Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
TITLE: The Blood Stained Souvenir
By david grant
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by DW Grant
Bombs explode outside my basement wall as I dream of Israel, my promised land. Angry voices shout for me to come out and accept the “mercy” of the Fatherland. I will not, not unless they promise me Jerusalem instead of a bullet. Machine guns burst rock from above my head, and I duck and recite in Hebrew “Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam…Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe..”
Momma was taken yesterday, trying to get me bread. Papa the day before, when he tried to stand up and object to the way we were being treated. They shot him, dead. His body was cold by the time his head reached the sidewalk, but his gray head was still hot and steaming. It was his last defiance. His hatred would be the last to die. Blessed be his soul.
I have since been on the move, as best I can, and as I am able, since my legs and one arm are lifeless, a blessing from my Adonai actually, which had brought me much love before, but now only makes dig myself deeper into the corners of darkness. These soldiers will shoot me first for being a Jew, then a second time for not being perfect. I must move again.
They are coming closer. Behind the wooden basement stairs I see a small door. I inch my way across the room on my empty stomach. The shouts and demands are getting louder. Heavy boots are at the top of the stairs. Pull harder and faster. Boots are banging closer. I reach the door, crawl inside, and shut it behind me. Boots have hit the dirt floor.
There’s a lot of swearing outside the little door, things are being banged around, and thrown against the walls. They are looking for me. I inch back as far as I can in to the little space. It goes back further, and takes several scoots before I reach a bottom step. Someone is shouting again, more excited. They have found the little door.
With everything I have I pull my weight up the stairs with my one good arm. Machine guns are firing at the door, and into the little space where I was. I pull up one stair at a time again, and again. I am at the top landing when the little door bursts away and a helmeted head thrusts through the opening.
There’s door lever above me. I pull it, while trying not to lose my place on the landing. Someone curses the darkness and demands a light. I push the door open, and slide through, and then I close it softly. I see light under the door frame. Cursing again. Then no light. I guess they have given up. I hope they have given up. I try to rest, hoping the exhausting chase is over for a few minutes, but there is something behind me.
I cannot see it in the dark, but my one hand feels for it. It is a beam, rough, and unwelcoming. A splinter of the wood pierces my finger. I bite it immediately, and clench my teeth. I cannot afford to scream. I taste my blood, and the salt from my tears, and then I put my hand back on the beam to steady myself. I think I’ve just felt a foot.
It is cold and I think it’s made of plaster. I can’t see it in the dark, but I image a foot must be attached to a man.
“Hello?” I ask quietly. “Are you hiding from the Nazis too?”
It doesn’t answer. It is a statue of some kind. Hum, a foot attached to a beam.
“Are you hurting too?” I whisper.
It doesn’t answer, but I feel better talking to it. I must talk to someone, or something. I am so scared.
“I bet you’re Jewish too.”
I hear voices again. I cannot hide any deeper, and then they have found me, and dragged me out into the street. They point their guns and for some reason I hold up a finger sized sliver of wood that came off the beam when I touched it. It has my blood on it, as does the street in the next moment.
In eternity I hand that sliver of wood to the man I met in the dark. He shows me his scars too. Funny, how in the midst of terror, we can make forever friends. I have.
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