PLEASE 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 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 characters 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 charcters and plot are my own. This story does depict a relationship between women, and may not be suited for children under 18 or illegial in your given area. Please use your own judgement.
Note: For the purpose of easy reading I have shortened most of the typically confusing German ranks to more applicable U.S. Military rank designations. While I do hold a degree in history, I am not a military historian (cant really stand the military aspect, in fact.) Therefore, please forgive any shortcomings I might have in that area. There are several excellent websites devoted to WWII Military history if you are interested in learning more on the subject.
I have named each section after a WWII US Propaganda Poster. These posters were used to increase support for the war effort. Besides being colorful they are artistic and well worth a view. Ive place a link to each poster.
Thanks for reading.
Mercy that Sadness Brings
Part I: Get a War Job!(poster link: http://www.nara.gov/exhall/powers/longing.jpg ) ophie pulled the damp paper from the press and held it to the light. Her green eyes, now experienced and keen, quickly checked for any unsightly gaps in the ink. With a satisfied nod she pinned the newspaper to a string before grabbing a fresh sheet and slapping it into the press. Seizing the handle she pulled down hard, her slight frame fighting the machines counterbalance. In her head she counted to ten before lifting the lid and removing the sheet. With a smile she couldnt hide, she hung this piece to dry.
"Lets see what those pigs think of this issue," she said, taking another sheet and settling it on the press. An errant piece of blond hair fell across her face, and as she was lifting her hand to push it aside a pounding at the door made her freeze.
"Open in the name of the Fuhrer," a clipped voice yelled, followed by another pounding.
Sophies eyes darted around the room, her mind frantic to hide the printing press and other equipment. If they were found, she knew it would be her death sentence. The Germans didnt take kindly to any Resistance activity, and writing and printing anti-German propaganda was a quick death sentence. The only thing that had kept her from falling into their hands before this was the protection of her brother and his small milita Resitance force.
"Open the door, Fraulein! Open or we break it down!"
If the Germans were here than it meant she must have been betrayed, or her brother was dead. A fear gripped her heart, and yet she knew at that moment she could count only on herself.
First, she had to hide the press. If thered been time, it would have been neatly folded up and placed inside the wall behind the fireplace, but right now she had no choice. She tipped the press onto itself, the excess black ink dripping onto an already stained tarp on the floor. With a huff she shoved the machinery into a nearby closet, her feet gathering up the tarp and kicking it in after the press. With a shake of her head she grabbed some of her laundry and flung it over her drying newspaper, hoping the weak deception would pass. Her hands were heavily stained, and in futility she tried to scrub the ink off with an old rag.
"Mon Dieu," she whispered, hurrying to the front door, her heart pounding with fear. Her hand was just about to close around the knob when the door was kicked open, the force throwing her to the floor with a thud. Her head lifted just as four uniformed SS soldiers rushed into the room and surrounded her.
"Get up, Fraulein," a heavily accented voice said, and Sophie looked up to find a tall, marble-like lieutenant standing over her.
Sophie felt frozen, and all she could do was stare into the mans cold eyes. She felt the presence of the other men around her, but it was the officers eyes that forced all rational thought from her head and kept her immobile on the floor. The lieutenant shook his head. "Get her on her feet," he ordered, and a Sargent roughly grabbed her arm and hauled her into a standing position.
"What do you want?" Sophie asked, trying not to look at his midnight black uniform with its contrasting red swastika and intimidating peaked deaths head cap. A slap of leather ripped across her face, and her head tilted back from the blow.
"You will address me with respect, you piece of Resistance trash," the lieutenant said, stepping closer.
At that moment she realized it was one thing to write subversive propaganda about the Germans, and quite another to have one standing before you. Lifting her eyes she resolved to be brave, no matter what.
"You Germans may posess France now, but you will never own me," she whispered, her voice faltering with the fear that trembled through her.
The officer lifted his hand, but slowly lowered it. "Consider that my only warning, Fraulein. You will cooperate or ..." he left the obvious unspoken. "Now, you will tell me where your miserable brother is, Fraulein Frenay, and we might leave you alone."
"You have the wrong house, Monsieur. I have no brother."
The lieutnant lifted his chin to the Sargent holding her, and her long hair was pulled with a fierceness that brought tears to Sophies eyes.
"Contrary to what you filthy French think, we Germans are not a patient people. So I suggest you answer me, or you will feel German might many times over."
"I will not cooperate!" Sophie said through clenched teeth.
"I will ask you one last time, Sophie Frenay. I want your brother ..." he held up his hand when she opened her mouth. "Please save me the weak denials. Henri Frenay is your brother. Now, I want him. Where is he?"
"I will not cooperate!" Sophie repeated. "And even if I knew where my brother was, I would hardly betray him to you!"
"Then that is most unfortunate for you," the lieutenant said, a sick grin pulling at his colorless lips. "Shall I tell you about the German way, Fraulein? Shall I?" He waited until Sophies eyes lifted to meet his, and he dipped his head in acknowledgement. "Good, we understand each other. Now, where is your brother?"
Sophie stared defiantly back, hoping her pounding heart couldnt be heard by anyone but her.
The lieutenant reached out and almost tenderly lifted her hand, his gloved finger tracing over the ink stains on her skin. "Search the place," he ordered, and his grip became like iron when Sophie tried to pull away.
It didnt take the soldiers long to find her haphazardly hidden printing press, and it took all of Sophies strength to remain standing when her freshly printed literature was handed to the officer with a salute. The lieutenant quickly read the paper, a dangerous smile lifting his sour face.
"This is treasonous material," he said simply. "I could shoot you right now for what Im holding my hand." He let the paper fall to the ground. "But I think youre more useful alive."
"Henri wont save me, if thats what youre hoping for," Sophie said, wishing her voice sounded stronger.
"We Germans will be superior in our efforts, Fraulein, and we wont be daunted by a pitful Maquis Resistance force here in Normandy," the lieutenant said. "I know that your brother is the key to that force, and once hes removed ..." He smiled at her, and Sophie felt her skin crawl. "Lets just say that Ill be the hero ..."
"No one would see a pig like you as a hero?" Sophie spit out, pulling on her arm again. "Theyd be stupid to think youre worth anything."
His fist slammed into her jaw, and she cried out, lifting her other hand to ward off the next blow which never came.
"Watch your filthy mouth, you French whore." His tone was guttural and biting, and Sophie could see the fire in his eyes.
"Even the lowest French whore wouldnt be good enough for the likes of you, Boche," Sophie said, realizing exactly what she was doing, but determined to die instead of being this Germans pawn to trap her brother. "If youre an example of the master race then Germanys in bigger trouble than I thought."
Her teeth rattled in her mouth from the force of his backhand, and she felt her knees give out under the blow. The lieutenants hand tightened around her wrist, and she was hauled to her feet, only to be pushed into the arms of the Sargent. The side of Sophies face throbbed, and her vision flickered, but she could see enough to watch in horror as the lieutenant slowly removed his remaining glove and peaked hat. These were laid aside before his attention was turned fully to her.
"Belt," he said, holding his hand out, and a soldier quickly removed his leather belt and placed it in the lieutenants grip.
"Im not afraid of you," Sophie managed to utter. "France will live on after me, and if I fall another will ..."
"Save the misspent patriotism," the lieutenant said. "You are afraid of me. Its in your eyes." He stepped closer and Sophie flinched, bringing a cold smile to his thin lips. "Be afraid because when Im done, youll never look at another German without remembering this."
Sophie lifted her leg and tried to kick him, but he just stood back and lifted the belt. With a slicing motion the leather tore through the air and across her bare leg just below her disshelved skirt. His arm swung the other direction and the reverse side of her leg was attacked with the savage downstroke, the metal from the buckle ripping through her flesh like butter. Sophie couldnt have remained silent if she tried, and her cries echoed off the walls of the house.
Again and again the lieutenant whipped her legs and stomach until even Sophie couldnt ignore the sticky wetness that ran down her calves. A thin sweat had broken out on the lieutenants forehead, and when he stopped momentarily, Sophie gathered the last of her strength and tried to break from the Sargents grasp. As she struggled against the hulking mans grip, the lieutenant again raised his arm.
"Stop, or Ill hit your pretty little face."
"I wont cooperate!" she screamed. "Id rather die!"
"That can be arranged faster than you realize, Frenay. The question remains in what manner you will die."
"I wont tell you anything," she whispered, her head dropping against her chest. She was completely unprepared for his fist slamming into her stomach, and her head fell back in a rage filled scream.
"Youll tell me everything!" the lieutenant said, lifting the belt again. "Start by telling me where your miserable brother hides. Tell me!"
Sophie closed her eyes and spit. Before she knew what happened, the lieutenant had grabbed her hair and ripped her from the Sargents hold. Sophie collapsed to the ground, but the lieutenant pulled her to her feet by her hair. The man spun around the room, dragging her with him, and finally she was thrown back at the Sargent.
"Take her in there," he said, pointing at an open door.
"Dont," she whispered, her eyes following his sight line towards her bedroom. "Please dont." She let all of her weight fall, but instead of slowing the hulking Sargent, he merely dragged her body across the wooden floor, her bloody legs leaving a sickening trail.
She cried out when the Sargent lifted her and tossed her onto the soft down mattress. Hot tears seeped from her eyes when she felt two solid hands grab her wrists and two more secure her ankles.
"Open your eyes," the lieutenant commanded, but Sophie shook her head. The leather belt tore across her stomach, and she howled in pain. "Open your eyes!"
Her eyes opened slowly. "Dont," she whispered, her voice breaking with emotion.
"I wouldnt dream of it, Fraulein," he whispered, and waited for a long second. "I wouldnt ruin my German purity on filth like you ..." His words trailed off as he motioned to one of the soldiers. "But hes a Pole," he said pointing to a soulless looking man who stood to attention next to him. With a quick nod her legs were pulled apart and the soldier began unbuckling his pants.
"Dont!" Sophie screamed at the top of her lungs. "By dear God, please dont."
"Then tell me where youre brother is! Now!"
"I dont know," she whispered. "He doesnt tell me."
"I dont believe you, Frenay."
"I dont ..."
"Dont lie to me," the lieutnant yelled, and the belt was slapped against her stomach again and again until all she could feel was the burning. "Now," the lieutnant said, and Sophie felt the heavy weight of the soldier, his hairy legs sliding down hers. Hot tears seeped from her shut eyes as she vowed to not look at him. She said a silent prayer to heaven for divine intervention, but instead of bolts of lightening, she felt the soldiers lips touch hers.
"Youre not making love, you idiot!" the lieutenant said, striking the mans back with the belt. "Do it right, you stupid Pole. Hurt her! Make her feel the humiliation."
The soldier froze for a second, and then his weight shifted. A rough hand attached itself to her breast like a vice, while the other reached below and yanked her panties off. She felt his whole weight bearing down on her until it hurt. She could feel him pressing against her opening, and a desperate cry escaped.
His breath on her face was sour and the smell sickened her until she gagged. She willed herself away, willed herself not to feel, willed herself to die, but it happened. His first hard thrusts burned, and she screamed with all her might. She half heard the lieutenant laughing. With each thrust the man made she screamed again and again.
She didnt hear the gunshots, but the pressure around her wrists and ankles disappeared, and the sound of dead weight slumped to the floor. The man on top of her was still and heavy, and with her freed hands she tried to push him off, but her fingers became slick with wetness. She opened her eyes to find her hands covered with blood, and the soldiers dead, cold eyes staring at her.
Her mouth opened to deliver another scream, but a cloth was forced over her face and she had no choice but to inhale the pungent odor. Her eyes searched wildly for the face that did this to her, but all she saw was a shock of blond hair before the room faded to black.
acqueline Bradford watched the pale clouds zip by through the small window, her hands twisting her goggles nervously. It was a dark, moonless night, and somewhere below in the inky blackness lay the French countryside. Her blue eyes drifted to the red light above the door, and she shifted the parachute on her back again, her hand touching her German Walther pistol for reassurance.
The cheap civilian clothes she wore failed to keep out the frigidly cold air, and Jackie found herself looking with envy at the Aircorp corporal who looked quite warm in his fur lined leathers. Pulling at the thin wool jacket shed been given made her once again think of the hardships that lay below and she shivered.
"Howd I get myself into this?" she asked, pulling her coat tighter.
The corporal held a hand to his ears, gesturing for her to repeat what shed just said, but Jackie waved him off. She couldnt help wondering how many other SOE/OSS operatives hed dropped into the darkness over France. For a brief second their eyes locked, and she didnt know which of them was more cursed.
"Im here because of my big mouth," she mumbled into her gloves, the warm breath kissing her chilled face. "Couldnt just sit the war out at that nice metal desk, could I?. Had to see action. Defend and serve .... Boy am I dumb." Despite her words, she couldnt keep the smile from her face or calm the excited rumble in her stomach.
The corporal flicked a switch on his chest radio set, and looked up at her. "Get ready, Miss," he screamed over the sound of the engine propellers. Within seconds the green light flashed, and the corporal quickly opened the hatch and pushed her two supply containers out of the plane. Her gave her the thumbs up, and with shaking knees she moved to the hatch.
The cold air hit her hard, and she involuntarily moved backwards into the plane, but the corporals hand urged her forward. "Jump, jump, jump," he yelled, giving her the triple repeat that triggered her training, and Jackie threw herself from the plane.
The wind whipped past her head as she did a ten second free fall. "Let it open, let it open, let it open, let it open," she chanted in her head, and finally pulled the rip chord. The sound of the satin opening put a dazzling smile on her face, and she settled down in the harness for the short ride to hell.
"Now, just miss the damn trees, Jackie," she told herself, swallowing hard and trying to prepare herself for what lay ahead.
Jacqueline had always yearned for adventure and even danger, but before the outbreak of the centurys second World War, no well born and breed American woman would have dared utter such a preposterous thought. Her mother, when she wasnt off finding another man with another fortune, barely tolerated her daughters exuberance for athletics and competition, and she wouldnt listen at all to her dreams of adventure. It seemed to Jackie that her grandfather was the only one who understood her secret yearnings, and in return for his compassion, Jackie would sit at her grandfathers feet for hours listening to the old mans stories of the Great War. Hed been in the trenches, so his stories created fantastic images in the girls heart and mind.
When the United States entered the war in 1941, it was suddendly everyones duty to contribute to the war effort. Jackie didnt feel her place was in a factory or a typing pool, and her mother wouldnt hear talk of her going into something as low born as the armed service, so with the help of her grandfather and his connections, she was placed in the war department. It didnt take her supervisors long to notice her keen mind and strong language skills, and she quickly advanced through the departments until she was disciphering top secret Nazi communiqués. In 1942 Wild Bill Donovan began organizing the first official covert operation known as the Office of Strategic Service, and Jacqueline Bradford was one of the first transfers.
Over the course of a few months Jackies analysis of situations in France brought her to the personal attention of Donovan. There werent many who could see the hidden messages and possibilities in the intercepted German messages, but on four separate occasions Jackie correctly predicted the Germans next move in France, and her warnings were passed onto the French Resistance. In a short time she became something of an acknowledged expert on the occupation of France ... even if she was a woman.
In early 1943, Jackie was among the American contingent gathered at the Casablanca Conference to discuss the imminent Allied invasion of occupied Europe. After the conference, and when she had a better idea of what was needed to prepare the French for the Allied invasion, she sought out Donovan on the flight to London. It took the remainder of the fly time to Heathrow, and three successful victories at gin rummy, to convince him that she was the only one capable of organizing and uniting the Maquis Resistance and the General Resistance. She knew the Resistance would be key in keeping the Nazis off guard while the invasion was being planned, and to later help operate from behind the German lines after the Allied forces landed. She wanted to be one of the people working to save the lives of countless Allied soldiers, shed told Donovan before confessing her desire to see some action.
With a crooked smile that hinted at hidden respect, Donovan offered her one short mission to prove herself as an operative. If that went successful, then they would talk about a more pivotal role in France. Jackie jumped at the chance, and barely stopped herself from pumping the mans arm off with thanks.
After receiving a quick commission as a Captain in the US Army, Jacqueline Bradford stood on the tarmac and waved good-bye to the plane that wouldve taken her home, and quietly turned towards the plane which would take her to a secret training base run by the British Special Operation Executive. It was here shed learn if she had what it took.
Her training had been quick, but brutal. There wasnt a night where she didnt find a new bruise or laceration, and areas hurt where she didnt know she had muscles. Jackie had always tried to keep her body in good shape, but the Brit soldiers had a completely different idea of peak shape, and Jackie knew she was learning the hard way. Her instructors had no compassion, and Jackie quickly understood that compassion would get her killed behind enemy lines. She was put through courses in martial arts, explosives, short range firearms, communications, and other deadly arts designed to give her an edge and keep her alive.
Surprisingly she wasnt the only woman at the training camp, and she learned that the SOE had been using women as operatives for almost two years. However, most of the women ended up doing domestic spying, and they needed more training in communications and deception. Jackie was going in to help demobilize the Germans in Normandy, and that made her something of a hero among her fellow female trainees. After successfully learning how to snap a mans neck without a sound, Jackie realized that no one could know what she now knew and be considered a hero.
She could feel the ground approaching by the shift in air, and although it wasnt part of her training, Jackie held her breath for the impact. Parachuting in the dark was one of the most terrifying things shed ever done, and the five times shed been thrown out over England couldnt compare to the fear coursing through her veins now. Everything beneath her was a varying degree of blackness, and she bent her legs for the landing.
With a thud and a roll Jackie hit the earth. She could smell the wet meadow grass under her hands, and she allowed herself a brief second of enjoying the solid ground before moving. Her first task was to hide the parachute, and then find her boxes. She pulled a red lens flash light from her pocket and checked her watch in the glow. If the pilot dropped her in the right place, then she would be met by a member of the Maquis very soon.
Her eyes became accustomed to the darkness, and she surveyed the terrain, looking for a good place to hide her chute. With no large rocks or trees nearby, she dropped to her knees and began clawing at the ground with the small spade included in her pack. "When all else fails, bury it," she mumbled, remembering her instructors horror stories about agents being caught within hours of implant simply because someone reported their parachute.
When she had it suitably buried, she sprinkled some loose hay over it, and went in search of the two cargo containers. It didnt take her long to find the first one, and she mentally marked the spot and continued her search.
Two dark shapes moved around the second container, and Jackie dropped into a squat, her hand falling on her gun. From this distance she could only make out the shapes and didnt know if they were friendlies or not. She decided that shed better wait this one out. If they were Germans then shed know soon enough.
In the dim light she watched as one of the figures popped the lid off the container and extracted one of the many guns that were needed to reinforce the Resistance. Jackie ran a hand over her face, and nagging pulse in her stomach telling her this was a couple of farmers, and shed just lost a vital part of her mission supplies. She was about to turn and make her way back when a red light went on by the container, and Jackie watched with interest as the two men began gesturing in her general direction. She lowered herself down behind a rolled hay bail, and waited.
If they were the Maquis then they were poorly trained because Jackie could hear their footsteps crashing in the hay from twenty paces. Her hand was slick on her pistol grip, as she moved into a crouch, waiting for them to walk past. In a swift move she pushed the one man out of the way, and placed her pistol against the neck of the other.
"Les Anglais sont bien sympas mais ..." she hissed the first part of her contact message in his ear.
"Les Anglais sont bien sympas mais luer tambouille est danguelasse," the man cried, holding his hands up.
Jackie released her hold, and lowered her gun. "Yeah, English cooking does leave something to be desired," she said, relief flowing through her.
The man turned around, and snapped to attention, his hand still shaking as he raised it to his forehead. "Henri Frenay," he announced.
She pulled his arm down, and raised a dark eyebrow. "Good to meet you, Henry. I see you found my box."
The other man shed knock to the ground stood, and pushed his way between Jackie and Henri. "Shes our contact? Some damn woman is our contact with England? Mon Dieu! Have they lost their minds?" The mans hands rose and fell against his leg in disbelief.
Henri Frenay pushed at his companion. "Enough, Francois. England and America ... They know what theyre doing."
"No," Francois cried. "We were supposed to get someone code named Jack Rabbit. Not a worthless woman. Ill not follow her."
"Is there a problem?" Jackie asked, her dander rising just a notch.
"Youre the problem," Francois said, swinging on her. "Women have no business leading men. Everyone knows that. They dont have the ..."
Before she knew what was happening she felt her hand tighten on the mans crotch, a strangled cry escaping his lips, and his face in total shock. "I guess I could just borrow yours, Frankie. But then again," she said releasing her hold. "I wouldnt want to leave you without the use of your brain."
Henri suppressed a chuckle, but Jackie refrained from looking at him. Her eyes were riveted on Francois in a fierce battle of wills. She needed to be seen at a leader, and that meant giving Francois an up close and personal lesson right now. She let her blue eyes burn into the man who stood barely a meter away from her, and for the first time in her life she was glad that her height helped intimated. In a few seconds the Frenchman lowered his eyes, and stepped back. The battle had gone to her, but as she watched Francois scoop his cap off the ground, she knew he deserved watching.
"Im glad youre here, Jack Rabbit," Henri said, offering her his hand. "The Maquis needs direction in this region. The Boche are moving in so fast were all terrified of being captured, and thats made finding dedicated fighters hard."
"How many men do you have now?" Jackie asked, ignoring the stupid code name. She knew it was a joke played on her by one of her British counterparts who said she was the only woman who could jump straight into the air, just like a rabbit.
Henri shrugged and took a deep breath. "Im not sure anymore. Were all spread out, and ..."
"No excuses, numbers. What do I have to work with?"
"Ten, maybe fifteen men."
Jackie knew her jaw dropped, and with a great effort she closed it. "You mean in the entire Cherbourg area there are only ten to fifteen men willing fight for a free France?"
"What do you know of a free France, Miss Jack de Rabbit?" Francois said, standing shoulder to shoulder with Henri. "You are here to use us for your Allied Invasion."
"Who told you about that?" Jackie said, refraining from grabbing the mans throat. No ones supposed to know about "
"Who doesnt know?" Francois answered with a smirk. "If the Germans bring in any more concrete and barbed wire, well have enough to drag around all of France. Does someone have to be a genius to figure that out?"
She looked slowly at the man, the hairs on the back of her neck standing. There was something about him that hit her funny, but she let her eyes drift back to Henri. The Frenchman stood about two inches under her height with soft sandy brown hair, and except for the exhaustion and deadness that hung around his golden eyes, he looked nothing like a soldier.
"You have to understand, the Germans are afraid this is the invasion target area, and they have been brutal to any who resist. Weve lost many good men, and the others ... theyre afraid."
Jackie shook her head. "Then thats all we have to work with? So few."
"Thats all the men, yes," Henri answered. "There are many women who assist us whenever they can."
"Such as?" she asked, awaiting the usual run down of the grocers wife, the butchers wife, the milk woman who entered the military camps, and so on.
"We have several maids in the Chateau, where the Germans have their command post. They provide us with intelligence on troop movements and other high level information. There are other women who come and go without much notice around the Germans, and my sister, Sophie, she runs a small Anti-German newspaper."
Jackies eyebrow rose at this mention. As far as she knew most of the Resistance writers in the providence had been arrested by the Gestapo, and with the exception of a few stalwart writers in Paris, most of the subversive press had been shut down. But the information about the German Chateau was more important, and a cold smile curled her lips.
"Then we now have something to work with," she said. "Now, lets get these boxes somewhere safe, and call it a night. Whats the plan, Henri?"
"Francois brought his chicken truck. We deliver eggs, which is why were allowed out at such hours," Henri explained. "Im sure youre tired, Jackie."
"You can sleep in my barn," Francois announced with disdain.
"Or youll be safe with my sister," Henri added quickly.
"And where do you sleep?"
Francois moved Henri away. "No one knows where Frenay sleeps. Its why hes still alive."
"Go get the truck, Francois. Well just have time to hide the supplies before making our rounds."
Francois pulled his cap tighter over his ears and moved off into the darkness, Jackies blue eyes following him until he disappeared.
"Come to my sisters house tonight," Henri said, pulling her attention from the curious Frenchman. "Shell make you some hot food, and youll be safe. No one knows about my Sophie."
Jackie gave him a small smile of gratitude. She didnt want to mention her apprehension about staying with Francois. There was something about the small Frenchman she didnt like, and until she found out what it was, she needed to maintain her own safety. If Henris sister was the only propaganda writer left outside Paris, then that must mean her house was safe. Although, Jackie wondered, how much risk does her brother take to guarantee that safety.
To Be Continued in Part II ...
Thanks for reading!
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