"You lie!" Heinkel spat little bubbles of saliva with the words. He reached out and slapped Felice Lebois across the face. Her head rocked. Tears started at her eyes. She managed to blink them back.
"Did you think I would be stupid enough not to have you followed?"
The Nazi bent over Felice. He clawed at the collar of her dress, shredding it down the front of her bosom. She stared at him, making no move to cover her nudity.
Felice shrugged her shoulders. "It was a chance meeting in a cafe. It couldn't have been more innocent."
Heinkel's fist lashed out. It caught Felice on the side of her head. The room swam before her. She felt her knees give way. She huddled stunned on the floor.
Felice stared up at her accuser. Her skirt had twisted around her shapely hips, showing off the smoothness of her thighs. Her agitated breathing lent a trapped doe quality to her patrician beauty. Her hands fluttered to the shredded bodice of her dress. The evil in his lecherous stare was more than she could tolerate.
"Don't bother, Fraulein!" Heinkel shouted. "Where you are going there will be no need of clothes. My assistants will see to that."
The Kripo obersturmbannfuhrer reached down. He seized Felice by her long blonde hair and dragged her to her feet. The undercover French F.F.I. girl felt the pain tearing at her scalp. She put a tentative hand out toward Heinkel. Brutally he smashed it away.
"It is too late for that, Fraulein!" he spat. "Save you strength for the caress of my interrogators. They will make you sing like a bird. But first I will see that they make you suffer like no woman has ever suffered before."
Heinkel forced a knee into Felice's back and propelled her towards a desk. His arm circled her slim throat as he dialed the telephone.
"Achtung!" he shouted into the mouthpiece. "Send a command car to the Hotel George V, immediately. I will wait for you in my suite.
Henkel's foul breath surrounded Felice. She felt as though she might collapse any instant. She stood on shaking legs, managing to barely support herself against the edge of the desk.
She hoped against hope that she had taken sufficient precautions. There was no way of telling. She recalled now how she had gone to the little cafe on the Avenue Foch and had immediately repaired to the ladies' room. She remembered placing the papers on top of the old fashioned tank. She remembered Mama Foulard winking at her as she emerged. Now all she could hope for was that Mama Foulard had not been under surveillance as well and that she had completed the transfer to Gaston.
Heinkel's knuckles ground into Felice's neck, bring her back to the present. "The fools who followed you were too busy to pick up your lover. But that will come in time. You will have the opportunity of betraying him to us. And do not think you won't. We have our ways."
Was this an admission of failure or was it some kind of trap? Felice bit her lip and said nothing. Reinhardt Heinkel prided himself on being a very proper Kripo man. Often he had gloated, "We Germans are a very civilized people. We do not cause pain for the sake of causing pain. We can be very gentle with our friends although we find it necessary to treat our enemies with unrelieved ruthlessness. A fact you will soon discover to your dismay and horror."
Perhaps he would be satisfied merely to torture her for her indiscretion with Gaston. Perhaps he would not seek any information from her. Seeing her agony might be enough to sate his animalistic desires. Who could say?
The knock on the door ended her speculation. Two black shirted men marched into the suite. They held one hand hooked under their wide leather belts. Their right arms shot out rigidly.
"Heil Hitler!" they chorused.
Heinkel returned the salute. He dragged Felice across the floor and hurled her at the Gestapo representatives.
"This one is suspected of high treason against the Reich," he barked.
The men showed no emotion but acted swiftly. One of them produced a pair of thin handcuffs. The other spun Felice around, gripped her wrists and held them tight against the small of her back. That was all there was to her arrest: the click of metal, the bite of steel on flesh, cruel fingers twisting the soft skin of a woman's arms. Nothing more.
The woman elevator operator risked a look of sympathy. But she was powerless to do more for her captive passenger. That look sent a chill up Felice's spine. Even the operator knew the horrors that awaited her.
Outside the hotel people scurried from the path of the Gestapo men. Once at a safe distance they turned to stare at the hapless victim was being hustled into the Benz command car. Some shook their heads in pity for the pretty young victim.
Felice felt the hot August sun blazing through her torn dress. She felt Heinkel's fingernails digging into her exposed thighs. She heard the sounds of birds and the coarse breathing of the two black shirted men who rode in the front.
"Make a fool out of me! Cause my inferiors to laugh at me! An now, my little pet, you will learn what your infidelity will cost you. Oh, you will love your new home. Do you know what will happen to you?"
Felice stared straight ahead. Heinkel gripped her chin, forcing her eyes to meet his.
"It will be cold and wet. So cold that you will grow numb and shiver. There will be nothing to protect you, no blanket, no clothing. But then will come the heat. You will almost welcome the lash and the fires. They will bring back sensation. Soon you will be shrieking with the pain. You will go mad with it. You will beg to die, but the pain won't allow it. You will beg me to kill you and end your agony, but I will deny you the mercy of death. The pain will be all around you. You'll thrash against it. But the cords will hold you and the pain will go on endlessly."
The man was mad. His ravings went on in a high pitched cacophony of horror. He spared no detail of how she would be tortured, what the whip would do to her naked breasts, how her legs would be spread and bound and how the hot pincers would work between her thighs. It mesmerized Felice so that she was not aware of anything else, not even the tears that rolled down her cheeks as she sobbed quietly in despair.
They drove through a wrought iron gate and Felice was taken from the car and forced to stumble down a long flight of stone steps. She was dragged into an unlit room which had been hewn out of bed rock. She was stood in the middle and held tightly by the shoulders by one of the Gestapo men. In the light of the electric torches held by Heinkel's stooges she saw the room was empty but for the iron collar and the chains ending in shackles that were set into the wall. A long low groan escaped her lips at the thought that her neck, wrists and ankles would soon be locked into those unyielding metal bands.
A grotesque gnome-like figure with an ugly patch on the side of his head slithered up to Felice. "This is Brandt," Heinkel said. "He has a wonderful appreciation of beautiful women, especially when they are naked and suffering."
The torches were turned on Felice. For the moment she was blinded by the intense light shining in her eyes. But she felt Brandt's hands on her body and she heard the ripping of cloth and realized the little fiend had taken her dress from her. Brandt raised himself to his three and a half feet. His arms were elongated as they reached toward Felice's bra. She stared in horror at his claw-like hands. In terror she struggled uselessly against her captor's iron grip; the time had come – she was being stripped naked for torture.
Cold, numbing and wet, encircled Felice's breasts as their last covering was denied them. She cried out pitifully as Brandt stripped the gossamer panties from her flanks. Seconds later she was being hauled to the stone wall and the iron collar clamped around her neck. Then they spread-eagled her arms and legs to the rings in the wall and left her there.
The pain started immediately. Her arms had been stretched to their limit and she could barely keep her bare feet on the cold stone floor. But worse than the pain was the dread. She was alone in the pitch black room, stark naked and helpless in the hands of her enemy – a lunatic sadist who had promised to break her in spirit as well as body. Spread-eagled naked against the wall, the tortures he had promised were all to close.
The wall was damp against Felice's bare back. Its evil ooze chilled her to the core. The damnable darkness was unendurable. She lost track of time.
At first Felice was surrounded by complete silence. Then little sounds came to her. The furtive squeal, the scurrying of soft feet, the rubbing of coarse fur against her instep.
Terror welled within her. She stared down at her feet. Was it her imagination or were there beady little eyes staring up at her from the stone floor. Then searing pain lanced through her ankle. Felice slammed herself against the wall. Her chains gave a little, but scant inches were not enough. The rodents moved in, becoming more daring now that they sensed their victim was powerless to kick out at them.
She would feel the evil things at her bare feet. She would pull frantically at her shackles but her imprisoned ankles were held fast. They would strike and she would scream in pain. Her screams drove them away for a time but they always returned. When she could no longer scream, or when her screams no longer frightened them, then what? Would they scale her outstretched legs searching for softer, warmer flesh while she writhed helplessly in her chains? She could almost feel their claws on her thighs, their disgusting snouts probing inside her, their teeth tearing into her sex.
She tried to think of other things, of Gaston's tender caress. But always her thoughts returned to her tortured present. How many women had died this way, chained naked to the stained walls of the Paris sewer system? How long would Heinkel leave her here? When would they come and what horrors did they have in store for her once they arrived? The word they filled her consciousness.
Finally her knees buckled under her. The rats scurried around her. She felt the collar digging into her throat. The gyves around her wrists scraped the flesh raw.
"Do not let me betray Gaston," she prayed, "Do not let them make me betray him."
The agony went on endlessly. There was no way of judging time. Did fifteen minutes seem like a day? Or had a week already passed. In the Nazis' black dungeon below the Paris streets nobody could be sure.
Fatigue finally overcame Felice. She hung limp from the chains. She could no longer fight the rats. Their sharp teeth drew only gasps of pain, not screams Mad dreams tormented her. Then suddenly the dreams exploded into pinpoints of light.
Reinhardt Heinkel stood before her. His face shone in the reflection of the electric torch he held. His teeth had the sharp jagged appearance of a rat's. His beady eyes sparked with diabolical intensity. His foul breath was even more sickening than the smells of death and blood which hung in clouds from the slime filled walls.
"I trust you slept well, Fraulein," he giggled. "But now it is time to awaken. We have some interesting plans for you."
Felice's blue eyes blinked in the sudden light. She was overwhelmed with dreadful emotions. Fear of course. Fear of the torture she would now be subjected to. And disgust at the foul creature who was her captor. But also shame, that she should be spread naked before this fetid beast, powerless to prevent him from living out his every sadistic fantasy on her helpless body. Worse, she knew she would soon be begging him to stop, promising him anything if he would only stop.
She felt the irons being removed from her limbs. Slowly she sank to the muck covered floor.
"On your feet!" Heinkel screamed. The heavy toe of his boot blasted into her side. Felice rolled over, gasping and sobbing. This was the Gestapo in action. Tear a prisoner apart with fear. Strip her of human dignity. Begin the kicking and the stomping even before the formalized torture.
The gnome called Brandt grabbed her by her long blonde hair and pulled her face close to his. Felice wretched, her stomach tightening in fear and disgust. She felt him lifting her from the floor. She felt the obscenity of his caress against the nakedness of her thighs, his fingers probing her vagina. She had no strength to resist. She saw the lights growing brighter as she was carried forward.
The room which awaited her had been designed in hell itself. The simplicity of its implements made it all the more hellish. A chipped bathtub stood to one side. How many French women had been drowned in that bathtub, their heads held under the filthy water until their lungs burst? Then revived and subjected to the drowning once more. How many had suspended from the single rope which now swung from the overhead rafter? What had been done to them while they hung there naked and helpless?
Brandt dropped Felice at Heinkel's feet so he could prepare for her torture. Felice watched in horror as the gnome-like figure raced around the room, gibbering insanely as he made his arrangements. A brazier was lit and branding irons shoved into the coals. The rope was lowered from the rafter. A table on wheels was rolled out putting whips and pliers and flaying knives readily at hand.
Heinkel pulled Felice to her feet and held her tightly in his arms, pressing his face to hers and breathing in her ear. She felt her arms pulled back and manacled behind her. She tried to struggle but Heinkel crushed her to him. Seconds later Brandt was attaching heavy weights to her ankles. Heinkel pushed her head down and Brandt fastened her manacled wrists to the overhead rope.
Heinkel stepped away and Brandt scurried over to the crank. For a moment there was no movement in the room and the only sound was Felice's labored breathing. She stood bent double in the middle of the room, unable to straighten up, her arms parallel to the floor, her long blonde hair falling over her face, her naked body trembling and bathed in sweat. Then Heinkel laughed and Brandt began to turn the crank.
The pain did not come all at once. It intruded slowly as her body was pulled from the floor. It lanced through her outraged shoulder and back muscles. It slithered down her sweating flanks and thighs as they were drawn to the breaking point by the weights. It crushed in on her bosom and belly.
Hands reached up to her, twirling her slowly. The rope above her danced. Suddenly she began spinning in the opposite direction. The momentum grew with a dizzying force until she could no longer breathe. At that moment the tip of a barbed lash snaked around her exposed hips. A second later it lit fiendish fires in her soft thighs, then cracked across here back, the barbs tearing at her armpit.
"Slower, Brandt," Heinkel laughed. "We are in no rush."
Heinkel's glee came to her through the waves of pain. She had no way of stopping his voice from crashing against her brain. His laughter was punctuated with demands for the name of the man she had met.
Again she felt the hands on her hips twisting her. Again she began to spin crazily at the end of the rope. She was gasping for breath. The whip sliced into her belly, her buttocks and her breasts as she spun. Strident croaks came from her throat. There was no air in her lungs to scream.
Heinkel grabbed her by the shoulders stopping her rotation. "Who is he," he spat in her face. Felice shook her head once.
Again they started her spinning. Again the whip lashed into the defenseless young girl. Again the shouted questions.
When she stopped spinning they let her hang there. Was it over, she prayed. Then she saw Brandt bring over more weight to hang from her ankles. With sickening clarity Felice understood they would not stop torturing her until she talked, and that she could not hold out for ever.
"Let me not betray Gaston," she moaned to herself. "Please God let me die before I betray Gaston."
"Twenty more Kilos should do it," Heinkel said.
The threat seemed to reawaken the agony of her shoulders as she hung in strappado. More weight would surely tear them from their sockets. She shook her head violently from side to side. "No!" she screamed. "For the love of God no!"
"Who is your contact!" Heinkel screamed back at her.
Felice just continued to scream "No! No! No!" over and over.
Heinkel softened his voice. "Just tell me and the pain will be over. Why suffer any longer? You must know you can not take much more. You are ready to break. Just tell me and I will stop the torture."
With a nauseating certainty Felice knew it was a lie. He would never stop torturing her. No matter what she told him he would slowly torture her to death. She said nothing, simply stared at Heinkel in horror.
Brandt hooked the added weight to Felice's ankles and the torture chamber echoed with her screams of pain as she felt the tendons in her shoulder begin to tear.
Brandt picked up his whip. Now he concentrated on the front of her naked body, that hung before him from her dislocated shoulders. He worked his way up from her pubic mound, pausing for long minutes between strikes, listening to her screams of pain after each one and ignoring her pleas for mercy.
It took over an hour for the gnome to reach her breasts. By that time her hips and sides, her belly and stomach, were a mass of cuts and welts. She had fainted three times and had to be revived with a pail of cold water.
Heinkel walked over to the tormented French beauty. He stroked her bare breasts, not saying a word.
"Please," she begged. "Please no more. Please not there. Please. Please. I beg you. No more. Not there."
"Not there?" Heinkel laughed. "Not there? What will you say when we spread your legs wide, eh? Not there?" He stepped away and nodded to Brandt. Felice was screaming even before Brandt raised the whip.
Brandt sent the barbed tip biting into Felice's naked breasts over and over, slowly shredding their gentle flesh. "I won't talk!" she shrieked. "I'll never talk!" And Heinkel knew she was ready to break.
So did Brandt. The barbs sliced into her left nipple, then the right. "Stop!" Felice screamed. "Stop! Stop! I'll talk!" But not before her nipples had been split so that blood flowed down her chest.
"His name," Heinkel ordered.
"No more," she sobbed, "I can't take any more."
"His name," Heinkel repeated.
Felice gave him Gaston. She gave him everything else he wanted, all the names of her compatriots and all she knew of the undergrounds operations. When they were done interrogating her they dragged her back to the vault. It wasn't until after they had once again chained her spread-eagled naked against the wall that she realized what she had done. And that they had no intention of stopping, that they were going to torture her to death.
Felice was not aware of the two men who entered the torture chamber and spoke hurriedly to Heinkel. She was not aware of the deathly white pall which covered his face. She was only dimly conscious of being cut down from the rope and shoved down a flight of stone steps into the very bowels of the earth.
As in a dream she heard Heinkel's voice coming to her. "The French pigs attack. Very well, they will find no evidence. Of that you may be sure. They will find only sealed walls of brick."
The words had no meaning as Felice plunged into an abyss of darkness.
But the mercy of unconsciousness was to be denied her. Slowly she regained her senses. She tugged at her arms. However they'd been roped to a ring above her head. Little bits of the tableau came to her. She saw the fiend Brandt kneeling before her, a trowel in one hand, a chipped red brick in the other.
It didn't make sense. Then she gazed down her naked body, past her torn breasts and belly, to see that Brandt's masonry had progressed above her knees. Her cry of horror pierced the tomb.
For the first time Felice saw there were two other women in the crypt. They had also been dragged there to be walled up in a tomb, to suffocate gradually as the air became poisoned with their own breathing. They too were nude and tied to a ring set high in the wall while two German soldiers worked at building a brick wall to seal them in.
Sweat stood out on Brandt's face. Heinkel cursed him, demanding that he work faster. Inexorably the wall grew around Felice. Soon it would shut out all light and air. She screamed again. Heinkel without a word shoved a large cloth in her mouth, gagging her shrieks. Before the wall reached up to cover her eyes, she saw that that the other two young women had also been gagged to silence their screams.
Then she was in total darkness. Brandt had finished his work. Agony still exploded in her shoulders from the strappado and burned over every inch of her nudity where the whip had done its work. She wished she could at least lower her arms to ease the pain. Yet even the pain that still tormented her was not as bad as the agony she would have suffered had they been able to make her betray the others. She stood silently in her tomb waiting to die.
Then through the brick wall she heard the bark of a rifle, then more shots, coming closer. There Gaelic cursing, more shots and the shrieks of mortally wounded men. Then it stopped.
There was shouting in French, right in front of her crypt. She was saved. She screamed with all her strength but the gag stifled it to a mumble that could not be heard through the brick wall. She tried to push the gag out with her tongue, but it was packed too tightly in her mouth. She tried to kick at the bricks but her ankles had been bound together and she hadn't the leverage. Felice wouldn't give up even as the voices receded. Finally she managed to push the gag from her mouth and screamed, "Ici! Ici!" but it was too late, the voices were gone.
Rescue had been so close but now she would die slowly, bound hand and foot, perhaps never to be found. She sobbed in her tomb as the pain that burned her naked body grew with the realization it had all been for naught. She began to pray that death would come soon.
Of course in the original story she is rescued. But I have had enough of the Resistance bursting in at the last moment to save beautiful young French captives of the Nazis. Fuck 'em.