|Fleur de Lys
Author: Tatianolishka PM
Everyone dies in Auschwitz, and although everyone is afraid to admit it, we all know that's where this is going to end. France in WWII.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 4,383 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 07-19-08 - Published: 04-12-08 - id: 2503259
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Lyons & Paris, France
The flat, rented in the outskirts of Lyons, was far from ideal. Rats scurried about and hunted for stray crumbs while mould caked the walls like a cheap decoration. With the minimal wage I was earning now, it was the best I could do. The only furniture in the apartment was a table that seemed to be missing a leg it wobbled so much, a chair that was ready to break under the slightest pressure, and a chest I'd hauled from the garderie. There was a hard old army cot in the bedroom, more uncomfortable than sleeping on the floor. Aunt Therese sent me food once in awhile, seeing as my cooking abilities were non existent, but most often I went hungry.
I blamed it all on Mme. Phoebus.
The early summertime brought a change in the old woman's attitude. She was now willing to teach me herself how to be a lady. Her first stop was in Paris, the place of my dreams. The place I'd longed since infancy to visit and revel in it's majesty. Madame had other ideas. Instead of taking me to dine in a cafe, she took me to the Red Cross hospital. The old stone building we approached looked nothing like what I believed a hospital to be. Mortar was falling off in clumps, and I was surprised it hadn't been condemned. I glanced around and remembered that war changed everything. Paris, Aunt Therese had warned, was now in the middle of a warzone. Lyons was the image of blissful ignorance in comparison.
When Mme. Phoebus led me under the white flag with the red cross symbol, I had to hold my breath to ignore the smell. Decaying flesh and blood fills my nostrils with the pungeant scent of death worse than the mess hall the garderie. Madame rolled her eyes at my childishness and tugged me along to the main office, through a crowded corridor of wounded soldiers. Dear God, what sort of person could live like this? Loyal frenchmen, lying in pools of their own waste of blood and pus and forced to wait while nurses tended to others in more dire need. I learned later that the ones in dire need were the ones they could save... not the ones begging for their lives, lying in a hallway while their final seconds were counted down and forgotten.
Some of them cried out in pain and delerium, agony that lingered from the battlefield. The nurses- they looked nothing like the brave nurses in the tales they told. Their uniforms were worn and wrinkled, with blood, sweat and dirt coating them like they hadn't been washed in years. They were tired and haggard, some of them crying by the besides of fallen heroes. These were the young ones, those her were as naive as I am, their innocence ripped from them like bullets tearing through skin. I turned my eyes away, fearing my future here.
In the office, I was introduced to a strange-looking woman in a blue uniform, her fashionable red hair peering out beneath a blue hat. She looked like she was a pilot of the RAF, but the crudely-sewn patch on her breast with the red cross proved me wrong. Her name was Marie-Catherine, known around the wards as Bloody Mary, and was hired to teach the nurses eager to learn. I was a student, yes, but my eagerness was less than apparent. For weeks, her face loomed over everything I did, her eyes judging every move I made like a hawk would survey a mouse. Fortunately, I was not her only victim. I boarded with twelve other girls in the barracks, all well-born Parisian girls who came on the hope of marrying a brave soldier or simply augmenting their parents' popularity in social circles with their community service. We worked in the wards, doing the nastiest tasks possible. Sopping up blood and emptying the bedpans seemed to be Bloody Mary's favorite method of torture.
As I worked to earn my nursing certificate, my studies began to fall behind. I failed the easiest assignments, my teachers looking down and shaking their heads. When exams loomed on the horizon, all I could do was pray that I could get just high enough to pass. Even if it was one point over, I would be happier than a clam.
Of the four exams I took, I didn't pass a single one.
I cried for hours when I got home that day, barricading myself in my room. No one would hire a failiure. Aunt Therese tried to bribe me out of my room, promising treats, but I didn't want them. All of my hard work to be at the top of my class was thrown out the window when Mme. Phoebus "took me under her wing". How I wanted that woman to suffer, how I imagined her falling to her death into the fiery depths of hell and lying there as her flesh burned black. I wouldn't ever again be called her "dearest project" like I were some kind of doll under construction.
Time passes, and anger cools. Aunt Therese found me a job and I accepted whatever meager pay I could get from it. My job was to visit the families of missing or dead soldiers and offer assistance with whatever was needed. They called this work "social services". I found it named quite appropriately. From what I observed, these families were distant from society and made no effort to make contact with friends and family. I was some kind of substitute for a sister or friend that would comfort the grieving widow or worried children.
I found the flat soon after receiving the job. I payed rent, often days overdue, but managed to survive here. I felt like an outcast - memories of dresses and chocolate milkshakes now filling my head as I sat at a crooked table in a torn wool suit and eating stale bread. I was working two jobs; one at the hospital in Lyons and one with Social Services whenever I was called out. It seemed like the most dull life one could have.
One event would change my life forever, and it all began with a childish question.
"Mme. Portier, what is the Resistance?"
A/N: Sorry this has taken so long to update; my muse decided to crap out on me. Thanks to the hounding and bribery of Lee's ghost reborn (just kidding; you've been a great help bud. Vitus sends you loveage.), I've managed to post one chapter and my muse came back for the next one. Get ready for dogfighting... and I don't mean the type with bow-wows in them. XD
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