This short story was written in May as part of a short story competition on a Facebook group. The story had to be between 500 and 1,000 words, and these were our instructions with regards to theme:
A British soldier hiding in the basement of a farm in France during World War 1 and the French woman who lives there as well. You may take those two characters and do whatever you want with them.
They were fucking. They were two floors above him and he could still hear every detail. Clothes were thrown to the floor, the bed was creaking, as both of her German lovers shared in her ecstasy. One was gentler than the other, preferring instead to speak to her in broken French, appealing to more of her senses, and clearly it was doing the job. She was enjoying it. She was enjoying it and that was a problem. Suddenly the unlit cellar grew darker, smaller, suffocating. She was meant to be distracting them to help him, not for pleasure. There was no escape; the whole village was occupied by The Hun, that’s why he needed Mathilde. Mathilde, the woman in bed with Germany. Suddenly the unlit cellar felt like a tomb.
An escape plan was needed. With the noise upstairs the moment was surely at hand, nobody in the house would notice. Nobody except the man who was standing on the stairs with gun in hand, completely naked but for the sadistic smile he wore across his face. The quieter, rougher man from upstairs had snuck away during the ongoing mêlée in the bedroom and made his way to the cellar. The man said nothing. He kept his gun pointed as he walked over silently, his large frame blocking out the light streaming down the staircase, as he struck with the handle of the pistol. The cellar went black.
He was in a different room when he regained consciousness. The unlit cellar became a dream. He did not see his German captor, his naked, hairy German captor. He saw the beautiful soft face of Mathilde, with her full red lips, large doe eyes, and cheeks which blush just the right amount. She did not look worried or upset, but somehow pleased with the arrangement. It was comforting to see. Her supple fingers toyed with a knife, caressing the blade, as he noticed the ropes binding him to the chair. She’d been helping him all this time, keeping him hidden, safe in the cellar, bringing him food whenever she was able. The unlit cellar became a lie. She had turned on him, sold him out, betrayed him, but for what?
The torture began slowly. He felt the blade of the knife slide effortlessly under his skin, pain shot up his arm, overwhelming the brief sensation of pleasure he got from the initial cut. The knife worked its way in deeper, slowly, almost teasingly. Mathilde appeared to be taking pride in her work, carefully slicing patterns into the tender flesh, oblivious to the screams for help. No, not oblivious, it was music for her. Her blade was dancing, reflected in her eyes. If not for the pain he could have watched the intensity in those eyes for days. There was a raw and wild beauty to it, something few men see.
She started talking, interrupting the artistry of her torture. Her loquacious German had been watching, sitting in the corner the whole time. It was not clear what they were saying, but it seemed that they had known each other for a long time, that this was how they got their pleasure, that the safety of the man in the cellar was never the goal. He thought only of England, of what it held waiting for him, as Mathilde began heating the blade over a flame, smiling as though she had just won the war single-handed. Memories and dreams were all he had left as he became an instrument in Mathilde’s sadistic symphony.