** I do not own any of Tarantino's glourious characters
This fiction deals with the restaurant scene in the film and utilizes much of Tarantino's dialogue (I don't own that either)…As such, if reading about a pre-established scene bores you…I urge you to skip ahead to where the fiction departs from canon. The Landa of this fic is a naughty boy…if that's not your cup of tea…stop reading now!
If you have time, I would love some criticism and feedback!**
"Ah, Landa! Da sind Sie hier!"
Emanuelle speaks little German, but that does not stop Goebble's grating voice from turning her stomach to rot. Bile rises slowly in her throat and hot blood pounds in her ears: a rhythmic, violent pulsing….
She barely hears Fredrick over the deafening thump of her heart: the Jew Hunter needs no introduction…they've met before. She senses him at her back; can feel the warmth of his body. She fights the urge to cringe away as the man who slaughtered her entire family, leans over her shoulder and places a stinging kiss on her hand. "Enchanté Mademoiselle," Colonel Landa whispers. They lock eyes and the restaurant is gone at the sound of his voice…she is nineteen again, literally running for her life and covered in the beloved blood this tyrant so easily spilt. His mocking farewell rings in her ears, "Au revoir Shoshanna!"
The present swoops down on her, filling her chest with painful pressure. She notices movement out of the corner of her eye and stands up, so as to leave with the others. A strong hand makes contact with her rigid shoulder and forces her back in the chair. Her stomach flips as though she missed a step, and a tingling panic froths and bubbles from her toes all the way up to her navel. Landa and Fredrick's voices buzz but she cannot focus on the words. Fredrick kisses her hand briskly. She looks pleadingly up, regretting her harsh treatment of him and desperate that he should stay with her. She tries to speak, but all that comes out is a quiet and strangled whimper. Then…he is gone.
Fredrick is gone and she is alone, trapped…with Standartenführer Hans Landa. The Colonel sits in Fredrick's now vacant seat and turns to her.
"Have you tried the strudel here?" Landa asks cordially as he wipes the table tablecloth clean with his hands. His language is fluid and laced delicately with a crisp Austrian accent. To hear him speak in such exquisite French makes her ears prickle." and she is just as terrified by the thought of his genius, as she was four years ago, holding her breath beneath Perrier LaPadite's floorboards.
"No…no," Emanuelle manages to choke out. Perhaps he does not recognize her. She was, after all, running away from the murderer the last time they met. Surely, even a man as intelligent as The Jew Hunter could not possibly recognize her. He could not have had more than a glimpse of her face."
"It's not so terrible," he says with a pleasant chuckle. Dimples bloom, framing his mouth as he asks her how she knows Zoller. Landa is a viper, however charismatic he may be, and she steels herself from being lulled into false comfort. She is saved, for the moment, from finding her voice, when the waiter approaches their table. Landa expertly orders two strudel, and an espresso…and a glass of milk for her. Cold sweat beads at the nape of her neck and she cannot help the reflexive raise of her eyebrows.
The dairy farmer…
Just when she is certain the coup de gras has arrived, Landa merely looks expectantly at her and repeats his question.
Emmanuelle's racing thoughts are yanked to attention; her panic drifts slowly like a bullet through jelly. If he knew, why would he continue the charade? Why not drag her to the kitchens and drown her in the sink? The only answer could be that he enjoys playing with his food…
She explains casually how she and Zoller came to be acquainted. Landa sees through her, though, and assures her in a sincere voice that their chat is a simple formality. His 'comfort' has the opposite effect on her however and the crippling fear seizes her spine again. If he is able to detect the agitation that she is so intently attempting to conceal…then he sees too much, and must surely know the truth.
Their strudel arrives. Landa smiles humbly and apologizes for forgetting to order the cream. Unable to sit still any longer, Emanuelle takes up her fork—
"Wait for the cream…" Landa cautions in a singsong voice, his hand raised as he peers at her from corners of his eyes. She drops the fork and sits back in her chair. She can hardly endure the tension and wishes the game would be over.
Colonel Landa has other plans, however, and continues his interrogation. He asks how she inherited the cinema, but before she can respond, that insufferable waiter is back and they wait while he dollops fresh cream onto the pastries.
"After you," the Colonel invites. Emanuelle takes a bite, though she is not the least bit hungry, and wonders absently if this will be the last thing she eats. She finds it annoying that the strudel really is quite tasty, and hates herself for allowing such a mundane thought to leech into her head. Landa attacks the strudel and munches with vigor as Emanuelle answers his questions. He reacts rather sympathetically to the news of her 'aunt' and 'uncle's' deaths, throwing Emanuelle off guard yet again. When he asks about Marcel, she cannot mask the defensive tone her voice acquires. How like a Nazi to degrade a man simply for being Black! Landa shrugs her iciness off and informs her pompously that she would be the one to operate the projectionist. He stops chewing abruptly when her reply does not come.
"Is that acceptable?" he asks.
"Oui." She scoffs inwardly, as if anyone would ever challenge him…
He offers her a cigarette, which she accepts gladly, given her nerves. He banters lightly about the cigarettes being German as opposed to French as she leans over for him to light the thing. He blows the lighter out with a teasing look.
"I did have something else I wanted to ask you…"
Her heart stops, and her blood is ice in her veins. She slowly takes the cigarette from her mouth and waits. His gaze pierces her for an eternity…searching, hunting, Her throbbing brain pounds against her skull and she is incapable of looking away from him; transfixed by the knowledge and the death that shrouds his eyes.
"… But right now, for the life of me, I can't remember what it is." The death sentence vanishes from his face and he smiles at his apparent forgetfulness. "Must not have been important…" he chuckles, shrugging his shoulders. He stuffs his cigarette into the strudel, it extinguishes with a hiss.
She does not breathe as he gathers his things and adds another burning kiss to her hand. She clenches her jaw to keep from vomiting.
"Jusqu'à ce soir ." he whispers silkily.
She feels the rush of air as he passes her, but does not even hear his footsteps retreat...not above the ringing in her ears. A beat after he is gone, then her screaming lungs take in a rattling breath and she covers her mouth to quell an aggressive sob. Her mind is a dizzying maze of thoughts and her heart beats out of rhythm. Tears are not enough to express her pain…
The cry hitches in her throat, and the tears vanish from her eyes before they can well over. She holds her breath yet again, every muscle in her body is still…she does not want to make any sudden movements, lest she provoke the glimmer of silver pressed to her windpipe.
She hadn't heard Landa walk away, quite simply because he hadn't done so. He had waited for her to let her guard down so he could pounce…
With one hand pressing the knife to her throat and the other wound tightly in her hair, he stares down at her wide eyes with a look of triumph. Her hands twitch involuntarily and he clicks his tongue in disapproval, shaking his head.
"No, Shoshanna. It would be unwise for you to move, and suicidal for you to reach for any of the sharp instruments on that table. Is that clear?"
She blinks in understanding.
"Now, this is how this is going to work: you will stand up and you will take my arm. We are going to walk out of this restaurant like the old friends that we are and get into the military car that is parked out front. If you attempt to scream I will slit your throat." The knife presses into her skin and miniscule droplets of crimson appear on the mirrored surface. "Is that understood?"
"Good. Also, I would like to add that if you in any way attempt to run, I will shoot you. You got a freebie once, it will not happen again. Rest assured, my aim is precise. And while it may make a bit of a mess, I have a feeling that not one patron in this restaurant would mind if I blew your Jewish brains out, right here and now. It makes not one bit of difference to me, what you choose; in fact, I love surprises! But I do have a few more questions for you Shoshanna…or do you prefer Emanuelle? And I desire to ask them in a different location. If you cooperate, I give you my word that you will reach the car alive…If you don't, Private Zoller will mourn you. Or maybe he won't, he may feel less inclined to care for you once you are exposed…I'm going to put my knife away and help you up now."
Landa pulls her chair out, hooks his hands underneath her arms and hoists her to a standing position. Her knees are shaking and she bites her tongue to keep from making any noise. He grabs her wrist firmly, but gently, and twines her slender right arm around his left. He reaches across his chest with his right arm and she feels a jolt of cold, as the freezing gun barrel presses painfully between her ribs. To anyone else, it appears as though his arms are crossed. He is the picture of calm--she's not going anywhere, not this time.
"Good girl." He whispers patronizingly, and they both hear the distinctive 'click' as the gun's hammer is pulled back. All the color is gone from her face, but Landa beams with excitement. He is in his element now.
"Shall we?" he says, jerking his chin in the direction of the doorway.
She inhales and takes a step forward, praying that her legs will hold her. Colonel Landa nods sociably at the diners as they weave in and out of the tables. He winks at the doormen and the two enemies step out into the night air. Landa steers her over to the car and waits while the driver salutes him and opens the car door. Landa stows his gun away, helps Shoshanna into the car and slams the door.
She sits back in the leather seats and weighs her options. Die now?…Die later?...Neither option seems very appealing to her. She listens to Landa's muffled conversation with the driver but cannot make sense of the garbled German language…if only she had some idea of where he was taking her! She might be able to figure out a way to escape…a way to see Marcel one more time. She hadn't even kissed her lover goodbye, when the Gestapo Officer had taken her to the restaurant. Marcel…he must be so worried! How long before he suspected Zoller? Before he confronted him? She takes some comfort in knowing that Fredrick would look for her--starting with Landa. But if Marcel confronts Fredrick, what would stop the Nazi from killing him? Her head begins to ache with the hopelessness of her situation. Not only had she gotten herself caught…but she may well be responsible for any harm that comes to her dear Marcel! She groans and rests her head against the soothing cool of the window. She hears Landa climb in the back seat with her, but does not look over at him. The car roars to life and she has to sit up, because the window shakes, aggravating her headache. Landa hums softly to himself, obviously pleased with the events. She steals a sidelong glance at him, and jumps, to see him staring directly back at her. The lines of his face are alternately cast in shadow and light as the car bumps down the road. He looks at her face as though searching for something; she stares back--unable to find anything in his.
At last he breaks the silence, "Have you thought of a way to escape yet?"
"No." she says honestly. "But not for lack of trying…"
He snorts, amused; fumbles in his pocket for something and produces his cigarette case. He waves it in her direction, but she shakes her head. Shoshanna watches the tip of the cigarette glow orange, and imagines sticking it in his eye and jumping out the car door. He watches her watching him, and smiles as though at some private joke.
"And why, Mademoiselle, have you not come up with an escape?"
She glares at him, but declines to answer.
"It's just as well, really," he continues, unperturbed. "It wouldn't work. There isn't anywhere you could go, that I could not track. You've been enjoying anonymity for so long simply because I haven't cared to find you. Four years ago, I cared. I found you then. Today, I didn't care…yet you still fell into my lap! I have no doubt, that should you tempt me with a chase…I will succeed. It's better to just give in." he muses matter-of-factly, tracing patterns on the foggy window.
The cold fear in the pit of her stomach is replaced with boiling anger. He was trying to use reverse-psychology to provoke her! It was working, of course, but only because the concept, was insulting…not the manipulation itself—as if she weren't intelligent enough to see through his schemes! "What do you want with me?" she exclaims, her fear finally turning to aggression.
"I want to ask you some additional questions. I thought, I had made that quite plain at the restaurant." He explains slowly, as though he were talking to child.
"Well, have done then! Ask your questions!" she hisses.
"Not here." He brushes some lint off his pants, completely ignoring her outrage.
"I am not going to waste my breath explaining my methods to you. You will do as I say regardless of my reasoning, so what difference does it make?"
Her jaw drops at his arrogant assumption, and she has to focus all of her energy on remaining as calm as possible. "And if I don't. If I refuse to cooperate?" she challenges.
"Then I will have no further use for you…" he whispers, putting his cigarette out in the ashtray.
"What about when I've answered all of your questions? What then, hmm? Will you have any use for me after that? Tell me, Colonel?"
"I haven't the slightest idea, Mademoiselle. I have not thought that far into the future. I am fairly certain, however, that should you continue to speak to me in that tone of voice, I will be forced to incapacitate you for the remainder of the journey…"
Being unconscious around the Colonel does not seem to be the most agreeable scenario to Shoshanna. Even if it is dark, she still takes comfort in the knowledge that they are headed East from the restaurant. Having some general idea of geography is certainly better than ignorance.
"So, what you say is," she continues with an attempt to sound composed, "that if I refuse: I will die…and if I cooperate: I may also die?"
"More or less, that is accurate. Yes." Landa replies fondly, seemingly pleased that she grasps the concept.
"Forgive me, but what incentive do I have, then, to play ball, if you will?"
"That is a very good question, Shoshanna! I hoped, for your sake, it wouldn't come to this…but since you refuse…If you do not grant me my small requests, then I will kill your projectionist friend. It is clear to me that you have little regard for you own life…but what about his? Are you so willing to sacrifice the Negro to deny me?"
His threat settles on her chest like a sandbag and he watches her proud shoulders droop in submission.
"I thought not." He whispers gleefully.
He is surprised to see her eyes glisten and realizes he had struck a chord more powerful, than even he had anticipated.
"I don't understand." She breathes. Her voice thick, but strong. "You said yourself, that you weren't interested in looking for me. What changed?"
"Opportunity. Just because one does not search the ground for money, does not mean that he will not snatch a coin from the sidewalk when one is there."
"Yet, you let me live! You spared me all those years ago! What was the point, if you come to claim me now?" she pleads.
"That is a discussion for later, I think…" he says with potent finality.
He reaches into his pocket again and extracts a red silk handkerchief. He pulls the scrap of silk through his fingers absently, and unfolds it to reveal a large embroidered swastika.
"After all this time: you are still a Jew," he points at her, " and I: am still a Nazi" he places a hand over his many medals on his chest. "The scenery is changed, but we are essentially the same. Fate has thrown us together yet again, and I intend to see what she has in store. That is not the reason why, I choose to keep you…but it certainly is an interesting facet of this situation."
He continues his obsessive wringing of the handkerchief, and she doesn't know why, but it makes her uneasy. She stares at his powerful hands and the vivid blood red between them. A more accurate visual metaphor could not be possible. His hands still, and he turns to her with bright eyes.
"Do you know where we are?" he asks.
"No," she lies.
The corners of his mouth twitch upward, and he wags his finger at her in disapproval.
"You understand, of course, that I cannot let you see where we are taking you." He says cheerfully, folding the handkerchief.
"You don't need to blindfold me!" she urges, eyeing the red silk.
"My dear girl, whoever said I was going to blindfold you?" he laughs.
Confusion crosses her face, and she tenses as he reaches into his pocket yet again. He turns his back to her. Whatever he finds is too small to see, but a strange smell fills the air and numbs the tip of her nose.
"Do your very best not to scream or thrash about, I'm not going to hurt you," he says with his back to her still.
She leans recklessly over his shoulder, trying to see what he hides…trying to defend herself.
Suddenly Landa is on top of her, she is thrown across the seat and his knees squeeze the sides of her chest making it difficult to breathe. He captures her wrists in one hand and pins them above her head. She writhes beneath him, kicking the car door. But it is no use; he is too strong and too big. He clamps the handkerchief over her nose and mouth. Her natural response is to gasp for air and when she does, her nostrils and throat are invaded by the strange, burning, chemical smell.
"Shhhh…" he whispers, as her struggles become weak. "Shhh…good girl."
Her vision blurs and her thoughts are hazy. Her eyelids droop and she can't fight it anymore. He removes the handkerchief and strokes her cheek softly…
"Shhhh…" he says once more, before she slips into blackness.
**Ta-da! What do you think?**