Harold obeyed, shuddering and nauseated. He closed his eyes when Pierre groped for the scissors. But he couldn't help hearing Pierre screech.
right," Lucy said cheerfully, "your turn, Herbert!" the other German
looked up. Harold could see now that he was missing one ear. Dried
blood had left streaks on his neck and uniform. Herbert took the dice
and clenched his teeth as the dice told him to use the tongs to rip off
"Nein," he whispered, "nein, das mache ich nicht! Bitte, Margaret!"
Lucy looked at Harold again, amused. "He
thinks I'm his wife, Margaret. But what he doesn't know is that
Margaret is spreading her legs for Herbert's brother as we speak. The
bed springs are squeaking. Poor Herbert. Lucky Margaret. Herbert will
not be able to mount his wife ever again. Oops, Herbert, you didn't
know that? Well, now you do. Here," she shoved the tongs over the
table, "come on and rip them off. You will feel a lot better once they
are gone, those nasty little fuckers. No urges, ever again."
Herbert looked bewildered. He threw a gaze at "Margaret," Pierre
and the still unconscious Otto and shivered. Then he looked at Harold,
the only one who was still intact. He mumbled something, and Harold
knew what he meant, even though he didn't understand German. But here
in the cave, language didn't matter.
"I don't want to do this. And I don't want to dance."
neither," Harold added with a steady voice. For the first time since
the war started, he felt wide awake, real. And he didn't like what he
Lucy said, raising her eyebrows. "You do not wish to mutilate yourself?
Surprise, surprise! What do you have to offer?" Herbert shrugged.
"Well," Lucy said, licking her lips, "I will make you guys an offer. You see, Otto and Pierre
are getting boring. I want more players for my game. I will let you
both go… if you send me ten men in exchange. And of course, I want your
"Our souls?" Harold said, puzzled. "But if you get ten men from me, why do you want my soul as well?"
"Oh, stupid old Harold. I will get your soul anyway, because if you send ten men to die here, you will go to hell when you
die. Or do you think tricking innocent people into playing this game
will let you go to heaven and play the harp, my little angel? But don't
you worry. The men in your battalion are not that innocent. Every
soldier is a murderer. What difference does it make if they kill others
or play the game?"
Harold and Herbert looked at each other. Their eyes locked in perfect understanding.
The Hun wanted to go home and kick Margaret's cheating ass, Harold wanted to go home to help his mother and sister, his real
sister Lucy with the gentle hazel eyes.
"Where do I sign?" Harold asked.
The devil smiled.
©2008 Cecille Ravencraft/S. Reineke. All rights reserved.
*I can't play the game anymore
*Here, where the devil lives