Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Papillon Concret (Part 5)

"Madam Lenze?" 

He's not alone and he is imposing as he forces his way into her office. Behind him six helmeted men, fully armed fall neatly into line. She can barely see his face beneath the Gestapo cap.
"Yes," she replies. Her heart is racing but her head is cool. "Please, take a seat.” She gesticulates to the large chair in front of her meagre desk. He introduces himself as Ulrecht Kruger.

"Madame? Do you recognise me?" He asks, and removes his hat to reveal piercing blue eyes and good Aryan looks but a mean snarl. This is a man who enjoys his work.

She looks intently cocking her head from side to side pretending not to remember the day that changed her life.

"I don't think so Monsieur, should I?"

He was a little disappointed but reminded her of the Velodrome. "I was the officer who moved you on from the Velodrome. I am acquainted with your husband?"

She might have been more willing to confess if it wasn't for the snarl on his lips and the company of six soldiers, armed to the teeth and hell bent on finding something, anything. She feigns ignorance and said she'd never been to the Velodrome, he must be mistaken. He knew he was not. In fact he knew more about her than she realised. His unit had been alerted that she was working with the Resistance.  The Gestapo aware of a thorn in their side as her activity was monitored, but they'd never been able to prove her involvement. They'd code named her Schmetterling. The irony, had she known, would not escape her since her resistance friends already referred to her as  Concrete Butterfly.

"We have been made aware of radio transmissions emanating from this property. Transmissions notifying of strategic posts. Whilst this will  not prevent us from becoming victorious, it is an annoyance we can do without. Have you any idea who might be responsible?"

He's trying to remain official but is mesmerised by her calm, her curves and wants to release the brown waves from their pinned up prison. He misses his wife.

"We have a radio here," she admits. "It's how I keep in touch with the air base. They radio through when they're sending wounded for rehabilitation."

He removes his greatcoat and sits on the chair in front of her desk. "Madame, the transmissions are not from within these walls, but from the vineyards." He's perplexed because no buildings exist between the vines yet Morse code is punctuating the airwaves.

"I can't explain that," she calmly responds. Hoping to hell that he isn't aware of the cellars.  "There is I believe a resistance movement active here but I have no time for that. I'm kept busy returning your men to their posts, as you can see."
 She points through the open door into a light-filled sitting room lined with bandaged men playing cards, drinking coffee, each wishing he's never deemed fit enough to fight again.

He turns unmoved and waves off the six storm-troopers behind him. They cock their weapons and scatter noisily as they begin to search the building.

"Surely you don't expect to find anything, here of all places?" she asks, "There are only German repatriation patients in the Chateau. You think anyone other than a German would care to be seen here? I might be a woman," she smooths her apron and nonchalantly flicks imaginary specs from it's surface, "but Lieutenant, I am not stupid."

Below the floorboards they can hear the resonance of boots. Not the delicate footsteps of staff or the shuffling of the injured. Running feet and slamming doors make them wince as a huddle of five men slide further down the limestone tunnel, extinguishing the small flame that provides them with an inkling of light.

"Shit! Gestapo," Harrison whispers. "There can't be many of them." He's attuned to the running and slamming and trying to work out whether they can be overwhelmed. This isn't the first cramped space they've found themselves in, but he's resolved, it won't be there last.

They lean tight against the limestone walls, weapons drawn and a drizzle of perspiration oozing from their temples.  They're so close to leaving.  Everything's prepared. To be discovered now. . . 

Directly above, a bayonet taps the wooden floor. All six men elevate their hands flat against the boards to remove the hollowness of any sound that might betray a cavern beneath. The bayonet pierces between two floorboards and slices the gap between Wilson's thumb and forefinger. Bringelly is rapid in muffling the man's anguish and places a youthful hand tightly across his mouth. Satisfied that there is nobody beneath the boards, the boots retreat.
 It seems like hours before she opens the hatch door and brings them food.

"That was a close call boys." She smiles as they take the calico bag of baguettes and ham. "They'll be back. They're suspicious about the radio transmissions," she cautions.

While the others devour their meal, she pulls Harrison into an alcove. They've been there too long and she needs to see them on their way. It won't be long before more of them return and commit to a more thorough search. She needs to empty the tunnels and lay low for a while.  

"Have you managed to make contact?"
 she asks.

Harrison nods. "There'll be a truck waiting in San Sebastian if we can get over the mountains by next Friday."

"That's only six days . . you must leave. Tomorrow."
 The urgency in her voice bittersweet.

He doesn't want to hear any more and kisses her hard to prevent speech. She surprises herself and allows it, responds to it. Permits his hands to massage the inside of her thighs as she's taken by a strange excitement knowing his crew are just around the corner. Risk as an aphrodisiac? This is a new turn as he slides into her. He holds the kiss to muffle her moans and for a short, passionate moment the two become one. Before disengaging he gives her a look. Appreciative, frightened, longing and it makes her sigh.  She brushes down her uniform and buttons her shirt, smooths her now dishevelled hair back into its austere position while he buttons his trousers and proffers her a wink.

"Tomorrow then," he turns blowing her a kiss and she ascends the flimsy staircase exiting through the concealed door in the floor. He doesn't see her tears.


  1. Couple of lovely tense scenes.

    Perhaps if Madam Lenze were to admit recognising Krugger in an off hand way she would come across as a cooler tactician because of the connection he has with her husband.

  2. He doesn't see her tears.

    A detail men often miss!

  3. ...she smooths her apron and nonchalantly flicks imaginary specs from it's surface... I just had to mention this great line.
    Okay, back to the story.

  4. Eh... the kiss is cheap. We need a chapter that shows at least some interaction between the two.