Tuesday, July 5, 2022

On the Run

Guillaume Micheaux was moving down the road inside the large natural park south of Reims. He had been moving by night, hiding in the vineyards near the northern outskirts of the park during the day. When he reached the forests of the park, he felt more comfortable moving during the day. He could make better time.

He usually had enough time to hide from the occasional German patrol, they were mostly truck mounted, sometimes it was a single motorcycle-sidecar combo, rarely one of the small cars the Germans had. The vehicles made enough noise so that he heard them long before he could see them, or they him. When he heard one approaching, he would hide in the underbrush.

He was worried, he was running out of food, the nights were getting colder, and he had no idea if there were Frenchmen in the park who were either hiding from the Germans or, better still, fighting the Germans. He had to make contact with someone soon, or he would have to come up with a different plan. Guillaume had no illusions about being able to survive the winter out in the open. Alone.

As he pondered his situation, his mind drifted, he was in the midst of daydreaming of days to come when he heard a voice ...

"Nun, guck mal da.¹"

He had breasted a slight rise and walked right up on two German soldiers, lounging near their motorcycle combo, eating bread and drinking what could only be some of the local wine.

One of the Germans stood straight and swung his submachine gun around in front of him, the easier to reach for if he needed it. Neither German felt in the least bit threatened by the scruffy looking tramp who had walked up on them suddenly.

"Also, Landstreicher, sprichst du Deutsch? Gibt es überhaupt eine Chance darauf?²"

Both Germans laughed. Guillaume had no idea what the soldier had said to him, he decided to act innocent and hope for the best.

One of the Germans, the one without the submachine gun, approached him, laughing and looking back at his partner. Guillaume couldn't help but notice that this man had left his rifle propped against the motorcycle.

The German pushed Guillaume, his words, though indecipherable to Guillaume were obviously insulting, but not in a threatening way, at least not yet. He pushed Guillaume again, and at that point something snapped in the Frenchman. He had had quite enough of Germans chasing him and pushing him around.

As he reached for the kitchen knife he had in the pocket of his long coat, he heard something which sounded like a shot. Paying no attention to that, he drew the knife and plunged it into the German soldier's belly.

The German coughed once, then dropped to his knees, a surprised look on his face. Guillaume stood over him, the bloody knife still in his hand. He could not understand why the other German had done nothing.

That's when he heard another laugh, and a voice in French saying, "Well, well, the tramp has teeth."

Guillaume looked away from the German, who was now sitting awkwardly on his haunches, both hands held tightly to his lower belly, blood oozing out from around them.

"Are you going to finish him? Or do you want to watch the cochon³ bleed out?"

The man who spoke had a military-style beret on his head, a German submachine gun in his hands, and looked as if he'd been living rough for quite some time. With him were three other men and two women. All of whom were carrying German weapons, three pistols and two rifles, all looked as scruffy and wild as the speaker.

"I ..., I ..., I don't know, who are you?"

Guillaume looked towards the motorcycle-sidecar combination, the German who had the submachine gun was sprawled in the road, bleeding badly but still alive. He had been the recipient of the shot Guillaume had heard. One of the women was relieving him of his weapon and ammo pouches. When he groaned and tried to pull his weapon back, the woman quickly pulled a knife and cut the man's throat. He died gagging in the road.

Guillaume heard "his" German groan. He looked at the man for a moment. The German looked back at him and said a single word, "Bitte." A plea of some kind, no doubt.

Guillaume just stood there, he had no idea what to do.

The apparent leader of this small group said one word, "Enough." He stepped forward and with his own knife, cut the German's throat.

"Quickly, strip them of anything useful, then we need to drag them and their machine off into the trees. The Boche will find them eventually but by then we'll be long gone." Turning to Guillaume he spoke again.

"As for you mon ami, are you dumb or just lost?"

Guillaume snapped out of his stupor and said, almost automatically, " Je suis Caporal Guillaume Micheaux, 142e régiment d'infanterie, 8e division d'infanterie."

"Well mon ami, we're not in the old army, and you won't find your regiment around here, but we can always use men who know how to kill Germans. Even if you were a little sloppy and we had to finish that one for you." He said, nodding at the dead man in front of Guillaume.

"Who, who are you people?" Guillaume stuttered.

"We are the resistance, the people who will not bow to les Boches, the people who will kill them and keep killing them until they leave France. Or until they are all dead. Marie over there," he gestured at one of the women, who now had a submachine gun, "would prefer the latter. Apparently she didn't care for being raped by a pig of a German."

Marie still held her bloody knife, she nodded at Guillaume then cleaned the blade on the tunic of the man whose throat she had cut. "Are we going to stand here all day Pierre, gabbing like old men? We need to get back into the forest. Do we keep the tramp or do we leave him?"

Guillaume simply nodded and said, "I'll go with you."

"Then help move these dead men and their motorcycle, then we go."

Guillaume had joined the resistance. The thought of that terrified him. These people knew how to hate.

¹ Well, look at that. (German)
² So, tramp, do you speak German? Any chance of that at all? (German)
³ Pig (French)


  1. Back in France! I think I need a program, to keep everybody straight!

    1. I'm pretty much able to remember/figure out who the characters are as the day's story progresses.

  2. Out of the frying pan, the ex-corporal will see some interesting times now eh Sarge?

    1. What with trying to fight the Germans and stay alive? You betcha.

      (Not to mention the other resistance groups, whose politics might not match yours, and the collaborators.)

    2. Still and all a propitious encounter; the long term threats are very real ( especially that of betrayal) yet the immediate prospects are much better than they had been minutes prior. Resolute, capable comrades are vital.
      Hoping our Corporal learns and survives till the SOE/Jedburghs can weigh-in. Hope he snagged the rifle.
      Boat Guy

    3. Well, he did kill one of the Germans, so he should get that man's rifle.

    4. There were other Resistance in the French Channel ports that provided horizonal recreation to R&R German submariners. "A tipsy sailor after ardor wore off would loosen his tongue" confiding vital information about patrols, boats sunk, plans and sailing dates. She would listen adoringly (suppressing the urge to drive a knife in his guts), remembering carefully, then pass on the information to be sent to Britian where it was of great use in the Battle of the Atlantic. Adm. Galley noted that they should at least be listed as "Hors de Combat"...

  3. I do not know why I am so surprised the Resistance has already formed. I tend to think in the latter stages of the war.

    1. Things were rough in the summer, many just assumed that the Germans were going to win, so "why fight it." Then some folks realized that things under the Germans were going to be far worse then they had imagined, so they began to not cooperate, things heated up as fall approached.

  4. Hey Old AFSarge;

    You ain't kidding, the resistance fought each other almost as much as they fought "La Boche".

  5. The Resistance thrives in its invisibility.

  6. The infighting on the Republican side in the Spanish civil war is what disillusioned George Orwell as he. described it in Homage to Catalonia.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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