolent.
let the child die," Sophie called after him.
Manon ordered. "He knows what he's doing."
he doesn't," she whispered, wishing she'd stayed with Jackie. Maybe
she could have done more by staying put and not trying to handle things
on her own. It was too late for maybes. She had to concentrate on doing
represents the area where the final scenes take place.
This map represents the area where the final scenes take place.
to that stood the Abbey's cemetery where the town's dead were buried in
hallowed ground. Tonight the dead would stand as mute witnesses to the
unholy act she would commit. She only hoped they would judge her not for
what she betrayed, but for who she had saved.
a safe place to observe," she said, shaking the self pity from her
the cemetery was the empty field. In years past the monks and villagers
would have tended their crops there, but it appeared unkempt now. That
was where she expected the plane to wait for Juliet, or the whole thing
was off. Juliet to London or no invasion plans.
the other side of the church was the beginning of the town's small
shopping district. Further up the street the market was active, but the
building directly across from the church looked abandoned. Violette
studied the building with a critical eye.
looked joined to the building next to it, but that appeared to be more
from growth than purpose, and she suspected there was no connecting door
inside. Two large windows faced the church yard, and while they both
gave an excellent view of the yard, they had been boarded shut. If the
building would serve any purpose at all, she'd have to pry a corner of
the board off to see. But overall the building looked like a good place
to make sure everything was set before showing her face.
a nod she walked down the steps and away from the building and Abbey. If
anyone was watching her, and she suspected that Jackie was probably
nearby, she'd lose them before entering the building.
had her driver stop the car half way between Caen and Villers-Bocage. It
was a little before five, and Lillian Rolfe's orders to be in the town
precisely at six echoed in her head.
out of the car," she said to the Sargent.
out of the car, Sargent. Now." She opened her door and climbed out.
Her knee was still hurting, but it was becoming easier to move it. It
might even be okay to drive.
Sargent stood to attention as she rounded the car, but Caron could see
him trembling like a rabbit. Once this reaction had pleased her. Now it
seemed to mock her. "Walk back to Caen," she said, opening the
driver's side door.
he asked. "But I thought I was to assist you."
spun on him, hot words flowing to her tongue, but one look at the man
froze them unspoken and she turned away. "Good-bye, Sargent."
She stopped and looked back. "Thank you for your help."
herself behind the wheel she tried to remember how to drive. It had been
awhile since she'd tried it, and the long Mercedes had a lot more power
than the small Delahaye convertible she'd driven at her uncle's estate.
Turning the key the engine roared to life and she pressed on the pedal
to give it more gas. A quick shift and she was off.
first smile of the day lit her face as she gained both speed and
confidence. It felt good to be in control of something again.
drove the car down the tree covered road, the distance to Villers-Bocage
shortening by the second. The churning in her stomach increased with
every kilometer and before she knew it she was slowing the Mercedes and
creeping into the town proper.
wasn't hard to find the Abbey. She only had to look up and follow the
tall spire. A few turns later and she stopped a short distance from the
grounds. Everything still looked peaceful enough, even though she knew
that was all about to change.
quick glance at her watch told her she was a good thirty minutes early.
"So sue me," she said, easing the car forward to look around
the area. "The early bird gets the worm, right?"
didn't take more than ten minutes to drive nearly ever street in town.
What struck her most was the general look of health that permeated this
town. She'd seen many French towns that housed nothing but ragged,
starving people. But here, the people of Villers-Bocage didn't have that
haunted, war ravaged look. Here the people smiled as they entered and
left well stocked stores.
wasn't right. The whole place felt strange, and even though she couldn't
put her finger on why, she knew something was amiss. Shaking the thought
from her head, she turned the car back towards the Abbey. As any good
soldier knows, never fight on unfamiliar ground, and Caron was
determined to get a good feel for the area surrounding the Abbey.
looking better," Frau Rolfe said, her legs locked together at the
knees. "Was your treatment sufficient?"
you care," Jackie said.
I do, Captain Bradford."
why'd you let that bastard beat me?"
submissive prisoner is the safest prisoner," she said, like she was
reading a text book. "Let's go." She waved her hand at the
hulking driver who started the car.
car pulled out of the dirt driveway and onto the same road Jackie had
driven with Sophie only a short time before. Now she sat here, a German
prisoner, and what of Sophie?
didn't know where the girl was, but she knew she missed her. Everything
seemed empty now. Worthless. Burdensome, even. Together she had begun to
feel like they could conquer anything. Alone she didn't want to live.
she imagined she wouldn't have to worry about that for much longer. It
was probably better that Sophie had run off. She'd made it clear to the
girl that she intended to stop Violette from betraying the invasion
plans. That would have meant either her death or her capture. Despite
what Sophie had said about loving her and wanting a life with her, maybe
the girl had decided to leave before being disappointed.
better," she mumbled, out loud.
that?" Lillian Rolfe said, and Jackie could feel her cold, black
eyes on her.
she replied, forcing her heart to not feel anything. She couldn't let
this woman know she had a weakness to exploit.
curious," Lillian Rolfe said, pulling her black skirt lower across
her knobby knees. "What do you think of my little plan?"
head turned slowly. "I can't believe you really want me to answer
Can't you be honest?"
can't be objective."
of no matter. Tell me anyway."
think it stinks and you . . . no Germany, you've gotta know your going
to lose this war. It doesn't matter if you get the invasion plans or
not. Our intelligence has told us that the Fatherland is running out of
steam. You over extended in Russia and your losses were exceptional.
Your North Africa campaign is in tatters. You've even got people close
to your batty Fuhrer who want to replace him before he drags German
down. You'll be lucky if your Third Reich lasts another year let alone
Rolfe was silent for a moment. "At least you're honest," she
said, tugging on her skirt again. "Highly misinformed, but I sense
your faith in those ludicrous statements. Germany will survive and be
victorious." She smugly regarded Jackie, who chose to change the
what's my part in this?"
to watch," Lillian Rolfe said, her mask of control falling silently
back into place. "You will serve as a silent witness to Germany's
finest hour. I think it's fitting that you, an American, is there to see
it all happen."
you think Violette Szabo is going to give you the real invasion
plans?" Jackie forced a laugh. "How do you know that London
hasn't already discovered your plan and has already changed
their forces are already building in the English countryside. Our planes
haven't been totally swept from the skies by the bumbling RAF, you
know." Jackie remained silent, which just encouraged Frau Rolfe to
continue. "We have solid proof that an attack will occur at Calais
or Dunkerque. The Fuhrer, in his infinite wisdom, knows this to be
all fanatical for your stupid Fuhrer, aren't you?"
Rolfe's chin lifted like she'd been slapped. "He's a great
man." Jackie released a small chuckle, although from the flames
that leapt to the woman's otherwise cold eyes, she knew it was the wrong
move. "History will record him as a conqueror. Julius Caesar and
Alexander the Great would have been proud to serve with him. Or for
him," she added.
hasn't been written yet," Jackie said. "And everyone knows
that's written by the victors."
Rolfe leaned forward so her face was a few inches from Jackie's.
"Germany will write him as a god. You and America will be but
slaves who bowed to the superior race."
course this is once you get the invasion plans. Providing they are
correct, right?" She was going to do everything she could to poison
the woman's confidence. If she didn't believe what Violette was giving
to be the true plans, then perhaps they would hesitate to act on them.
"And what about Violette's daughter?"
Rolfe waved her hand. "The girl is of no use once I have her
you're letting her go?"
have no plans for her." Which Jackie took to mean the girl would be
her back to England," Jackie offered.
Rolfe laughed. "And I suppose you'd like me to let you escort
won't cooperate until her daughter is safe. That I know for a
perhaps I should let you in on a little secret."
waited, but the woman said no more. "What secret?" she finally
gray woman looked at her with a satisfied smile that made Jackie shiver.
Finally she spoke. "Violette Szabo's cooperation isn't
how do you plan on getting her information."
insult my intelligence, Captain Bradford. I'm sure, as a spy, you were
made aware of German interrogation techniques." Frau Rolfe's finger
pointed at Jackie's face. "You've experienced one of them
already." She smiled, her gray teeth almost as pale as her receding
gums. "It will matter little if Madame Szabo tells us lies or not.
We have modern ways to guarantee the truth."
that moment, Jackie realized she had to kill Violette no matter what.
Planting seeds of doubt in the Nazi's mind wouldn't change the outcome
if they planned on drugging or torturing the truth from the French spy.
Death was the only way she could keep the plans from falling to Germany.
think you need to kill Violette Szabo. Don't you, Captain
Bradford?" Lillian Rolfe said, licking her lips like a cat about to
devour a bird. "I would like to see you try."
clenched her jaw and turned to the window, unsure how she'd given so
much away. Surely this woman would have her watched very closely, if she
even allowed her out of the car. 'Then why did she bring me?' she
wondered, her eyes lifting towards the tall spire of a church.
crypt had gone deadly quiet after Anastasie grabbed the child and
ordered Manon to stay with Sophie. Apparently the rest of the small
group had followed him outside for this monumental meeting.
crazy, you know?" Sophie said, speaking to her for the first time.
he's not! He understands how France should be. Socialism will help us
rebuild our country into another great nation."
do you figure?" Sophie asked, hoping to gain the girl's trust.
she waved her words off and shook her head. "People like you will
never understand. It's better that you are just controlled."
can understand, " Sophie began. "I studied history at the
Sorbonne." It was a blatant lie, but Sophie saw a glint of respect
in the girl's eyes.
wanted to go there," she said. "But my family was too poor and
I had to stay and help."
after the war," Sophie offered.
has promised to get me into any university I want. Even Queen's College
college name meant nothing to Sophie, but she imagined it should, so she
nodded in sympathy. "Oxford is a good choice. What will you
study?" She wanted to add if she survived the war, but didn't. That
was a question they all avoided asking.
was thinking philosophy or law."
are they going to do with the girl, Juliet?" Sophie asked, hoping
to catch the woman off balance.
the German woman doesn't want her then I guess she goes free."
German woman?" Sophie asked, her heart running cold at the thought
of Caron controlling all of this.
shook her head. "Never seen her. Don't think Anastasie has either.
But she's powerful."
Images of Caron rose in her mind and she felt her mouth go dry with
you see the town? She's kept food coming in and the war out. We've been
protected by the Germans and treated like heroes by the
townspeople." She flashed a smile of pride. "They like
like to see what's going on, wouldn't you?"
course," Manon said. "But I'm stuck with you here."
it have to be here?"
do you mean?" Manon narrowed her eyes.
Anastasie only said for you to watch me, right?"
can we go up and watch?" Sophie asked, trying to sound as innocent
as possible. She saw a look of distrust cross the woman's face and she
shook her head. "I won't try anything," she promised. "If
this is such a great day for France, I'd like to be able to tell my
grandchildren I was there."
would I!" Manon cried, kicking at the dirt like a chastised child.
stay out of the way," Sophie coaxed. "No one will see us, and
we can be back here before anyone returns."
pointed at her. "You promise to be quiet? Anastasie will kill me if
I disobey him."
yes," Sophie said, nodding her head for emphasis. "I just want
woman thought for a moment, her dirty hand rubbing her chin. "We
could go into the church. No one would see us there, and we could watch
from the stained glass windows."
good," Sophie encouraged, nodding her head. "I'd really like
Manon relented. "But we stay inside the church and watch from the
wasn't what she wanted, but it would have to do. At least it was better
than being stuck in this dungeon of dead monks. Upstairs she at least
had a chance of . . . she didn't know. But at least it was a chance.
it together," she said, tearing her eyes from the display and back
on the task at hand. "First I have to get in place," she
prioritized, looking around for a good place to survey the meeting place
. She assumed that Lillian Rolfe would be here before six, and that gave
her about five minutes to conceal herself.
smile lifted her lip when she saw what appeared to be a closed shop
directly across the street from the Abbey. It would give her a good
view, but, she shook her head again. "Not a good idea to be trapped
in a building," she said, turning her eyes towards the Abbey. Only
stained glass windows looked over the meeting place, and she didn't feel
like straining to see what was going on. Crouching behind some tombstone
seemed ridiculous, and that left only a small shack standing between the
cemetery and an old field.
would be the last place that witch would expect me to be," she
said, walking back to her car and opening the trunk. Inside she looked
over the various weapons her Sargent had gathered. She was slightly
impressed at his thoughtfulness.
she grabbed two pistols, her favorite a Walther PPK and a Luger, and
stuffed them both into the side pockets of her coat. For good measure
she also snagged a couple of grenades and pushed them into her pockets,
too. She's never cared for the sloppy grenades. It always too the fun
out of killing, but who knew? They might come in handy in tonight's
bloodbath. Finally she grabbed a Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle and two
extra clips. A good spray of bullets from the shack would keep her at
arms length from whomever stood between her and .. . .
she decided, slamming the trunk.
bet you sweet talk all the girls like that," Jackie said, climbing
out of the back seat.
are you implying?" Frau Rolfe said, her black eyes smoldering with
such a silent rage that Jackie thought she might have made a huge
Just being a smartass."
I suggest, for your own sake, you control yourself."
a chance, lady,' Jackie thought as a soldier roughly grabbed her arm
and pulled her forward. By the small numbers of Germans, it appeared
that Lillian Rolfe felt little danger. Looking around Jackie counted
five soldiers including the one who dragged her along. There was either
some other force at work here or the old woman was over confident.
look like anyone got your invitation," she called to Lillian Rolfe,
who was speaking to a soldier. Jackie watched as the man slid into the
back of Rolfe's car and pulled a pair of binoculars around his neck.
"Or maybe no one wanted to come to your party," she finished,
not sure what was going on there.
Rolfe walked to her. "You shouldn't worry, Captain. Everyone will
be here with . . . how do you Americans say it? With bells on?"
sure the US troops that roll across the Reichtag will be able to give
you all kinds of good American sayings."
Rolfe gave her a grim smile. "I'm sure the victor of this war will
have plenty to share with the world."
didn't know why, but she couldn't stop herself from leaning towards the
smaller woman and sneering. "And that won't be the stinking
gray woman didn't move back, but met Jackie's eyes with a hard, cold
stare. "Pity you won't be alive to give me a condescending American
'told you so.'" Before Jackie could think of a response, Frau Rolfe
walked away and the American was left staring at the woman's slightly
humped back. "Does that scare you, Captain?" she called over
her shoulder, her voice seeming to echo off the trees and tomb stones.
life is my country's," she replied, for the first time wondering
why that thought suddenly made her body tremble.
see," the woman said, her voice barely loud enough to carry.
Something caught Rolfe's attention and Jackie pulled against her guard's
arm to see what it was. It didn't take her long to realize she didn't
need to see it to know what Lillian Rolfe was tracking.
plane," she said, the sound of the propellers whipping the air
perceptive," Frau Rolfe said, waving her forward.
put a lot of planning into this," Jackie said, hoping her voice
sounds more sarcastic than awed.
you," Lillian Rolfe replied. "I'm glad you appreciate my
the plane for?" Jackie asked, ignoring a opportunity to say
Rolfe turned slowly, her black eyes smug and knowing. "You'll just
have to wait and see. Won't you, Captain?"
I could decline your . . ." she stopped talking when a small group
of what looked like Resistance emerged from behind the church. Jackie
let her eyes rest on the four people, her attention captured by an
overweight man and the small brown haired girl that he lead by the hand.
Lillian Rolfe exclaimed. "It's Anastasie and Szabo's
hid her with the Resistance?" Jackie asked, suddenly aware how deep
this betrayal went.
pulled back a board when she heard a car door slam and peeked out the
dirty window. A blonde woman, wearing a leather coat got out and just
stared at the sunset. From her behavior Violette almost thought she
wasn't a part of things, but when she turned and surveyed their meeting
place, the French spy knew better. Maybe this was the Lillian Rolfe she
was supposed to meet. If so, where was Juliet?
Nazi better not think I'll show my face without seeing my daughter
first!" she said, to the blonde, who was opening the trunk of her
decided from the way the blonde Nazi was stuffing her pockets with
weapons that she wasn't the mastermind behind things. So that made her
what? Violette peered closer, trying to get a fix on the woman's
motives. She meant to be here. That much was clear. But why the strange
behavior? And why didn't she have anyone else with her?
the blonde turned towards her hiding place and stared, Violette dropped
the board back into place and pressed her back against the old brick
wall. She could swear she and the blonde had locked eyes. Her heart beat
speed up, and she suddenly felt very trapped in this empty building. If
the blonde entered, Violette had no where to run.
her hand shaking she pulled back the board just far enough to see the
blonde walking towards the field. Taking a deep breath she watched as
the blonde opened the door of an old shack and slipped inside.
interesting," she mumbled against the glass. "So is she a
plant?" she wondered. "A backup, hidden in case I don't
cooperate?" A sneer tugged at her set mouth. "Well I'm ready
for her," she said, drilling her eyes onto the shack.
the next ten minutes she hardly blinked as she watched the blonde's
hiding place. There was no way the blonde was going to move without her
knowing about it. She'd be damned if anyone was going to get the drop on
her. Not when she had so much at stake.
vigilance was interrupted by the slamming of another car door, and
Violette was forced to shift her position to the other side of the
window to see farther down the street. The first thing she saw was two
black uniformed SS soldiers spread out across the park.
couldn't help her mouth from falling open when she saw Jacqueline being
led between a young soldier and an older woman, who she immediately knew
was Lillian Rolfe. The American looked beaten, and Violette felt a lump
rise in her throat.
Jacqueline," she said, shaking her head. "I'm sorry I got you
watched as the older Nazi appeared to taunt the American, but to her
surprise, Jacqueline was holding her own. Violette smiled when she saw
the older woman turn away. Maybe Jacqueline's presence would be enough
to distract the Nazi and she would be able to escape with Juliet.
her ears picked up the faint sound of an approaching aircraft and she
watched as Jacqueline and the German looked towards the sky. At least
the Nazi had lived up to her end of the bargain. If nothing else, Juliet
would be flying towards England before she was forced to betray her
sound of the plane grew louder and she watched as two soldiers lit
torches and walked towards the field. Violette wondered if the blonde
was also watching this from her hiding place. Strange that the older
woman hadn't once looked at the shack. Maybe she knew the blonde was
there or maybe . . .
hair on the back of her neck began tingling and in slow motion her head
turned back towards the church. Juliet.
she couldn't. She had to make herself stay. She had to move when it was
best for them both. She could only hope a opportunity presented itself
Manon said, dropping her hand and withdrawing her gun again. "It's
turned to walk in the direction they'd come, but Manon grabbed her arm.
"Not that way," she hissed. "We'll be seen!" She
pointed to the other side of the Abbey and waited for Sophie to go
before her. "Remember, you promised no tricks," Manon said,
her voice fading as the sound of an approaching aircraft buzzed
a plane," Sophie said, looking up. "Violette said she wanted a
what?" Manon said with a small grunt of a laugh.
looked at the woman. There was nothing to lose by telling her that
Violette wanted her daughter taken to England. But . . .. she turned her
eyes away. There was nothing to gain, either. "Where do we get
in?" she asked.
on. Watch." She pointed out into the growing darkness where two
soldiers stuck torches into hay piles. The plane buzzed over them again,
and Sophie watched as the pilot swung wide before bring his plane in
between the two flaming haystacks.
go before we miss it all," Sophie said, desperate to get the girl
inside and see what was going on. From there .. . . 'maybe I can do
something,' she thought.
that the girl?" she asked, pointing at the child, who stepped
behind the large Anastasie.
pulled her guard forward to witness this exchange. She had to see if the
girl looked at all like Violette. She had no doubt that the Germans had
taken Violette's daughter, but she did doubt they would keep her alive
long enough to exchange. There was a striking similarity in their eyes
and nose, and the way the child's mouth dropped in a slight pout. And
like Violette, Jackie wondered when the child had last smiled. She tried
smiling at the young girl, but she just pulled further back from them.
see I've taken good care of her, Frau Rolfe. Just like you asked."
German nodded. "All I asked was that she be alive." She darted
a hand out and grabbed the girl, pulling her from Anastasie's grasp. The
child cried out, and Jackie had to restrain herself from trying to help.
"But you've done your job, Anastasie. I'll give you that." Her
finger dug under the child's chin and forced the girl's face up.
"So, Captain Bradford, does she looked like Madame Szabo?"
Jackie lied. "Violette's child had blonde hair and blue eyes. Just
like her father."
that true?" Her finger fell from the child's face and she pinned
Anastasie with the stare Jackie had grown to hate.
is Szabo's daughter," Anastasie cried. "We followed her for
several weeks to make sure."
Rolfe dropped the child's hand. "A pity you couldn't find someone
who knew the whole invasion plan."
was the only one not being guarded."
felt her eyes widen and she fought to relax her face as her brain began
to race. 'Oh God,' she thought. 'Violette is a decoy. She
doesn't know the real plan and England has totally set her up. They knew
she'd turn the information over for her daughter. That's why they let
her come to France. They want Germany to believe they've gotten the real
plans.' It suddenly all made sense. The saddest part was that
Violette hadn't figured it out, and she would die thinking herself a
our intelligence units will be able to piece together what she doesn't
know." Frau Rolfe pushed the child back at Anastasie.
where is she?" Jackie asked, forcing herself into the conversation.
"I told you she wouldn't show."
here," Frau Rolfe said, letting her cold black eyes rove around the
park. "I can feel her."
isn't going to come out until her daughter is on the plane. She wants
her sent back to England."
she wants isn't important."
is the American, isn't it?" Anastasie said, pointing at her.
"We have the peasant girl you told us to watch for." Jackie
felt her heart clench and explode in the space of a second. Her legs
felt weak and she swayed slightly.
Frenay is with you?" For the first time Lillian Rolfe sounded
of my people found her in the cemetery this morning."
Rolfe turned to Jackie. "How interesting," she said, her eyes
daring Jackie to react. The American shrugged as if she didn't care.
"And where is she now?" she asked, and Jackie fought to keep
her eyes on Lillian Rolfe and not the fat Anastasie.
the crypt. She's being watched."
Rolfe nodded, her eyes still drilling into Jackie, searching for any
signs of interest. "So, Captain Bradford," she said, the
corner of her mouth lifting in an evil grin. "Shall we invited
Mademoiselle Frenay to join us or collect her later?"
not my party," she said, keeping her gaze locked with the German.
Frau Rolfe said, broadening her grin into a Cheshire cat imitation.
"I think . . . " Her voice trailed off as her attention was
distracted to the plane which was just touching down. Everyone, even the
small girl, paused to watch as a small Focke-Wulf landed between the two
burning haystacks. Even from this distance Jackie could see the plane
had been marked as a ambulance and as far as she could tell it had no
armaments showing. The pilot turned the plane around quickly and rolled
it a safe distance from the roaring hay before cutting the engine and
sticking an arm out the window and waving.
almost everyone's here," Lillian Rolfe said, giving a clipped wave
back. "Only Szabo is missing." She turned back to Jackie.
"And your little friend. Did we decide to invite her?"
was torn between wanting to see Sophie and having her near to feeling
she was safer is that crypt. She easily recognized that she was Lillian
Rolfe's toy, and that the woman could have her killed at any moment. It
was highly possible that she was to board that plane with Violette and
fly to the heart of Berlin. She didn't want Sophie to suffer that too.
the matter, Captain? Does the mouse have your tongue?"
Jackie corrected. "It's cat got your tongue."
childish idioms," Lillian Rolfe said, waving the correction off
like nothing, but Jackie saw the woman tightening her jaw.
how long are you going to wait for Szabo?" Jackie leaned to see
behind Frau Rolfe. "Wasn't she supposed to be here by now?"
gray woman turned on her, an icy cold hand grabbing her shirt and
pulling her close with a strength she didn't think the woman had.
"I've had enough of your disrespectful behavior," she breathed
into her face. "I warned you before."
kill me," Jackie said, trying to pull away from the woman.
"Otherwise quit taunting me."
Rolfe's hand only tightened on her shirt and she pulled Jackie closer.
"Captain, the taunting has only begun." She released her hold
and stepped back. "Remember how little control you have now."
fucking kill me!" Jackie cried, moving back until her guard stepped
forward to restrain her. Jackie didn't break her stare at Lillian Rolfe
as she grabbed the young man with her bound hands and quickly pulled him
into her raised knee. She knew she'd struck his solar plexus when she
heard a muffled cry escape from him and he collapsed to the ground
Rolfe?" she heard one of the other soldier's cry and she knew she
had at least one gun trained on her. It didn't matter, and she continued
to stare at the old Nazi.
me, Rolfe," she demanded. "Kill me or not. Just leave me out
of this game you've planned."
Rolfe stared at her, and for the first time Jackie saw indecision flash
in her black eyes. Then it was like a shade was pulled down over the
woman and she knew Rolfe had regained control of herself. "Step
away from my guard, Captain," she said calmly.
lifted her foot and placed it on top of the gasping man's neck.
make me kill you, Captain."
exactly what I'm doing," Jackie cried. "Better here than in
some hell hole in Berlin." She pressed her foot into the man's
throat. "So kill me. Deny your superiors their prize."
Rolfe's eyes dropped momentarily to the man before rising to meet Jackie
again. "Kill him if you want. Kill him if it makes you feel better.
He's nothing to me," she said, and Jackie knew she meant it
completely. "Perhaps," she said, turning around slowly.
"I'll kill someone, too. Then we'll be even, won't we?"
not playing games, Rolfe," Jackie said, her mouth dropping in
horror when the Nazi lunged for Juliet, who was hiding behind the fat
Anastasie. The girl screamed and tried to run, but Anastasie held her in
place until Lillian Rolfe's bony hand could pull her away. "What
are you doing?" Jackie demanded.
pro quo," she said, smiling, her left hand sliding around Juliet's
throat like a python. "Something for something."
won't kill her," Jackie said. "Then what would you bargain
No! Let her go!"
turned her head to see Violette rush from a boarded up store and across
Mere!" Juliet cried when she saw Violette, but Lillian Rolfe's hand
tightened on the girl's throat, preventing any other words.
were saying, Captain?" Frau Rolfe said, beaming a gummy smile of
total satisfaction at her before turning her attention to Violette.
"Madame Szabo," she said. "A pleasure to finally meet
watched what she knew was the American spy being led from Lillian
Rolfe's car. "Goddam bitch," she seethed, her eyes burning
into the old woman. "She took that from me, too."
took her a second to realize that Lillian Rolfe didn't have Sophie. Or
if she did, the peasant writer wasn't with her. That didn't make sense.
Lillian Rolfe wanted to use Sophie to hurt her. Which meant if she had
Sophie, Rolfe would surely parade her around if for no other purpose
than to once again prove Caron was powerless.
see who holds the power when this is all over," Caron whispered,
raising the Luger pistol to a small knot hole in the old wood and
pointing it at the old Nazi. "It could all be over now," she
said, pulling back the hammer. She held Lillian Rolfe at gunpoint for a
moment before uncocking the gun and lowering it back to her side.
good operative knew that timing was everything, and her sixth sense was
telling her to wait. Until then she was content to just watch the scene
unfold. She wasn't even surprised when she heard the plane coming in for
a landing or when the French spy's daughter appeared with a pitiful
group of Resistance fighters.
was losing interest in Rolfe and the American bitch's tete-a-tete and
felt her mind beginning to wander. It snapped back when the American
began screaming and easily disarmed Lillian Rolfe's SS guard. Caron
stifled a giggle when the American pinned the boy-man to the ground with
her boot. Part of her even urged the American to snap his neck. If only
to see another look of disappointment cross Lillian Rolfe's wrinkled
had no doubt that Rolfe would regain the upper hand, and she
acknowledged the Nazi's use of the child with a raised eyebrow. It was a
simple but effective ploy and she watched the American hesitate at the
exact moment she should have acted. Rolfe probably wouldn't have killed
the child, but unlike Caron, apparently the American cared one way or
the other. It was a foolish mistake.
. . .
laughed, and quickly lifted her hand to stifle it. From across the
street and from the very building Caron had contemplated using, a
shrieking woman ran directly towards the group. 'And the mysterious
Violette Szabo finally shows,' she thought, shifting her position
for a better view. "How absolutely amusing."
eyebrow darted up again when she saw the American bitch press hard on
the guard's neck. Even though she couldn't hear it, she knew the sublime
sound of a neck snapping and a chill ran down her spine. Lillian Rolfe
was too busy watching the French spy try and grab her daughter to notice
the American's action.
she can't see everything, can she?" she asked, her tone dripping
with sarcasm. "And she certainty didn't see that!" she
exclaimed, watching the American lean down and quickly remove the dead
soldier's knife from his belt. She tucked it neatly into her waistband
and pulled her shirt over to conceal it.
just what does she think she's going to do with that?" Caron said,
her brow furrowing slightly. "She should have taken the dolt's
shrugged and turned her attention back to Lillian Rolfe and the French
spy. Already the old Nazi had regained control of the situation. The
girl had been handed back to the fat man, and even from this distance
Caron could see the murderous glare in the French woman's eyes.
is going to be interesting," she said, flexing her grip on the
pistol. Her entrance on this grand stage needed to be timed perfectly. A
moment too soon and she ran the risk of losing her edge. She needed
Lillian Rolfe off balance. That was the only way she could seize
everything for herself.
to Caron," she whispered, licking her lips like a panther.
inside of the church was deadly quiet and Sophie listened to their
footsteps echoing off the old stone walls. The approaching darkness
outside was driven away by the numerous candles that glowed around
various saintly statues.
noticed Manon genuflect and cross herself as they passed the altar.
Perhaps it was that same belief in religious faith that lead the young
woman to easily accept Anastasie's warped political faith. Honestly, she
really didn't care. She only wanted to distract the girl long enough to
get outside and do something.
her head she could see herself grandly rushing into the gathering and
saving Juliet before anyone knew what was happening. Of course she knew
that wasn't realistic. If she could only . . . her eyes settled once
more on the gun Manon held so casually. If she could knock it from her
hand . . .
"Here," Manon said, pointing with the gun at the elaborate stained glass windows set into the East side of the building.
can see everything from here." The woman leaned forward until her
forehead touched the white glass of some gesturing saint's robes.
"God," she breathed. "It's already started!"
rushed to the window next to Manon's and pressed her face to the cool
leaded glass. Below her everything looked distorted and hazy. She
shifted until she found a small piece of yellow glass which gave her a
slightly better view.
that?" Manon said, and Sophie followed her sight line to Violette,
who was begging to see her daughter. An older woman dressed in an SS
uniform pushed the child into Anastasie's grasp and turned on Violette.
Violette," Sophie answered. "Juliet's mother."
won't the old woman let her see Juliet?"
couldn't answer. At that moment she lifted her eyes to see Jackie. The
American had been beaten, but Sophie couldn't see if she was hurt badly
or not. Just seeing her again made Sophie's heart skip. But what was she
doing . . .
Manon said. "The dark haired woman." She groaned. "I
think she just killed that guard."
had seen it, and even while her stomach turned, her heart soared a
little. Looking around quickly she realized that no one else had seen
Jackie's actions. That meant . . .
the gun," a voice said behind her, and Sophie spun around to find a
brown robed monk holding a pistol to Manon's head. The young woman had
completely frozen, her forehead still plastered to the stained glass.
"I said drop the weapon."
also froze, her hands grabbing onto the stone windowsill for support.
She didn't know if she should run or stay. The monk didn't seem
interested in her, and she felt her feet begin shuffling away.
the monk said, turning his head towards her. "Stay there."
I'm not with her," Sophie began.
monk ignored her, turning back to Manon. He pressed his pistol harder
into her skull. "Give me the gun, child," he said. "I
can't believe you would bring a weapon into the Lord's house."
didn't think this was the appropriate time to interrupt the monk and
point out the irony of his statement. She watched as he shifted
positions and reached over Manon's shoulder to grab her pistol.
young woman chose that moment to fight, and she tried to turn her way
out of the monk's grasp. With a quick duck she dropped to a squat and
spun away from the man. The monk wasn't easily fooled, and it was as if
he anticipated Manon's moves. As soon as the girl moved he stepped back
to avoid being pushed off balance. His eyes tracked her moves like a
frog does a fly, and as soon as Manon began standing, the monk lifted
his pistol and butted her hard across the back of the head.
didn't wait to see if he did anything else. This would probably be her
only opportunity to run. She turned from the scene with Manon and began
moving swiftly towards the big double doors at the back of the church.
She'd taken maybe three steps when she saw another monk serenely
guarding the doors. He smiled at her while holding up a hand to stop her
would be better if you ceased this senseless attempt to flee."
movements slowed and she turned to look at the monk behind her. Manon
she saw, was sprawled at his feet, her body twisted in what looked like
a very uncomfortable position. "Is she . . .."
don't kill," he said. "Unless we have to." His head
ducked towards Manon. "And I didn't have to."
. . ." Sophie's head went blank and she didn't know what to say.
here to help you, child."
monk smile indulgently, almost fatherly at her. "We're Mother
Church. We help all who ask."
narrowed her eyes. "I didn't ask."
you need help, child?"
arm lifted and she pointed out the window. "There are others . . .
I need to . . ."
let Brother Michael help you," the man near the door said, his
voice deeper and more insistent than the monk who had disarmed Manon.
"Do what?" Sophie asked, inching closer to the stained glass window so she could see. Below her things hadn't changed much. Violette was crying, and the large Anastasie looked pleased with himself as he held Juliet from her mother.
judge him," Brother Michael said, walking up to her and looking
down on the group. "Don't judge any of them."
can I not?" Sophie asked. "And how can you offer me help if
you haven't judged me or them or . . ." Her voice trailed off when
she saw Jackie moving up on the old Nazi woman. Darting her eyes she saw
that two German soldiers were advancing on her. One pulled the bolt back
on his gun and tucked the weapon into his shoulder. "They're going
to kill her," she whispered.
she has killed, too," the monk responded. "That is God's
circle of life."
glared at the man before shaking her head. "Fuck that," she
said, lifting her arms and banging on the glass with her fists.
"Jackie!" she yelled, hoping to created a distraction.
that!" the monk yelled, his arm sliding around her waist and
pulling her away from the window.
Sophie continued to yell at the top of her lungs.
the corner of her eye she monitored people around her. Most everyone
appeared riveted on the commotion between Lillian Rolfe and Violette
Szabo. Even the two soldiers had turned their attention from her and
alertly watched Violette. It seemed to Jackie that she'd been forgotten,
and that suited her fine.
knife rested against her leg as she stepped over the dead guard, her
steps as slow as a snail. Lillian Rolfe's back was to her, and she
figured if she could just get to the old woman she'd be able to take
control of the situation.
me see her," Violette cried, her voice beseeching.
yourself, Madame Szabo."
daughter. I want my daughter."
fat Anastasie looked on with a look of pathetic pleasure as he held a
struggling Juliet in his bearish arms. His small group of dirty
followers had stepped back from the display, and from the way their
mouths fell open in shock, Jackie could see this wasn't exactly what
they had in mind.
of the soldiers had wrapped his arms around Violette's waist and was
leaning into the woman to keep her from pushing her way to Juliet.
Violette's expression was so pained that Jackie pitied her grief. To
have gotten so far to have a cruel woman keep her from her child . . .
Jackie could only imagine what it might feel like.
there she stood. Lillian Rolfe. Jackie would have given anything to see
the expression on her face. Had she expected this display from Violette?
Somehow Jackie doubted it. If she knew anything about the old German,
she liked order and control, and this scene had neither.
moved forward oh so slowly. It took all her control to fight the urge to
rush forward. The timing was everything. She had to reach Lillian Rolfe
unnoticed. If the woman turned before Jackie could grab her, then her
one chance was lost. The knife lifted from her leg as she prepared to
encircle Rolfe's neck and pull her back. Just another step . . .
wouldn't do that if I were you," a voice said from behind her and
Jackie froze. "They're about to shoot you." Jackie turned her
head to see that the two soldiers had raised their guns and held them
steady on her.
don't care," she lied, trying to see who was speaking to her.
"If I can kill her," she nodded towards Rolfe. "It'll be
felt a hand on her back and warm breath on her neck as her captor leaned
around to remove the knife from her grasp. "But that's my
pleasure," she whispered. "Now. where's Sophie Frenay?"
she whispered, the tip of the knife now turned back on her.
shook her head. "I don't know," she said, catching a shock of
blonde hair by her shoulder.
fucking lie to me! Tell me where Sophie is or I'll jam this knife into
your back!" Jackie could hear the anger and desperation in the
woman's voice. She was about to answer again when Lillian Rolfe turned.
Her cold black eyes dropped to the dead soldier before lifting to the
Caron," she said. "How good of you to finally join us."
Her gaze shifted to Jackie. "I see you've met my American guest,
Captain Bradford." A glimmer touched Rolfe's eyes. "Captain,
Oberfuhrer Caron Von Rundstedt. I believe she knows your
Sophie." She stressed the 'your' part and Jackie felt Caron's hand
tighten on her arm.
was the woman who'd shot Henri Frenay. The one who imprisoned and
tortured Sophie. Now she held a knife on her, but seemed more interested
in sparring with the old woman. "Where is Sophie?" Caron
repeated, pushing Jackie forward a step.
Rolfe ignored the comment. Instead of answering, she motioned to the
soldier who held Violette. "Get that man out of my sight," she
ordered, pointing to the dead man. "He wasn't good enough to wear
that uniform." Her eyes never wavered as she watched the soldier
grabbed the dead man's arm and pulled him back towards the car.
me see my daughter," Violette pleaded again, now straining against
one of Anastasie's men, her hand reaching for Juliet. "I've come
all this way . . . I'm prepared to tell you all I know . . . just let me
hold her. Please."
Caron whispered only loud enough for Jackie to hear before meeting
Lillian Rolfe's eyes. "I want Sophie," she demanded, pulling
Lillian Rolfe's attention back to her.
long as everyone is making demands," Jackie said. "I'd like to
Rolfe's cold eyes shot venom at her, but the American knew she was
struggling to regain control. The old woman looked around the group, and
Jackie could almost see the woman measuring each person into the mix.
Her attention stopped on the fat Anastasie, who seemed pleased to have
gotten some recognition.
the child into the church," she ordered, her smile daring Violette
to react. "If Madame Szabo cooperates, she may see her daughter
before the plane departs."
Violette moaned, collapsing to the ground. "I've done what you
wanted." Her eyes followed her daughter as Anastasie and his small
group carried her away.
you know where Sophie is?" Caron hissed in Jackie's ear, obviously
not interested in the bitter mother daughter separation playing out.
Frenay is not your concern," Frau Rolfe said, turning her back on a
decide what concerns me or not."
decide," the older woman said, stepping closer. "Because you
know exactly what I will do if you betray me." She smiled a cold,
toothy smile. "I hear Ravensbrook is quite miserable this time of
felt confused as she listened to the conversation. It was obvious these
two had no love for each other, but Jackie couldn't figure out what
Lillian Rolfe had over the Gestapo agent and why Sophie mattered.
do you want Sophie?" she asked, trying to step away from the
blonde, but finding herself pulled back.
do you?" Caron countered, the tip of her knife poking Jackie in the
sure it's not the same way you want her, Caron," Lillian Rolfe
said, the tone of her voice sarcastic.
push me, old woman," Caron spat, pointing her knife at Rolfe.
that thing out of my face," the old woman said, barring her teeth
like an enraged animal. The blonde lowered the knife. "You will do
what you're told or you will suffer." Lillian Rolfe lowered her
voice and tugged slowly on her black jacket. "Now, go fetch Sophie
Frenay and bring her to me."
is here?" Caron said, her voice surprised despite the demands she'd
in the crypt below the church." Lillian Rolfe swept her hand
towards the back of the church. "Or so I've been told."
blonde Gestapo agent hesitated and Jackie thought she was going to say
no, but instead she tossed the knife to the ground near the old woman's
feet. "Fine," she said, and Jackie felt Caron's hand slide
around her back and push something cold against her skin. She then
pulled her shirt over the what Jackie knew was a gun tucked into her
her back, Caron. No games." Lillian Rolfe kicked the knife away
from them all.
I thought you liked games," Caron quipped, linking her arm through
what you've been told!" Rolfe practically yelled, showing Jackie
that the woman could lose her temper. She took a breath and forced a
smile at Caron. "Now, step away from the American and prove the
Fatherland can still trust you."
I'll take her with me," Caron said, but Jackie could tell she
didn't mean it.
fooling around. Bring Sophie Frenay to me, and remember our
took a few steps from Jackie and with her back to the American paused
and nodded slowly. Jackie knew it was some message for her, but she
wasn't sure what it meant. She wasn't even sure why she should trust a
German or a Gestapo agent.
she watched the blonde's retreating back, Lillian Rolfe brought the
meeting back under control. "Let's get down to the business at
hand," she said, rolling her eyes at the crying Violette.
going quite like you planned?" Jackie questioned.
quiet," Rolfe demanded. "Everything will be as I planned in
the end. That's all that is important."
is knowing the location of the invasion going to save Germany now?"
Jackie said, Violette's red rimmed eyes lifting to her.
someone of pedantic thoughts would ask such a ridiculous question."
one to know one," Jackie said, feeling incredibly juvenile.
Captain Bradford," Lillian Rolfe said, holding her hand up to
prevent further conversation. "Madame Szabo is going to compose
herself or she'll be of no use to her daughter."
wasn't any gunfire," she said, trying to piece things together even
though she couldn't see anything. "Tell me what is happening?"
she beseeched the monk.
man nodded and edged himself back to the glass. His eye widened and he
looked over at the other brown robed man guarding the door.
"They're bringing the child," he said, motioning him away from
that her name?" the monk asked. "We've seen her on the grounds
and knew they were holding her below, but we never . . ." he shook
his head. "Down on the floor. Here," he said, pointing at the
pew. "They mustn't see you."
what about Jackie?" Sophie asked, trying to lean forward and see.
Michael looked over his shoulder. "No time," he said.
"She's alive, though." He pointed at the pew again. "Now
down or I'll have to subdue you."
nodded and lowered herself to the ground. "Be quiet," he
ordered, kneeling at the pew behind hers and lowering his head as if
praying. Sophie had no choice but to lay there and stare at the vaulted
ceiling. It looked so high from this level.
heart was beating wildly and her mouth had gone dry. Looking under the
pew she could see Manon's legs lying a few rows up. She absently
wondered if the young woman was still alive.
"Keep your voice down." She could tell it was Anastasie, and she kept her eyes on Brother Michael to see how he reacted. The monk just kept his head down. Even his eyes were closed, and Sophie half believed the man was praying.
mere," the girl cried, and Sophie felt her heart ache.
look," a male voice said, and she could almost picture him
pointing. As if on queue the monk lifted his head and turned towards the
he said, smoothly.
sorry, Father," Anastasie said. "We didn't mean to disturb
don't apologize," Brother Michael said. "Interruptions aren't
always unwelcome." Sophie saw the man smile. "Why is the child
upset and calling for her mother?"
only be here for a short while, Father. Then we'll be gone. It would be
best if you pretended you hadn't seen us."
Abbey is a sanctuary to all who enter, Monsieur. The decision to harbor,
however, is mine alone."
don't need a sanctuary. Just a place to wait."
have a seat," the monk said, motioning to a pew. "Why not let
the girl sit with me?"
fine with me," Anastasie said, his voice tense. "And we're
so many of you to guard the girl?" he said, and Sophie turned her
head to try and count the feet.
said she's being guarded?"
not right to lie in the presence of the Lord."
don't you go back to praying, Father." It was an order.
could see three pairs of feet. They had moved deeper into the church,
but still hadn't passed the last pew. Her eye caught movement and she
watched a pair of sandled feet glide towards the others.
don't think Mother Church would approve of you, Monsieur," Brother
Michael said. "I will ask you to release the child and sit quietly
in that pew." He stood and pointed.
I think you should mind your own business," Anastasie said, his
voice a touch louder and more indignant. "I don't care what you or
Mother Church think of me."
sandled feet stepped closer, and Sophie knew Anastasie's group hadn't
seen or felt the other monks presence. A sharp crack broke the tense
silence and Sophie almost screamed when a wide-eyed face dropped to the
ground and lay still.
the . . ." Anastasie cried, his feet whirling around.
wouldn't move, Monsieur. Brother Martin has very special skills."
killed Bertrand," the fat man stammered, and Sophie couldn't pull
her eyes away from the face that stared at her.
gone to the Lord. Perhaps He can help Bertrand overcome his
evilness." Brother Michael bowed his head briefly. "Now,"
he said, pointing at Anastasie. "Please, send the child to me and
have a seat. We will hold you until things are finished outside and then
you may go."
. . ." Anastasie sounded completely lost.
the child down. Brother Martin can and will kill you to save the
one's innocent," Anastasie stammered.
isn't a time for a philosophical debate. Send the child to me. You,
girl," he said, and Sophie looked up to see he was addressing her.
"Get up and go get the child."
monk's face was set like stone, and Sophie felt herself crawling to her
feet. The situation was too tense for her to cause a scene, and even
though she wasn't anxious to see Anastasie, she sensed that disobeying
Brother Michael might prove a worse fate. She kept her eyes focused on
the monk until she was standing. Brother Michael nodded to her and
shifted his brown eyes towards Juliet.
didn't think it possible, but the girl looked more frightened than the
last she'd seen her. Anastasie held her tightly, his meaty arms nearly
swallowing the girl's frail frame. Sophie began moving down the center
aisle towards the fat man and his two remaining followers. She
recognized the man who had halted her escape from the vault, but she
quickly looked back at Anastasie.
Manon?" he demanded, his voice ringing off the stone walls.
speak to her," Brother Michael ordered from behind her. "Just
turn over the girl."
you kill Manon, too?" He lowered Juliet to the ground, but retained
ownership of her small hand.
inched closer to the child, her heart racing in her chest and her breath
speeding up. An idea was forming . . . "Come here, Juliet,"
she said, standing less than two feet from the girl.
want my mother," the girl cried, trying to tug her hand from the
waited, relieved when the other monk edged closer to Anastasie. Her eyes
jumped from the girl to the door and she drew a ragged breath.
"Come to me, Juliet," she said, struggling to keep the tremor
from her voice.
the girl's hand," the other monk said, his shadow spilling over the
respect Brother Martin's wish, Monsieur," Brother Michael said, his
voice deadly serious.
appeared to weigh his options, his bulbous eyes darting back and forth
like a frog before his fat fingers opened and Juliet's hand fell away.
Sophie rushed forward, grabbing the girl's other hand. She shot a glance
at the lethal monk before spinning Juliet behind her and running for the
she heard Brother Michael yell, and from the corner of her eye she saw
Brother Martin move towards her, but Anastasie took that moment to swing
at the man, and the church doors rushed at them.
her credit, Juliet managed to keep up with her. She half expected the
girl to fight her or try and break away, but by the time they reached
the door she felt Juliet's small hands reach past her and help push the
large wooden doors open.
can't help you if you leave," Brother Michael called, but Sophie
paused only long enough to turn and lift Julie into her arms before
running down the church steps.
Frenay!" she yelled down the dark tunnel, confident her voice would
there was no sound, she crawled down the first step, her free hand
grabbing for one of the flashlights and flicking it on. Her steps echoed
down the tunnel, but Caron ignored the sounds and increased her pace.
She sensed there was a finite time to get Sophie and . . . She didn't
know what she planned to do once she got the girl. Her steps slowed
before she shrugged it off and decided that some plan would present
itself when she needed it.
she cried again, her voice pounding off the walls and rushing before her
towards the lighted cavern.
shifted the pistol to her right hand and the flashlight to her left.
Even though she'd heard no sound from the crypt, experience kept her
prepared for anything. She stopped just a step from the opening of the
cavern and listened. Nothing.
she yelled, stepping into the crypt. "Answer me if you're
here!" The frustration seeped into her voice, making it quiver.
gray eyes darted around the room noting the mismatched furniture and
dirty bedding. The place smelled like a pig sty, she noted, holding a
hand up to her nose. Sophie wouldn't fit into a place like this. She
deserved silks and perfumes.
she said again, knowing in her heart the girl was not in the crypt. A
hollow ache consumed her. The emptiness turned to a primal rage as her
thoughts turned to Lillian Rolfe. "That bitch lied to me!" she
screamed, an impulse forcing her to lift her pistol and fire into the
crypt. The bullet ricocheted off something, but Caron didn't follow it's
path. She was already in the tunnel and running for the stairs.
then she divided her attention between watching for Sophie and the
blonde Gestapo agent and listening to the exchange happening between
Lillian Rolfe and Violette Szabo.
want my daughter on that plane, or I won't give you one shred of
information about Operation Overlord," Violette said, her grief at
being separated from her daughter again replaced with a cold anger. In
her demeanor, Jackie could see the outline of the woman she'd once
are hardly in a position to demand anything," Frau Rolfe said.
"I'm in charge of this meeting, and you'd better remember
Violette countered, stepping towards the old woman. "I'm in charge.
It's what I know that puts me in charge. You want it and I have
a rather simplistic way to look at the situation, Madame Szabo. Look
around you," Rolfe said, sweeping her arm. "This town belongs
to me. I keep it safe and it lives for me."
shook her head. "That has nothing to do with me . . . or my
has everything to do with you. I have been setting this up for over a
year." Lillian Rolfe pointed. "For you."
won't tell you anything until Juliet is safe."
Szabo, your daughter's life has never been in jeopardy. I'm a Nazi, not
felt a sarcastic comment slid across her tongue, but she clamped her
mouth shut to keep it inside. Looking behind her she noticed that the
two remaining guards had relaxed their poses. One was actually leaning
against a headstone and looking up at the darkening sky. Licking her
lips she decided to use their laziness to her advantage.
Juliet to me," Violette demanded, her face mere inches from the old
Rolfe opened her mouth to respond, but closed it. Her face relaxed into
something that almost looked kind and she nodded. "Very well. You
may spend a minute with her." She lifted a finger in warning.
"But you must first give me something." She smiled.
"Where will the invasion hit?"
American froze and listened, just as interested in what Violette would
Violette whispered, and Jackie's breath caught in her chest.
knew it!" Lillian Rolfe said, her grim mouth spreading into a
smile. "I told Himmler it was Calais. All of our information
pointed to that."
looked over her shoulder at the guard to her left. He seemed to barely
watch them, and shifting her gaze to her right she confirmed the other
guard was just as disinterested. The American took a small step away
from the exuberant Nazi and the pathetic French spy. As her hand slid
around her back, Jackie tried to decide who to shoot first.
giving it another thought she pulled the girl to the right. They had
just rounded the corner when Juliet started trying to tug her hand
loose. "C'mon," Sophie said, wanting to reassure the child
that she wasn't going to hurt her. "This way. We'll be safe over
want my mother," the girl said, digging her small heels into the
dirt to slow their progress.
stopped and forced a smile on her face before addressing the scared
girl. "I know you're scared, Juliet," she said. "I am
girl pointed behind them. "My mother," she began, but Sophie
held a finger to the girl's lips.
know. But we can't go that way. We have to go this way. It's
the girl screamed, and Sophie was forced to clamp a palm over her mouth
to keep anyone else from hearing. She was about to reason with the child
again when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
her go," a voice whispered, and Sophie instantly recognized it. Her
body began to shake. She slowly removed her hand from Juliet's mouth and
just stood there. The girl looked as terrified as Sophie felt, and
Sophie could see Caron reflected in the child's wide brown eyes.
"Turn around, Sophie," Caron said, her voice soft.
can't," Sophie said, her heart speeding up in her chest, and
Juliet's hand twisting to free itself.
missed you," Caron said, her fingers pulling the hair off Sophie's
neck. "I don't even care anymore that you ran from me."
did you find me?" Sophie asked, mostly to fill the empty space.
answered with a light brush of her lips against Sophie's neck. The
action told her more than Caron's words ever could. Sophie wanted to
pull away from the touch, but she found herself unable to move. It had a
familiar, almost haunting feeling that rendered Sophie impotent.
me go!" Juliet said, tugging hard on Sophie's hand. Just to get
away from Caron's touch, she let the girl pull them forward.
her go," Caron said, her hand sliding down Sophie's arm and
encircling her wrist with strong fingers. "Let her die with her
mother," she whispered. "I've got what I came for and nothing
Sophie said, images of Violette and "Jackie!" she cried,
dropping Juliet's hand and shaking Caron's touch off.
the child turned and ran for her mother. "Not the American?"
Caron demanded, grabbing Sophie's shoulder and spinning her around.
lifted her green eyes to Caron, immediately transported back to the
Chateau. The control Caron wielded over her was absolute and Sophie felt
her gaze dropping in submission.
you know I've risked everything for you?" Caron asked, her finger
lifting Sophie's chin. "For you," she repeated. "Do you
know what I'm saying?"
Sophie whispered, unable to look Caron in the eye.
saying that everything I've worked to build means nothing when compared
you're so stupid sometimes!" Caron cried, dropping her hand.
"I can't believe I love you."
took a step back, her heart pounding in her chest. Caron stood there,
her face frozen in shock. "You can't be serious," Sophie said,
almost unable to get the words out.
never been more serious, Sophie. Can't you see that I liberated
you?" Caron said. "And you liberated me. We're meant for
something more than this - -" her hand swept out around her.
. . .," Sophie stammered, desperately trying to form a coherent
thought. "How could you think that I'd . . .."
learn to love me. It won't be as it was in the Chateau. That was a
job." Caron stepped closer. "This is personal."
I don't . . ."
Caron said, putting a finger against her lips the same way she'd done
before. Sophie tried to back away, but Caron's arm slid effortlessly
around her waist and pulled her closer. "This is what you want, my
little peasant. I'm who you were made for." She leaned in, and just
as before, Sophie could smell the mix of lavender, leather and power.
"There will be nothing but me," Caron breathed, her lips
only thing Sophie could think of was how different it felt when Jackie
kissed her. "Wait," she tried to say, but Caron was holding
her too tightly and pressing her lips against her too hard.
felt all wrong. Caron had no control over her. She had no control other
than what Sophie had given her. Lifting her hands she tried to wedge
them against Caron's chest to push her off, but at that moment the air
cracked with a gun shot.
was the location Violette had given for the invasion, and right or
wrong, she knew Violette had to die. There were only two logical
conclusions she could draw from Violette's betrayal. Either she'd been
sent as a pawn by England, and therefore Jackie had to kill her to
preserve the lie. Or she really was betraying the Allied plans, and she
needed to die before she could reveal any more.
course she could just kill Lillian Rolfe and end it here. But if
Violette was a decoy, then the information wouldn't reach Berlin. So did
Rolfe need to live?
was all so confusing, and even as she twisted the Luger from behind her
back, she didn't know who to fire at first. Her movement caught both
Rolfe and Violette's eye, and they turned towards her. Briefly she
locked eyes with Rolfe, who moved to place her body between Jackie and
Lillian Rolfe yelled, forcing Jackie to forget her intended targets and
concentrate on the two soldiers who were lifting their guns. In a quick
move, she turned to the one on her right and without aiming, fired. The
soldier on her left fired back, and the bullet whizzed just past her
head. Jackie dropped low to avoid being hit and tried to pinpoint the
other man's position.
idiots!" Rolfe screamed from behind her, and Jackie saw what she
meant. Both guards had placed themselves directly opposite each other.
Which meant they couldn't fire at her without shooting at each other or
the other two women. "Control your shots," Lillian Rolfe
yelled, and Jackie glanced behind her to see that the old Nazi had
pulled Violette to the ground and was trying to cover the French spy
with her own body.
least I don't have to worry about them,' she thought, lifting her
head a little to survey the area. She had two targets to subdue and no
idea how to accomplish that. On her left she saw that one of the
soldiers had slid behind a tree, but the tree wasn't wide enough to
conceal all of him. If she aimed right she could probably hit his
man moved, his head poking out. 'They're trying to figure out how to
get me without killing Rolfe,' Jackie thought, dropping her head
below his sight line. She lifted her gun to fire in his general
direction, and that scared him back behind the tree.
something, you morons," Rolfe yelled. "She's only got one
steadied her hand and squeezed off two shots at the man's hip. The first
shot hit the tree and splattered bark. She didn't see where the second
shot went, but when the soldier didn't scream or fall, she assumed she'd
her right all she could see of that soldier was the tip of his helmet
jutting out over a grave stone. Hitting it would only cause a ringing in
the man's ears and not worth wasting one of her bullets.
and kill her," Rolfe yelled. "Immediately."
up," she hissed at Rolfe.
up, Captain Bradford," Rolfe announced, more than loud enough for
the soldiers to hear. "You're outnumbered."
looked back, prepared to threaten the Nazi when another idea hit her.
She crawled the short distance to Rolfe and grabbed the old woman by the
arm. "Stand up," she ordered, poking her with the gun.
Lillian Rolfe said, her voice as petulant as a two year old.
up," Jackie said, encircling the older woman's neck and using her
height and strength to pull them up. She had to keep the soldiers from
flanking her, so she pulled Rolfe's body in front of her like a shield
and backed up a little. "Order them to come out," she said,
grinding the pistol into Rolfe's shoulder.
won't help you."
I'll do it myself," Jackie said, lifting the gun to the Nazi's
head. "You have until I count to three to come out, or Frau Rolfe
and Violette Szabo die."
you do that, they'll shoot you where you stand."
least the invasion plans remain safe."
what this is all about?" Lillian Rolfe said, her voice incredulous.
and Sophie Frenay."
do you want?"
cocked her head towards the plane. "Will that thing make it to
you think I'm going to allow . . ."
ground the pistol into Rolfe's forehead to shut her up. "That's not
what I asked. Will the plane fly to England?"
I want Sophie Frenay and Juliet Szabo put on the plane and sent to
don't matter." She looked back at the two soldiers who were
watching the exchange. "Tell them to come out and surrender.
Otherwise we have nothing to discuss."
let Violette Szabo live if they surrender and the girl and child are
sent to England?"
them to surrender," Jackie said, pulling back the hammer of the
pistol. "Now or you die."
your weapons and come out," Lillian Rolfe said, her tone guarded.
watched as the two soldiers lowered their guns and stepped out of their
hiding places. "Tell them to come over here."
what she says," Rolfe said, pulling on Jackie's arm which still
encircled her neck.
two guards started to walk over, but Jackie halted them. "Drop your
guns and weapons there first." She waited until they undid their
ammunition holsters and side arms and dropped them to the floor.
"Don't forget your cute SS knives," she said, pointing the tip
of the gun at the dagger sticking out of their belts.
choking me," Rolfe said, pulling harder on her arm.
bad," Jackie said. "This isn't done yet. Step together,"
she ordered, waiting for the soldiers to move together, their hands held
up in surrender.
what?" Lillian Rolfe gasped.
nothing personal," she said, pointing her gun at the first man and
pulling the trigger. "It's survival." She quickly repeated her
action on the other soldier before he could run.
shot them in cold blood," Rolfe cried, watching the men crumple to
war." She released her hold around Rolfe's neck, but grabbed the
woman by the back of her collar before she could move away.
pay for that. I promise you. You'll pay."
be mouthing threats just yet." There was still one guard missing.
The one who'd removed the dead soldier. She looked around, but nothing.
Maybe he ran off. "Or he's hiding," she muttered, leveling her
gaze on Violette. Her mouth fell open when she saw Violette holding her
she get here?" Lillian Rolfe asked, pointing at the child.
matter," Jackie said, focusing on what needed to be done. "Can
you communicate with the pilot?" she asked Rolfe.
There was no need. His orders are only to fly me to Berlin."
was no way she could do what she needed with the child watching. Already
her young eyes had seen too much, and Jackie wasn't prepared to have her
witness her mother's death, too.
she said, nodding to the French spy. "Do you want Juliet to be
safe?" It was an obvious question, but she needed Violette's
I need to send her to that plane with a message."
Violette said, pulling Juliet closer. "It's too dangerous."
grabbed the pristine white handkerchief sticking out of Lillian Rolfe's
uniform and shook it open. The corners were monogrammed with little
black swastikas. "If she carries this, nothing will happen to
her." She saw Violette hesitate. "The pilot must ready the
plane for take-off and know he's flying to England."
what if they're shot down?"
he lands in the fields just past Dover and lets them go, he stands a
good chance of making it back to France without being attacked. And
Sophie and Juliet will be safe."
really think that plan will work?" Lillian Rolfe said, trying to
I do." She tugged the old woman back hard, causing her to stumble a
little. "It's the only plan that will work." She locked eyes
what about you?" Rolfe asked, but Jackie ignored the question. They
didn't have much time left. She lowered her voice, trying to convey
sympathy but control to the French woman.
she said, slowly. "It's time to let Juliet go. Tell her you love
her and you want her to be brave."
French spy looked up in alarm, the finality in Jackie's tone hitting
her. "But - -"
Violette. Your daughter's safety is why you're here, remember?"
Jacqueline," Violette said, her voice anxious. "You
to your daughter, Violette," Jackie said, her tone measured but
Jacqueline. Can't something be worked out?"
shook her head. "Now," she growled. "Don't make this any
worse for her."
God," Lillian Rolfe breathed. "You're going to ki - -"
yanked Rolfe's collar so hard it cut off her words before the child
could hear. "It's your choice," she said flatly. "You can
take this chance to have Juliet safe, or . . .." she let the
realistic possibility of having her daughter watch be filled in by
eye's filled with tears, but she nodded slowly.
her to the plane," Jackie ordered. "She must tell the pilot
that he is to fly two passengers to England. Can she remember
Violette said, her hand stroking Juliet's hair with a shaking touch.
"You can remember that for, Mere, can't you, my darling?"
Juliet said, her big brown eyes jumping from Violette to Jackie.
the pilot that he's to land just past Dover, let you off, and then
return to France," Jackie said, waiting for the child to nod.
"Take this and wave it, okay?"
crushed the child to her chest, her hands unable to stop touching her.
"Be strong for Mere, my darling. Remember how much I love you. You
are the best thing in my life, my little Juliet."
girl hugged her mother back, and Jackie was forced to clear her throat
to break up the moment. "Take this white handkerchief and wave it
while walking to the plane, Juliet," she said, giving the cloth to
the child. "Can you do that?"
child looked back at her mother, who nodded her head. "Be brave, my
darling. I know you can do it. Give the man in the plane the message and
want you to come with me," Juliet said.
can't, my sweet. I - -" Violette's voice broke.
Juliet. Go to the plane," Jackie said, urging her forward with her
love you, Juliet," Violette cried, her tear rimmed eyes watching
her daughter walk away. "Always remember that. Always."
Rolfe waited until the child was out of ear shot before trying to pull
away from Jackie's grasp. "You said you were going to let Szabo
live," she said with venom. "You broke your word."
never gave it, old woman. You heard what you wanted to hear."
a lie. You promised Szabo would live if the guards surrendered."
don't have time to debate with you," Jackie said, lifting the Luger
towards Violette. "Please get up."
Jacqueline," Violette said, her brown eyes pleading with her.
"Don't do it. For my daughter. Please don't."
up," Jackie said, biting the inside of her cheek to distract her
from the pain in her heart. "Now." She fought to keep her
voice under control.
all she has, Jacqueline," Violette pleaded, crawling to her knees.
"Her father is dead. And her grandparents." She tried to reach
out to Jackie, but the American stepped away. "You know all of
this!" she cried.
have no choice, Violette," Jackie said. "You gave me no
die for this," Rolfe spat.
she conceded. "But thousands can be saved." Her finger
tightened on the trigger.
do you know Berlin hasn't gotten the information already?"
I've been with you the whole time," Jackie said, wishing she had a
free hand to wipe at the beads of sweat on her forehead.
what about the soldier I left at the car? By now he's seen my signal and
has already transmitted the name of the location to Berlin. I installed
a transmitter not far from here."
finger relaxed a little as she thought about Rolfe's statement.
"Doesn't matter," she said, applying pressure again. "You
may know the name, but you don't know when or how."
Rolfe said. "Szabo would be more useful alive, but she's already
given us the biggest jewel." The old woman turned to look at Jackie
over her shoulder. "So no matter what you do now, Germany will be
I should kill you, too," Jackie said, throwing Rolfe down on the
ground next to Violette.
old Nazi pulled herself up and laughed. "How absolutely
American," she said.
up," Jackie said, pointing the gun on her to keep her from moving.
delude yourself, Captain Bradford. You don't have the stomach to kill
Violette. She's your friend. Your compatriot. You probably even
sympathize with her."
be quiet if I were you."
I'd be as stupid as you," Rolfe said, narrowing her eyes. "Or
hasn't it occurred to you that this situation has also been reported and
more of my men are on their way here?"
swallowed hard. "Then I don't have much time, do I?" She
looked at Violette who blinked slowly. "I'm sorry, Violette,"
she said, clenching her jaw.
sure Juliet is safe," she whispered. "Tell her that her mother
did it all for her. Promise me she'll know I loved her enough to die for
promise me," Violette cried, lurching to her knees and pinning
Jackie with a hard stare.
promise," Jackie whispered, turning the gun on Violette and trying
to steady her shaking hand. "God speed," she whispered,
closing her eyes to block the woman's final look. The trigger slid back
easily and clicked once.
Lillian Rolfe screamed above the gunshot.
held her breath and slowly opened her eyes. Violette lay there, a hole
in her throat and small river of crimson blood beginning to run away
from her. She stared, as if she couldn't believe it was done. It seemed
such a waste.
Lillian Rolfe cried, her face awash in relief. "For Hitler's sake,
looked over her shoulder to see the blonde Gestapo agent less than ten
feet from her. She held Sophie by the arm, and her face was set and
Jackie whispered, noticing Sophie's look of fear as she was dragged
along next to Caron.
gave you an order," Rolfe demanded, crawling to her feet.
"Shoot her now!"
saw the pistol in Caron's hand, but so far the weapon remained at her
side. Caron's gray gaze jumped from Lillian Rolfe to Jackie and back
again with increased speed and deleterious meaning.
the Gestapo agent was less than three feet away she pushed Sophie
towards Jackie and raised her gun. "Drop your weapon," she
ordered, pointing the gun not at Jackie but at Sophie.
are you doing?" Rolfe demanded, climbing to her feet and pointing
at Caron. "I commanded you to shoot the American."
quiet, old woman," Caron said, over her shoulder, her gray eyes
never leaving Jackie.
dare you order me around. You will shoot her now or you will be hanged
turned dispassionately towards Lillian Rolfe and lifted her gun.
"I'm sick of you," she said, firing at the old German, hitting
her in the left shoulder.
watched in fearful silence as Rolfe stumbled and fell to the ground. She
lay there howling in pain, but Jackie couldn't find any sympathy. Caron
turned, dismissing Rolfe from her sight and focused on Sophie.
behind me," Jackie said, grabbing Sophie's arm and pulling her
won't save her, " Caron said, her tone defeated but angry. "I
said I want my gun back, so drop it."
Jackie said, trying desperately to understand this woman.
it, Jackie," Sophie said, clinging to her arm. "Please."
do it, Jackie," Caron mimicked, her voice spitting out the
it!" Caron screamed, lifting her gun and firing just above Jackie's
dropped the gun and lifted her hands. "What do you want?"
stared at her for a moment, her gray eyes blinking slowly. "I want
her," she said, loosely waving the gun at Sophie. "But she
doesn't want me." She pointed the gun directly at Jackie. "She
please," Sophie said. "This isn't about - -"
up!" Caron screamed. "You lie. You lied to me."
them the plane's engines coughed and spun to life. Jackie turned her
head, knowing she had to get Sophie on that plane. She looked back at
the Gestapo agent, trying to decide how far she'd get if she rushed her.
love you, Sophie," Caron continued, her voice rising in pain.
"Why don't you love me? Don't you know I could give you everything
you every desired?"
lowered her head and prepared to charge, but she felt Sophie's hand on
her back keeping her in place. "If you loved me, Caron, you would
want me to be happy."
want you happy with me."
come with us. To England, " Jackie interjected, hoping to confuse
the blonde enough to get Sophie on the plane. She could overpower Caron
then, but Sophie had to get on that plane.
she laughed, her eyes never leaving Sophie.. "Why?" she
questioned. "You obviously want to be with her." Caron pointed
the gun back at Jackie in accusation.
saved my life, Caron," Sophie said as if it explained everything.
did, too," Caron cried, her tone pained. "Why do you forget
plane can take us to England," Jackie said, pointing at the
Focke-Wulf. "Everything will be different in England." It was
a lie, but the blonde seemed willing to believe in anything that kept
her with Sophie.
it?" Caron said. "Will you love me in England?"
almost jabbed Sophie in the ribs when she hesitated. "I
might," Sophie finally said. "When I know you better."
want to make you happy," Caron said. The look of crazed devotion on
the German's face told Jackie that she really believed that.
let me go to England."
Sophie said, holding out her hand to the Gestapo agent. "Please
don't have much time," Jackie added.
have as much time as I say," Caron said, her eyes burning into
Jackie with hatred.
cra - -" Jackie began, but Sophie touched her arm to silence her.
she began. "Look at the plane. It's going to take off."
Caron responded, her eyes locked with Jackie.
have to go," Sophie explained.
don't you and I go to England?" Caron asked, briefly looking at
Sophie before returning to Jackie. "We don't need her between
felt her heart freeze. She hadn't thought Caron would think of
eliminating her, although it did make sense, and Jackie half wondered
why she hadn't killed her already. Sophie stepped in front of her and
stood eye to eye with the blonde.
kill her and you might as well kill me, too." Caron laughed, and
Sophie stepped even closer. "Listen to me, Caron," she said,
slowly. "If Jackie dies, then I'll never love you, so you should
kill me, too."
be ridiculous, Sophie. Things will be good between us when we're away
from all of this."
pointed back at Jackie. "Only if she's on the plane with us."
Jackie whispered. "We have to hurry."
up," Caron yelled. "I'm thinking."
decide," Jackie countered.
Caron shrugged. "I haven't been to London in ages." She looked
back at Lillian Rolfe, who despite her bleeding shoulder was watching
them intently. "Besides, I don't think I have anything left
homosexual," Rolfe said, spitting at Caron. "You will burn for
this, Caron Von Rundstedt."
had enough of you," Caron said, swinging back towards Lillian Rolfe,
her gun lifting. "You're dead, you miserable old bag."
Jackie screamed, lunging for Caron. "Don't shoot her," she
said, forcing the blonde's arm down.
not?" Caron demanded, trying to pull her arm away. "She
deserves to die."
really couldn't argue with that, but yet she knew she needed to leave
Rolfe alive to complete Violette's mission. She might have been bluffing
about the radio transmission to Berlin, and that meant she needed to be
alive to carry it personally to Hitler himself. "Let her
live," she whispered to Caron.
the blonde demanded.
she's lost and she'll have to live with that. This mission she so
carefully planned is ruined. How will Hitler or Himmler or any of the
big fat Germans like that?"
saw Caron smile. "She's as good as dead."
leave her here." Jackie felt Caron's body relax and she stepped
back. "Get on the plane and leave her to reap what she sowed."
looked from Lillian Rolfe to Jackie and nodded. "Fine," she
said. "But you go first, and no tricks."
your gun," Jackie said, pointing at the gun in Caron's hand.
"There's a child on that plane."
don't see how that's my problem," Caron responded.
your problem if you think you're getting on that - -"
cut her off by stepping between them. "A truce," she said,
nailing them each with her level gaze. "No weapons and no tricks.
We all fly safely to England."
can live with that," Jackie said, not sure she could resist the
urge to open the hatch and toss the blond woman into the Channel.
Caron said, tossing her gun to the floor and kicking it away. "A
truce." She looked at Sophie. "A truce for Sophie," she
repeated, showing a row of white teeth. "But you still go
first." She pointed at Jackie.
didn't hesitate. "C'mon," she said, pushing Sophie in front of
her. "Hurry." She didn't like having the crazy blonde behind
her, but for now it was the best she could do. Once they were in England
and Caron had no control . . . Then things would be different.
darkness was almost complete. The two haystacks had almost burned out,
but they still cast eerie shadows that outlined the plane in a reddish
haze. She could see the lights in the cockpit, but couldn't make out the
pilot. "Watch out for the propellers," she called to Sophie,
pointing at the whirring blades on the wing.
on board she assumed they would reach the English coast in about - -
gun shot rang out behind her and she heard a scream. Turning she just
caught sight of Caron's shocked face as she fell to the ground. Behind
Caron, Lillian Rolfe stood, pointing one of the abandoned guns. She
turned it from Caron towards her and fired.
she screamed, pushing Sophie towards the plane, determined to protect
the girl with her body.
Caron cried, and Jackie looked over her shoulder to see the blonde
trying to get to her feet. She only took two steps before Rolfe fired
again and Caron fell.
she screamed to Sophie, hoping the girl remembered. Immediately Sophie
began altering her path in a Z pattern, and Jackie did everything she
could to use her body to shield the girl.
shot cracked behind them, followed by another. The plane's propellers
were spinning so fast that dirt was being thrown up around the plane.
Jackie reasoned if they could get into that dirt they might be safe
until they could get inside. The buzz from the plane's engines was loud,
so loud she wanted to hold her hands over her ears.
the damn door?" she screamed, knowing Sophie couldn't hear it.
"There!" she pointed to the hatch just behind the wing.
behind her she could see that Rolfe was still in pursuit. Her left arm
hung useless at her side and her steps were erratic, but she continued
to move forward. She tried to gage how much time they had before the
Nazi would be able to fire at a close enough range to disable the plane.
"Sophie!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, relieved when
the girl turned. "There!" she pointed to the door.
reached it first, Jackie close on her tail. Her hands ran over the door.
There was no outside handle. "Shit," Jackie said, banging on
the metal door with all her might. Behind them, Rolfe continued to
advance, and Jackie wished she'd kept that damn gun.
seemed like an eternity before the door was swung open by a young pilot.
Behind him she could see Juliet, already belted into one of the jump
seats. The pilot looked over their heads at Lillian Rolfe and shaking
his head started to close the door.
so fast," Jackie said, lunging into the plane and grabbing the
pilot's legs. He made the mistake of trying to step back, which only
succeeded in upsetting his center of gravity and Jackie was able to pull
him to the ground. She wrestled his arms down and pulled the sidearm
from his holster.
Sophie cried, but for the moment Jackie had to ignore her.
ready to fly this thing out of here," she said, jamming the gun
into the man's chest. "I don't want to kill you, too."
boy looked too scared to argue and with a nod he crawled towards the
cockpit. Jackie waited until he'd settled himself into the seat before
turning to pull Sophie into the plane. When the girl wasn't waiting at
the opening, Jackie threw herself at the door.
she screamed, seeing the girl lying on the ground, blood covering her
looked up, and Jackie was about to jump out when the plane started to
she yelled at the pilot. "Don't move this plane."
pilot pointed at the old woman. "If she hits the fuel tank we'll
move this plane," she ordered, swinging her legs around and sliding
out of the door.
Sophie rasped, tears streaming from her eyes. "I've been
on, Sophie," Jackie said, bending over to pick her up.
bullet slammed into the plane just above her head, and Jackie turned in
anger. Lillian Rolfe was so close she could see the blood dripping from
her left arm.
the invasion plans," she said, lifting the pilot's gun and firing.
bullet hit Rolfe in the stomach and the old woman doubled over. Jackie
couldn't see if the gun fell from her hands or not. It didn't matter
anyway. Her instructors always told her to fire until you were sure, and
this was one time she knew they were right. She squeezed the trigger two
more times until Lillian Rolfe hit the ground.
on," she said, tucking the pistol in her waist and lifting the girl
into her arms. "This is going to hurt," she warned, setting
her down on the floor of the plane and pushing her inside.
her she caught sight of Juliet straining to look out the door. She knew
the child was looking for her mother. She dreaded telling her the truth.
now?" the pilot screamed from the cockpit.
turned to give one last look at the Abbey before jumping into the plane
and slamming the door. "Now," she said, twisting the handle to
secure the lock. She scooted across the floor and lifted Sophie's head
into her lap as the plane moved forward.
be rough," the pilot warned, increasing the thrust.
fly the damn plane," Jackie said, brushing the hair from Sophie's
wet forehead. Once they were airborne she would look at the wound, but
she silently prayed it hadn't hit Sophie's spine.
it bad?" Sophie asked, her face wincing with every bump the plane
looked at the spreading pool of blood under Sophie and shook her head.
"I don't know."
braced as the nose of the plane began to climb, and she wrapped an arm
around Sophie's chest to hold her in place. She thought she felt the
plane bank to the right, which should be the direction of England.
blood was starting to gather around Sophie's back, and Jackie couldn't
wait any longer to get pressure on the wound. Her eyes scanned the
interior for anything that would help. A small towel had been stuffed
behind a seat, and she reached for it.
got to roll you over to stop the bleeding," she said, dreading what
she might find. "It will probably hurt."
Sophie said, and Jackie saw her hold her breath.
she had Sophie on her stomach she began prodding her blood soaked
clothing for the entry wound. Her fingers moved over Sophie's back,
relieved when nothing gushed. It didn't take her long to find the hole
in her leg. "It's your thigh," she said, her body relaxing in
yeah," Jackie said, pressing the towel against the wound. She'd
apply a tourniquet as soon as she could, but first she needed to make
sure they weren't heading for Berlin.
she yelled at the pilot. "Are we over the channel yet?"
but I can see it."
Jackie said to the girl. "I need you to hold this towel just like
mother?" Juliet asked.
me, Juliet," Jackie said. "Hold the towel. Now."
child climbed out of her seat and put her small hands on the towel.
Jackie waited long enough to see she was doing it right before climbing
to her feet and heading for the cockpit. "Where's the
channel?" she demanded.
he pointed, but all Jackie saw was darkness.
pilot pointed and Jackie noted they were travelling West. "You keep
it on this course and you'll live," she said.
if the English shoot me down? This plane is just a transport. We carry
you have a transmitter on board?"
you want to live?"
course," the young man said.
you know if the English monitor German communications?"
have strict orders to maintain radio silence because of that."
you send out an SOS?"
doing so when we are half way across the channel."
turned to leave but looked over her shoulder. "If you deliver us
safely to England then you may do whatever you want."
get you safely to England. For the child," he said, not taking his
eyes off the horizon.
first aid kit is under my seat."
looked down and grabbed for the red cross box. "Thanks again,"
she said, walking back to Sophie.
mission started in a plane and it was going to end here, too,' she
thought, sitting down next to Sophie. She didn't think she'd ever see
her again, but as her hands began tying the tourniquet around Sophie's
upper thigh, she knew she wanted to see her everyday.
we going to make it?" Sophie asked when Jackie turned her over.
Jackie said, brushing the girl's blonde hair from her forehead. "I
don't know how, and I really don't care, but we're going to make
Thanks for reading. If you liked the ending and felt I did justice to the characters, please email me at Pallas3@yahoo.com
Look for my next story "Asking Too Much" which follows an FBI agent who hunts a serial killer who is murdering victims who don't meet her standards. Perhaps the FBI agent will!
World War II Information
All of the
characters are fictional. I did, however, use the name of a real
heroine, Violette Szabo. Yes, this woman actually existed, although my
portrayal of her was absolutely fictional. Violette Szabo was one of
Great Britain's most honored spies, including being the first woman to
be awarded the George Cross. The 1946 citation for her award read:
Szabo volunteered to undertake a particularly dangerous mission in
France. She was parachuted into France in April 1944, and undertook the
task with enthusiasm. In her execution of the delicate researches
entailed she showed great presence of mind and astuteness. She was twice
arrested by the German security authorities, but each time managed to
get away. Eventually, however, with other members of her group, she was
surrounded by the Gestapo in a house in the south-west of France.
Resistance appeared hopeless, but Madame Szabo, seizing a Sten gun and
as much ammunition as she could carry, barricaded herself in part of the
house, and, exchanging shot for shot with the enemy, killed or wounded
several of them. By constant movement she avoided being cornered and
fought until she dropped exhausted. She was arrested and had to undergo
solitary confinement. She was then continuously and atrociously
tortured, but never by word or deed gave away any of her acquaintances,
or told the enemy anything of value. She was ultimately executed. Madame
Szabo gave a magnificent example of courage and steadfastness."
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