READ THIS DISCLAIMER: This story is set during World War II, and it depicts an action that
many women suffered during war. There is a very short rape scene at the beginning that is
used to set up the rest of the story. The scene is not glorified, nor used as shock value,
but to isolate and shift a character?s behavior. I apologize if this offends anyone, and
that is not my intention. If this bothers you, then please do not read this story.
Other than that no disclaimers are required for use as the character and plot are my own. This story does depict a relationship between women, and may not be suited for children under 18 or illegal in your given area. Please use your own judgment.
NOTE TO READERS: Thank you for keeping with me over the time it's taken to post this. I try and write whenever I get time, and I appreciate all of you who have written me notes encouraging me to post more often. Believe it or not, it's helped.
Mercy that Sadness Brings
|Henri Frenay stood with his
back against the wall and his eyes watching with interest as the bakers pulled racks of
fresh rolls and bread from long brick ovens. The kitchen heat felt good, and he indulged
himself with a large sniff of the fragrant air.
one of the bakers said, thrusting a still hot roll at him. "Eat, Frenay. Better you
eat it than those damn Boche pigs."
Gaston." He took a bite and lifted the roll in thanks.
should be here soon," Gaston said. "He promised to deliver all of the bread to
the Chateau." The baker shook his head. "Why he takes these delivery runs, I
dunno. I can't find anyone who wants to go there except Francois d' Silva."
"I think he's crazy, but he brings back good intelligence."
alright. Always has been." He shouldered another pan of bread into the oven before
turning around. "So, I hear there is an American spy working with the Maquis.
Henri finished off
the roll and shrugged. "I've heard the same thing. Funny how rumors get started, eh
The baker raised an
eyebrow and nodded in understanding. "Well as long as you're waiting," he
pointed to a large bowl. "Mix that flour."
With a laugh Henri
grabbed the wooden spoon and began mixing. It felt good to do something innocent again.
this?" Francois said from behind him. "Not thinking of quitting, are you?"
"About time you
showed," Gaston said. "These rolls have to be on the Boche officer's table by
six. That leaves you two little time to talk."
"We'll use the
store room," Henri said, wiping lose flour from his hands.
Henri nodded and
headed for the back room packed with sacks of flour reserved for the German soldiers. It
made him sick how the German food supplies were always full and yet the local French
starved. If it wasn't for Gaston's clever way of siphoning off the flour then many in the
district would have nothing to eat.
be meeting, Francois," Henri began, closing the door. "Not before a mission. Too
"It can't be
helped, Henri. I can't let this go on any longer."
Henri asked, leaning against a tall pile of flour sacks.
bitch," Francois spit out. "She's wrong for this. She'll end up doing us more
harm than good."
"Not much I can do about that now."
not about trust. It's about Sophie. That's it."
"She has her
agenda I have mine."
believe you're letting her lead the men."
Francois' hand went
to Frenay's shoulder. "The leader is you, my friend."
Frenay shook his
head. "Not when my sister is involved. I can't be an effective leader."
"And what if
she decides that Sophie isn't worth the risk after we've done her mission? What then,
"She's given me
nothing to me."
join us, Francois. You've always been a good man, but if you can't commit fully to this
mission then it would be better if you're not there."
telling me not to come?"
"I'm telling you to make up your mind."
away. "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd chose over me," he said,
shaking his head.
been a choice."
Henri said, lifting his hand, but the Frenchman walked away.
"I have a
delivery to make," he said, opening the store room door and exiting.
he?" she hissed at Henri. "This plan runs on a timed schedule, and if we don't
move at the exact moment Where is he?"
know," Henri responded. "Francois will be here."
"For your sake,
Henry, I hope you're right. He's the sniper, and without the long range cover he can
provide, we could be sitting ducks out there."
Jackie checked her
watch again. "We don't have another minute!"
here," Henri said, but his voice had lost conviction.
The man nodded, and
patted a small knapsack on the ground.
she said, making a point of looking at each man there. "This could be the most
difficult mission all of you have ever been on, but also one of the most important.
Besides helping Henry save his sister, you're going to cripple the German communications
in Normandy for months to come." She saw a few fleeting smiles cross the men's faces.
She leaned forward. "So here's the plan."
For the next few
minutes she began sketching in the dirt and pointing to various men. Frenay supported her
every command decision with a nod of his head, and for that Jackie was grateful. When
she'd finished she looked back at Frenay. "That's it," she said. "With or
without Frankie, we move out now."
another minute, Henri said, checking his watch.
"You just heard
the plan again, Henry. The guards are due to change soon, and if we don't take this window
then we're going in against alert troops."
Henri looked behind
him into the dark woods before nodding his head. "Let's go," he consented,
turning his attention to the men. "Alright, we've been over the plan. You know what
has to be done. Full command is now in the hands of Jackie. Accept her orders like they
were mine. He looked back at Jackie, who gave him a curt nod.
very good to me," she said, pulling the towel closer. "That's all."
"That's not a
lame reason, Sophie," the maid said, stepping out from behind a door. "The
Oberfuher is ... well, it would be best for you if you didn't let her have her way."
hard, the cold wet hairs on the back of her neck shaking in the maid's presence. "I'd
like some clothes," she said, trying to command as much respect as she could standing
there in a damp towel. "The Oberfuher said you'd see to my needs."
The maid shook her
head. "Awfully bossy, aren't we?"
"I don't mean
to be," she said. "I'm just cold."
The maid shrugged.
"Her closet is here," she said, pointing at the door from which she'd just
emerged. "Why not just help yourself?"
narrowed, but she couldn't back down now. Despite the pain that still throbbed in her body
she slowly made her way across the room. She swore she could almost see satisfaction in
the maid's face every time she winced.
"I think you'd
look great in her uniform," the maid said from behind her. "She'll either ravish
you or kill you on the spot."
Sophie's eyes landed
on the jet black S.S. uniform jacket and skirt that hung ominously near the back. The
bright red armband with white spider-like swastika made her body shake, and her mouth went
"So that's not
to you liking?" The maid's voice stung her, and she slowly turned around.
"I don't feel
so well," she whispered, lifting her hand to her damp and sweating forehead.
For a brief second
the maid's face softened and she stepped forward. Then she halted and backed away.
"I'm not here to baby-sit you, Mademoiselle," she said with a sharp curtsy.
"I have things to do."
Her vision blurred
as she watched the maid leave, and with a slight cry she fell to the floor and passed out.
When she awoke the
room was growing dark. Her stomach rumbled, and she moaned, her hand sliding against the
silk of the pillow.
time you woke up." She recognized Caron's voice immediately, and she searched until
she found the blonde sitting across the room smoking. "Do you think I have all day to
sit by your bed?"
sorry," Sophie began. "I was looking for clothes."
appear that you found any," Caron quipped, standing and crushing her cigarette into a
bowl. "Really, darling, if you want to excite me you don't have to pass out naked on
Sophie lifted the
cover and found herself safely covered in a button down shirt. "Did you?"
Caron lifted her
shoulder slightly and smiled. "I couldn't let my treasure be seen by a man, could
not," Sophie relented, a part of her now accepting of Caron.
In a smooth motion
Caron settled herself on the edge of the bed, her one knee pulled up under her, and her
thigh just brushing Sophie's leg. Her finger nail trailed up the satin sheet. "You've
never willingly given yourself to a man, have you my Sophie?"
Sophie looked away,
but Caron's hand moved across her leg. Sophie could sense the smile that tugged at Caron's
blood red lips, and when she looked back she wasn't disappointed. "Why do you even
ask?" she said. "Does it give you some pleasure to make me remember last
Caron's hand gently
patted her thigh. "No, my dear," she said, her voice soft and sweet. "It
hurts me when I think about what happened to you."
"Then why did
"Because I need
to know if there's ever been a man that you loved?" Caron closed her eyes. "Or
who loved you."
Sophie felt her
stomach swirl from the anguish she heard in Caron's tone. Without thinking her hand closed
over the German's and she shook her head. "I've never loved anyone."
For a long moment
Caron just looked at her, the gray eyes waiting for any emotion, and Sophie found herself
just as anxious to see some joy fill them. Slowly a haze seemed to fall across Caron's
face and the Gestapo agent withdrew her hand. "And you don't love me either, I
suppose." It was said more as a statement than a question.
"How would I
know what love is?"
Caron smiled and
shrugged. "I'm not sure how to answer you, my dear. It's just something you
"And do you
love me, Caron?"
Caron's hand stroked
her leg, the gray eyes watching the movement with interest, and Sophie had to tense her
thigh before Caron would look up. "I'll keep you safe, Sophie," she said.
"I won't let anyone hurt you."
"And what do I
have to do?"
The German's hand
rose and fell against Sophie's leg. "What have I asked you to do that you wouldn't
have done in order to survive?"
"Is this about
Caron laughed, her
voice toneless and shallow. "Life is about survival." Her gray eyes focused
tightly on Sophie, boring into her like a worm into a soft apple until Sophie felt as if
every inch of her body had been invaded. "You're a survivor, my little peasant. I can
see it in you." She smiled. "You're just like me."
Sophie didn't know
why that statement both alarmed her and enticed her. After what she'd been through, being
a survivor wasn't a title she'd have given herself. She felt like a hapless victim. But if
Caron believed in her ... She let the thought hang in her mind.
"So are you
feeling better?" Caron asked, the intimate tone in her voice gone.
Sophie blinked twice
and drew her attention back to the blonde German. "I'm a little hungry," she
said, trying to smile.
The Gestapo agent
laughed, her voice drifting towards her with a lilt and hint of joy that made Sophie
smile. "Of course you are, me dear." Caron patted her leg and stood. "I'll
have something brought to you." Sophie sat up, her face troubled, and Caron stopped.
"What is it, my little peasant?"
The German shrugged.
"I have some things to see to," she replied.
"Will you stay
tone was cautious.
"I don't want
to be alone," Sophie said, leaning back.
For a moment Sophie
thought that Caron would leave, but then the blonde smiled. "For you ... I'll delay
"I don't want
to be a burden," Sophie tried to explain. "If you need ..."
"I said I'd
stay, didn't I?" Caron snapped, and Sophie blinked quickly.
are." She drew in a deep breath. "What would you like to eat?" she asked,
lifting a black phone from the table. Before Sophie could answer, Caron held up her hand.
Sophie watched as
she crisply ordered her meal in German, and for all the French writer knew, the Gestapo
agent could have ordered her cyanide. After Caron replaced the receiver, she disappeared
into the door that Sophie now recognized as the closet. She emerged moments later with a
pair of khaki pants and a khaki sweater.
much," she said, tossing the outfit at the foot of the bed. "But I thought you
might feel better dressed."
nodded and threw the covers off.
no," Caron said, jumping to help her. "I'm not going to have you pass out on me
again." Her cold hand closed around Sophie's upper arm, and with a strength that
Sophie had begun to rely on she helped her from the bed. When she was standing under her
own weight, Caron stepped back and smiled, her white teeth peeking from her red lips like
a wolf. "Do you want me to stay or leave while you change?" she asked.
"I didn't think
you wanted to be alone,"
Standing there it
only took Sophie a second to decide what to do. Staring directly at Caron she began
unbuttoning the shirt that covered her. With each button she could feel Caron's gaze
burning into her, and as she began lowering the shirt from her shoulders Caron's breath
became rapid. Sophie kept her face impassive as she let the garment fall to the floor
before reaching for the khaki sweater. The German's lips parted, and Sophie hesitated, not
sure if Caron would ask her to stop. When no words escaped the blood red lips, Sophie
slowly pulled the wool sweater over her head and settled it down around her waist.
"Why didn't you
stop me?" Sophie asked, reaching for the pants and lifting a leg into them.
"Never ask me why I do things, little one. Just accept that I do them."
A knock at the door
prohibited Sophie from responding, and instead she concentrated on securing the pants
around her waist. They were a little long, but she and Caron seemed to wear about the same
size. 'That will be convenient,' she thought.
Ahead of her the rest of her team had been swallowed by the darkness, and even if she strained she couldn't make out any movement. Jackie realized that for all intents and purposes she was alone now. A hostile behind enemy lines.
A smile spread
across her face as she hunched her shoulders more and picked up her pace.
From her maps she
guessed that she had about a quarter of a mile to travel before she'd even catch sight of
the Chateau. She imagined that Frenay had about a ten minute start, which would put him at
the house before the guards changed. That could be dangerous.
she whispered again, her mind running through all the negative possibilities of his
erratic behavior. "He could give us all away before we have a chance!"
time," Caron said, a bemused expression on her face. "I don't like to
The maid shrugged,
and gave a small snort of indifference, her head lifting to stare at Sophie. The coldness
in the maid's eyes ripped through her body, and the young woman visibly shivered. She felt
as if she were looking into the face of her enemy.
her the evil eye, Dagmar." Caron said, placing her hands on her hips. "Just set
up the table.
The maid turned and
stared hard at the Gestapo agent, and Sophie jumped her gaze between the two women. She
didn't think anyone capable of defying Caron von Rundstedt., but the maid seemed to be
holding her own. Finally Caron laughed and shook her head.
"One of these
days, Dagmar. One day you're going to push me too far."
"So you keep
telling me, Caron," the maid quipped back. "But you make a lot of promises you
never keep." The maid gave the cart a push, causing it to roll towards Sophie.
"Have your newest conquest set up your meal."
Caron raised an
eyebrow at the gesture, but only smiled at the maid. "The color green doesn't suit
you, dear." The Gestapo agent smoothed out her hair. "And I know I've warned you
about displaying your jealousy."
The maid shook her
head in disgust. "It's beyond me why I'd feel jealous over you."
Sophie said, her voice quivering with confusion.
The Gestapo agent's
ice gray eyes slowly swept across the room and captured Sophie. A toothy grin pulled at
her face as she glided across the room with feline grace until Sophie felt the German's
warm hand against her face. "Yes, little one," Caron cooed, her head turning to
look at the maid.
Sophie's eyes darted
like a frightened rabbit between the Gestapo agent and the maid. "I don't
understand," she finally muttered.
"Of course you
don't, my dear," Caron said, pushing a loose strand of hair off Sophie's face.
"You're not supposed to."
The maid let out a
short, angry laugh. "And what would she do if she did know?"
Caron's hand dropped
from Sophie's face, leaving the skin feeling cold and lonely. "Don't test me,
The maid let out
another laugh filled with haughty defiance. "Oh, you're so right, Caron. Playing with
you is like kissing a cobra." The maid turned to Sophie. "You'd better be
careful, when kissing her, peasant." She laughed again. "Her bite can be
horrible!" Sophie said, stepping in front of Caron, and totally unsure why she felt
compelled to protect the Gestapo agent. "Why are you trying to hurt her?"
"I think it's
time you left," Caron said, cutting off the maid's answer.
The maid's hands
went in the air. "Oh yes ... dismissed again." She shook her head while a half
smile lifted one side of her face in a distorted squint. "You know, Caron, one day
I'm not going to care anymore."
Caron took a step towards the woman. "Get out." She pointed at the door.
"As you wish,
Fraulein Oberfuher," the maid said with an exaggerated curtsy. "I've always
served your every wish." She gave her crisp white apron a tug and fled the room
without a backward glance.
After the maid left,
Sophie's body gave an involuntary shiver, and when Caron's arm slinked around her waist
she barely hesitated before leaning into the woman's muscular body. Her mouth opened to
question the whole scene, but with a quick glance at the German's stony expression and she
thought better of it.
Caron lead her to a
small table with two chairs, and without saying a word stood by while Sophie sat. Instead
of moving off, Caron stood motionless next to her chair. Sophie looked up, surprised by
the pain she saw on the Gestapo agents face. She reached out and lifted Caron's hand.
okay," she said, pressing the back of the hand against her face.
Sophie asked, lifting her hand slightly in question.
sorry for me," Caron said. "I can see it in your face." She shook her head,
a small strand of blonde hair falling from her tight coif. "I heard it when you tried
to protect me. I don't want that!" Caron took a step back.
Sophie said, starting to stand up. "I'm sorry."
The Gestapo agent
threw her head back and laughed, her voice shrill in its echoing tones which bounced off
the walls of the monstrous bedroom. "Of course you are." She looked down.
"You're always sorry. That seems to be the only thing that you're good at."
mean," Sophie whispered, turning back to the table. "And unfair."
Caron grabbed a hunk
of her hair, tugging her head back until Sophie cried out. "Unfair? Mean?" Caron
laughed again. "Haven't you figured things out yet?" She released her hold.
"I don't know
what to figure out first," Sophie said, quickly looking away before she lost her
nerve. "Every time I think I have an answer, you change the rules on me." She
shook her head. "I don't know what you want from me."
Caron didn't answer,
and a heavy silence filled the room like an oppressive heat until Sophie drew her palm
across her damp forehead. Taking a deep breath she looked over at the German. Caron had
crossed the room and now stood by the widow. She'd released her hair from it's tight coif
and her blonde waves streamed down her back in a haphazard way. In an almost nervous way
the Gestapo agent was curling a strand around her finger while staring unseeing out the
Sophie said, standing and walking towards her. "Are you alright?"
The German turned
her head slightly. "Why did you protect me?" she said over her shoulder.
"Why did you defend me to Dagmar?"
Sophie stopped just
behind her. "Why does there have to be a reason?"
The young woman
nodded. "I don't know why I did it." She shrugged. "Maybe I just felt like
"No one has
ever done that," Caron whispered. "No on has ever cared."
silent. She knew she couldn't respond to Caron's statement , even though the words were
clogging her throat and trying to force themselves out of her mouth. She felt her heart
jump when Caron turned around.
Caron asked again, her voice small and weak.
care," Sophie answered, lifting her green eyes.
Caron yelled, her hand whipping out of nowhere and tearing across Sophie's face. The slap
stung so sharply that Sophie cried out and stumbled backwards. "Stop it," Caron
yelled at her.
Sophie's eyes filled
with tears, and her picture of Caron blurred. The German's chest heaved and her hands were
clenched at her side.
sniveling," Caron said. "Be stronger, and don't let yourself feel!"
Caron advanced, and
Sophie took another step away from her. "Caron, you're scaring me."
The Gestapo agent
shrugged. "That's no concern of mine." A sick smile lifted her lips, making her
white pointed teeth shine like a jackal. "Face it. You're nothing to me. Nothing but
an insignificant peasant whom I find pleasurable." She smiled broader. "For the
moment, I might add."
Sophie began, but shut her mouth when Caron opened a drawer on the desk near her and
withdrew a long, black pistol. "What are you doing?"
In a fluid motion
Caron cocked the gun. "You mean nothing to me," she repeated, lifting the gun
and pointing it at Sophie. "I could kill you right now ... If I wanted."
Sophie cried, backing up until her body crashed against the wall.
Caron lowered the
gun and moved closer to the young woman until Sophie could smell the lilac perfume pulsing
off the German's white throat. "You're scared," Caron said, brushing the cold
metal of the gun over Sophie's cheek. "It's a good feeling, Sophie. Trust in it.
terrified!" Sophie cried, unable to halt the tears that poured from her eyes. "I
want my brother! I need to go to him."
The Gestapo agents
eyes fired, and her hand clamped around Sophie's jaw like a vice. "Now you listen to
me, you little Maquis spy! There is nothing you can do to help your pathetic brother. And
nothing he can do to help you." She clenched her hand causing Sophie to squeal.
"As we speak my net is closing, and you'd better be concerned about how much you need
me," Sophie whispered, trying to turn her head away. "Let go ... please."
Instead the German's
grip tightened. "Tell me, Sophie ... was that how you begged that weakling lieutenant
to let you go?" She released her grip and roamed her hand down Sophie's neck, her
hand grabbing for Sophie's breast and squeezing hard. She chuckled when Sophie cried out
in pain. "Poor Sophie," she cooed. "You made it so easy for me."
go!" she cried, pulling on Caron's arm until the German released her hold, but
instead of moving, Caron's weight crashed forward, pinning Sophie against the wall.
"Beg for me,
little one," she whispered in her ear, her breath hot and sticky against her skin.
"I know you want to. Beg me." Caron moved her face closer, and Sophie turned her
head from one side to the other until she felt Caron's lips against her skin. A strangled
cry erupted from her as Caron claimed her mouth, and she only stopped when she heard the
German's deep throated laughter fill her mouth.
The Gestapo agents
hands moved down her body, and Sophie cringed when she felt cold fingers brush against her
stomach and inch up her top. She tried to move her face away, but it seemed the German
anticipated her every move, and no matter which way she turned, Caron's lips were there.
Finally, Sophie lifted her hands and pushed hard at the German, sending her stumbling
I don't want ..."
"Don't speak to
me like you care," Caron cried. "I've been nothing but good to you, and this is
how you repay me?" She took a step forward. "You should be giving me everything
"I don't know
what you want from me," Sophie simply said.
"I'm not here
to be your teacher, my dear." She shrugged. "This is the way of the world. If
you want my protection, then you have to give what you have." She stepped forward and
flicked her finger over Sophie's breast until the nipple stood out. She looked up and
grinned. "And all you have to give is yourself."
Sophie lifted her
arms to cover her breasts. "Caron, I thought ..."
thought isn't important. It's what was expected of you that counts."
"And what do
you expect of me? From one moment to the next ... I don't know!"
not my problem," Caron said, pushing the younger woman's arms down to her side and
leaned her body against Sophie's. "All I need to know is if you're capable of doing
everything I desire of you." She leaned forward and ran hand up Sophie's arm.
"Can you, peasant?"
"What about my
brother?" Sophie asked, fighting the urge to step away from the German.
question, Sophie," Caron asked, her lips hovering over Sophie's.
answer, and she closed her eyes waiting for the kiss.
much, Caron," a voice said behind them, and Caron stood back to reveal Dagmar
standing just inside the door.
Caron turned her
head towards the maid, but made no attempt to remove her hands from Sophie. "What do
you want, Dagmar? I thought I dismissed you."
"You wanted me
to tell you when it was time."
"I'm a little
preoccupied," Caron hissed. "Can't you handle it?"
"It's not my
neck hanging in the noose," the maid said, shrugging. "It's yours." She
smiled, the skin around the corner of her nose deepening with her grin.
"And what are
you going to do about it?" the maid said, with a self satisfied nod of her head.
"As far as I can tell, darling ... if you fail in this missions ... then you're
finished. No one can save you."
"And you go
with me, Dagmar. Don't forget that."
The maid gave a half
hearted laugh. "I haven't forgotten," she said. "I'd almost welcome a break
Caron stepped closer, her hands clenching at her sides. "No one's keeping you here." She half closed her eyes as if dismissing the maid from her sight. "Now, since you still work for me," she said, the haughtiness returning to her voice.
"How long do I
The maid's eyes
roved over Sophie. "Not long enough for what you started," she said,
Caron answered, waving her hand. "Get my coat." She turned her gray eyes back to
Sophie. "I'm sorry, my love," she said, reaching out and trailing a long, cool
finger down Sophie's cheek. "I must go."
the maid said, holding the Gestapo agent's heavy black leather coat.
course, remembered my gloves," Caron questioned, shrugging her shoulders into the
course," the maid responded, handing Caron a pair of black leather gloves.
"Where are you
going?" Sophie asked, her heart beginning to feel real fear.
"It's not your
place to ask, my little peasant."
place to just sit and wait for her to destroy your life," Dagmar said, her voice
tight and angry. "Like she did mine."
Dagmar." Caron finished tugging on the gloves, and turned towards the door.
Sophie said. "What about the passports and visas? You promised me!" She thought
she saw the maid smirk, but when Caron turned the woman was blocked from her view.
"And what have
you done to earn them, my little Maquis spy?"
"I did what you
asked," Sophie said, her voice raising in tone. "You told me that if I did what
you wanted that you'd ..." she stopped speaking when the maid's laughter became too
The Gestapo agent
stepped closer, her cold leather finger lifting Sophie's chin. "Listen to me,"
she said in that sickening sweet tone that Sophie was growing to hate. "When I've
grown tired of your considerable charms ... then I'll get your passports." She
removed her hand. "I always keep my promises."
"What about my
brother? We were going to leave France together! He's all I have left" she cried,
suddenly aware that she'd given away her heart's desire.
entangled in her hair and her head was given a quick tug. "I'm all you have
left," Caron corrected. "Henri Frenay is no longer your concern." She
released Sophie's hair. "Now, kiss me goodbye and wish me luck."
hesitated Caron's eyes flashed and her hand clenched. Closing her eyes and fighting back
the tears she leaned into the German until their lips touched. Caron's lips claimed her,
but Sophie could not make herself respond. When Caron pulled back, Sophie lowered her
eyes, unable to meet the German's gaze.
do better than that, cheri."
Sophie lifted her
head, a large tear seeping from her eye and rolling down her face. The Gestapo agent's
finger lifted and she caught the tear, flicking the liquid onto the floor. "Crying
won't help," she said, spinning on her heel and walking towards the door.
Sophie's heart sank
when the door slammed and locked. She knew she'd never see her brother again.
Caron Von Rundstedt stalked
down the stairs, the sully maid on her heels, and her black leather coat flying out behind
her like a cape.
That was too
much," she said, over her shoulder. "I should have you shot for that atrocious
"Like you could
do without me at your beck and call."
The Gestapo agent
stopped on the stairs and turned to face her accomplice. "Everyone's replaceable,
dear Dagmar. Everyone."
Dagmar asked, stopping a step above Caron. "By that crying little brat in
there?" she said, gesturing up the stairs. "I highly doubt that she'll make you
"That's not for
you to decide," Caron said, starting back down the stairs. "I'll decide how
happy she'll make me."
"I could make
you happy. I did once."
"That was a
long time ago, dear." Caron shrugged. "A very long time."
"Then why have
you kept me around?" Dagmar asked.
"Because you do
what you're told," Caron said, stopping at the bottom of the stairs, her black heels
clicking against the shinny marble. She turned and waited for the maid.
"However," she began, pulling her leather coat closed and cinching it around her
small waist. "You've grown tiresome, and hardly worth my efforts."
Dagmar said, her voice guarded and apprehensive.
this mission, I want you gone."
crinkled and her eyes burned. "I don't care. Go to your parents house in Masstrict
... or go to Moscow for all I care. I don't want you around me."
nothing," Caron said, walking across the foyer and opening the front door. "You
and I are finished," she said, motioning the two Luftwaffe guards inside.
unbelievable," Dagmar said, crossing and grabbing the Gestapo agent's shoulder.
"I've done everything you've ever wanted. Everything!" she said, her voice
raising. "I'm the only person you've ever known who would accept everything about
"But you bore
me," Caron returned, with a dismissive shrug. Without another look she turned her
back on the maid and faced the two guards who stood at ramrod attention. She lifted her
finger and ran it down one man's expanded chest. "My what fine specimens you
are," she cooed, her red lip lifting seductively.
slut," Dagmar hissed behind her.
Caron ignored the
comment and instead dragged a finger down a clean shaven jaw. "You're both relieved
of duty for the night," she purred. "Return to your barracks, and don't come
out. Comprende vous?"
One of the soldiers
looked at her in question, but Caron's hand whipped across his face, the sound
reverberating in the empty marble hall. "I gave you orders, soldier! Now go!"
Her voice took on deadly seriousness, and both soldiers quickly clicked their heels and
scurried down a nearby hallway. "I love power," Caron said, a shiver of pleasure
running through her body.
"And is that a
new revelation?" Dagmar asked sarcastically.
"Are you still
here?" Caron called over her shoulder.
"Why must you
treat me with such cruelty?"
"How long do
you think your fascination with Sophie Frenay will last? A week ... a month ... how
long?" She stepped in front of the German. "I've given you three years. Three
years of doing whatever you needed ... and accepting all your insults and pettiness. All
because I loved ..."
"I'm working on
getting you a medal," Caron said, cutting her off.
"You're such a
"And you can't
get enough, Dagmar. Remember that."
whore won't play your game for long."
Caron's hand lunged
for the maid's throat. "Don't call her that! Sophie will never be a whore."
Dagmar tried to take
a step back, but Caron's grip was too tight. "That's what you're making of her.
She'll be Caron Von Rundstedt's whore."
tightened, and a dangerous shadow passed over her face. "Tell me what I need to know
and then get the hell out of my sight," she said, releasing the maid.
"Did I touch a
nerve?" Dagmar asked, rubbing at her sore throat.
Two gray eyes bored
into the maid. "Do you want to find out?"
Dagmar took another
step back and smiled. "Your information, Frauelien Oberfuher," she said with a
crisp Nazi salute.
dramatics and just tell me."
"Our contact is
waiting for you just outside the fence line. He's prepared to do whatever is necessary to
make this mission a glorious success for you."
"And what are
we giving this traitor in return?"
"His family is
starving. He wants to go to America."
pathetic," Caron said, rolling her eyes. "I wonder if he knows how I reward
"I'm sure he'll
find out," Dagmar replied. "Where do you want me to position myself?"
The Gestapo agent
laughed. "There's never been anything I've wanted from you," she said, and
waited while the maid's face became stony. "Did I touch a nerve, dear?"
Dagmar said. "But remember that I know everything you've ever done, Caron. Treason
would be the least of the charges filed against you if I ever decided to talk."
Caron said, giving the woman a dismissive wave and walking out the front door.
Dagmar watched Caron
leave, her face an unshielded combination of hurt and rage. The Gestapo agent had always
been difficult to deal with, but Dagmar had always believed in the long run the attractive
German would finally see her. Caron's words had stung, but she sensed that their normally
antagonistic relationship had changed. Her eyes drifted up the stairs. "Sophie
Frenay," she whispered under her breath.
With a determined
step she began up the stairs, her fingers clenched around the key to Caron's rooms.
"The girl has to be dealt with," she said, the echo of her footsteps leading
down the hall to Caron's door. From the outside she could hear the girl's desperate sobs,
and she stood motionless, listening with a satisfied grin. The key slid easily into the
lock, and her hand tightened on the knob, her mind barely considering Caron's reaction
before she threw open the heavy door.
She knew she was making good
time. The Chateau loomed in front of her, it's imposing facade reminiscent of an ancient
era of tyrants and kings. The shear size of the structure was enough to keep unwise
visitors at bay, but Jackie didn't have the luxury of deciding against visiting.
She'd lost sight of
her men in the darkness, and she felt totally isolated and vulnerable. The hilt of the
pistol that pressed against her skin was cold despite the thin sheen of sweat that she
felt clinging to her body. Looking down at her watch she knew that her time was limited,
and she had to make it across the expansive lawn.
With her eyes
scanning the ground ahead of her she decided to make a dash across a narrow, unlit portion
of the lawn. Her feet left damp marks in the thick grass, but it muffled all sound of her
Half way across she
heard a noise, and as if her instructors were screaming at her from nearby, she dropped
flat to the ground and lay still. The wet grass pressed against her face as she tried to
blend her body into the landscape. Her ears strained for any sound of approaching danger,
her fingers just touching the hilt of the commando knife tucked into her boots. Hand to
hand combat had been her specialty in camp, but playing and doing were very different.
After a long breath
holding moment she decided to continue. Raising her body from the ground she nearly broke
into a run as the granite wall of the house came closer and closer. Her hands finally
touched the cool stone, but that was only half the battle. Turning around she pressed her
back against the wall and scanned the darkness for movement. When she saw none she began
moving towards a side door. She could only hope that Henri wasn't stupid enough to head up
to the second floor by himself.
she muttered under her breath as she pushed off from her position and tried to stay as
much in shadow as possible. A mental count told her that her men should be in place by
now, and that she was now racing against the clock before they set off the charges. If
everything went well then the communications center would be destroyed, and the relays
would be down for several months.
wrong," she thought. "I know better than this. I should be with my men
... not here rescuing a sister."
The side door seemed
to rush at her, and before she knew it her fingers were closing around the handle. She put
her pistol away and withdrew her commando knife for close and silent killing. With a deep
breath she kicked open the door, throwing her body against the wall for protection and
every sense on alert and expecting anything.
Nothing happened and
with a cautious peek she turned the corner. A guard was slumped against the wall, his face
already swelling from a hard blow. With the hint of a smile she began climbing the back
stairs. Frenay at least knew what he was doing, and for the first time Jackie thought
there might be a chance. "A small one," she conceded.
Each step was taken
with care, her ears peeled for any sound of above her. Her boots silently made the climb
to the second floor, her heart beating louder with each passing foot until she'd reached
the inner door of the house. Pushing it open just wide enough to peer through she let out
a relieved sigh at the silence and calm that greeted her.
With total control
she slipped into the house. The floor boards creaked under her feet as she crept along the
almost dark servants hall towards the main hall. "If the Germans ever expected a
breach of security," she reasoned, sliding silently down the hall, "then
there will be at least one guard on the second floor." She licked her dry lips as
she drew up next to the door leading to the main hall. "But knowing the Germans,"
she cracked open the door and peeked out, a smile spreading across her face, "they
are too pompous to fear anyone getting in here."
sconces cast eerie shadows across the main hall, and Jackie stood motionless trying to
decide which way to move. A string of tall doors stretched down the long halls and she
knew that randomly throwing open doors might get her caught. She searched for any sign of
Frenay's passing, but the Maquis leader had left her nothing.
A door down the hall
was thrown open, and Jackie felt her stomach drop to her knees. Without a thought she
flattened herself into the shadows and prayed to go unnoticed.
"I won't let
her get away with it this time," a man yelled, his voice coming closer and closer.
"She's gone too far!" The man stopped practically next to her, his flabby arms
fighting with his gray uniform jacket. Jackie saw the golden swords on his collar
identifying him as a general, and she involuntarily held her breath. "Gestapo or
not," he mumbled while his chubby fingers worked at the gold buttons.
"Dismissing my men from their post! I won't stand for it! Sergeant!!" He stamped
his foot against the floor before stalking off towards the main staircase.
Jackie listened to
his departure with a raised eyebrow, and only after the general's footfalls died away did
she finally feel secure enough to move. The general had emerged from at the end of the
hall where a large set of double doors stood proud under an elaborate neoclassical arch. A
smile crept across Jackie's face when she noted another set of grandiose doors at the
opposite end of the hall.
"If I were a
Gestapo agent," she reasoned, breaking into a slight run. "I'd take those
The door was ajar,
and a sliver of yellow light scorched her black boots. She could hear movement from
inside, and stepping closer she strained to see inside.
Monsieur. Sit or I shoot your precious sister."
As she approached
the tree line, she concentrated on the sound of her boots whipping through the wet night
grass. She knew that half a dozen eyes were peeled on her, and she scanned the trees for
sight of her Waffen SS soldiers. She'd ordered them here earlier, and it had given her
perverse pleasure knowing they'd been immobile and stranded while she dealt with her
furrowed as an image of Sophie entered her mind. She had to admit that Dagmar was partly
right. The girl had gotten to her. Or maybe she'd gotten to the girl. It was very
confusing, so she shrugged and allowed a smile to lighten her face. She couldn't think of
what Sophie meant. She could only think of how she could break the little Maquis writer.
The thought of bending and shaping Sophie to her will gave her more pleasure than
completing her mission and capturing Henri Frenay.
Frenay. He'd been a
thorn in Berlin's side for too long. His pitiful group of men had managed to wreck havoc
on supply shipments and local morale. While Caron cared nothing about this or Henri Frenay
she knew her future depended on successfully capturing him. This mission had been far
beneath Caron's talents, but after what had happened in Egypt, it sure beat a firing
Caron had always had
a knack for doing the dirty jobs, and despite the revulsion she felt for Hitler and his
cause she loved the work. The first time she'd seen total fear in someone's eyes she'd
been in heaven. Egypt just went wrong. She shouldn't have pushed her power there. She
shook her head, whipping her blonde locks around violently. It wasn't her fault that
Rommel couldn't control his men. They should have been taught to respect authority, and
when they didn't Caron took it upon herself to teach them.
managed to cover up her blunder by blaming the beatings and deaths on some local
villagers. She'd ordered their execution to teach the populace about Nazi justice, but
Rommel and others hadn't totally believed her testimony. Caron had been forced to flee
Africa and find safety in the protection of her uncle. Victorious Field Marshals were like
gods to Hitler, and Caron's uncle was Hitler's current shining star. He'd been able to
halt investigations and keep her out of the spotlight. When Himmler called her to Berlin
late last month she knew the game was up. But instead of condemning her he gave her this
'"Route out the
traitors to the Fatherland," Caron repeated with a laugh. "Sure thing, you oaf.
But now I have something better in mind. Henri Frenay," she said with a growing
smile. "You're mine tonight!" She threw her arms into the air and twirled, not
caring who saw. "And your sister is mine for as long as I want her."
The trees loomed
just a few paces off, and Caron brought her thoughts back sharply to the mission at hand.
Sophie would do her no good if she failed to bring down Frenay. A shape moved in front of
her and Caron lifted a brow in expectation. "That better be you, traitor."
"And what if I
just decide to shoot you?" a clipped French voice answered.
"Then what are
you doing here?" Caron asked, walking forward until the tip of the gun was pressed
against her chest. "Answer me please."
The man didn't
respond, and rolling her eyes Caron quickly assessed the situation. With a crooked smile
she shot her leg out grabbing the man by the ankle, her arm lifting to grab the rifle at
the barrel and yanking it from his hand. With deft perfection she rammed the gun into the
man's stomach and lifted the butt into his chin. The man fell to the ground with a thud,
and Caron twirled the rifle in her hand, pointing the tip on the downed man.
enemy?" she chirped, ramming the butt of the gun into her shoulder.
the man spat. "Francois d'Silva. I'm here to meet you, Fraulein Oberfuher."