tagErotic HorrorDaubed Doors, Coated Candies

Daubed Doors, Coated Candies


The Schmidt family shivered at the terrifying orders, shouting and screaming echoing down Oranienburger Strasse. Once or twice a pistol went off. The Jewish quarter was alive with fear, the Star of David daubed on doors, the painted swastikas, street by street, every night for days. Now it was their turn, the rap on the door speaking volumes of doom.

"We have been expecting you," Schmidt said resignedly to the solitary tall, thin blond man in the black leather coat of an officer of the SS. He nodded back before speaking.

"Trick or treat?" the officer cackled.


"It's a pagan-Christian thing, being All Saints Day tomorrow, so the demons apparently rule unchecked tonight. So, give me some sweet offerings or else suffer the consequences. I'll give you a clue, you will not much like the forfeit."

"Er, I have a bag of sweets somewhere, on the mantelpiece I think."

"Good. Are you going to invite me into your house, Herr Abraham Schmidt?"

"Er, do I have any choice?"

"None whatsoever."

"Come in, then, of course."

Schmidt stood to one side, the officer ascended the steps and entered the doorway, squeezing his thin frame past the fat jeweller, limping slightly, aiding his progress with the help of a silver-topped cane. Schmidt looked up the street, where families were being hounded from their houses by loud fully-armed soldiers with bayonets fitted to rifles or poking prisoners with their stumpy sten guns, and herded them tightly packed into canvas covered wagons. One drove by, its canvas flapping, loaded with his friends and neighbours, packed in like sardines.

The rumours had abounded ever since the new national party won a landslide victory in the elections. Since then, they had been unchecked. There were hushed tones shared between the Jewish community of long train journeys, far from home, separation, placed into concentration camps, ghettos, and worse, whispered talk of quiet clearings in the woods. The officer waited for Schmidt to close the door to the efficient commotion and consignment shipping in the street.

"We will not be disturbed," the officer smiled, standing in Schmidt's darkened hallway. It was a cold, detached, frightening arrangement of pale lips and white teeth, his words quiet but full of unquestioned authority. "Shall we move to where the rest of your family await you in the warm drawing room?"

He held out his open leather-gloved hand, indicating along the hall towards the innards of the house. It was not a request.

The jeweller led the way to the drawing room, lit by a couple of dim lamps plus the warm flicker of a fire, keeping at bay the autumn chill outside. In the room, Frau Schmidt stood with her back to the fire, her arms wrapped around her youngest daughter, of middle school age. Both were crying, fearing the worst of the stories they had heard.

A dark haired girl, more a youth on the threshold of womanhood, stood up calm and erect from her chair and stepped boldly forward. The officer held up his gloved hand, and indicated with a wave of a couple of fingers that the girl step to one side, away from the fire and the light, where he joined her as close as possible without touching. They spoke in quiet whispers, heads close together, so that the others couldn't hear. At the end, both nodded in agreement, though neither had touched the other. It was clear to the family that the girl, late in forming any relationship with the respectable boys introduced to her, had some relationship with this representative of a hostile government. The girl strode to her mother and sister, and shooed them confidently out the door into the hallway. Both were too terrified to resist the girl.

The officer indicated that Schmidt should sit by the fire, which he did, while the officer eased into the matching chair on the other end of the hearth, resting his cane against the chair within easy reach. Schmidt watched the firelight dance off the silver.

"Your wife and daughters are packing suitcases for your departure, sir; they are packing lightly, as if for no more than a week in a cool climate, with an expectation of sophisticated company, including dressing for a formal dinner or two, perhaps a book for relaxing on the journey. Take only sufficient cash justifiable for a short stay. You will have to leave everything else behind, furniture, paintings, books, and valuables. I may be able to have this house assigned to me, in which case I will preserve what I can; but it is a fine house and there is much unchecked greed among the victors, who will want their ... spoils ... be prepared to lose everything. Do you understand, Herr Schmidt?"

"It looks like I have no choice."

"Choice!" the officer laughed. It was a laugh without humour. "Yes, you have no choice. None of us has. I hope you realise that now?"

Schmidt could see clearly now that the officer was very young indeed, not much older than his daughter Elizabetta. He did not know the officer or his family. Ordinarily he would be confident that his daughter wouldn't move in the same circles as his visitor. But they appeared to be very familiar to each other. Why did they speak? What did they say in their brief but clearly positive exchange? Schmidt's mouth was too dry with fear to ask. He could only nod his acquiescence to the status quo.

The officer reached into his coat pocket and brought out a thick envelope. He tapped it on his palm, perhaps considering his options before handing it over.

"You have diamonds, locked away here in your safe," the officer said.

It was a statement, not a question, but Schmidt nodded once more in confirmation. Most were at the shop ready for setting, but the better ones were here; probably all was lost anyway. At least his eldest daughter got away before the borders were sealed, serving her apprentice as an indentured milliner in Paris.

"Hide them well, about your person, sir. You will have to buy new jewel making tools, rare materials, when you get to where you are going, but at least you can start again." The officer handed over the heavy envelope, Schmidt took it.

"Don't open it now, Herr Schmidt. There are train tickets to Paris, forged permits to enable you to travel. You have new identity cards and passports. You are still Schmidt, but Andre instead of Abraham, and an upholsterer, not a jeweller. They will pass scrutiny. But you must leave tonight, tomorrow will be too late. Your taxi to the station is booked," he looked at his watch, "for 23 minutes' time. Now, about those sweets you mentioned as a treat?"

"How? Why?" Schmidt croaked as he stood, getting a paper bag from the mantlepiece and tossing it to the other seat. The officer caught it like a cat takes a fledgling bird.

"Ahh, not Werther's Originals, but these soft-centred humbugs are more to my taste. I have a sweet tooth, Herr Schmidt. I sometimes have to use tooth powder more than three times a day."

The young man relaxed in the chair, looking more like a boy than a man as he sucked the single candy he had removed, before throwing the bag back to his host.

"Others, threatened like you, have helped us. Palms can be greased, ideology goes only so far where greed exists and allowed to run unchecked. I was in the Hitler Youth of course, we all were. I knew Elizabetta at school, but it became unwise for us to ... openly associate. When my school years ended, I was selected for a promising career in the SS. Apparently they have discovered that I am scheming and manipulative. I have a capacity to compartmentalise my mind, to do insane things without actually going insane. Even this plan could be regarded as insane in such circumstances we find ourselves in. Insanity is perhaps an advantage in the trying times to come, I think. I do look good in black leather though, don't you think? It brings out the pale menace of my skin and highlights my blond hair colour." He paused, continuing more softly, "Except in my dreams I have not seen the woman that I love for two years, in fact over that by a couple or three months. Tell me, Herr Schmidt, has Elizabetta been ... a good girl?"

Schmidt considered the young man before answering. "My eldest daughter, Marie, is wild, she goes out dancing every night, she tells her mother. I worry about her being in Paris, but her mother insists she is young and pretty and being so ... outward looking ... was good for her career, you know?"

The officer nodded in understanding.

"But Betta is the opposite. She is a very intelligent girl, a librarian, who has been quiet and reserved since leaving school. Her mother and I despair of her ever meeting a nice, suitable young man. The ones we introduce her to have made no impression on her. A beautiful girl shouldn't grow to be an old maid."

The officer nodded again, leaning forward, "Before she comes down I will speak to you in private, sir. Now, these papers will only take you to France, but France will not be safe for long. So, from France take immediate passage for America, Herr Schmidt. All Europe will be in flames before long, so insist your eldest daughter Marie goes with you, if you can, explain that New York or Hollywood each have insatiable appetites for bespoke hats. Her present papers will suffice. When you're settled in your new country, please ask Elizabetta to forget me, to enjoy herself. Tell her not to turn into an old maid. In time, maybe, she will meet someone who is free, if there is anyone left free in this brave new world that will try and consume us with hate. Tell her that I now let her go because of my love, not despite it. If we, if I survive..."

He trailed off, sat back slumped in the chair again.

"If YOU survive, Oberleutnant?" Schmidt asked, "can you not...?"

"No, your family will gladly go with you. Take this chance in both hands, sir. My family will not go, they have swallowed the dream they have been offered and cannot comprehend or accept what I know I must endure to live. This Reich is supposed to last a thousand years, but we will be powerfully opposed by all our concerted enemies. We will be abandoned by our fair weather friends. I give it ten years, tops. I will have to do unspeakable horrors until the cookie crumbles. I will expect to be demonstrably decadent for a decade, perhaps, creatively cruel inhumanity is my destiny in the short term; my ability to shut off that part of my life will be my future, however strange that will seem to those who preach justice without prejudice. And who knows what you and your family will make of your own futures?"

"At least we will have one."

"That is my hope, Herr Schmidt, it is all I have. And I do hope that Elizabetta finds happiness."

"It has always been my wish, young man, Oberleutnant...?"

"Best you not know who I am, Herr Schmidt."

"As you wish ... Elizbetta, she is the best of all my daughters, and I wouldn't want her to have any less than the man she wants, the man she loves."

"So, one day, the dust and detritus from the Devils' destruction will settle, if I am not already turned to dust, or turned irredeemably inhuman; well, I may just come to find you and your own, wherever you settle. Then I'll knock on your door with my silver-tipped cane one dark night and offer you a trick or treat when I ask you if you're prepared to part with your most precious jewel."

"You may ask me and you may ask her, but what demons, what nightmares, will you bring with you?"

"No tricks, sir. Only my dreams and some sweet treats, Herr Schmidt," he smiled, "perhaps some flowers and a box of coated candies."

The end.

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