My Life in the West
Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Historical, Group Sex, Masturbation, Petting,
Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1 - After 'War's End' our Soviet airman gets posted to a highly, secret outfit in North Germany. Then, his life changes forever.
The Bay was as bleak and dreary as that coast gets in late Autumn. The wind had a hint of the ice of the Arctic which cut through to the bone as effective as any sabre slash. It hardly stirred the sea, however, with its fitful breath, although it hardly mattered. Saturated from my dunking in the Bay, I knew I had little time before my remaining strength became so depleted, my only wish would be to lay down and submit. My RAF quilted flying jacket was never designed to withstand an immersion in such waters and felt as heavy on my shoulders as if I was carrying bricks in my pockets.
Beyond the veil of the night fog, the old aircraft had remained afloat just long enough for me to scramble from the cockpit. A piece of aluminium wheel spat had served as a life buoy - sufficient to get me to shore. Fate had offered me the means to survive the sea, but I was not sure I would survive the cold. As I looked behind, the Lysander had tipped and surrendered to the sea - dragged down to the bottom by the heavy engine.
I enjoyed flying that old, British machine. At Wismar, we’d dubbed her ‘The Walrus’ in that habit Soviet pilots have of naming their machines after animals. I’m not sure how it fell into our hands. The story I heard was it was a ‘Prise de Guerre’, found locked up in a hangar on some Luftwaffe airfield as our forces moved across North Germany. The Germans had destroyed the engine by running it up with an empty oil tank. But, we had plenty of replacements and engineers had bolted on a M-25 - much the same as powered the crates I flew during the war. It gave marginally more power, but was also larger in diameter. The Lysander was never particularly pleasing aesthetically, and that grafted on Soviet version of the Wright Cyclone did little to change the pure utilitarian look of the machine.
Designed in 1936 at the same time as the old Pobiedas, the Lysander concealed a wealth of aerodynamically advanced features for the time. That is why it proved such a valuable aircraft in the inventory. These features centred on the wing, which enabled it to have a very low stall speed and short take off and landing capability. Coupled with an extremely rugged undercarriage and fuselage construction made it perfect for clandestine operations. You can put the Lysander down on a sports field or a forest clearing and it will pull up in a distance barely three times its own length. I know this is true because I have done it. We compared it to the German Storch and found it had a bigger payload and could withstand landings that would break the more fragile German aircraft.
I remembered that operation as clear as yesterday. The fog was closing in that evening and I decided the mission must be going to be called off. It was a simple flight across the Bay of Mecklenburg to drop something at a location to the West of Kiel. We were never told what was in the packages, or who they were for. We, after all, were the taxi drivers forbidden to talk to the passengers, and delivery drivers who were not to know what we were delivering. Our ‘Special Deployment Section’ was pathetically small - merely two specialist machines, a Pobieda with a second cockpit, and the Lysander. A half dozen mechanics, some security and administration guys and that was the unit - maybe 20/25 in total.
We used an old Luftwaffe field just outside of Wismar. We were rarely let out of the wire and never by ourselves. Instead, an improvised cinema entertained us with propaganda films and old movies. We played football and chess when it was too cold to spend anytime outside. The mail was always a month old - sometimes we felt like submariners sealed hermetically from the outside world for weeks of a patrol. For we young men, the absence of female company was the hardest to endure. All the time I was there, I never saw a woman. We would’ve given a year’s wages for a French film.
I was to fly the Lysander. The Pobieda had too short a range - it’s fuselage tank having been taken out to accommodate the second cockpit. The Lysander had been fitted with an external tank bolted below the fuselage. We emptied that, first, lest it be split open during a hard landing. A package was mounted on each of the wheel spats with simple trip wires that fed into the cockpit. Once over the drop zone, I’d pull on the wires and release the containers which were slowed in their descent by drogue chutes. That was the plan and it didn’t differ at all from a dozen others I’d done before.
By 5pm the fog had closed in and I took myself to my bunk to read. Barely 5 minutes later the commander opened the door and ordered me to prepare for the mission. I started to argue, but he told me it was a priority. Such was the reality in our little, secret outfit. We pilots did what we were told, obeyed orders, and our judgement was never taken into account. This is what happens when spies make the decisions. For them, it is a matter of life and death and they expect we ‘drivers’ to have the same sense of duty.
Around my neck was the cyanide pill I was expected to swallow in the event of a crash landing in ‘enemy’ territory. Across the Bay was the British Zone - the same British who were our comrades in arms barely two years before. I met many of the British when I was stationed down in the Thuringian Forest area shortly after the peace. Now, we are told we are enemies, that they are allied with the Americans who have a bomb so powerful it can destroy cities. This ‘atomic’ bomb shifted the ground with the thought of hundreds of American B-29s swarming over our country, annihilating cities at will, and at a height and speed few of our interceptors could reach. America wanted to rule the world, we were told by our political officers, and it was a fear that was easy to believe. Why then have such a terrible weapon if they had no intention to use it? In any case, I was determined not to use that pill. If I was to crash, I would prefer to go down with my aircraft in the manner of a combat pilot, not in a death reserved for traitors and spies.
It was dark by six o’clock, when the mechanics started the Lysander’s engine. Serials and maker’s codes had been cleaned off and even the engine numbers had been thoroughly filed. The plane was finished in all over dark green with a scheme uncharacteristic of Soviet military aircraft. Naturally, no National markings or tactical numbers were painted on the wings and fuselage. Nothing was left on the aircraft that would make it easy to trace the origin. Neither was I to carry anything personal, or military ID - anything that would identify me as a Soviet military officer. I wore an RAF jacket a GRU ‘Leytenant’ turned up one day - pleased, he was, like an angler who’d hooked a big salmon. An old pair of Luftwaffe flight overalls completed the image, dyed black, and a set of fur lined boots obtained locally. Exaggerated secrecy was the order of the day, with a swift death in the event of failure. In my bunk at night, I sometimes wondered what all the death and destruction was all for in the end, if we still treated each other as enemies, albeit with a different uniform, and conducted peacetime missions with all the urgency, discipline and risk inherent two years ago.
At 6.05 I was taxiing to the runway marked by a double row of red lamps. The GRU spies had insisted I not carry a radio, so tower instructions were conveyed by a polychromatic signal lamp mounted outside the control room. A torch inside the wind sock showed me wind direction. It was all very basic, like before the war at the student airfield in Rostov. The lamp on the tower railing flickered from red to green, so I ran up the M-25 to take off power. Heavy with fuel, the Lysander took a full 400 metres before reaching rotation speed and then I was off. I kept her low - barely 150 metres - but I knew the coast was as flat as a football field. The run to the ocean was free of obstructions, providing I kept strictly to my bearing. The British compass was first class, as was the artificial horizon and altimeter. I had little trouble flying on instruments - I was arguably the best in our little band of fliers. The guys would say I could not find my way out of a bar in the daytime, but given an aircraft on a dark night, I would always make it home.
There was only about 50 metres of clear air below the fog, but it didn’t worry me that much. I have flown in worse conditions and I thought I could handle it. Finding the drop zone on that anonymous, sparsely populated, inky black shore would be a challenge to my navigation, but, again, I had that confidence born of youthful energy, training, experience and military discipline.
At 150 knots, I should be over the drop zone in just over an hour. The lights at Dahme and Groemitz were my fixes, but I doubted they would be visible in these conditions. With no radio DF it was seat-of-the pants, dead reckoning flying with slide rule and guess work. A break in the fog revealed the light, I was sure, was Groemitz. I corrected 15 degrees to the North before hitting the coast. I was low/low to avoid a British radar installation we knew they operated on Fehmarn, well to the North. At that time, we could only guess the power and range of the British radar. We Soviets had been late to the game and had a lot to learn about this new technology. I calculated, rather than saw the coastline. On that night, you would need Xray vision to see very much of anything. It was time for the slide rule, the stop watch and the guess work.
Suddenly the engine faltered. My heart leapt in my chest and I desperately switched over from the external to the internal tanks. It had to be fuel, but there ought to be plenty of gas left in the tank. I hadn’t the time to dwell on that, I was too busy navigating and listening to the beat of the engine, as it struggled back up to the proper revolutions. I was so close to the ground I feared a sudden loss of height would see me clipping a tree, a pole, or some other obstruction and slam into a field. But, it was well. I regained height and continued. There would be time later to recalculate my fuel.
To this day, I don’t know for sure what happened. I suspect it was probably the joint between the external tank and the main fuel line. It included a non-return valve to stop fuel from the internal tank bleeding back into the empty external. It looked vulnerable to the effects of vibration to me. But, in our unit, engineers could not be questioned. We were the taxi drivers and delivery boys.
The drop zone was a forest clearing. We’d used it before and I was dead on the mark. A red lamp pulsed amid the blackness below and I pulled on the wires to release the containers. Guns, radio parts, forged documents, explosives, microfilm cameras or false beards, I had no idea and cared even less. My job was to drop the load and skedaddle and that is what I did - as fast as that five year old rattletrap could go.
In that dawn of the jet age when our first experiments in the operational capability of turbine powered aircraft were just beginning, I know of no other aircraft more appropriate for what we did in Wismar than that big, chunky British Westland Lysander. The British developed this mark for the express purpose of flying clandestine missions into occupied France. A special propellor and muffler was designed to reduce noise. It could land in a cornfield and take off on a country lane. Automatic wing slots reduced the stall speed to 55 knots. Its high wing gave an unparalleled view of the ground for the pilot. Its slow approach speed meant you could hop hedges and dot it down precisely where you wanted it. Unlike the German Fieseler Storch, it had a useful payload and an undercarriage that could withstand the heaviest landing. 1947 saw the introduction of the Antonov AN-2 that had some of the features of the Lysander, but not all. Our engineers should have copied that aircraft and turned them out by the thousands. For the Russian environment, it would’ve been perfect as a general utility aircraft. But, it was the only one in our inventory and I sent it to the bottom of the Bay of Mecklenburg.
I was back over the sea before I tackled the vexed question of fuel. The external had no separate gauge so you ran it dry before switching to the fuselage tank. By my calculation I was going to be short and wouldn’t make it back to the airfield. By next question was, where would I land? I could try to make the waters off the Soviet Zone, or turn down the coast and ditch somewhere offshore? I thought, 10, 20 kilometres off shore I was bound to drown or freeze to death, providing I survived the ditching. I had no parachute, nor life preserver, for we were expected to die with our aircraft. Even in the worst days of the Patriotic War, I do not remember such callous disregard for the lives of our combat pilots. Of course, we can all criticise the tactical decisions of our generals that needlessly wasted the lives of so many fine pilots. But, in the war there was never a deliberate policy to deny a pilot the chance to save themselves if things go wrong - which they often did.
I did not want to drown, freeze to death or take the GRU’s bitter pill. I resolved to turn South, past the Groemitz Light, and down the coast of the British Zone. This way, I was sure I could never make it back into Soviet controlled waters, but, to be within reach of the beach was far preferable than the middle of the Bay. In half an hour, the engine died. I trimmed the aircraft tail heavy to counter the weight of the dead engine. With a fixed undercarriage, the aircraft was liable to flip over as it hit the sea. I thought to take standard ditching procedure - a dead stick approach into the wind keeping the nose up so the tail will strike first. The sea was a flat calm, and I was sure I could get down safely. How long it will stay afloat, I had no idea. I pulled back the cockpit canopy so I could exit as fast as possible.
There was no sound but the eerie whistling of the wind through the wing slots and flaps. The plane seem to tremble as if in fear of the freezing cold water. With no power to the hydraulics, it took all my strength to keep the plane on an even keel, for if a wingtip hit the water, it would be bound to cartwheel with dire results for me, the pilot. I held my breath as the plane shuddered. The tailwheel bounced off the surface of the sea and those big, mainwheel spats smashed into the gentle swell. For a moment, the nose dipped and I thought it was going to plunge straight down, of flip over onto its back. Then, with a groan, it settled, upright, with the sound of the sea rushing into every aperture. I punched the buckle of my seat belt and clambered out of the cockpit. The ocean was barely a metre below and rising when, in desperation, I held my nose and jumped.
I should’ve drowned then. I had not thought to remove that heavy jacket and I sank like a stone into the cold water. Fighting for my life, I sluggishly regained the surface, but I could feel my waterlogged flight clothing trying to drag me back down. Kicking and thrashing for all I was worth, my hand found metal and I clung onto it. It turned out to be a section of wheel spat made of duralumin and it floated like a boat. Summoning all my strength, I hauled myself onto it so it part submerged, but had enough buoyancy to support my weight. Then, I kicked my legs, steering in the direction I thought ought to be the beach.
I cannot remember the time it took to paddle to shore. My sense of time expanded, slowed, so that minutes seemed like hours. All I remember is the sense of relief when my feet contacted gravel bank, less than 100 metres from the stoney beach. I part crawled, part floundered as I could not swim in that saturated clothing. When I at last hit the beach, I was all in, steam rising from my overworked body as the heat of exertion gave way to the onset of hyperthermia. I tried to stand, but slumped to my knees. I needed to get as far away from the water as I could, so I crawled over gravel, dune, until encountering prickly grass, damp from the evening dew and just as chilling.
I knew I had to keep moving or submit to an icy death. I argued with myself, demanded I stay awake, get some shelter, dry my clothes, make a plan of what I was to do now. As a language student, I could speak English fairly well, but not enough to fool an Englishman. I had enough German to ask the way, barter for a bottle of schnapps, but not nearly well enough to pass for a German. I was lost in enemy territory after a top secret mission I dare not tell anyone - even my own people. Will I be shot as a spy or traded back to the GRU? Then what of them? A secretive, vengeful organisation who took care of their ‘failures’ with ruthless efficiency. No trial for me, but days of interrogation followed by a bullet.
Should I seek the nearest British official and turn myself in? Surely they will want me to betray my country, my service, my comrades and tell all I know. They will want the whole story of these secret operations into the territory they administer. They will want names and places. I told myself I could never do any of that. To become a traitor meant sacrificing my family, my close friends, as well as those agents working out there in the field. I may well become some prize, some show pony in this secret war between erstwhile allies. I imagined being posed for propaganda films in the same way we posed defectors in front of our cameras. I couldn’t bear to be treated as such. I wanted a quiet life doing the things I loved.
I got up then, with the assistance of a tree shrub. Once on my feet, a little of my strength came back to me, and I walked, staggered, inland, away from the ocean and towards a road I knew lay somewhere off in the distance. I resolved to cast myself into fate, as if committing a blade of grass to the wind. Where I will land, I had no idea, but I must survive.
In a while, I spotted what looked to be a house. There was no light, so I thought it may be unoccupied. This is what I needed - to get somewhere out of sight that was warm and dry and away from prying eyes. Above all I needed time and the space to think myself out of this situation. I staggered straight into a fence, overgrown with prickly thorn bushes. It spiked my arms and legs, but it woke me up from my slow torpor. I groped along its length before I found a gate, open, and falling down. A broken, stoney path revealed itself in front of me lit by the slow lightening of the early dawn.
I moved up the path, then off to the left to peer into a window. It was partly ajar, so I lifted it up and hauled myself over the sill and inside the room. The faint blue of dawn was the only light, but I could see scrolls of an embossed wallpaper, old polished furniture, and the dying embers in the fireplace. There were people living here, and a jolt of fear shot up my spine. I crouched down, listening for sounds of movement, but there was nothing but the ticking of a clock on the wall. I sat on my haunches, ‘what to do, what to do?’ I was run completely out of ideas.
I could feel the faint heat emanating from the dying fire, and I crawled across to it. I could’ve crawled into that big, old fireplace and fallen asleep in the embers. It was while I was lying like that when I sensed, rather than heard movement from somewhere in the room.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my house?”
The voice was harsh and rapid and I barely understood. I think the German language was invented on the parade ground by bullying Sergeants. At least, that is what it seemed to my ears. The words weren’t all familiar, but I understood the intent.
“English!” I told the voice trembling with cold and fear. “RAF,” I said, tapping the wings badge on my left breast.
“What? Who? English you say? What are you doing here?”
“Down,” I said, “sunken!” searching through my limited German words to convey the story.
“Sunken?” she repeated, “in the sea? You crashed your plane in the sea? My, God, you are soaked. You must get out of those clothes at once,” she demanded. “At once, British! You will catch pneumonia!”
I thought here was a German ‘Frau’ used to giving orders. In fact, all my time in Germany, I met few Germans who did not like rebuking someone or ordering people about. If I had been thinking clearly that morning, I would’ve thought that, after finding a downed, English pilot in her drawing room, a hausfrau would immediately run to a phone and call the authorities. In that case, all would be over, my identity would be exposed and I would be handed over to their intelligence people. But this morning was not my time to face the consequences of my decision. She didn’t have a phone in the house.
The woman looked to be in her forties with hair dyed blond with chlorine bleach. She wore a heavy, candlewick house coat heavily embroidered. Her face showed signs of premature ageing, her lines betraying the remains of thick make up. Dark shadows ringed her eyes from mascara worn and smudged after a night’s sleep.
“Come,” she said, pulling me to my feet with remarkable strength. I’m not sure of my weight, but I was military fit and well-muscled. She pulled me up as if I was a child, then half carried me through the door and up some narrow stairs. “Off!” she commanded, as she started to pull at my wet clothes. “Off, ‘ she repeated, in English.
She fetched a towel and hung it on an old rocker in the corner of the room. The rest of the room featured an immense, canopy bed neatly turned down, and a mirrored dresser cluttered with small phials of perfume, cosmetics and various knick-knacks.
As my jacket came off, she carried it at arms length out of the room to return for the next item. “I will dry them by the fire,” she announced, “and you will get into bed. I will fetch more covers. My God, you are positively blue with the cold,” she added, grabbing the towel and rubbing it vigorously around my torso. “I will get some embers from the fire for the bed warmer. You will wait here until I get the bed ready - on the seat - sit! No, you will take off your underwear,” she scolded. “Off, and I will put them by the fire.”
Reluctantly, I dropped my shorts while she stood over, arms askance, like a stern governess in the nursery. “Huh!” she huffed and carried my soaking shorts out of the room. Presently, she came back with a bed warmer with a long handle. She pushed it under the covers. “I will put a towel over it so you won’t burn yourself. Now, you will get into my bed. I have some extra covers in the cabinet.”
With that, she hauled me to my feet and deposited me on the bed. “Quickly!” she said, in both German and English. “My God, you are too slow. You will catch your death, British!” With that, she tucked me into her bed and fetched some extra covers. Meticulously she tucked me in as if I was a baby.
I watched her as she moved about the room. From her pocket, she produced a Mauser pistol and placed it in a dresser drawer. In the mirror, that was tipped slightly downwards, I saw the contents of the drawer clearly. It was stuffed full of neatly folded, silk knickers. I thought, this was a woman who once had status and means to afford such luxuries at a time when there were shortages and poverty all around.
Casting around the room I saw some old photos beside the bed on a night table. One was of a young man - her son, perhaps - and another of an older man in his fifties - perhaps, her husband. Both of them wore the dreaded, black uniform of the Nazi SS.
“Fuck!” I muttered under my breath in my native tongue. “Fuck!”
All through the morning I had to endure those handsome faces of the Nazi beasts. My eyes were drawn to those photos like viewing a corpse in the street. I once passed the compound outside Halle shortly after the conclusion of hostilities. It had formally served as a cage for Russian prisoners of war worked to death by the Nazi war machine. It was now cluttered with Hitler’s SS soldiers, pathetic, worn out and waiting for the judgement of SMERSH tribunals. No doubt many of those men would’ve faced the noose as they condemned so many of my fellow countrymen to die. A few displayed signs of being beaten up by Soviet guards. I had mixed feelings at the time. I did not feel any sense of arrogance looking into the faces of young men who are to be condemned to death. The feeling never left me - a kind of pity. Neither could I forget the devastation of my homeland, the death of my father from Luftwaffe bombing of Rostov, the millions who died miserable deaths so these people could claim their ‘lebensraum’, their mastery of Europe and the rest of the world, if given the chance.
The woman came back in after a few hours with some steaming, chicken broth. She fluffed up the pillows and insisted she feed me by hand, with a china spoon. “You are much better,” she announced. “There is a good colour to your face. You must tell me your name and what happened to your aeroplane. I will tell the Post when he comes tomorrow and ask him to telephone the British. Your comrades will want to know you are safe. We are far from the nearest town and I don’t go there.”
“Whats the nearest town?” I asked, in passable German.
“Neukirchen. It is 20 kilometres away in that direction,” she said, waving her arm in a rough, Southerly direction. “You are based where?”
I feigned not understanding so I’d have time to come up with a story. She repeated the question in English, so I was trapped. “Fehmarn,” I told her. “My base is on Fehmarn.”
“Ach, such a desolate place. There is nothing there but fog and farmers. Trust the British to put a base on such a miserable place. It is like your island, dour and sad, but without the gaiety of city life.”
I have never been to England, so I accepted her judgement with a slow nod. I didn’t want too many questions, so I feigned tiredness. “Ach, I am sorry. You are all in. You must get some sleep and regain your strength.” With that, she took the bowl and left the room.
I did sleep then. I must have snoozed throughout the day for it was dark when I finally opened my eyes. The bed was warm and snug and I didn’t want to leave it. I thought of the Postman tomorrow and how I would have to leave before he arrived. Somehow, I’d need to concoct a story why I can’t wait for the squadron truck. I thought about all I would need to move about in the West without raising suspicion. I would need a back story, who I was, where I came from and where I was going. I had not thought at all about such things before and the task seemed impossible. I knew so little of the Western Allied part of Germany and nothing at all beyond its borders.
It was while my mind was dwelling on such things that I realised I was not alone in the bed. The woman had insinuated herself under the covers while I slept and was now tucked into my back. I smelled some expensive French perfume and an arm clamped over my stomach. She moved, slightly, and I felt the twin pillows of her flattened breasts on my back. It was a situation that should instantly arouse my curiosity, but I was too confused to imagine anything at all.
I hadn’t felt a woman this close since the British Army driver back in the Thuringian Forest. Her name was Emily and she was married to an English Sergeant. If I was forced to admit it, I had fallen heavily for her. But, it was a relationship that was doomed from the start. She would not leave her husband to live in the Soviet Union with me, and I could not desert my squadron, my service and country to live an uncertain future in the West. But, those happy memories of furtive meetings in the forest had kept me going this past year in the sterile, sealed world I was assigned to.
My confusion mounted as the woman’s hand began to drift, downwards. I was still naked as a baby and was patently aware she had access to all points, North and South. Where was this going? Is it what I am thinking? A lonely widow of an SS officer grabbing herself a piece of a fit young man who happened to turn up on her doorstep? Or, perhaps, it was a misunderstanding?
The latter was soon put to rest when her hand found what she was seeking. Expertly, she massaged me to hardness with the tips of her fingers before taking me in hand firmly in her fist. My breath quickened at the sensation - many months without female company, nothing had touched down there except my own hand. She slid her palm over the tip to catch some moisture, before continuing to jack, slow, insistent and very pleasurably.
All through this I was aware of the silky warmth of her nightdress transferring heat directly to my bottom and thighs. She pushed her body more firmly against mine as she quickened the pace - sensing I was ready to explode. Her hand left me suddenly, but just as quick, it returned with a silk handkerchief. A few more quick rubs and I filled it, the woman milking me slowly until I was all done.
Having finished, her hand then roamed freely over my body, as if patting down a prize stallion. She lightly squeezed my shoulders, biceps and thighs and I thought I heard a contented sigh escape her lips. I nestled back contentedly in her arms, having little desire to return any favours. In any case, she demanded none, seemingly happy just to service me. Still wordlessly, she rolled out from under the covers and padded out of the room. I saw the swish of her buttocks in her silk nightdress, shapely, for all her age and experience. She was curvy, but nothing like the fresh youth of my Emily. At the thought of her, I rose again, but this time, I had to finish myself.
My clothes were all ready for me when I woke in the morning, draped and folded over the rocking chair. I put on my shorts and went to search for the toilet. A roaring fire had been built in the drawing room and warmth suffused the whole house. I found the toilet, just off the kitchen. Having performed my ablutions, I wandered back through the kitchen. A pot of porridge was simmering on the stove and, out the window, I saw the woman in her housecoat feeding chickens in a cage. She was clucking and talking to them as if they were her children. Perhaps they were. Perhaps they were all that remained of her family.
Presently, she came through the door and spied me, bare-chested and in shorts. “You must dress properly for breakfast,” she chided, but I caught her eyes looking me up and down. I suspected she didn’t really mind one bit. “I have oats and fresh farm milk my neighbour sells me every Monday,” she told me. My lack of attire ceased to be an issue, as she sat me down at the table.
I felt her eyes on me the whole time I spooned back the porridge. “You are well toned,” she said, by way of conversation. “You English seem half starved, from what I could see. You have obviously been fed well by your squadron and have had good, healthy exercise. Germany has not done you any harm, I think.”
German was still a struggle and I couldn’t converse confidently in that language. Instead, I replied to her in English, hoping her command was not sufficient to pick up my Russian accent. “It is good countryside,” I said, “rich pasture!” I had no idea if that was true. I was not a farmer.
“I am from Hamburg. Land is land and a cow is a cow. I care not where they come from when I cook a stew.” I smiled and her eyes danced a little. “My husband’s family had land in this area. They gave me this cottage to live in after my husband was killed in the war.”
“Your son?” I asked, unguarded and, perhaps, foolishly.
“In the Battle of Kursk,” she replied. “He was in Panzers, you know. The Bolsheviks got him on the first day. They shelled him before he could even climb into his tank. He did his duty, like so many others,” she sniffed, dismissively. “For what? Look at us now? Bolsheviks all over half of the country, Americans and British over the rest. All those young men dead, our cities rubble, Jews and foreigners wandering the countryside with nowhere to go. Hitler took my son and husband,” she added, bitterly, “for why? For why?”
I was at a lost for words as she wiped an errant tear from the corner of her eye with the back of her hand. “I’m sorry.” she said, at last. “You must have lost people, family, comrades. We all have lost someone in that useless war. Come, you should get dressed in your uniform. You must be an officer, I think.”
“Captain,” I told her.
“Ah, yes, a captain. My son had made lieutenant when he was killed. My husband was, ah...”
“Standartenfuehrer?” I suggested, foolishly.
“The SS were soldiers, fighting for the fatherland,” she snapped. I dropped the conversation, not willing to have this conversation. There was too much that might come out, if we continued, said in the heat of the moment. I suppressed the desire to argue - it would not bring back the dead, in any case.
“There,” she announced, when I was fully dressed. “Now you look like an officer and a pilot. You have seen combat?”
“Yes, many times,” I replied. “I was lucky to have survived. 1941, I enlisted.”
“Ah, the Battle of Britain?” she said. “Bombers? Fighters?”
“Ah! My nephew flew Messerschmitts against you. He survived, also. It is good you never shot each other down. He may now make a life for himself in what we have left to us. You now fly patrol planes? That must be a come down from combat. Still, it is much safer - unless you crash your plane into the sea,” she said, with a chuckle.
“I must go,” I told her. “I will walk to Neukirchen and call my airfield.” I was mindful of the postman. I had no idea when he would arrive and didn’t want to be here when he did.
“For why? The Post will take a message for you. He has a truck and will be in Neukirchen late this evening.”
“I cannot stay,” I said. “Who knows when they will send a car for me. I should get to town and tell the authorities myself.”
“Well, if you’re sure,” she said. “You should stay on the road. Don’t take the deviation, you hear? It joins the Autobahn to Kiel.”
“I hear,” I replied, “And thanks for the ah, hospitality.”
I detected a blush as I left through the door, out past the chickens, and to the road.