Tanaka was one thing, but the savage Ohno is a completrely different prospect for the poor bound nurses. Even Barb lost her sass under torture from the rod and a lighted cigarette - surely these innocent, naked girls aren't really about to be executed, are they? Well, who can say, but our esteemed author does have a history is this regard!24. Bataan Peninsula, somewhere in the hills above Lubao, late afternoon of April 15, 1942
Hiroko searched in vain for the source of the shot that killed Shirley. It was hopeless. The density of treetop canopy foliage and failing light forestalled any chance of success.
But what Hiroko could easily see was a crowd of armed men rapidly descending on the small clearing, some dressed in the dark garb worn by the Filipino partisans, others in the tattered khaki uniforms he associated with American POWs.
What to do? He had tossed his rifle aside when he had rushed to Shirley. Should he try to retrieve it? The Bushido code drilled into him by the army told him that killing himself was the honorable thing to do, as opposed to surrendering. If he could reach his gun, he might be able to shoot himself. It was a possibility.
But then what honor did he still possess? He had already unwittingly facilitated a POW breakout from the compound it had been his duty to guard, and to his shame he had done so by falling victim to an ill-advised swoon over an American nurse. And then, he had compounded matters beyond redemption by murdering his immediate superior, Sergeant Kubo, and fleeing the scene with his newfound love. And now she was dead!
As the approaching partisans and soldiers came near, burdened by guilt and indecision, Hiroko slowly rose to his feet and raised his hands above his head in a sign of surrender.
The argument between Whitaker and Alejandro, which had devolved into an armed standoff between partisans and Americans, had ended abruptly at the distant sound of Banoy’s shot.
Alejandro shouted orders. Whitaker did the same. And a combined force of partisans and Americans hastened off in the direction from which the shot had been heard.
As they approached the edge of the small clearing overlooked by Banoy’s treetop lookout post, Alejandro and Whitaker simultaneously held up a hand signaling caution and a slowing of the pace to their men. They moved on to the very edge of the clearing, where they crouched down and stopped to survey the scene.
“Over there!” hissed Norm, pointing at the far edge of the clearing where Hiroko could be seen kneeling over Shirley’s body.
“It’s a damn Jap,” snorted Clem.
“But on the ground ... isn't that ...?” whispered Norm.
“I think it is,” agreed Whitaker grimly. “It’s Shirley. Look at her hair. Can't miss that bob of hers. That’s her!”
“Fuckin' Japs!” growled Clem. “Lookee ... the little pisser is a try’in to surrr-en-dar!”
Major Ohno stood back, striking a heroic martial pose, hands on hips, chest thrown out.
“Pay attention now, Tanaka,” he instructed patronizingly, “You are about to witness how an expert conducts an interrogation. The first thing to note is that these prisoners are female. The female sex is inherently weak and fearful, which means ... in the first place ... females are inherently more susceptible to subtle terrorizing tactics. And in the second place, should it become necessary to rough them up or apply a little torture, the female body offers an abundance of private and delicate parts on which to inflict pain and abuse. Got it?"
“One must begin by placing the subject, in this case subjects, in a position that signals their total vulnerability and foreshadows the terrors to come,” Ohno instructed. "In many cases, that's all that is required."
To demonstrate, he began to slowly circle Barb and Natalie, who hung by their wrists from an overhead beam, side-by-side, their toes barely touching the hut’s earthen floor. Their eyes followed him apprehensively as he came around once then again.
“And it’s important to do so slowly and methodically,”
"Then one needs to do something to demonstrate their vulnerability to abuse of the most intimate kind."
With his swagger stick, Ohno began poking and prodding at their naked bodies, inserting it between their thighs from both front and rear, and drawing it out slowly against their genitals. And then following that up by jabbing the end of the stick into their tummies and breasts, not hard but with some pressure. And finally by using his stick to chuck them under their chins, pressing their heads back.
"Bastard!" hissed Natalie.
That was the reaction he was looking for. Circling around behind, he tucked his stick under his arm and used his free hand to grab each of them in turn by the hair and jerk their heads back violently, eliciting a cry of pain from each. Then, for good measure, he repeated the process ... twice more.
“Now,” said Ohno, coming around to stand alongside Tanaka. "We begin with the identity question. Ask them who they are?”
“Names and rank, please,” said Tanaka evenly, drawing both women’s attention to him.
There was silence for a long moment, and then Barb spoke. Natalie resisted a bit longer, but eventually answered as well.
“They say they are 1st Lieutenant Barbara Moore and 2nd Lieutenant Natalie Brennan, both of the U.S. Army Nursing Corp.” Tanaka reported.
“That much even I could follow,” snapped Ohno. “Ask them about the breakout!”
"What was your involvement in the attempted breakout from the compound last night? We need to know exactly how it was planned and who was behind it."
Barb shook her head. Natalie managed a nearly inaudible, “We don’t know.”
“They claim that they know nothing about any breakout.” reported Tanaka.
“Impossible. They’re lying. Stand back, Tanaka."
Wielding a bamboo rod, Ohno advanced on his helpless victims. Reprising his circling routine, he began to beat them mercilessly ... striking them in the kidneys, and across their shoulders, backs, buttocks, thighs, midriffs and breasts.
As he worked them over methodically, the corrugated metal walls of the hut echoed with shrill screams and shrieks and desperate pleas for mercy, interspersed with the dull and rhythmic thud and smack of bamboo rod on bare flesh and bone.
Tanaka felt sick with revulsion at the sight of their sufferings, but there was nothing he could do to help them.
“There! That should soften them up,” exhaled Ohno, wiping sweat from his brow, as he withdrew several paces. “Ask them again now, and question them specifically about this Lieutenant Whitaker.”
Judging from the looks of Barb and Natalie, Tanaka wasn’t sure that anything could be gotten out of them after such a vicious beating. They appeared to be only semi-conscious as they hung from their wrists, their battered bodies slowly rotating around until Ohno decided to intervene to halt the rotating so that they faced Tanaka.
“We need to know about Lieutenant Whitaker,” began Tanaka. “Do you know him? Did he plan the breakout? How did he communicate with the partisans?”
“Fuck you,” gasped Barb, rousing herself from her stupor, a vehemently hostile glare in her eyes.
“Ditto,” croaked Natalie.
“They said ...” began Tanaka before he was cut off.
“I don’t need an interpreter for that!” Ohno screamed, face flushed with fury. He began to pace. Then from his shirt pocket he extracted a battered packet of ‘Golden bats’, pulled one out, stuck it his mouth and struck a match to light it. For several minutes he scowled and smoked, glaring first at Barb, then at Natalie, then at Tanaka, and then at each of them all over again.
“Perhaps, if I ask them again?” offered Tanaka.
Ohno brushed him rudely aside, strode straight up to Natalie and pressed the burning tip into one of her breasts just below the nipple, causing her to scream in pain. Stepping back, he turned to Barb, who watched him warily as he advanced on her. Grabbing one of her breasts by its erect nipple, he tugged it upwards and buried the glowing tip of his Golden Bat in the soft flesh of its underside, and kept it there while she shrieked and cursed him.
“Ask them again!” he ordered, with a dismissive wave of his hand, as he backed away.
Tanaka repeated what he had asked earlier. This time the response took more time, but the response was the same.
And so it went, cigarette burn after cigarette burn. Scream after scream. Question after question.
“Has it occurred to you, Major, that these women are not going to tell you anything?" interjected Tanaka.
“It has, Lieutenant. I don’t need you to tell me that! We’re through here. These two are of no value. Go find Kinoshita. Tell him to take them away and execute them!”
“And tell him to make sure he does it in front of all the POWs ... and that he should do something memorable ... make a show of it they’ll never forget!”
Barb winced as Kinoshita’s men tugged at the cord that bound her by her wrists to the shed’s overhead beam. She hadn’t understood what the Japanese Major had said to Tanaka, but she was pretty sure, from what she had seen earlier, that he had ordered that she and Natalie be executed.
Suddenly freed, she dropped to the floor, sprawling half over the inert form of Natalie who had been taken down moments earlier. The men who had taken them down were jabbering at and laughing with one another, The Major who had tortured her and Natalie had disappeared along with Tanaka.
Rolling off of Natalie’s body and curling herself into a ball ... the day’s horrors that she and Natalie had endured together raced through her mind like an endless cinema reel ... the capture, the gang-raping, the terrible beatings and tortures there in the shed. And all that on top of the roller-coaster ride of horrors and hopes of the past few days. And what now? A bullet in the backs of their heads? A bayonet in the belly? Hanged by the neck?
Natalie moaned and rolled toward her to throw her arm over Barb. They touched foreheads. Nothing was said, but something intimate was shared, only to be broken by strong hands pulling them apart, and dragging by their ankles, on their backs, out through the entry to the shed, and across the drive towards the compound’s front gate.
That scene and writing are superb. The brief moment of tender comfort that each provided the other in midst of a sea of pain was touching, tragic, and surprisingly erotic. Bravo!Natalie moaned and rolled toward her to throw her arm over Barb. They touched foreheads. Nothing was said, but something intimate was shared, only to be broken by strong hands pulling them apart, and dragging by their ankles, on their backs, out through the entry to the shed, and across the drive towards the compound’s front gate.
Got Tanaka demoted? Or do I miss something?“Has it occurred to you, Major, that these women are not going to tell you anything?" interjected Tanaka.
“It has, Lieutenant. I don’t need you to tell me that! We’re through here. These two are of no value. Go find Kinoshita. Tell him to take them away and execute them!”
It has been a daily joy thus far Barb, looking for to its/your return ...NOTICE: For those who follow this story, I will be pausing for a few days now as I need to attend to some pressing RL concerns and I need some time to imagine/fashion a conclusion worthy of all that has transpired in the story to date (yes, I make it up as I go, being too lazy to plan ahead).
For those who haven’t been following, now is a great opportunity to catch up.
Lieutenant Moore will surely appreciate the welcome break in her torments!NOTICE: For those who follow this story, I will be pausing for a few days now as I need to attend to some pressing RL concerns and I need some time to imagine/fashion a conclusion worthy of all that has transpired in the story to date (yes, I make it up as I go, being too lazy to plan ahead
“Magnificent!” proclaimed Ohno - along with everyone else on CF!25. Bataan Peninsula, somewhere in the hills above Lubao, near dusk, April 15, 1942
With hands raised, Hiroko took a tentative step forward. Then, reassured that his gesture of surrender had been accepted, he took a few more steps, carefully skirting around Shirley’s lifeless body. As he passed by her, he shivered involuntarily at the sight of her open hazel eyes. It almost seemed as though they were following him, perhaps offering him silent support.
He took another step forward. He heard Clem call out, “Keep dem hands held high, ya lousy stinkin’ Jap, or A’m gonna blast yer lousy ass ta Kingdom come!”
Hiroko didn’t understand any of the individual words but understood the general meaning of the threat all the same.
Pausing, he attempted a smile ... a kind of silly sloppy grin ... in the hope that might make a difference. Then he edged another step closer, sweat breaking out on his forehead. Careful now, he told himself, veering a little more to the left on his next step.
More anxious than ever to improve his already abysmally low standing in the eyes of Major Ohno, Lieutenant Kinoshita worked feverishly on the preparations underway for executing Barb and Natalie before the compound’s assembled POWs.
Keeping the Major’s instructions to do something “memorable” in mind, Kinoshita had directed his men to sink two sturdy hardwood construction timbers upright and side-by-side into an open patch of reddish-colored Philippine soil near the south wire, not far from the main gate. To the top of each post, he had his men bolt the end of a length of chain with a neck iron attached. Then, as a finishing touch, he ordered two pieces of soft acacia rain tree wood whittled into cornu-like shapes and affixed to the front of the posts at a suitable height for the purpose he had in mind.
By the time all that had been readied, dusk had settled over the compound. The sun had set in a blaze of glory behind the mountains to the west. Given the failing light, and as a finishing touch, Kinoshita had two lorries brought into the compound and arranged so that their headlamps fully illuminated the posts and the area immediately before them.
Then, after dispatching a runner to fetch Major Ohno and Captain Tanaka, who had gone off together to have a drink over in the canteen hut, Kinoshita had Barb and Natalie, who had been sitting on the ground under guard nearby, brought forward.
Sitting hunched over, alongside Natalie, Barb had watched the preparations underway with trepidation. It was becoming abundantly clear to her that she and Natalie were not going to be simply shot in the back of the head.
“What do they think they’re doing?” she whispered to Natalie.
“Not sure. But it doesn’t look pleasant.”
“Did you see those horn-like things?”
“Shit! Something’s about to happen,” warned Barb, spotting the return of Ohno and Tanaka.
Hiroko was well covered as he came forward. There were no fewer than a dozen partisan and American guns tracking him, and high above and unseen in his treetop lookout, young Banoy Igcasan also had him in the sights of his carbine, finger ready against the trigger.
“Watch the little bugger as he nears his rifle on the ground,” warned Norm. “The Japs have been known to fake surrender ... it’s one of their tricks.”
“Right!” agreed Whitaker.
“He could be a good source of information, if we get him alive, though. Tell your men not too get too trigger happy,” warned Alejandro.
“You take care of yours, and I’ll tell mine what to do or not to do,” growled Whitaker irritably.
Hiroko took two more steps; his rifle lying on the ground was now within diving reach. He hesitated, debating in his mind. Should he or shouldn’t he?
Kinoshita, satisfied that Ohno and Tanaka were in attendance, barked out a string of prearranged orders. On cue, a number of his men fanned out across the compound to round up and shepherd the POWs over to where the executions were to take place. That was accomplished quickly, as curiosity had already drawn a good many over.
Then, he ordered a team of eight to lead the condemned nurses to the posts and secure them in place. Despite their weakened condition, neither Barb nor Natalie were about to come willingly. Clinging to one another desperately, they had to be forcibly separated, and then literally dragged to the waiting posts.
“These American women face death no more bravely or honorably than their men,” observed Ohno drily. “See how weak the Americans are? This, Tanaka, is why Japan shall easily win this war.”
Tanaka kept his opinions on that to himself.
At the posts, Natalie and Barb’s resistance had been overcome. Kinoshita’s men had backed them up to their respective posts, closed the irons around their necks and bound their wrist behind the posts, positioning them such that the cornus protruding from the posts pressed uncomfortably against the bone underlying the crack separating their ass cheeks.
Strong hands gripped them by the knees to widely separate their legs and raise their bodies high enough for the tips of the cornus to pass beneath their bottoms, after which with a bit of maneuvering and handling the tips were pressed against their sphincters. The men gripping their knees then pulled downward.
“My God!” shrieked Natalie. “Noooooo!”
Barb emitted a long gasp.
They were impaled against the post, their toes scrabbling for footing in the soft earth beneath but just beyond the reach of their feet.
“Magnificent!” proclaimed Ohno, nodding with appreciation at Kinoshita, “You may kindly proceed with the execution when ready, Lieutenant.”
Private (Nitōhei) Sadao Sanao sucked in his breath. He was feeling both honored and nervous. Honored because Lieutenant Kinoshita had selected him as “the one” among his comrades to execute the two American women. Nervous because all eyes would be on him, including those of the Major from Southern Army headquarters, and he, Sadao, knew that he had better not screw up.
Again, he checked the mounting of the long 32 cm spike-type bayonet fixed to the end of his Ariska Type 99 rifle. That was the fourth time he had checked on it. And again he studied his victims. His instructions were to first bayonet the one on the right, and then her comrade on the left.
He thought them quite beautiful, despite their disheveled and dirty appearance. It was clear that they had been tortured. He had earlier heard their screams from within the interrogation shed, and intermingled with the filth covering their nude bodies, he could see the dark marks left by the beatings they had received as well as the burn marks on their breasts. He also found himself aroused by their nudity, and the way they squirmed and thrashed about once the cornus had been driven up their asses. He thought it very erotic.
Barb was in agony. She had thought it uncomfortable enough when Kubo had attempted to take her from behind back when she lay helpless before him on that table in the Balanga comfort station. And she thought it quite painful when she was anally raped that morning on the rear deck of that lorry. But this was beyond imagination. She felt like her bottom had been literally split open and stretched beyond limit by the bluntly pointed protrusion affixed to her post, and no amount of movement or gyration could ease the pain, yet she could not keep from trying.
She could see that Natalie was faring no better than she. But now there was a new concern, for a young-looking Japanese soldier bearing a rifle with an incredibly long bayonet that gleamed in the bright headlamp, was approaching Natalie.
She watched as he stopped in front of Natalie and lowered his rifle so that the tip of the bayonet was leveled at her stomach. She sensed Natalie’s fear, noting that her friend had stopped struggling and was looking directly at him.
She heard Natalie pleading, “Please! Please don’t!”
And then with indescribable horror she saw him drive the blade into Natalie’s stomach, and observed how the bloody tip emerged momentarily from her friend’s back before it was drawn back.
Barb turned her head away, unable to watch the succession of repeated stabbing that followed.
Turning to the other American, Sadao wiped the blood from the blade of his bayonet and regarded his second victim thoughtfully as he planted his feet. He found that he couldn’t see her clearly, and realized that was because the thick eyeglasses he wore were spattered with blood. So he tucked the stock of his rifle under his arm, and removed his eyeglasses to wipe them clean and polish them with the same cloth he had used to clean his bayonet.
From behind, Sadao could hear the Major heatedly admonishing the Lieutenant to urge him to get on with it.
Barb regarded the Japanese soldier warily as he methodically polished and then replaced his thick eyeglasses. To her left she was aware of the hideous gurgling sound Natalie was making in her death throes, and felt an overwhelming sadness deep inside her, a desire to give out a wail of sorrow.
But at the same time a calm come over her as it all seemed to be moving toward an inevitable end ... an end she had no choice but to accept.
Resuming her study of her executioner, she noted his diminutive stature, scraggly facial hair, how very young he was, imagined how poor his eyesight must be to require such thick eyeglasses, and wondered how the Japanese army could accept someone with bad eyesight. She wondered what was going through his mind, what he might be thinking about her nakedness, whether he would survive this cruel war.
As he lowered the point of his bayonet to the level of her navel, she couldn’t keep herself from looking down between her breasts at its threatening tip. She stopped trying to purchase a footing with her toes, allowed herself to go limp, and closed her eyes.
Miles away, high in the hills, at that very moment, Hiroko both made his final decision and made his final move. Suddenly he dived for his rifle, hitting the ground on his side, grabbing the weapon to continue a roll that would put him in a firing position.
He wasn’t quick enough. They were ready. A hail of bullets slammed into him before he could bring his weapon to bear. He managed a shot, but only an unaimed reflex shot high into the air.
Hiroko died instantly.
“Got the bastard!” exalted Clem.
There was a scream, and Banoy Igcasan dropped to the ground dead at Alejandro’s
I agree. His fate was sealed the moment he killed Kubo and went rogue into the jungle. Caught between the Japanese and the partisans, he had no way out. It was touching, how Barb allowed him an innocent sleeping cuddle with his love. Capture, torture, and eventual death (the partisans would not keep him alive long) was the only alternative.Hiroko makes his best decision.
You hit the nail on the head. My hat's off to @Barbaria1 for writing a moving, true-to-life story and not a comic book of endlessly miraculous escapes. Every action, choice, and plot twist was completely believable! I appreciated that Natalie and Barb were given a chance for a bit of courage and bravery at the end (especially their resistance to unbearable torture) - believable but still, remarkable!Their luck for improbable rescue just ran out at last.
I had the same thoughts, but mine followed the Shakespearean flavor I saw in Hiroko and Shirley. The end of Hamlet, where the palace floor is littered with bodies, knee-deep in gore!Judging from the body count, particularly in the last two episodes, and the dramatic circumstances, this story lends itself for a good tragic opera! Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, where are you?