I’ll wait for you

whiskey glass
Outside the barracks, by the corner light
I’ll always stand and wait for you at night
We will create a world for two
I’ll wait for you the whole night through
For you, Lili Marlene

Her voice was deep and sensual, caressing the crowd with memories of love lost in the midst of war. The men gathered in the club were somber, struggling to keep an errant tear falling from their eyes, but the sadness united them as her notes poured through the room.

Herr Kirsch was not affected. He wore a black tweed jacket with precisely creased pants. Although the room was filled with high-ranking SS, they deferred to the power he conveyed. Kirsch sat near the back, a cigar cradled between his fingers, gaze directed toward the lovely shape of the human nightingale. He could recall the pressure of her lips, the last time he’d kissed her, the smell of her perfume enveloping him. That was long ago and in another lifetime. Before the war, before he’d changed.

He’d killed men on the battlefield in Africa while Greta found love elsewhere. When he tried to find her, she’d disappeared. A vague memory of pain and betrayal brushed over him and moved on. No longer could he feel much of anything. He raised the whiskey tumbler to his lips, inhaling the scent of the liquor. The rich amber soothed his disquiet. Seeing her again had created a desire for the past, an interest in the future and a need to slide his fingers up her smooth back.

A man approached his table and sat down across from him, blocking his view of the stage. Frowning with displeasure, he turned his attention to the officer. He was a young man, didn’t understand the ways of the world yet, and was in serious need of a lesson. Kirsch’s lips curled into a cruel parody of a smile and the young man flinched. Although Kirsch hadn’t looked in a mirror for many years, he knew there was something about joy in the face of evil that terrorized.

“What can I do for you my anxious friend?” he asked.

“Lieutenant Menge is available to speak with you, sir.”

“Is that so? Have the Lieutenant visit my table.” The soldier stood. Kirsch gritted his teeth and hissed, “Make sure he does not block my view of the stage when he sits down.”
Nervously, the young man hurried to find his Lieutenant.

Greta stopped singing as the young man walked away. She must have noticed him. Her expression did not change, but she slowly licked her lips. Sweet, young Greta was afraid. He caught her eye and tilted his head, inviting her to the table. Greta’s hands shook, but she walked toward him.

Before she reached the table, the Lieutenant arrived. The man stood near the table, expecting a greeting befitting his rank. Kirsch turned to look at the man, his smooth features expressionless.

“Have a seat my friend. The night is about to become interesting.”

Moments later, Greta arrived, her eyes focused upon Kirsch with a steely determination. For a moment he felt regret.

“My dear girl. Thank you for joining us. May I introduce Lieutenant Menge. He is on temporary leave from his station at Dachau.”

Her face paled, but she smiled tentatively. The Lieutenant stood and kissed her hand. Kirsch noticed Greta struggle to maintain her composure.

“I’m afraid you may regret your courtesy my dear Lieutenant. This charming, young girl is both a Jewess and a spy.”

Greta’s face paled, her mouth dropping open in surprise.

The Lieutenant straightened, wiping his lips with the back of his hand to remove her contamination.

“There have been rumors of an informant. Thank you for your assistance Herr Kirsch.”

Two young men rushed to the table and took Greta by the arms and pulled her away. She stretched out one hand to him, begging for reprieve. He should have felt remorse. Instead, he felt nothing at all.

This story was written for the YeahWrite Weekly Fiction Challenge. The prompts were singer and the phrase “She stretched out one hand”. Click the link to review all of the stories and vote for your favorites.

11 thoughts on “I’ll wait for you

  1. Jolan, this was fabulous. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially the WWII era. You pulled me in right from the beginning. I absolutely love how you’ve created layers in Herr Kirsch’s character. The ending was totally unexpected and heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, you made a pit in my stomach. You capture the era and raised that sense of dread right up until the end. Of course just mention SS and that’s horrifying in itself. I think that you did a great job making Kirsch understandable (dare I say relatable) by giving that background, otherwise he’d be too unlikeable. The way you presented it, I could still hate him but also saw how pain had changed him. My only critique is that the first subordinate soldier probably wouldn’t have sat down, I’m thinking he would have been snapped to attention (and still blocking the stage). well done though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a fascinating take on the prompts, but you made me break my vow to stop.reading.ww2.stories (I can’t seem to stop). 🙂 I liked that your POV was from the SS officer. It reminded me of one of the story lines in “Lilac Girls”. I often wonder how someone can be that evil, and there’s something chilling about being in their skin, even when their thoughts and actions aren’t excused.

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  4. I love how the tone of the piece changed with the line “Herr Kirsch was not affected.” I think you did a good job of presenting his inner conflict too.

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  5. I like the conflict here–his past relationship with her and who he was before all the killing. It’s very difficult to paint anyone on that side of the war as sympathetic so this could not have been easy to write. I think having her lick her lips was confusing. Just because it felt sexual to me, as opposed to nervous as I think you intended. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this and I think the pacing was quite nice. 🙂

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