Historical Fiction Thriller Fiction

The air parade that seems to happen every night at this point continues until it drowns out all other sounds. The letter is on the table next to her. For a moment, Eve wonders if she should read it. She sips the tea clasped in her hands and looks at the flag outside her window. Its black, red, and white colors flutter in the soft winter breeze. She looks to the bedroom door across the hall, her husband is most likely sound asleep by now. 

 January 3rd, 1941 

To, Ms. Eve Claude In German-Occupied Paris

Let me first start by writing that OSS is putting a number of its assets at considerable risk to get you this letter. It is very rare for a matter to be given such priority and encryption methods such as this, and my superiors would like you to know that if the information you have is not deemed worthy of this much effort, this line of communication will be terminated. We are, however, willing to give complete protection to the mentioned members of your family if what you know is as vital as you say and it is within our power to do so.

So firstly, how is it that you know about Operation Jager’s Shroud? We are aware of the phrase and have been trying to learn more about it for the last year. Whatever information you have is necessary for us to continue this line communication.

January 10th, 1941

To, Corporal Rebecca Allensworth at the Office of British Intelligence in London. 

Let me start by saying if you Brits don’t listen, THE BLOOD OF THOUSANDS WILL BE ON YOUR HANDS. But with that said, I understand your concerns and I am aware that this line of communication is unusual.

So, to be direct and honest, my name is Eve Claude Borgia. I work at the German SS headquarters here in Paris as a secretary for Gordon Strumberg. I do not doubt that you haven’t heard much about Jager’s Shroud as there are only ten people in all of the Third Reich that do, including myself.

But the Operation should be taken seriously I assure you. Jager’s Shroud serves as Gordon Strumberg’s crowning achievement. It entails smuggling hand-picked members of the German SS, Wehrmacht, and even incarcerated individuals into allied countries. Their mission objectives range widely depending on the region in which they are being smuggled. Political and military assassinations, shipyard destruction, and factory sabotage are all among them. But the real objective is quite simple, destabilization. Strumberg believes that an attempted invasion of Europe is inevitable. He seeks to weaken that invasion as much as he can. He has already smuggled a number of these teams across the channel and has plans to send more. Even as far as New York City. He plans to equip them with military hardware and explosives. All of this I can prove, but as you know from my initial communication not without assurances for my family’s safety.

April 5th, 1941

To, Eve Claude,

We apologize for the amount of time that has passed since our last correspondence. Our initial assumption, while we stand corrected, was that you were lying. It was previously believed that Gordon Strumberg was killed in Ethiopia two years ago. But after confirming his appearance with other sources now we believe that to be incorrect. We are aware of Strumberg’s prior relations with Henrich Himmler and Otto Skorzeny. He is certainly the kind of man to attempt such a feat as Operations Jager’s Shroud.

However, my superiors disagree with the severity of this threat given the blockades that are currently in place all around Europe. As well as your claim that there are already German assets on British soil. In short, we will need more proof. What you’ve requested in exchange is no small feat and recovering two of your family members from Europe will take some doing. If there is any way you can prove to us that Strumberg’s plan has already begun, we may be able to come up with a deal. But until then, I’m sorry we cannot offer help at this time.

April 10th, 1941

To, Rebecca Allensworth

  No message is entailed in Eve’s letter, but inside is a scrap of paper reading, 448 Water Well Lane, Apartment 22, London. Along with a short warning. 

Bring. Guns.

April 18th, 1941

To, Eve Claude

Ms. Claude, we have received your letter entailing the apartment on Water Well Lane and discovered what I imagine you expected us to. Several German Saboteurs along with a shocking number of armaments and explosives were confirmed to have been inside the building for the last several months right under our noses. As you’d stated before Operation Jager’s Shroud is farther along and has significantly more backing than we previously were aware. In other words, you can count on our cooperation. You’ve requested the recovery of your family members indicated below.

Sofia Claude Borgia

Emilo Ernesto Borgia

We are aware of your sister’s location in Berlin as you informed us earlier. But we are having some trouble tracking down your father. Rest assured we will find him, but it is going to take time. Time, we believe, Strumberg could use to smuggle more men and more weapons into our borders and other allied nations. Unfortunately, the raid on Water Well Lane yielded no prisoners. The building was brought to the ground during the assault. Anything you can tell us that would help us prevent the smuggling, and arming of members of Operation Jager’s Shroud would be appreciated.

September 24th, 1941

To, Rebecca Allensworth

I am sorry to hear that the raid on the apartment yielded no prisoners. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me. Strumberg’s orders to the teams regarding possible capture were quite simple, it was not to happen.

But regarding the information you’ve requested, I’m sorry, I cannot reveal the locations and methods of forces involved in the operation until I know my family is safe. I do not take this stance out of stubbornness mind you. But a necessity to ensure my survival and that I can relay the information at all. I have already taken a great risk to warn you of what you’d find in London. I have felt the tremors of that explosion here in Paris as it’s been chalked up to the luck of chance now. If more teams are to be discovered or shipments of weapons seized then suspicion will grow. Strumberg’s men are loyal and devoted. He trusts all of them without question and the finger will turn to me in seconds.

I am still willing to reveal every man, shipment, and location to the letter. But I need to know my family is safe before I do that. I will not make it out of Paris once I do. But what I can tell you is that you still have time. Operation Jager’s Shroud has been given an activation date, and all of their teams know it by heart and mind. That date is January 12th, 1942. If anything changes of a drastic nature, I will inform you. But I cannot give you more information until I know they are safe.

October 28th, 1941

To, Eve Claude

We apologize for the sudden drop in communication. We were aware of your attempts to contact us and we tried to get a message to you but the methods of getting these letters to you change almost with the tides. But we write bearing both good and complicated news I’m afraid.

It has taken copious amounts of planning, and a few daring young men willing to risk their lives. But an operation is currently underway to retrieve your sister from Berlin. We should know by the time you receive this message if they were successful.

But on the matter of your father, we have some unfortunate news. We have double, and now triple-checked the information provided with our connections in Europe. And we do not believe your father is in France. We believe he was at one time. But that is not the case now. We do however have records of him entering Poland as of last month. Which undoubtedly as you know complicates matters. We have reason to suspect he may have been taken into the southern area of the country. Past that, we don’t have any information and what we can speculate isn’t good. We will keep you informed.

November 1st, 1941 

To, Rebecca Allensworth

It was my understanding that he was STILL in France. Perhaps your sources may be wrong. I will look into the matter here myself but I believe it to be true, my father is still in France at a vineyard somewhere in the south. Perhaps he is living under a different name? But I know for certain he is in France.

November 5th, 1941

To, Eve Claude

As of October 30th, your sister has arrived on British soil. The operation was carried out successfully and we have arranged a place for her to stay and an in-house nurse with expertise in her affliction. We hope this news will come as a great relief. We are also working with our channels to get you a letter from her by the end of this month.

However, now that your sister has been recovered, we again request the information you promised in exchange for this. Our sources have warned us of a possible change to Operation Jager’s Shroud, it’s suspected at this time that Strumberg is considering changing the activation date to a closer one than previously indicated.

November 10th, 1941

To, Rebecca Allensworth

I am grateful for your efforts, truly I am. But I can promise you that the previously given activation date has not changed. Strumberg is maintaining a strict hold on it as it will take this long before all the teams are adequately supplied. Whoever you are receiving this information from is mistaken, Strumberg will stay on the January 10th deadline.

Now I suspect that you left the matter of my father’s situation intentionally out of your last correspondence to me. He is in France. I know now for certain of this as I’ve been told by Strumberg himself only two days ago. I will give you all the information I have on completion of our original agreement.

November 15th, 1941

To, Eve Claude

Your father is not in France. We know this because our channels and resources are the strongest in that region. We know he entered Polland months ago because we now have confirmation from both German and French officials, as well as confirmed where in Poland he is. I’m sorry to inform you that an attempt to rescue ANY individual from that facility is in the simplest of terms, impossible.

To attempt such a rescue operation would take not only the combined strength of all Allied Naval support but our Air Force as well. I’m sorry Ms. Claude, but it is not possible. And my superiors asked that I remind you of another matter.

While your sister is in our hands she is not as of this time, a British citizen. And while no harm will befall her while she is in our care, she is still subject to possible deportation back to France. Please send whatever information you have, while we try to make a deal with British immigration.

November 18th, 1941

To, Rebecca Allensworth

Do you think I’m stupid? You and I both know, Mrs. Allensworth that you and your superiors have it well within your powers to halt any deportation of my sister back to France. Which I believe you and they are also aware, would mean her death. As she is mentally ill, and the invaders of my homeland have opinions on such things. In short, you’re giving me an ultimatum and I find this unreasonable. Have you even looked for my father? Is Sofia even there as well? Or have you Brits just been lying to me this entire time?

If that’s the case, I am more than willing to let Strumberg carry out Operation Jager’s Shroud without any attempt to stop it. I will not be lied to, I will not be controlled, and I will not be forced into sacrificing my family's lives.

November 26th, 1941

To, Eve Claude

Two letters are received on this date, one with the normal standard typewriter look to the letters. However, the other is shorter, on different colored paper, and handwritten.

To Evie,

Hi Evie! Guess who’s in London!? I finally got to go after some men came to the house and told me they were going to take me to you. I was pretty sad when I got here and found out you weren’t here yet and was wondering when you’re coming. It’s nice here, We get bombed sometimes and the house shakes but there’s this room we run to when that happens, it’s like when we used to play hide and seek. I can’t wait to introduce you to everyone, there are a bunch of other kids here and they’re all nice and fun to play with.

Mrs. Allensworth is the one watching all of us, she’s helping me write this letter to you cause my hand shakes too much. When you come can bring my donkey? It’s in my chest at the flat and I forgot it when I left for Germany. I hated Germany, to be honest, why didn’t you come visit me or write? Gordon’s brothers said it’s because you didn’t love me. It made me sad for a long time. But I still love you and I hope to see you soon, I miss you!

Love Sofia,

The second letter follows this one.

As you can see from the previous letter, we are not lying. Sofia is quite well looked after. But I remind you that this situation can be permanent, or it can be temporary. We do not want to send your sister back to France, but in all honesty Ms. Claude you are the one being unreasonable.

We have invested more effort into your situation alone than we have in support of the French resistance itself. We have been looking for your father and we are deeply sorry to inform you of his whereabouts. Furthermore, we have also not questioned you on the information you provided us. Nor have we questioned why through all of our correspondence you failed to mention you are not Gordon Strumberg’s secretary, but his wife. We learned this through our sources.

Now we could seek other methods of uncovering Operation Jager’s Shroud, but we have chosen not to out of the reliability you have shown. And there are others at risk besides your sister and father. Think of the thousands of girls and boys like Sofia who would be at risk if the Nazis were to win this war. How many more fathers would vanish? How many more families would be separated like your own? We are still sympathetic, despite your stubbornness to withhold this information. As we are to all affected by The Third Reich's aggression.

But time has run out, Ms. Claude. Our sources say that Strumberg has advanced the timetable to as soon as Christmas. He may not have told you himself, but if we do not receive this information soon, we will be forced to take other actions to prevent their operation from going through.

December 5th, 1941

To, Rebecca Allensworth

Inside the package along with Eve’s Letter is a second letter, and a small black notebook.

Mrs. Allensworth,

As this will be our last correspondence, I would like to again thank you, the OSS, and all who were involved in my sister's rescue for their efforts. Attached to this parcel, you will find my notes and records of everything I have seen, read, and heard about Operation Jager’s Shroud. It will detail all the shipments, team locations, and targets, and even the date Gordon Strumberg planned to travel to Berlin to inform Adolf Hitler and Henrich Himmler of his plan that he has kept hidden these last two years. But this date will be meaningless after tonight.

      And yes, I did lie to you initially about my involvement with Strumberg. I thought it was necessary given the nature and severity of what I was informing you of that you trusted the information rather than the person giving it as fast as possible. While I don’t consider myself Gordon’s wife, he does consider me his, and on paper we are.

But yes, we are married and have been since I was 14. And while I don’t want to believe it, I think you are right about my father. Gordon had led me to believe he was still in France and only working at a vineyard somewhere for a German Officer. But I have done my digging, and found that Officer never in fact existed, I’ve learned that many things he’d told me were never true. I wish there was something you could do, but you’ve rescued my sister from Gordon’s family, and I am forever grateful for that. This information will allow you to cut Gordon’s dreams short, and erase his achievements before they’ve even been written.

I’ve also attached a letter to Sofia, if you will please give it to her I’d be most grateful. And if by chance, my father is still alive when this war ends, please do what you can to reunite them together.

With respect and gratitude for you all,

Eve Claude Borgia.

On December 18th, 1941, British intelligence was informed of an explosion in Paris on the 6th an apartment building only a short distance away from where the letters had been sent to Eve had suffered a gas leak and exploded collapsing it to the ground. Gordon Strumberg and several German officials were among the casualties. Eve was never seen again. 

August 24, 2023 22:52

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