Break the Bread
rating: +1+x

The Basement of the Carroyer’s Bakery
Auxerre, Occupied France, North zone
January 12th 1943

"Now, I hate those fucking Jews too."

The scepter’s light shined once more. Its green beam was starting to dent the bone. Emmanuel Carroyer raised his eyebrows while watching his arm. It hadn’t been a peculiarly easy evening.

It hadn't been a particularly easy year either.

For most people, it was World War Two.

For Those-Who-Knew, it was the Seventh Occult War.

Those-Who-Knew were aware that, at the current time, everywhere in the world, nations had anomalous objects at their disposal that they were desperately trying to understand. They were getting those objects out of museums, or sending archeological expeditions to strategic locations, or searching through records, or requisitioning items from rich owners, or buying them from whoever was selling.

During the Seventh Occult War, governments were in charge of Singularities, and nations were the main actors in the anomalous world. After all, an all-out-war isn’t called all-out for nothing.

The SCP Foundation was too distracted by its civil war against the newly independent Chaos Insurgency. The Global Occult Coalition didn’t exist yet, and so the few companies that specialized in selling and producing anomalies were dictating rules and prices to which whole countries were submitting. In the middle of all of this, the Nazis ruled the roost. The terrible Obskurakorps, the SS of the paranormal, were spreading terror among Those-Who-Knew.

For most people, these were hard times.

For Those-Who-Knew too.

Emmanuel Carroyer was one of Those-Who-Knew. And as a member of SAPPHIRE, he was making sure to ignore it.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" asked SS-Sturmbannfürher Schäfer, while walking down the stairs to the cellar with halting steps. "Did you have any difficulty establishing… communication with our baker friend?"

"Mein Sturmbannfürher!" exclaimed one of the officers, while nimbly tossing away the croissant he wasn’t supposed to be eating on the job. "This man… This Mister Carroyer… He seems to have reached a state of… ataraxia… He’s completely indifferent to pain! Look at his arm, sir! It’s almost in a liquid state!"

The SS-Sturmbannfürher Schäfer took a nonchalant look at the humble Auxerre baker’s forearm. The melting bone made an audible "blop". The nonchalant look turned into a fascinated one.

"Ataraxia, right…? What a fascinating word…"

"Mein Sturmbannfürher", ventured the big officer, holding the scepter still radiating onto his victim. "Are you sure Levi’s Scepter is really working? I don’t know if we can trust those Jewish antiques, even if they are magical…"

"This scepter is one of the priceless wonders I’m supposed to bring back to the Wunderwaffe for expert assessment. It… turn this off."

The fat man lifted it up, cautiously turned off its beam by realigning a few movable rings, and carefully put it down on one of the bread ovens.

"I have had the opportunity", continued Schäfer, "to test the scepter, many times now. Always with extremely conclusive results. The type of energy it emits has yet to be studied by the Wunderwaffe, but it seems to hit the nervous system of human beings especially hard. The perfect torture tool - you set it way too high, by the way. But… it seems the owner of this place has chosen to… ignore its effects? What was the point of this interview again?"

"Mein Sturmbannfürher, this Frenchman is accused of having hidden several Jews here, in the very basement of the bak-", started the big one.

The second man interrupted. "Jews - among the most… esoteric in the region. Kabbalistic ones. At least one rabbi, and his helpers. They were denounced by a judicious neighbor, then the standard SS unit sent here contacted us immediately when they discovered several important… supernatural elements."

"Supernatural, please…" complained Carroyer, rolling his eyes.

"Mister Carroyer, you seem surprisingly… unafraid?" noted Sturmbannfürher Schäfer. "Perhaps you should rethink your serenity in front of the Schutestaffel?"

"Oh, I was totally petrified when your men showed up, you know. But guess what? Spending the last three hours watching your men play with their magic staff, and be utterly disconcerted by my reaction – or rather, my absence of reaction - in response to their buffoonery gave me plenty of time to get a grip on myself and become rational again. So don’t…"

"I see", cut off the leader, while turning to his officers. "What kind of important supernatural items?"

"Several blueprints, a Kabbalistic coded drawing, ritual artefacts, anomalous and esoteric chemical formula, and what looks like recipes, all written in Hebrew. Hard to translate, but it was quickly established that it’s about golems."

"Again?"

"Again."

"That’s why they made us do the trip? Please, we have attempts of golem uprisings every week, they’re all eliminated and covered up by the underlings of the Reich! Don’t tell me we’re so understaffed that we have to deal with these frivolities?"

"Erm… It would seem that those golems are different. The Jews innovate, mein Sturmbannfürher. The basement of the bakery lent itself perfectly for mass production. Moreover, the dough used seems very different than the classic clay used for the usual golems. From what we understood, the retrieved documents talks about "Blood Dough", or something like that."

Schäfer approached one of the big vats where bread dough was usually mixed. The dough was now hardened and rubbery. Not clay, though there was a similarity. Not bread dough, though there was a similarity.
Not flesh… though again, there was a similarity.

"This all appears pertinent." Schäfer smiled to himself. "Anything else?"

"A whole crate, in all likelihood once full of Judaic artifacts. Empty, they probably took everything with them when they ran away. They’re Jews, after all. They weren’t leaving empty handed."

"Hmm…"

Schäfer retrieved the scepter, fiddled with some rings, and targeted his finger. Ouch. It stung, even at the lowest intensity. It was well and truly working. This Carroyer…

He took out the wallet he found inside the coat in the hallway. He opened it. And got a card out.

"Membership card of the The Society of the Atheists Partisans of Progress for the Halt of the Irrational and Religious Enemy. Relevant. Absolutely relevant. This opens new possibilities, really. But makes other things less clear."

The Nazi squatted down in front of his prisoner.

"SAPPHIRE isn’t very… cooperative with the Reich. SAPPHIRE isn’t cooperative with anybody. We have some big names of the research who claim to be part of your organization, but who get irritated as soon as we speak about the Ahnenerbe, Thor’s hammer or that kind of things. We keep them for mechanics and computer science, they do a good job as long as it don’t involve the paranormal and they can stay within their comfort zone. But generally speaking, SAPPHIRE isn’t very cooperative. So the question is: why cooperate with the Jews? It doesn’t make any sense."

"Listen," sighed Carroyer, "that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, since the beginning. I obviously can’t bear Jews."

"That’s common sense."

"But you should learn to differentiate anti-Judaism and antisemitism. We don’t judge people by their nose, us. I’m sorry to say that, but we at SAPPHIRE, we’re upright. Hitler rejects Christianity, that’s very good, I respect that, really. But he rejects it because he thinks it’s too soft, and prefers Islam instead, it’s infuriating. If Himmler dreams up all that rubbish about Atlantis and the Grail, and wants to create a new Germanic pagan religion based on that shit, then it’s war."

There was a moment of hesitation.

"War with SAPPHIRE, I mean."

"Do you… Do you realize you’re talking to a member of the Ahnenerbe? Of the Obskurakorps?"

"Between the "Society for the Research and Education on the Ancestral Legacy" and the one to free Humanity from its naivety, I choose the one with the shinier acronym, thank you. You believe the moon is made out of ice? Pathetic. I’m only a baker, I didn’t study at the highest level, but I know enough to tell you that you’re an insult to Logic and the worst thing that's happened to Science in the last ten years."

Schäfer stared at Carroyer a moment, with an indescribable look painted on his face. He scratched his chin, open his mouth like he intended to speak, then stuck the scepter into the baker’s knee while activating its beam.

Carroyer scowled while a faint smoke was coming out of his kneecap.

"I don’t believe in your bullshit", he grumbled. "Your antique golden staff, there. I don’t believe in magic, nor in science-fiction, nor in any God, be it Jewish or Germanic. Your Singularity gives the impression of producing light without a light source. It gives the impression of damaging my body. It gives the impression of pain, probably. But that’s just smoke and mirrors, like the rest of your childish weaponry. I don’t believe it. I believe as much in my melting knee as in moon made of ice. Fuck you."

"Ataraxia…" repeated Schäfer, deactivating the beam. "I don’t know if I should be fascinated or pity you, but I know I can’t break you. Not for the moment."

"You're not even trying to prove me wrong, aren't you? All you can do is torture those who don't agree with your delirium, because deep down you can't compete in the realm of Reason. Violence is the last shelter of the incompetent."

"Please, you’re speaking like a Jew. There are atheist Jews, it would seem. The difference between faith and race, once again. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in race. No, I’m actually interested in both. The Reich wants to get rid of both. So why collaborate with this rabbi?"

"I like to think it’s easier to teach a believer that he’s wrong when he doesn’t have a bullet hole between the eyes."

"As for me…" replied the Sturmbannfürher, then paused.

He pulled a crate over from near the bread oven and sat down in front of the baker, serene. He spread several Hebrew plans on his lap and started translating a few sections of them.

He read Hebrew perfectly.

"As for me, I like to think ataraxia doesn’t exist. That you, the members of SAPPHIRE, have a screw loose, I accept that easily. But that simple will prevents you from feeling pain in your melting arm? Just because you’re firmly persuaded that magic doesn’t exist? No. You’re made of nerves, like all of us. I’m going to tell you what I believe. I believe the Jews you hide here were particularly interested in atheism. I believed they thought: how not to be recognized as Jews? Physically, and mentally. The Obskurakorps, as you may know, now have an experimental technology to determinate if such and such person is mentally Jewish. That’s right. Your refugees, anyway, knew it. So… why not try not being a Jew, until the time things get better? Why not create a new body, with a nice round nose, and nice blond hairs. A body to transfer your spirit. Why not modify your spirit even, so no doubt can ever be appear? Becoming atheist for a moment, without driving suspicion?""

Schäfer put his hand under his coat. He took a small Star of David.

"That’s not an antique. It’s a classic yellow star made of fabric. Produced by the Reich for marking, like what? Two years ago? It belonged to a little girl. She managed to enchant it, the clever girl. Lay it flat and the tip pointing at the closest magical item lights up, like a compass. A formidable tool, really."

"Let me guess. The baker was the golem the whole time?" suggested Carroyer.

"And that’s why he doesn’t feel pain. A whole new sort of golem, of astonishing realism, both organic and spiritual. A "Blood Dough"."

"A bit of a poor plot twist, no?"

"Seems rather pertinent to me. Shall we see which direction this points in?" He laid the star down. The entire thing lit up.

"Hmm. Interesting. The Blood Dough, I assume? But Blood Dough isn’t anything more than a substance animated by a magic spark. It isn’t an artifact. I don’t think so. Then…"

Schäfer turned around and made some gestures to his men, who headed towards the big vats of dough.

They dipped their arms in.
And took a corpse out of it.

"Well, well, well…" smiled the SS officer, without looking backwards. "If it isn’t… Mr. Carroyer’s corpse, late member of SAPPHIRE? Premeditated Murder and identity theft, then. Hahaha… You know what you’re in for?"

He took his gun out.

"Ach… Mein Sturmbannfürher?" mumbled one of the Nazis, while putting the inert and sticky corpse down onto the basement floor.

"What is it ?"

"Erm…erm… Mein Sturmbannfürher?"

The Sturmbannfürher turned around and cast an eye on the Sturmbannfürher’s inert corpse, an hole in the skull. Another corpse was taken out of the vat.

Heinrich, the big soldier.

Then Alfred.

"Oh."

"Oh."

"Oh."

"Oh."

There was an awkward silence.

"I…"

The SS-Sturmbannfürher Schäfer picked up Levi’s Scepter. He stared at it for a while. Activated it. Rolled up one of his sleeves.

He grimaced when the beam went through his wrist, but only by instinct.

"Oh."

Moment of hesitation.

"The… spirit modification technique was maybe a bit too…sophisticated…" he muttered. "Lure the Schutzstaffel. Kill them. Taking their shapes and memories while transferring the Jews’ spirits. The memories flunked, I guess…"

He coughed.

"Gentlemen, I think we’re finished here."

"But Mein… S… Sir, the Jewish artifac… Our magical items? Weren’t we supposed to retrieved them and… erm, bring them back South? At least, that was the plan of those we were hunting. According to the mole."

"That mole was supposed to give you the plans you had to follow", explained Carroyer. "A nark, who hates Jews on good authority. A member of SAPPHIRE. While your memories came back."

"But where did you hide…?"

"The Star, Heinrich, points at magical items. All around it. It’s not the golems which make it react like that."

"What?"

"Don’t you feel a little heavy, Heinrich?"

"Oh. Oooooh."

"We’re finished here. This evening we leave for the South. Obskurakorps don’t lack pretexts to do so. Take everything with you."

The fake-Nazis/real-golems/probably-Jews climbed up the stairs of Emmanuel Carroyer’s basement, slowly and silently.

"Hey, aren’t you forgetting something?" Carroyer hollered, when only Schäfer's legs were still visible, at the top of the stairs. "Untying me, for example?"

"Ah, indeed", Schäfer answered. "Well… You understand that if the real SS go through here, we can’t leave a trail. Or a witness."

The steps of the stairs started to burn under the power of the barely hidden beam of Levi’s Scepter.

"I’m…a little sorry. But even if I don’t have access yet to my old memories, a rabbi from the Kabbalah will surely find a way to give them back to me. I’m well aware, as a member of the forces of order, of the persecutions of SAPPHIRE against the chosen people during recent decades. It’s as much a preventive action as a… retroactive one, I guess. A bread oven incident, I’m afraid."

Carroyer didn’t even had the time to yell "Judas" before the flames engulfed the room.




While getting in the car with its golem comrades, the street only lit by the bakery burning behind him, the fake Sturmbannfürher realized "You're toast" would have been the perfect way to end the conversation.

He laughed by himself.




It was only at the moment when they were crossing over the border of Occupied France into the zone libre that the bombs, hidden in the golems’ bodies instead of their sacred artifacts, blew up as intended.




Far from there, in Auxerre, in a bakery’s smoking ruin, about twenty or so Jewish relics of incredible mystic power were reduced to a mix of ashes and molten metal.




Emmanuel Carroyer was a simple member of SAPPHIRE.

He was among Those-Who-Knew, and he didn’t like the Nazis, or the Jews.


< 1933 | 1943 | 1953 >

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License