Helene and another resistance operative are exposed as spies at a dinner for Nazi officers and hauled off to be interrogated and tortured.
Heinz's arm swept up in a lightning move. "Fool!" he hissed between clenched teeth. "You would be helping the Resistance swine. She knows things which are important to us. She must be kept alive until we drag that information from her."
Strong arms seized Helene, dragging her to the elevator and into the street. A sleek Mercedes waited at the curb. Helene was shoved into the front seat between a driver and an armed feldwebel. For long minutes the car waited. Then the shrill screams of another woman burst from the service entrance of the Ritz.. The rear door opened and then slammed shut. Through the rear view mirror, Helene saw the tousled blonde head of the girl who had tried to hurl herself through a window.
Smoothly the Mercedes moved over the cobblestones to a stone house which was located across the street from Sante Prison. A second car traveled closely behind. Helene didn't have to be told that it contained the man called Heinz and the Minister of Manpower.
Helene froze at the sound of cloth ripping in the back seat. She heard the agonized screech and wild thrashing of the blonde girl.
"Schatzi, you will learn to take more before we are done with you. Much more!" one of the Gestapo men gloated. The blonde girl screamed once more. Helene's lips trembled but she managed to keep from weeping.
The gates to the large stone house creaked open and the Mercedes slithered through. Helene felt her arms being twisted almost from their sockets as she was dragged from the car and into a side entrance of the building.
A sleepy-eyed oberscharfuhrer came to rigid attention as Helene and her companion were hustled past him. His eyes gleamed with an evil anticipation.
"Heil Hitler!" he barked.
Heinz who had now arrived in the second car returned the salute indifferently. A great change had come over him. He walked almost in a stupor, his face twitching, every pore oozing sweat. Helene realized with loathing that the man had been selected for interrogations because of his psychopathically twisted mentality.
"You will enjoy yourself, Fraulein Helene Langois. Oh how you will enjoy yourself," Heinz whispered into her ear as he gripped her from behind, his body pressing into the soft tenderness of her hips, his hands meeting at a point just below her bodice. "We will tear from you every last vestige of human decency. You will beg to do things that you have never dreamed of. You will do anything to release yourself from the pain. But, believe me, Fraulein Helene Langois. There will be no release for you. It will go on for an eternity."
With startling clarity even as she was crushed in his obscene embrace, Helene understood that Heinz cared nothing for the information she might provide. She looked over her shoulder, her eyes burning into his in accusation.
"They said I was mad," he hissed. "They said I was a homicidal maniac. They kept me in an institution where I wouldn't harm anybody. But now they need me. I do their work for them because I enjoy it. I am not longer mad. I am a graduate of Langbro Asylum. So is Reich Marshal Goering. They called him mad too."
Little flecks of saliva touched Helene's shoulder. Already the blonde girl had been dragged past her. Helene tensed, knowing that the madman wanted only to destroy her in whatever ways his diabolical mind could devise. Helene struggled to be free from his fevered grasp.
Sauckel strutted around the stone house. "Heinz, I do not have time for these things he growled. "You will question the prisoners and report back to me at the Ritz."
Again Heinz whispered into Helene's ear. "You see, they don't want to bathe in blood. They are far too good for that. They don't want to hear your screams or see your beautiful body squirm and wriggle in agony. Of course they need and fear me. Who knows, some day I might even crush his testicles in a vice."
The room spun in red and black circles. Oh God, she thought, I'm in the hands of a mad man. I'm going to be tortured. Heinz lifted Helene in his arms and despite the beating of her tiny fists on his back, carried her effortlessly to a subterranean room where moisture glistened on the cracking and peeling plaster.
Already the second girl had been stripped of her dress. She hung suspended from her wrists, her back pressed against the spokes of a huge wheel. The brass wheel hub pressed into the small of her back, thrusting her curved hips forward. A guard stood beside her, finishing lashing her nearly nude form to the giant engine.
An S.S. sturmmann carrying a whip reached up and in one motion tore her bra away. The blonde girl stared past her bared breasts down the length of her bound body. Her widely spread legs jerked in their shackles. Her fists clenched and unclenched. Her body and been stretched so taut that any movement caused intense pain.
The sturmmann reached for her loins. The girl cried out in terror and sucked her belly in away from the German's talon-like fingers. But before he could finish denuding her Heinz came into the room.
Heinz saluted the enlisted men. "Begin!" he shouted over the girl' cries for mercy. The sturmmann smiled. Slowly the wheel began to spin. Then it gathered momentum. The girl's body revolved in a dizzying blur.
The S.S. sturmmann hefted a huge whip with metal barbs interlaced in its thongs. The whip cracked with a pistol-like retort. The whirling girl slammed herself against the wheel, shrieking at the blinding pain which lanced through her hips as her panties were torn off. The next lash cut across the chained girl's breasts and the third ripped at the inside of her thigh. She was screaming continuously, half out of her mind with pain. The sturmmann prepared to strike again.
"Later!" Heinz ordered. "This is the one who interest me more. We will allow her to join in our festivities. She must be quite thirsty after her journey, don't you think so, Klaus?"
Heinz winked at the sturmmann and they laughed in am insane cackle. Helene felt herself being lowered to her feet. Before she had a chance to move, the enlisted man was upon her, seizing her arms and twisting them behind her back.
Heinz grasped her head and shoved it forward as the sturmmann expertly bound her wrists with a coarse length of rope. The two men hustled their victim to a relatively short ladder which stood on rollers at the wall.
Helene struggled mightily in their grasp. Her attempts to free herself were meaningless. As the sturmmann held her rigidly pressed against him, Heinz slowly ripped her frock down the front of her body, revealing her delicate femininity in its frothy covering of silken bra and panties.
Still she had no idea of what devilish purpose the ladder was to be put. Even when they lifted her high in the air, she struggled without understanding what form of torture she was struggling against.
As the sturmmann held her in his beefy arms, Heinz gripped her legs and forced them through the space between two rungs. He tied her ankles together, then bent her legs down and fastened her ankles to a ladder rung so that the thick rung above dug agonizingly into the tender flesh at the back of her knees.
Soon the diabolical purpose of her bondage became apparent. Helene now hung suspended, head downward from the ladder. Her own weight dragged on her knees, forcing the rung to thrust more violently against her fettered legs. The pain was excruciating.
But Heinz and his evil assistant would not be content with merely the torment of pressure to Helen's body. With deadly efficiency they moved around the ladder. Heavy ropes were passed across her hips and waist, holding her securely in place so that she found it impossible to move at all. Then a thick leather strap was buckled over her forehead, holding it fast to the ladder.
Only after she had been totally immobilized did Heinz finish stripping her. The sturmmann handed him a knife and first he cut away the straps of Helene's bra. Then he passed the blade down her cleavage and cut the material between her breasts before wresting the bra free. Finally he simply cut the elastic of her panties and tore them from her hips.
Helene fought to control the panic rising inside her. She was naked and helpless and at the mercy of a Nazi madman. Worse than the pain was the certain knowledge that whatever it was he had planned for her was going to be infinitely worse, worse even than the horrific whipping the blonde girl on the wheel had been subjected to. And she couldn't move a muscle.
Heinz stared down at his handiwork with maniacal satisfaction. "Strangulation can be carried out in many ways. A picture wire, a hangman's noose, or this," he hissed. The odor of his foul breath bathed Helene in a horrid miasma. Mutely she stared up at him, afraid if she opened her mouth she would start to beg for mercy.
He fondled her breasts and then slid his hand between her thighs and forced his fingers into her sex. "Oh God," she prayed silently, "Please help me. Please let me die." Then unable to stop herself she begged him aloud. "Kill me. Please just kill me."
"Fraulein, you are about to die. But you will die many times before you are spared further torment. Rest in peace, Fraulein," Heinz sniggered. He watched the sturmmann pry Helene's jaws open. She fought to keep her mouth closed but it was useless. He inserted the metal bit which lodged behind her white teeth. Helene was weeping now. Heinz himself jammed the plugs into her nostrils so that she was forced to breathe through her agonized mouth.
Helene now knew the terror of total helplessness. She felt the darkness spread over her as the black cloth covered her face. Her heart began to thump wildly as the water was poured over the cloth, its weight carrying the offending material backwards into her throat. Desperately she fought to free her mouth of the water-laden gag. Her efforts only served to dislodge some of the water which was carried into her nasal passages, adding to the hideous torture. New pain exploded in her brain as her writhing caused the ladder rung to press more tightly against her knees.
But the greatest agony of all was the realization which bludgeoned its way into her mind. She would tell Heinz anything he wanted to know to be free of the mounting agony. He had only to ask and she would betray Claude and the others. If only she had crushed the vial of cyanide in her mouth. A little bleeding from a lacerated tongue and one exquisite burst of pain as the cyanide flooded her brain and she would have been free.
As her breasts heaved and the ladder creaked and groaned under her increasingly desperate struggles, she remembered Heinz's words. "You will die many times. But never quite enough."
"Claude, mon brave, I am about to betray you," she screamed against the pressure of the water filled cloth which rubbed the delicate tissues of her throat.
She was aware of lights spinning above her and the mindless screams of the other woman in the chamber. And the she understood that she had been unconscious and now had returned to her world of pain. She saw Heinz standing above her, smiling down on her. She saw the black cloth start to descend. She managed one crazed scream before the water again started to fill the cloth and slowly strangle her. Her torment had begun all over again.
Night gave way to morning and the agony continued inexorably. Yet never once did Heinz ask any questions. The madman had lost himself completely in the tableau of torture.
When he felt her heart might give out from the repeated strangulations, he used other tortures. He stuck long splinters under her toe nails and then tore the nails out slowly one by one. He pierced her breasts with needles and then heated them with a soldering iron. Finally he forced a wire brush into her vagina and slowly moved it up and down and in agonizing circles.
Through it all the metal bit remained behind Helene's teeth, forcing her mouth open. She could not speak – not to beg, not to give up her comrades. But she could scream. And scream she did until all that emerged from her stretched lips were hoarse croaks. And finally she made no noises at all.