CONQUERED FRANCE

By David Seymour

The man was scared.  He showed it in the way he walked, the way he kept glancing behind him.  It was raining, but it fell unheeded on his shoulders.  Behind him was a uniformed guard.  This man was scared too. but he was trying to bluff it.  He swaggered, and toyed with his gun strapped on his hip.

These men were both afraid of one another  There were many like them in this somber, darkened city called Paris!!!!!

There were schemes like this going on all over France. Insecurity!! Both sides  suffered. A French man killed.  A Nazi. Nazis killed four Frenchmen.  Both sides feared the other, yet the strife continued.

The man glanced behind him. The guard had gained on him slightly. Could it be that he knew his plan?   Had somebody informed the Gestapo?  He didn’t know.

The guard glanced behind him.  In that instant the man in front of him dodged into a side street.

In the morning a Nazi patrol found the guard’s body lying in a side street.  They went through the usual procedure, They posted signs offering rewards for the capture of the man or men responsible for the dastardly deed.  Nothing happened.  Four French citizens were taken from their homes and shot.  Nothing said about the assassinator; he wasn’t found.

A few days after the death of the guard, another Nazi guard was passing by the street where the murder had taken place, when suddenly out of the window of a house over the street a bird flashed out, circled. The Nazi threw up his rifle, aimed.  He fired.  The pigeon (for it was a pigeon) raced away toward England, the guard slumped forward, blood oozing from his throat.  From the window above him a swirl of smoke that smelled of gun powder floated away.  The only trace of the death of a man-made monster made to kill his fellow beings.

Gestapo headquarters seethed with excitement, tension and, for the most part, a good deal of insecurity.

The man whom the German police were hunting was as safe from harm as he possibly could be, and for very good reason. He was to all intents and purposes a French traitor, but he was obviously not brooking any love for the Hun. Mr. Q, as he is commonly known around Allied intelligence circles is a cold ruthless enemy of the Nazi Party.

Lieutenant Von Gort, Gestapo stooge and messenger, was hurrying along a partially blacked out street. With him were Mr. Q and a guard.  Von Gort was carrying dispatches to Gestapo headquarters. Mr. Q was on his way supposedly to make a report on the French underground!

The shadows cast by the street lights were dark shadows.  Within, the shadows moved, detached themselves from the inky blackness and moved swiftly down on Von Gort, the guard and Mr. Q.  Too late, the guard turned. A knife buried itself to the hilt in his throat.  Von Gort turned and tried to maneuver his fat body into a position to beat an ignominious retreat.  Mr. Q.’s foot shot out.  Von Gort tripped.  Instantly, one of the attackers leapt on him.  An arm rose, fell.  Von Gort gave a coughing grunt as the knife struck home in his fat neck.

Then the attackers turned towards Mr. Q. He handed them the briefcase, then, for obvious reasons, they jumped on him, reluctantly, hesitantly, but it had to be done, for if he wasn’t beaten it would look _______ ________ suspicious.

Later at Gestapo headquarters when Mr. Q staggered in, battered and bloody, reporting the attack, the Gestapo heads really got worried.

The Gestapo would have worried even more if they had seen what was going on in a certain place on the English side of the English Channel.  Commandos (England hit and run fighters) were ready to cross the channel into France.

Mr. Q. left suddenly without warning.  Nobody knew where he went, nobody knew why he left.

A fast train filled with soldiers was racing for the channel.  Nazi soldiers.  As the train passed under a tunnel, a form dropped to the top of the train and started toward the engine.

Mr. Q. (it was he who had dropped  onto the train)  started running                                            as fast as he could, when he noticed that the train was about a half mile from a sharp corner.

The engineer looked around in surprised consternation. He knew Mr.          Q. and he knew if he was found her, both Mr. Q. and he would be killed.

As the train roared down a slight grade, toward the sharp corner,

the engineers cut the train loose from the engine.  They watched the long line of cars race toward the curve. It swayed, swung back, swayed and with a rending crash, it left the track. A few, a very few, soldiers got out alive. The cars lay twisted, upturned.  Here and there a body had been hurled out of a window and lay maimed and bloody. Blood was seeping out of the cars all along the line.  One man was lying partly in and partly out of a car window, his body cut almost in half.  The other man had hit a steel support.  His brains were all over the  place.

The engine roared on.  The two men in the cab realized they could get only so far before they would be stopped.

Two men lay side by side to one side and a little behind a small Nazi radio station.  In front of the station, possibly four hundred yards away, was the English Channel, white, black, silver, reflecting water under the moonlight.

A boat was approaching silently toward the cove.  Commandos! The

boat landed, men poured out and  started up the beach.

Mr. Q. stood up and, holding his hands above his head, he advanced             on them. They recognized him and ordered him to the boats.  They then raced toward the house, flung open the door and one man heaved two grenades inside, then slammed the door and raced toward the boat. A crash and roar of flame and the house was gone.

The boat moved fast.  The English coast was in sight.  Mr. Q. watched; his job was done.  He had been a sharp thorn in the Nazis’ side, but they had found him out and he had been forced to leave.  He was glad to leave France, France that had been so peaceful and gay, now a place of terror and sudden dea

But that would change.  Someday the Hitlerites would be just a                                       memory.  Men could live as men should live:  in peace, security and freedom.

Posted in: 1943 Stories

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