Sophie startled from her doze, when she heard the voice and the steps from heavy boots from outside of her cold, dirty cell. Her chains rattled lowly and she couldn’t suppress some groans when the rough metal of the shackles rubbed over the chafed skin of her wrists and ankles. Somehow she felt, that this time she wouldn’t have to listen the screams of someone else, as she had to do since she was brought here in the cell an unknown, but endless seeming time ago.
She shuddered not only from the cold, when the cell door opened and a guard quickly approached and reached her before she even got on her feet.
“It’s your turn, lady,” he grinned and opened the lock that fixed the chains to the wall. “I’ve waited for this, since you’ve entered this little paradise!” He grabbed her upper arm and pushed her forward towards the door. “You need an invitation? Hurry on, bitch!” He said impatiently, when she stopped for a moment, blinded by the bright light that her eyes weren’t used anymore.
Outside an officer in black uniform was waiting and sized her up from head to toes. Sophie felt so naked under his gaze, knowing to well that the thin and dirty dress didn’t hide much from this piercing gaze. They had fetched her deep in the night from her bed, not even allowing her to dress anything else than this thin nightgown, that she wore now, not able to fight the cold or greedy looks in anyway.
“Nice, really quite nice,” the voice of the officer sounded amused. “If you talk early enough that something is left from your beauty when we are done with you, you could become a highly appreciated whore in the brothel for our brave soldiers!”
Blood rushed in her face and for a moment her fear was replaced by a thoughtless rage, when she shouted a course towards him. His answer came fast, and without warning Sophie was sent down to the floor by a violent punch in her face. The world turned and vanished behind a veil, blood shot out of her nose, filled her mouth with its salty taste. With some effort she tried to stand up, but kicks in her belly, sides and kidneys threw her back again, she heard herself scream and coughed bitter liquid, crawled on the floor in the useless try to avoid the kicks.
Somewhat it stopped and only half-conscious she felt rudely grabbed and pulled upwards, her arms raised and the shackles fixed to a chain dangling from above.
“Better you choose you words with more care, imprudent partisans are not very popular here, you understand?” A clap with the riding crop underlined his words, and slowly regaining full consciousness Sophie realized, that her dress was torn wide enough now to reveal her firm breasts and the nipples erected from the cold.
She breathed hectically and hardly, tried to ignore the pain from wrists, arms and shoulders that increased from second to second while she hung her suspended like on the hook in a slaughterhouse.
Fully busied with her own miserable situation, Sophie didn’t notice the entrance of another man. Only when he almost has reached her, she perceived this older man in his black trench coat, who looked at her emotionlessly and ignored the greetings of her tormenters.
“You must excuse. Those young people are sometimes a little bit overzealous, but I’m sure we will find a way for a more civilized conversation.”
“Please, why…?” she started; frightened by her own rough and hoarse voice, but he stopped her and wiped off the blood from her face with a quickly reddening cloth.
“Don’t speak now!” His mouth smiled quite friendly, but his gaze was cold as ice, when he lightened a cigarette and advanced her. Almost panic-stricken Sophie tried to turn away, when he advanced her face with the glowing tip. But he only laughed lowly and took a deep puff.
“You want?” Relieved that he didn’t burn her, but still voiceless from fear she just shook weakly her head.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Good for your health, you should care for it too, when you answer to my questions.” He took another deep puff and sat down to the wooden stool the SS-Officer brought to him.
“Please, Mister, let me down, I don’t know…” Again he interrupted her. “Stop, not now. Let me finish this cigarette and meanwhile use your certainly existing brain to think about the answer you will give me then. As a student of medicine you should be smart enough to find a solution for your misery, right?”
Lowly groaning Sophie closed her eyes and let her head sunk down. Her heart bounced hard enough that she could feel the pulse at her chin. It was quiet know, only low creaking sounds from the slowly pending chain, from which she was suspended, low breathing and her own low groans were heard in the chamber.
She knew, she wouldn’t talk – not yet at least, not betray her friends from the resistance, and so she tried to prepare for the coming hell, that was only the length of a cigarette away from her…
“Okay, let’s begin now!” His voice together with sound of the chair pushed across the floor sounded like a sudden explosion in Sophie’s ears. She started to tremble and her heart seemed to try to jump out of her body.
“You know why you are here, Miss Meschamps?”
“No, I don’t know, it must be a confusion, I…” She screamed out loudly when the crop hit her breast with force, leaving a fast swelling mark on the soft skin.
“No, you are wrong, we usually don’t make such mistakes,” the Gestapo man continued unmoved, when her scream finally ended in a low sobbing. “You are here, because someone told us your name. Can you imagine, who this could be?”
Sophie’s thoughts swirled; as far as she knew none of her friends was captured, no one who knew from her connection to the resistance.
“Now?” This time the blow came less surprising and she succeeded in suppressing another scream, just took a deeper breath between clenched teeth.
“No, I swear, Mister, I don’t have any idea…I…”
“Maybe this helps you to remember…” He showed her a picture. “This is an English soldier our boats caught while he tried to flee back to his island. And you will not believe it… but after some convincing work he told us your name when we asked him for his helpers. How can this be? Maybe he met you somewhere on marketplace and just told this name to avoid further torture?”
Desperately Sophie took the shown way out. “Yes, yes… I remember, I met this man on the marketplace an he asked me for the way. I…”
She couldn’t finish, felt her legs lifted and grabbed and then a couple of violent blows with the truncheon hit her belly, her sides and her ribcage, mercilessly ignoring the loud screams, that ended in a low whimpering after some minutes, when she couldn’t get enough air for more screams…
“This was very stupid, Miss Mechamps. Even more than stupid lies I’m hating, if anyone thinks I’d be a fool.” He hung his hat on a hook and undressed his cloak. “It seems we have to talk a longer time than I thought, so I may call you Sophie now, yes?”
Sophie didn’t notice much, only the pain from her torso, her wrists, that have started bleed as she rubbed away the skin in her desperate tries to protect herself from the blows.
“Well, Sophie, the French of this English soldier was so terrible that even a less smart girl than you would easily identify him as a foreigner. And as you know very well: fraternization with the enemy is a severe crime; your government has a signed the peace-treaty with us, and so you count now as a lawless partisan. Do you know what happens to such people?”
Her teeth trembled so much that she couldn’t answer even if she’d wish to do, but he doesn’t wait for a reply.
“They are hanged! Not a nice death at all, this you can believe me.” He pressed her neck until her head got red from the lack of air, and waited then until her coughing stopped.
“But I think, you could be just a young girl, a bit careless as young people are. And maybe if you have learnt your lesson and you will be a good girl from now on?”
“Yes, I will,” she breathed with rough voice. “Please don’t beat me anymore, I…”
“Good, good… then just give me the prove and tell me some details about your friends and the way your organization is helping our common enemies to escape, will you?”
Sophie closed her eyes, tears ran down now; she could use this way out, maybe his offer even was honest, but then she would betray her friends and the poor remains of the English army, that desperately looked for way out from this trap, France has become for them. She knew that a bigger transport had been organized, it should be one week after her capture. How long she was here now? How long she had to endure the torture before this information was worthless for the Nazis?
“You still hesitate? You are disappointing me. I thought, you’d be smarter…Well, then you have to learn another lesson.”
He grabbed her leg and sat down on the wooden stool. With wide opened eyes, Sophie watched the guard who reached him a pliers.
“What…what are you going to do with this?”
He smiled coldly. “You can guess it. If I don’t get your answer immediately now, you will loose the first toenail.” He hold her foot in a strong grip and Sophie felt the cold metal edge that touched the tip of her toe and searched its way below the nail.
“NO…NOT…” the sharp pain filled her mind, and as well she noticed the warm liquid at her toe, her blood that started to run , when he dug the pliers deeper into the nail bed. Somehow she felt like not being here, it was too unbelievable that this really happened to her, but the pain felt too real, with horrified opened eyes she stared along her stretched out leg to the source of this pain.
Sophie coughed and gasped. “Really, I don’t know… I …” With a final yank he tore away the nail, and her words ended in a terrible scream that echoed from the walls.
“Nine left…” He threw away the bloody nail and stood up, hold the pliers threatening in front of her eyes. “And ten fingernails, as well as some even more sensitive targets!” The pliers touched her nipples. “Do you really want to force me to continue?” “Let me ask you again: who are your helpers and where do you hide the fugitives?” Sophie’s head was whirling; she didn’t know how often she had heard this question meanwhile. It was always only a short rest where she tried to fill her burning lungs with some air – air that she needed for the screams, when the beating continued moments later. Even shaking her head was too much strain for her now, and that beseeches were a useless waste of breathe, Sophie also had to learn meanwhile, so she just ignored the question and waited for the certainly coming pain.
And she didn’t have to wait a long time, but this time it were no blows that made her scream out loudly with hoarse voice, but a splash of scalding water, that hit her back, steaming on her former icy skin, burning in countless wounds and scratches the beatings had left on her skin. Sophie howled like a wounded animal, with unknown reserves her muscles tensioned and she writhes in her bounds. Another bucket hit her buttocks, colorizing it in a deep pink color, boiling hot water run over the cleavage, run downwards until it licked at her puss lips, bringing an explosion of pain that made her muscles spasm in the futile try to run away from this hell.
Still trembling from fingers to toes, she was rotated, so her breast and belly were now targets for the steaming bucket, which the guard brought with sadistic smile.
“NOOO, God no, stop it, you boil me alive!” She shrieked in panic, hauled at her bounds that she almost broke her tender wrists.
“You talk?” Only two words he wasted, and as she hesitated too long just to inhale the air to reply, the boiling water splashed against her chest.
“YIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEHH” There were not much human in her scream anymore, again she bounced in her bounds, weaker now, her limbs felt like lifeless and useless appendages, her trembling muscles didn’t obey her mind anymore. And already the next bucket was brought. while her eyes were like magically attracted from a blister that grew from reddened skin near her left nipple
“We have a lot of water here, how much do you need?”
How she hated this voice, so sarcastic and now so self-confident, that she’d be broken in the next moment! This voice filled her with enough rage, that she could forget the pain and exhaustion for a moment.
“You will need the whole ocean, you bastard!” she hissed hoarsely, before the next bucket changed the skin of her front in a crab-like red and her screams echoed from the walls another time.