The hesitant rebel.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The story of one man whom betrays his land for what he believes is right.

The hesitant Rebel.

“Can you see him? No, not he, that man there… yes the small one, scuttling little rat that he is.” Untersturmfuhrer Wiedmier nearly spitting out the last part of the sentence, “that man, who is he? I don’t know, and I should. I get in shit from every damned officer for the anti-Nazi propaganda that is seeping out this hell-hole. And that man, these men. They are all filthy, Jewish rats. Rotterfuherer Bach, take your fire team and search this damned street. They may be rats, but they are rats that shit on my head. And I hope you understand, as long as they shit on me. I shit on you.”

With that the Untersturmfuhrer clicked his heels and waltzed off, to were Adelmar Bach did not know, most likely to get drunk. He was reknowned for many things in the company, but Wiedmier was remembered mostly for his drinking, and his mouth. But Adelmar also knew him for his ruthlessness and his eagerness to exact full revenge if he wanted to. It was for this reason that he quickly summoned his for Sturmman, or Privates, and began searching the street. The difference, or more correctly, the annoyance with the East, with Hungary where he was now, was not so much the people, but the roads. Where as in Paris, the people would move to the side, with only the slightest notion of his Sub-Machine gun, here it took a forceful nudge to get them to the side of the road. He left one of his men, Johann and the end of the street, and sent Obermann Grun to the end of the street. Adelmar was ensuring that if this “rat” was here, he was soon to be cornered. Thus he and Sturmann Austerlitz began searching houses, it took a long time, and it didn’t take long before he realized that if he was not to find his man quickly, he will surely notice the German patrols and run soon enough. Thus when Adelmar entered the last apartment in the first terraced house he entered, he noticed a long plank of wood, among a stack of wooden blocks, clearly there for any potential damage their hovel may receive when the Russians invaded, which was daily becoming more and more threatening. Thus using the initiative that appeared to be the only thing that got him promoted above his peers, all of whom were far more ardently Nazi then himself, he carried the slab of wood to the roof. It was sturdy, and long, and he felt secure placing it on top of the roof as he clambered over to the next house, and went down the stairs at the side of the building into the first apartment.

It was during this time that Benedek was typing away on his typewriter, he was the little man that he Untersturmfuhrer had cursed. Indeed calling him a rat didn’t go far wrong, his scrawny features and long teeth doing much justice to the officer’s critique. He was however, writing Nazi propaganda, propaganda that urged residents to rise up to aid the Soviet invasion. And so, as the Untersturmfuhrer had so eloquently put it, he was very much “shitting” on him. It was as he was finishing up the latest article for the news paper for which he wrote for that he heard a knock. At first he thought it was at his door, which made him surprised, no one knew where he was or who he was on this street, and he had no business in taking knocking visitors. A cursory glance outside made him aware of the two Nazi soldiers standing guard at either end of the road, blocking and inspecting any man attempting to enter or leave the street, and momentarily harassing any young women who tried the same. Thus it was with great dread that he heard that the knocking had indeed came to his door, this was amplified when he heard the muffled, but still authoritarian sound of:

“This is Rotterfuhrer Bach of the 7th SS regiment; open your doors for immediate inspection.”

For a minute he thought he could be silent, perhaps they would think he was away and come back later. He knew this to be a fallacy; they would simply storm his room and think him all the more suspicious, which they would be right to think. No, he needed to buy time. In faltering German, despite his near fluency:

“Understood, give me a minute I will come straight to the door, allow me to change” There was no response on the other side, which he took for acquiesce. Thus moving quickly he went to the drawer and drew his pistol, a Tokarev, Russian made. In the same minute he also bundled his paper on to the floor and struck a match, the paper quickly lighted, and billowing thick, black smoke. The sound made Adelmar, whom was standing outside to cry in if things were alright. By now, however, Benedek was scaling the thin ledge outside his window, for now no one had noticed him, he was moving fast before the German guards in the street directly below, saw him. He didn’t have long. Having been fed up of waiting, Adelmar had Austerlitz bust open the door. When he saw the smoke, which had filled up the whole room, he yelled, alerting the guards in the street. He ran to the window, the only visible light in the room. However, with the heat and smoke becoming unbearable, he had to retreat out of the room, unable to either see or hear his prey.

This didn’t seem to affect Benedek, whom was being challenged by German guards below. He distinguished in his adrenalin rush, the threats of being fired upon. Thus he was hardly surprised, just a little shocked, to feel bullets whizz past him, hitting the stone walls of the building. By now the street had emptied, and any plan of moving to the street and mingling in the crowd had vanished. No, he must continue along this ledge, to the other side of the house. However, with their aim getting steadier and steadier, Benedek was struggling to see a desirable outcome to his predicament. It was then that he remembered his pistol. Taking it out he shot two rounds at either guards, whom quickly dashed for cover, and one more round at the opening to his building block were he could hear that damned Rotterfuhrer.

Adelmar was sitting in the doorway, he couldn’t believe it. That ledge was impossibly thin, how could that man possibly crawl along it. He was reckless, dangerous and reckless, and he had to be respected for that. It took about a minute before Adelmar summoned the courage to go outside, by then only one of his riflemen, Grun, was shooting. Thus he figured he must be on the side of the house leading to the next street. Thus Adelmar ran to the corner, stuck his head around the corner, and quickly returned it as 2 bullets clanged near him, one on the corner of the block of housing itself, the other harmlessly onto the cobble stones. By the time he looked around the corner, covering himself with a steady spray of bullets from his gun, the man had disappeared into the next street. Although clearly not as busy as it was, still had enough people for an unknown assailant to quickly hide in, but unperturbed he ran towards the next street, having scrambled his men together. Once at the top of the street, he realized that he was surrounded by twenty other SS men, and could hear more approaching. It was then that he realized that it was not every day that these military policemen heard of gunfights in Budapest. It was then that he heard the heavy breathing of Untersturmfuhrer Wiedmier, he smelt the alcohol on his breath, well before he heard him speak. Although it had barely been 20 minutes, his words were already slurring under what Adelmar could only assume was some very strong spirits.

“What the fuck is this Bach? I asked you to apprehend that man, not start a fucking war!”

“But sir…”

“Don’t but sir me you miserable Jew dog, you have failed, I wouldn’t be surprised Rotterfuhrer if you find yourself at the front. I hear Russia has lovely winters.” At this Adelmar gulped, the men all looked down, it was a well known fact, his deployment to Russia was no better than being killed right now. He waited for more abuse, but was caught by surprise by Wiedmier’s hesitation, when he did begin to speak, it was impressively slowly.


“Yes Untersturmfuhrer.”

“Why the fuck is their flames coming out of that building?”

The absolute dread he Adelmar felt hit him like a sledgehammer, and before Wiedmier could speak, he dashed up the street. He stole a bucket from one of the market stands. This he thought, was it, he would either die here now, helping save these peoples homes. Or he would simply die in Russia, cold and depressed and for little gain. He paced up the stairs, covering the four flights of stairs in unfathomably quick times. The rest he cannot remember, all he knew is that the fire was taken care of, and he woke a weak later in the country side. Attended daily by nurses, the first touch by a German woman in months, he was grateful for such a blessing.

Benedek, having fallen into the street, slowly crept up the road. Although at first people were scared to be around him, when the Germans didn’t immediately cut around the corner, they allowed him to assimilate into their throngs. From there he came to the end of the street, his pistol stashed safely in his inner jacket pocket, a pocket he had made himself for just these occasions. He came to the end of the street, just in time to see an Untersturmfuhrer storm out of a brothel, swaying. Benedek smirked as he saw the man catch himself, before falling, and throw up in the gutter. “Typical German,” he thought as he walked further up the street.

He had no trouble getting to his safehouse, one of many that the newspaper had dotted around the city. One less, he thought, as he remembered the burning paper on the ground. He did hope the fire was contained, though he figured it probably wasn’t. He consoled himself in the knowledge that had he been discovered, the extensive underground network being developed for the arrival of the Russian forces would likely be penetrated. With that, the bloodshed those people, who have now likely lost their homes, would simply be amplified by large scale war fighting and violence. From his safehouse he was collected by a Mr. Varga, though this was certainly not his name. Mr. Varga, whom owned one of the few bicycle shops in the city, gave Benedek one, along with instructions to reach his new home, 20 miles out of the city, in a sparsely populated township.

It was there that Benedek had been living for the last week. Although he loved his job, indeed he only ever thought sparingly about actually being a saboteur, propaganda writing being something that came naturally, and for which he took great pride. However, after a week of hammering out leaflets and slogans, he soon tired of the incessant noise of his typewriter. He had never been this productive in his life, and was feeling cabin sick for it. Thus after one week of constant work, and with no visitors, though admittedly he had few, and even fewer knew where he was, he decided to go for a run. Well more precisely, a jog. His leg, he told himself, still hurt from the jump into the street. He was, however, only being lazy.

It was along this run that he came across the German field hospital, a beautiful structure Benedek thought, had it not been so lavishly adorned with Nazi flags. Indeed, the structure was beautiful, its white marble blocks still shiny, despite the constant commotion within them. Although they were many things, Benedek had to agree, the Nazi was not a messy creature. However, he quickly turned off the road and half jogged, half walked, back to his building, a small wooden barn turned house in the middle of a wheat field.

At first Adelmar didn’t believe, indeed he thought he must be dreaming. He doubted himself, how could he possibly remember a face after only a glimpse. But no, he was certain; he had seen the runner daily run past his window. Every day he seemed to see him less and less, no doubt getting faster. But there he was the gunmen, the very man whom had tried to kill him. No more than 500 meters away from him at any point between 3 and 3:30 every day. He thought he would feel anger, he would remind himself every day:

“Adelmar, is this not the same man whom tried to blast your brains upon a Hungarian street? Is he not the same man whom set the fire which burned you, and left you nearly dead?” But the more he tried, the more he simply wanted to go up to the man and talk to him. He was after all gutsy, indeed far more then Adelmar could imagine for himself. It was on the 15th day of his internment at the hospital that Wiedmier turned up, sober, and still resentful.

“Rotterfuhrer, I have spoken to my commanding officer, it appears they were in need of a military policeman in the Ukraine, appears Russian snipers make a sport out of shooting them. I put your name forward. I thought you wouldn’t mind. It appears you were the sole candidate. Congratulations, you appear to be leaving this fiery hell-hole, to the cosy Russian front. As soon as you are capable to Rotterfuhrer. Please do get better soon” With that, the Untersturmfuhrer saluted and exited the room. Leaving Adelmar near tears with fear, he knew, as soon as he was fully capable of walking, he was dead. In fact, he was already dead. As he lay there, hours rolling into hours, he twice made attempts to slit his wrists, wishing for death. But twice he stopped himself. It was a mere twenty minutes after the second attempt that he saw him again, that runner, that man, that man that tried to kill him. At the moment, the man whom could save him from the drudgery of his soon to be finished military career, a man whom could save him from his own countrymen. A man, whom had tried to kill him.

It took him three days, his walking was not quite perfect, but he put on his injury more to stave off impending redeployment. It took three days, but he finally had a plan, and knew where the man was staying. And guessing from the skeptical glances from the nurses who daily checked on his progress, he had little time, and only one shot with which to pull off his escape.

So it was, late at night that Adelmar slipped out of bed. He was careful not to wake anyone. Moving slowly, he crossed the row of injured soldiers and made it to the door. Once in the corridor, he could have quickly moved east and simply escaped into the night air, but without any offering, he was sure an injured German was fair game to the bands of saboteurs hiding in the house. So with that in mind, he headed west, the commandants door, although locked, was old. Adelmar had gambled on it being opened by a forceful nudge. It did, but not before making a thunderous claps in the otherwise silent ward. With that, Adelmar moved fast, not knowing what might be useful, he simply took all the official papers he could, along with the machine pistol that remained holstered in the corner of the room. Although he was fast, by the time he was out of the door, he could already hear the heavy boots of the storm troopers, mixed with the lighter thudding of those impeccable German nurses. Although he was healing, he was not quite healed, thus moving as fast as he can, he half hobbled to the door, but not before he heard the storm troopers screaming at him to halt. An order, instinct told to ignore, but years of military service almost rendered obsolete. It was with great difficulty that he ignored the shout, and continued out the door, hiding in a bush down the manicured drive. He heard pacing all around, and the periodic flashlight swaying. However, they were searching nowhere near him. That’s when he heard Wiedmiers distinctive, yet sleepy voice:

“Standartenfuhrer, we are searching the area. It seems the escapee is Mr. Bach, a Rotterfuhrer in the military police. He has recently been assigned to the Russian front pending his release from here. We believe he is likely gone from here now, and by tomorrow will likely be in the town 5 miles away. Permission to erect a roadblock, sir?”

“Granted Untersturmfuhrer, but only have it operational for one day, then come to me and announce him found dead. Then we shall bury the matter. One policeman runs away, so what, the Russian’s will eventually kill him, if not the locals. He is of no concern to me or any of us. I am going to bed, ensure that all documents that were taken are accounted for, and that their absence is reported, and order me a new pistol. The swine has taken mine.”

With that they walked off, their boots smartly clicking against the gravel road. Within a few minutes he heard the engine of a motorcycle veer off down the road. Apparently off to make a roadblock. He waited a few minutes before he two dashed across the street into the wheat fields. Although it was dark, near perfect concentration on the track that the man had run along had given Adelmar a perfect recollection of the path to take.

Benedek thought it odd; he was used to the odd work schedule of the Hungarian resistance fighter, but 3 in the morning? Even for these secret soldiers such times were unusual. Benedek, thus, warily got out of his bed. Experience taught him that not carrying his pistol was silly, thus he reached into the drawer and pulled it out, cocking it quietly. The banging grew louder, clearly this was important. Half asleep he walked down the stairs and to the door. Opening the door, he was glad he noticed the German pistol before anything, grabbing the man before he had a chance to shout; he pulled him to the floor. The German yelped, his pistol clattering harmlessly to the ground.

This, thought Aldemar, was not what he had been hoping. Indeed, as he looked up at the man whom had a pistol pointed no more than 2 inches from his head; he was sure from the look of anger on his face that he was soon to be dead. The man started shouting at him in what he thought was most likely Hungarian.

“Deutsche?...” the fear palpable in his voice, betraying his best efforts to remain calm. The man stopped, a dawning realization, as if he noticed an obvious mistake.

“Yes, yes, German. Ok. How did you find me, and who the hell are you. A patient, sure, but what regiment, why are you there? And what are these papers?”

Adelmar was taken aback by not only the quickness with which this man’s anger had subsided, but also the fluency of his German. Thus when he spoke, not only was a little more assured that his brains were not about to leave his body, but that he could in fact assume some level of protection from this man.

“I followed you, running past my window everyday makes you not such a hard target to follow. As for my name I am Adelmar Bach. And I believe we have met, I am here because of you.”

Benedek was taken aback a second time, who was this man, why did he know him? “Who are you kraut, and how did we meet?”

“My god, it was only 2 weeks ago, you tried to shoot me in the face, and now you have a gun pointed there again. Were you not the man whom scaled the wall of the building? How exactly did you escape?”

It was then that it struck Benedek, striking him hard: “You were the Rotterfuhrer? You were the man that led to the burning down of that block of flats, I think, my German prisoner that your life is ending.”

“NO, I was that man, but why am I in the hospital? I am in the hospital for dousing the fire that you, my rat friend, you started!” Adelmar nearly roared this, for what he cared, his life was soon over. His eyes stared like daggers. So he had tried he thought, it just seemed that death was on his cards this time.

“You saved them? You, a German, you saved them? What an odd concept. Now what are those papers, and why do you try and enter my home with a gun? What can I possibly do for you?”

“These, these are papers from the Standartenfuhrer, I am not sure what they say, but I believe they tell of the regions military capacity, or at least some military details. They are yours, so to is the pistol. Take it all, I don’t want them.”

Benedek withdrew his pistol and collected the papers, leafing through them he was not sure of their use, but they looked authentic enough. “Well such a fine German warrior, this has not been done for the patriotic good of the Hungarian people has it. What do you want from me?”

“You are connected are you not? I have been told that I was to go to Russia, I can’t go there. I can’t. Please get me to Germany, that’s all, I’ll sort myself from there.”

Benedek laughed, looking straight at him, his voice awash with scorn.

“Hell, I may be connected, but I can’t get you to Germany. Do you think if we could get to Germany we wouldn’t strike there too? No I cannot help, I am sure that my friends will simply kill you for being German.”

Adelmar was paralysed with a feeling of total dread, mixed with total collapse. He was, after all, simply a dead man. That was until he looked up at the ceiling. It was wooden, which was why his eyes were automatically drawn to the lights. It was Austrian. A gem of an idea began to form in his mind.

“Tell them I am Austrian.”

“What, what good could that possibly do?”

“Tell them I am Austrian. Tell them I am anti-Nazi, tell them my father was killed in the Sudetenland. Tell them I am your Austrian accomplice, tell them I have been compromised and that I must return home, it was I who was the one sighted at the apartment. “

“They would have known who you were, I am connected.”

“To hell are you connected, you write bloody pamphlets, they wouldn’t care if you had an Austrian or not. Lie, it seems to be something you are good at. Tell them whatever they need to hear. I will even work for you, just get me out of this awful country.”

“Work for me? Why would you work for me, and how could I possibly trust you?”

“If I give you up, I rejoin the German army, hell I might even become a squad leader. But I will still go to Russia. And I will die. What more solid reasoning do you need to be assured of my loyalty?”

Benedek looked at him, he was curious; here was a man whom had been selfless to save poor Hungarian people. Yet he was forsaking his nation simply to stave off a doom which running into a flaming building was just as sure to produce. Odd, he thought. These Germans are odd.

“Fine. You Mr. Bach, you are my Austrian body guard. You will find me a new place, and you will ensure that I am safe. In one month I will ensure your release, to Austria. After that, you’re on your own.”

So it was that the two rebels left that night, Benedek was still wary, having ensured that he had both the machine pistol and pistol. They crossed the field, and walked down a parallel road. This went on for a few miles before they came to a clump of bushes. “Here,” said Benedek “the joys of running, you find bikes. And better yet, places to hide them.”

“There are three, you’re a bloody thief! What do you need with three bikes!?”

“I was expecting two German traitors clearly!” With that he shot Adelmar a glance, and then descended into the bush, pulling up the two least rusty bikes.

Adelmar was glad for this, and although he was wary to be biking back into Budapest, he was comfortable that he looked like a local, dressed in a ragged, ill fitting suit. “Perfect” he thought when he had tried it on. Without ID cards, they would simply enter a back street and prey they escape one of the roaming German patrols. A fear of the German patrols, when they did finally arrive in the city, seemed unwarranted. Indeed, with the rapid advance of the Russian forces, the German army was consolidating its positions just outside the city, perfect for the planned resistance thought Benedek. Awful for his chance of escape, thought Adelmar.

For a month they worked, Adelmar simply buying groceries, while also ensuring he never met any German’s whom might know him. Without Hungarian, he merely grunted and pointed when buying groceries. Strange, he thought, such methods didn’t seem unusual to the locals who were equally as unresponsive. It was on one of the day’s home that things changed. As he turned a corner he saw them, row upon row of marching German soldiers. He quickly turned back around the corner. Just in time to hear the hurtling Russian artillery shells hurtle in to the street. When he looked back around, what had been a column of marching soldiers, was little more than body parts and low groans. Adelmar dropped his bag and ran, racing towards his apartment, he crossed the main thoroughfare. As he did, he felt behind him, the sudden rush of hot air and brick, one of which slammed into his leg, sending him flying.

He didn’t know how long he had been out, but when he came to, he saw Benedek. After this, he heard the close sounds of rapid gunfire, the heavy boom of artillery being replaced by the staccato blast of a near machine gun. His leg wouldn’t move, it was a stabbing pain. He cried out as he was hoisted up the stairs, and then merely collapsed to the ground. Benedek pulled out his pistol, giving himself the Machine Pistol. After a month of speaking, they had become close, far closer Adelmar thought, then any of his squad mates in the SS. He was no one’s fool, and was not brain washed by the constant barrage of Nazi propaganda. It had taken only 2 days for Benedek to trust him with a weapon, and by now, Adelmar thought nothing of being left a pistol.

“Clearly you can’t move, stay here. I am joining the resistance. The Russians are advancing on this quadrant. I am going with some rebels to make that advance faster.” With that he left the room, closing the front door on the way out. Adelmar was left in a daze, he felt sick from his wound, but became more focused, he crawled to a chair nearby, and it was by the window. He raised himself, grunting from the exertion of it and watched the battle in the street below. It had been a few minutes, and already the street was littered with Russian dead. Stupid way to fight he thought, but as he saw the German’s fall back, he changed his mind. Perhaps there is some desirable quality to this fighting. As he saw them brutally stab the Germans they came across, he froze, imagining how close this was to being him.

It was then that he heard a smash in the door, a dirty, German soldier collapsed to the ground. It was clear that he was frightened. But also clear that he had yet to fight, the look of retreat emanating from his blue eyes. It was when he looked up that Adelmar saw that he was Wiedmier. He had already looked at him, his eyes shot with fear, before he looked at the leg, and saw he was immobilized.

“Ha, our little deserter, what are you doing here. This is not home is it? I am sure you’re angry that you can’t die for your fatherland.”

Adelmar attempted to look away, hoping to act un-amused, in a vain attempt to get the officer to leave. But Wiedmier simply continued, moving closer, his gun help limply at his hand.

“I thought you had died, but it seems you have… friends? Oh I shall enjoy dragging you back to the commandant. It is certain death for you, traitor.”

“I am going nowhere you pig; you attempted to kill me for what? For disturbing your drinking and whoring? You are a damn pig.”

“A pig? I’ll take that, I am no traitor, I honour my commitments, and I’ll be dead before you can go back on your commitments Rotterfuhrer.”

“My commitments ended the day my army betrayed me for dead, had me transferred simply to aid in an officer’s murderous, unnecessary vengeance. I will kill you. And you will not have died for Germany. You will die for nothing.”

At this the Untersturmfuhrer laughed. His laugh a cackle, he stretched his arms out in mock surprise.

“You, you little rat traitor, how can a cripple like you, kill me?”

With that Adelmar pulled out the pistol that he had concealed in his jacket, without a word. He stared at the officers, whose arrogant bemusement quickly subsided. Before he could pull his gun up, Adelmar fire twice, they both hit their target. It was clear that the officer was dead before he hit the ground.

By the time Benedek rounded the stairs and ended on to the second floor it was clear that the Russian’s had one. Time for them to push on, he had fought. Indeed he held 4 Germans to his name as his own personal kill. Not bad effort for a typewriter he thought. Better not tell Adelmar, he is a good German, but there are limits to everyone’s goodness. That was when he saw the body, lying limp on the ground, and further up he saw Adelmar; asleep, clearly exhausted, although really he had done nothing.

Benedek noticed that the body was German; this should ensure he was trusted by the underground. Still he hesitated; it would have taken courage to fight that which had been instilled in him for so many years.

He took comfort in that, his rebel was not a hesitant one.

Submitted: January 03, 2012

© Copyright 2021 RB113. All rights reserved.

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