The Last Truth

Leann Harris

Legacy of Lies: Book Two


Part I – The Betrayal

June 16, 1941, 4:39 PM
Amsterdam

The pulsing sound of sirens filled the air, bringing dread and a soul-chilling fear to Linette Van Linder. She stumbled back against the jeweler’s door. The joy of the gift she’d just purchased for her sister’s birthday evaporated, leaving only the constant terror she’d lived with since that awful day in May 1940 when the Nazis overran her country.

After several deep breaths, she pushed away from the doorway. The other people on the street glanced around looking for the hated police and troop vehicles. Linette’s gaze skittered off another woman’s as they made sure the street was clear. Putting one foot in front of the other, Linette started home.

This new ‘normal’ was like a bad dream she couldn’t wake from. People disappeared. Dutchmen turned on Dutchmen. The world had gone crazy. Evil ruled.

She walked to the next intersection and turned onto her street of Reguliers. Instantly, she saw a troop truck parked further up the road. The bone-chilling dread she fought erupted, much like being dipped into the icy canal on St. Nicholas’ Day. Where exactly had the truck parked? Was it at her house?

With each step, the ugly truth crystallized. After a half-dozen paces, she saw exactly where the military truck and police car were parked. Her house.

They’d been found out.

The usually busy street stood empty except for the German SS soldiers standing outside her home. Among the soldiers laughing and joking stood someone she thought she recognized.

It couldn’t be, she reassured herself, but her feet carried her closer. Finally the man turned his head and she saw his face.

Marten Schroider.

Her fiancé.

Although he wasn’t in the standard German uniform, he wore the dark uniform of the Dutch unit of SS, Waffen SS. A traitor to his people. She froze.

Suddenly her parents and sister emerged from the house surrounded by soldiers. In the back of the covered troop truck sat their father’s partner, Aaron Benjamin, his wife and two daughters. Eyes wide, their faces pasty white, the girls stared at Linette’s parents and sister walking to the truck. Since the Nazis invaded, Jewish residents were threatened and harassed. Their shipping firm has several uncomfortable visits from Nazi officials, asking her father why he’d gone in business with a Jew. It was strongly encouraged for her father to ‘disassociate’ himself with Mr. Benjamin. After the last chilling visit, her family had hidden their close friends. Next week her father had arranged for the Benjamin family to escape with a shipment of tulip bulbs headed for America.

Marten’s satisfied gaze surveyed the street as if he was king of the world and spotted her. Their eyes locked. His smug attitude turned to anger. “There,” he shouted pointing to her. “Get her.”

Her parents saw her, too. Father sent the silent message--run. Her mother echoed it. Several soldiers started after her.

She whirled and sprinted back down the street, turning onto a side street. She had no idea where she was going, but only knew that terror drove her.

Shouts in German and pounding of feet followed her. She ran without any thought but escape. She ended up on Lijnbaansgracht and slipped into the local hotel facing the canal. Dashing past the startled clerk, she raced up the stairs. On the second floor, she moved down the hall, frantically trying several doors before she ran into a tall man who was coming out of his room.

His arms shot out, catching her before she fell backward.

“Whoa, lady.”

She looked up into the face of the tall man.

“You’re in a mighty big hurry.” He grinned. He spoke English, but sounded like an American.

The terror she felt must’ve been clearly written on her face. He looked over her shoulder and then back at her.

“SS,” she whispered.

He opened the door to his room and pulled her inside. Angry, staccato voices drifted up from the front desk. His eyes locked with hers.

“Take off your dress,” he ordered.


Available beginning 24 Nov 2014