You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


From: Krakow, To: Home by slytheringinny

Format: Novella
Chapters: 15
Word Count: 24,871
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Action/Adventure, Angst
Characters: OC
Pairings:

First Published: 06/27/2007
Last Chapter: 08/09/2008
Last Updated: 08/09/2008

Summary:
Banner || Me    Amazing Beta || caryjanecarter (Ellarose C).



The year is 1940 -  a year of discovery, war, loss, and the fight for life - witch, wizard, jew, and muggle a like. The year is 1940 - and I've learned that sometimes, the year doesn't go the way you want it to.


Chapter 1: September 1940; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author Note: In Response to PadfootBlack16's Historical Challenge

September 1940; Dresden, Germany








We had our shop closed down first. A large, bright yellow Star of David had been spray-painted on the window; the front door that had once tingled merrily as people entered was sealed off with cardboard and plyboard planks. I had seen the destruction they had done on the way home from school. I felt my chest tighten and turn the moment I had rounded the corner. Our family shop, a simple stall where we sold and repaired pocket-watches, was just a mere block away from home - had they found Momma and Papa, too? My fingers instinctively clutched at the two things I had grown to hate - and love. One hand traveled to the hollow of my throat, my slender digits touching a cold chain brushed in gold.
 
 The other wandered down to my schoolbag, where amongst my practice books rested a slender piece of wood.
 
 What, one might ask, would a slender stick, a mere sliver of tree, do to help a sixteen-year-old girl defend herself against the Gestapo, the Nazis, or the SS? I would immediately tell that person, should they ask me that up front, that they were being carelessly foolish. I have no doubt they would deliberately shove that back in my face. It isn't at all pleasant when that happens.
 
 I walked another block further, and I wished I could have dug my wan- I mean stick out of my bag for protection, but it was no use. If I were to wave it around like a raging lunatic, they would surely ship me off to the Chancellor of Germany himself. I thought to myself that I'd be hanged in front of a synagogue before that happened.
 
 Society asks so many strange, stupid questions that I shouldn't doubt it’d ask - "Why to the 'Fuhrer' himself for waving an infernal stick?" It's the ‘infernal’ part that troubled me the most.
 
 The street on this next block, I had noticed while in my reverie, was nearly empty, though why was unbeknownst to me. Perhaps it was because the shops were closed? Or was it that God-be-damned Gestapo standing at the corner of the sidewalk by the street sign? But it didn't matter - this was the way I ALWAYS went home, and I wouldn't change my route just because a German man happened to be standing by the street corner. My feet picked up their pace, and I soon realized that home was closer than I thought. I kept my eyes, my Wollsburglen family eyes, focused on the ground.
 
 That is, I did until my body collided with that of another. A weight was added to my shoulder - a hand, I presumed - and my bag dropped from my hands, my pendant that I had strung about my neck flying out of my shirt collar, where it had been safely hidden from the rest of the German society. My cheeks tinged, there was a ringing in my ears - like a warning alarm going off in my head - but I paid no attention to it. My gaze was fixed to a stick, rolling towards the street - where its plunging fate would end at a gutter. The hand was removed from my shoulder as I knelt, picking up my books and hurriedly tucking the Star of David into my shirt, all the while keeping my eyes on that stick.
 
 I couldn't lose it - I couldn't bear to lose it. My family had used it for so long in rituals no one had seen before. It meant something to me, to my mother, and her parents before her in Poland. It had created things for this family, this long line of Jewish Wollsburglens, which nothing else could piece together.

  Magic. Magic had come out of that stick.
 
 And I didn’t want to lose that magic.
 
 That same hand I supposed had been on my shoulder had retrieved my stick before it plunged into the water - and booted feet blocked my view of the street. I stood, looking down as the figure handed me my precious, safe and sound. How thankful I was! ... But only for the moment.
 
 I should have been more careful. If I were to lose any of my possessions due to my absurd clumsiness, my momma would have my head. "Danke," I whispered in relieved German thanks, raising my eyes to meet the harsh aqua ones of a man in uniform, a Nazi swastika emblem on his forearm armband. His stare was cold, but deceiving, for I could see laughter and amusement in his eyes. I had no doubts that he was amused by me - an over-analyzing teenaged Jewish girl who carried a well-cared-for, polished stick in her school bag. But he just nodded as his angled face examined my features, checking to see if I was Aryan or not.
 
 Aryan.
 
 That damned ''perfect race'' of which Jews such as myself were outlawed from. The Master Race.
 
 Apparently, from his next words spoken in clumsy English, he had classified me as not so perfect.
 
 "Clumsee leettle Jewish girl should not be playing vith stick. She could poke someone's eye out - like me." His thick accent was hard to digest, and I could feel my cheeks growing hot - my chest heaving as my heart rate soared. I merely nodded, clutching my 'dangerous weapon' close to me. "Go home now, Juden." His eyes narrowed, and I ran - sprinted - the two blocks left to reach my house.
 
 How I hoped I wouldn't have to encounter another on that sprint home.
 
 "Minka!" my father cried out at me in happiness when I stepped foot on the doorstep. The front door, strangely, had been pulled open wide, and my father's gentle, wrinkled face grinned at me, his prominent ears and glittering hazel eyes nearly identical to mine. I smiled in return, not wanting to speak. My stomach was still churning from my incident two blocks back with the man on the street corner. I was just thankful I hadn't dropped the precious cargo down the drain. "Welcome home, daughter." My father welcomed me back into the comfort of my small and cramped two-story home - where my little brother, Josef, sat at the kitchen table, drawing with a black crayon.
 
 My mother had an apron tied around her waist as she cooked at the fireplace, stirring something in a pot around and around. I dropped my school bag and sat on the floor, touching my neck to make sure that the pendant was still there. Momma's face turned to look at me, and I faltered in my smile. She knew something was wrong. "Minka - has something happened? You seem rather off and quiet today..." Like I wasn't quiet everyday. Apparently, though, this silence from me must have been different enough that both of my parents seemed to notice, while Josef just scribbled alone.
 
 I shook my head, gazing out of my glasses at the fire. It was darker in the family room, strangely. Normally we would have the windows open, and the shutters flown wide so that the breeze of Germany could waft through the windows and sweep through the house. But they were firmly shut, and a few candles were flickering, giving off their eerie light to everyone's face.
 
 I heard Papa shut the front door and slide the bolt into place. Something was wrong. I could sense it.
 
 "Nothing's wrong, Momma," I answered in my soft, monotone voice, "or at least, not with me." I wouldn't tell her about the incident with my wand and the German man unless she forced it out of me. Josef hopped down from his chair and handed me the paper he had been coloring on. I took the frail piece of paper into my hands and looked at what the four-year-old had drawn. A family, with me, him, and two long, gangling stick figures that were our parents, and in both my hand and my mother's hand, sticks that represented our magic.
 
 The thing that had shocked me the most in this toddler drawn picture, however, was the bright yellow, six-pointed star in the background. Even he knew what we were. I stifled a shudder that threatened to rattle my spine and grinned loftily at Josef, who promptly sat himself in my lap. I looked up at my mother. She was frowning, and she obviously knew something was off, but I refused to tell her, or Papa.
 
 "Momma - have you seen the shop?" My voice softened even more, probably so that one would have to lean in to hear me, cup their ear.
 
 Papa looked up from the Polish newspaper he had gotten in the mail from our grandparents. The headline told me that Germany was planning to extend rule over to Poland - become a dominant country. I scowled. I wouldn't bear to see the man on the corner, or men like him, ruling my homeland. "We know, córka," he affectionately said, calling me ‘daughter’ in Polish and running a hand through his graying hair.
 
 But my mother looked confused. "The shop, Oskar? What's wrong with the shop?" Josef's head twitched to the speaker every time someone had a word to say; as if he could really understand the situation we were in.
 
 And I knew we were in a deep situation.
 
 "It's been boarded up, Momma," I reluctantly spoke out of turn. Papa, however, said nothing, but returned to his newspaper. "The Star of David painted on it as well."
 
 Momma's face could be seen crinkling in dismay in the pale light. I felt sorry for her. She was the witch who had the most experience between the two of us, but she could not use it against the Nazis. They would ask questions. I played with my own armband - the one with the matching star that I had been required to wear ever since I was twelve. Josef, luckily, didn't have to deal with that humiliation.
 
 Fear crossed over her face.
 
 I gathered that wasn't a good sign . . .




Author Note: July 23rd, 2008 - Chapter Is Beta'ed.

Author Note: For those of you who don't know - the Jewish people in Germany who were immigrants from Poland were stripped of their German citizenship and their shops were closed down, marked as "Juden" or Jewish. This was during WWII, and Adolf Hitler's reign as Chancellor of Germany, or the Fuhrer. Minka and her family are fictional characters - and yes, Minka is a Half-Blood Jewish Witch. <33 Her mother is a Pureblood from Poland, and her father a Jewish shop-owner.

Minka's run-in with the German Nazis will continue . . .

--Ginni

Chapter 2: September 1940, Part II
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Later That Same Night. . .
September, 1940; Dresden, Germany







"Flick it harder, Minka. You're being too delicate. It'll never move an inch if you keep this up."

"I'm flicking it, Momma! I'm flicking!" I held the stick in my hand, my face scrunched up as I stared at a lit candle before me. This was harder than I had thought - and Momma had told me this was one of the simplest spells one could possibly learn. It would do something special, Momma had told me, but she had to be careful that Papa didn't see me practicing Magic in his study, with just a few candles blowing in the open window. I had agreed with her that the house was far too stuffy, and that we shouldn't be in the dumps because we had our shop closed down.

I had wanted to argue with her. How were we supposed to live off of this? Eat? Drink? Sleep? Surely, if we couldn't pay the Fuhrer for our debts and bills - our home and our furniture would be revoked from us - taken away. And then, we wouldn't be able to pay for food, and we couldn't get Josef his medication from the doctor, the poor boy couldn't breathe properly without it.

But I kept my mouth shut. I was observant, but I wouldn't speak unless I was threatened to.

My mother's smooth, but well-worn hands touched mine overtop of the mahogany wand, and she twisted my wrist. I felt a sharp jab in the side of my skin, and a snap. At first, I thought she had broken my wrist, and if she had, it was strange, because no tears sparkled in pain at the corner of my eyes. But my eyes had clenched shut anyway, and upon opening them, I saw my wrist pointed in the opposite direction, and I heard the words spilling from my mother's mouth. "Wingardium Leviosa. . ." My pupils widened in the light and I saw the candle rise.

Momma took the wand away from me, sliding it into her left hand. The candle dropped, but she flicked it back up again. It was amazing. Levitation. I began to grow green with envy at her, wishing I was that good at the skill I possessed. My mother saw my awe and let the candle drop, placing it upright again when it toppled. "Just be at ease; ease up, child!" She came around my back, placed the wand back into my right hand, and rubbed my shoulders.

My mother could be soothing, and harsh. This I had learned from her. If she wanted one to do something, she wouldn't stop helping until they did it. But she was careful with her magic, that I had noticed. She had rarely used it, unless she was teaching me. "For defense, Minka. You have the skill, and I am teaching you to expand on it for defense purposes only. I do not want to see you abusing your power." Only, for defense.

And yet, I hadn't even expanded on my skills.

"Josefine!"I heard my father's voice echo from down the hall. He was in their room, where Josef slept as well. I had a room, foolishly and selfishly, to myself. But my brother often climbed in bed with me when he was scared of the ruckus the Germans often caused on the streets. We were not German - we had been revoked of our citizenship here - since we originally came from Poland anyway.

Her dark brown eyes gazed at the door in concern. "I'll leave you here, Minka. Practice. But don't let your father open that door; if he sees you practicing your magic - he will be very unhappy with me." Her tone was serious, and I just nodded, turning away from my mother's concerned face. I heard her footsteps, exiting the room, and I grasped my wand back into my hand, feeling the magic coursing from the stick into my hand.

I had tried bending my wrist the same way my mother had twisted it moments before, and uttering those strange words, the incantation I had been taught - and my spectacled eyes saw the candle twitch upward. Excitement coursed through my veins but it went away as soon as the candle dropped noisily to the ground. Bending down to retrieve the chunk of wax - I heard blubbering down the hall, silent but loud enough to echo in the cramped home. I knew that sob.

It was that of Momma's. Papa's consoling, but anger ridden voice was heard next. My curiosity peaked exponentially. What was going on?! Momma rarely cried. I sat my wand down on the table - taking care to remember it was there so Papa wouldn't find it, and I opened the door to the narrow hallway. The bedroom door was open - but typical of my father, only a solitary candle was lit, and I could only see silhouettes without my position being given away. I knew eavesdropping was wrong-doing, but Momma had taught me clever things that were wrong anyway - so I sat and listened.

Papa's soft and gentle voice sounded first. "Josefine - I know we can't leave Josef and Minka on their own. But I can't risk our children being harmed and hunted like mules. Ever. I would rather risk myself first."

I blinked, pulling my shirt over my mouth so my heavy breathing that had increased in surprise wouldn't be heard. I tugged the collar up over my nose - sending my glasses askew and at risk of falling off. Leaving me and Josef alone? What were they talking about? Why was Papa putting his life in danger for mine? I wanted to cry out, but that was against my nature, so I bit my tongue.

"We can send them to Poland, Oskar. With my parents - until the troubles in Dresden are over," Momma offered weakly. I knew Papa wouldn't fall for it.

"No!" His enraged voice shook the entire house, as little as the brick box was. "Didn't you read the newspaper, Josey?! Minka and Josef won't be safe! Krakow, Josefine! Krakow!" Momma sniffled again and I wanted to go comfort her - show her how I made the candle twitch beneath my power. She would be proud, but distracted by this mess, I supposed.

"Oskar, my parents have magic. They can protect! They can heal! They will be in no harm!" Grandma and Granda? And what was Krakow? I was a smart girl, near perfect marks before the order of armbands for anyone over twelve came out. I was supposed to know these things - so why didn't I? Were my parents hiding something from me?

This time, Papa's voice was more gentle and less angered as he spoke and I saw his shadow enveloping my mother's in an embrace. "Magic, even of the strongest kind cannot protect against the evil of the Nazis and Fuhrer, Josefine."

I had heard enough to let my mind wander and simmer for the next month and a half and my knees were beginning to become sore, my joints stiff and aching. I began to rise from the ground, but the floorboard creaked ominously beneath me. It was loud, and distracted. My muscles stiffened, paralyzed in fear. But I was met with complete silence, and overcome with thoughts - I went to my room in aching solitude. Little did I know, as I walked down the hall with sneaky feet - that I had forgotten a certain specimen on Papa's desk. I hadn't known at that moment in time that leaving the wand behind would set off a large string of horrible, cascading events.




Author's Note: I just noticed this is the only fic that I bother to continue writing where I left off in Word, longhand. I just like it that much? =D

Chapter 3: September, 1940; Part III
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]


Next Week
September, 1940; Dresden, Germany










Things had been silent around my home. It was unusual, after my momma and papa's fight, one would have thought that it would be more. . . noisy and awkward in the depths of my small home. But no, not a single cat-fight had erupted between my parents, though occasionally at the table I would see them shoot very dirty looks at one another, as if they were still squabbling in their minds, shouting at each other, arguing. If it was one thing I hated the most about my parents, it was their arguments. But I sat, squished between the stiffness of my mother and father at the table, spooning my oatmeal that was soggy and clumpy, into my mouth and swallowing it down.

I was trying to eat as fast as I could. I had remembered the last week when I had left my wand on papa's desk, that it was still there, and I needed to fetch it; it somehow made me feel safe, like it offered extra protection, even if I couldn't do the simplest spell on earth. But when, the day after momma and papa's argument, I went back into the den to find the long, slender stick, it was missing from the mahogany desk top. I had naturally panicked. That was my momma's wand, what had happened to it? Had it rolled off of the window? Did the cat get at it?

But my panic would not seep through and get at me while I was here, at the breakfast table a week after it had gone missing, eating my food patiently. All was silent once again, no one dared to make eye contact, until Josef dropped his metal spoon on the ground. We all stared at him, me, with my glasses sliding down my sweaty nose, bent down under the table to pick it up and hand it back to him. I looked across the table once again to find Momma's eyes staring through mine, like she could see straight through me into the back of my skull.

I gulped.

She knew.

"Córka. Minka, daughter," It was my father's gentle voice echoing out to me, and I wrenched my eyes away from my mother, looking at my father with dull interest. I blinked, waiting in anticipation to see what he wanted from me. He slid his chair back and gazed at me. I knew immediately something was wrong from the look on his face. It was anger, something I had rarely seen from my father. He had normally been so calm, unable to get angry at anyone in the world.

But I knew why he was angry.

He had found the wand on his desk, and he was desperately trying not to yell and slam things around when he was around me. "Minka, I need you, in my den, please." My mother looked scared, but I got up, showing no fear on my facial features, and I followed my father to his den, the floorboards creaking beneath my nimble feet. I was silent, however many questions threatened my mind with it's bulging. "Minka," The den door closed; it was an ominous sound that made my ears ache unpleasantly. What was going to happen to me?

I knew that he was going to be very, very upset with me. He didn't approve of magic. He hadn't known that when he married my mother that she was a witch. Papa didn't know what troubles he'd be getting into with a half-blood daughter as well. Heck, he hadn't known that I had had magic until I levitated his tea cup out of anger when Josef had spit up on me. I was seven, then. My mother wanted to drown herself because of what she had done to her family. Papa had reassured her it was okay.

But now, tides had changed. I had never seen him so mad, when normally he was so calm, so happy. "Minka, I assume you know what you have done to me, to betray me as such that I have to rip you away from your breakfast because I can't stand the indecency this house possesses at this very moment." I merely nodded. I knew for sure that if I said anything, he would be more enraged at me than he already was.

His shaking hand reached into a desk drawer behind his back and pulled out my wand, slender and polished, just like it had been a week ago when I had left it on the desk. My own hand reached out to touch it, but my father's stern gaze of disapproval caught me off guard, and I felt a sharp sting on my wrist that announced my Papa, so loving and so forgiving, had struck me with my own personal weapon. My eyes grew wide and I shuddered as his hand enveloped around my wrist. I thought for sure I was going to receive a slap across the face.

But his expression lowered to a form of disappointment and sadness. "I thought, for one moment of my life, córka, that you would not follow the treacherous waters that are magic. I thought you might be a daughter without pretenses to follow magic. I thought wrong. You have disappointed me, Minka. Go to school and say nothing of this." His voice turned stern and I wrenched myself out of his grasp, tearing my face away from his, away from his eyes that sparkled with tears at the corners, feeling wetness gathering at the corners of my own, and raced out of the front door, snatching my bag and nearly knocking my dear baby brother on his backside on the way out.

I didn't dare stop at the street corner where the Gestapo was out of fear again, but needless to say, I watched where I was going. The wind whipped back my unprepared hair, I had raced out of the house without even my shoes on, and two blocks away from the school, I had had to run back home and retrieve them, facing my mother at the door holding my worn shoes in front of her. She had looked terribly upset, a frown of dismay on her face, and I could hear my brother crying in the background. I took my shoes, tears flying down my face, and ran back without my wand, without a second thought.

The school classroom was quiet when I entered, my face clearing showing I was ashamed to all of my school mates. My teacher frowned, and would have given me lashings had I not looked so poorly pathetic before him. He had merely frowned and ordered me to the back of the room. I had never sat in the back, I was always in the front. This was punishment enough, as I sat there, quiet as ever, only speaking when spoken too. I knew I had done a terrible thing.

The house would be a mess if and when I returned home.

After school was the worst. Alfred, a fellow Jewish student in my class, had brought his dog along for show. The dog was small, nothing more than a mere yapper dog. I smiled wanly, thinly, and Alfred, being a kindred soul, asked me to sit down. I suppose it couldn't hurt, sitting in the school yard, considering that my father was so upset that I couldn't possibly upset him even more than I already had. "You seem, distraught, Minka. Are you alright?" Concern for me echoed in the boy's eyes, and I couldn't help but feel loss, and such a selfishness I hadn't felt before.

"I'm fine, Alfred," I sheltered my school books that were disposed of their ripping back, pressing them up to my chest. "And if I'm not fine now, I will be." I couldn't dare tell my fellow Jewish friend what was going on at home. No one was to know about magic. Momma had called them Muggles, and there was a code of secrecy between wizards and Muggles. It was like a certain balance. A balance I wished could happen between Jews and Nazis, but I knew it would never happen.

Alfred raised a thin brow and his sticky-outty ears twitched. "Don't feed me lies, Minka. I'm not some brainless twit like Engel Wierkhimmer is." Engel, or Angel of Death as some of the younger ones called him, was the stupid school bully. "I know something is wrong with you. I have never seen you look so disappointed and . . . never have you been late to school."

I managed to stifle a giggle as Alfred's small dog chased a butterfly on his short leash that Alfred had a hold of, that and the comment about Engel had made me smile. In return, Alfred smiled back. Oh, how I wish I could have told him what I was, what I did, and why I was being punished so from my father. I received no slap, no beatings, but the tone of his voice was enough to make me crack under shame and pressure. "Alfred - "

Quickly, jeering from the other side of the school yard cut me short. I bit my lip, turning my head, my braids falling over my shoulders. It was Engel, with his plastered blond hair to his pale forehead, and his sickenly slender and short body. He didn't look like much, but everyone knew that Engel's parents could send anyone to the Fuhrer on their knees, pleading for forgiveness - that of which they wouldn't receive. "Lookit here, boys," This thick voice made me shudder and I refused to let myself be shaken by this twig. So I just averted my eyes away from him, and continued to look back down at the ground, where Alfred's puppy ate grass at our feet. "Two little Judens off on a date. Going to impurify Germany with their scum! Now I understand why Fuhrer is sending you all to be exterminated!"

Anger and tears came quickly. It seemed as though any more taunting and I wouldn't be shy little Minka anymore that let people trample all over her, including Engel and his twits. I scowled, my breathing laboured even more, and Alfred's hand was placed on my shoulder. I stood and shook it off. I didn't need his help. How I wished I had taken the wand from Papa's hand when I had left. Then I could hex him into next Tuesday, or levitate him into a tree. Just do something to make him learn a lesson.

But I knew I couldn't do that anyway. It was all about balance.

So I stormed down the blocks, running, this time with shoes, the whole way home; my hair flew out behind me, tears streaked down my face, and when I had rounded the last corner to go home, my weight, once again, rammed into a figure that had been walking. My books sprawled across the pavement, their pages getting wrinkled and torn. I hung my head, and burst into tears and didn't look up until I felt a presence watching me.

I looked up, my glasses crooked on my nose.

"Juden. Filthy scum! I thought I told you to watch where you were going, girl!" My eyesight was directed at a gun barrel, pointed directly at me. "Get up, filth!"












Author's Note: Apologies about the long wait, I've been kind of busy. And yes, this Gestapo officer is the same from the week before. Excitement shall highten in the next chapter. ♥

Chapter 4: September, 1940; Part IV
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

September, 1940; Dresden, Germany
Five Minutes Later









"Jew. Filthy scum! I thought I told you to watch where you were going, girl!" My eyesight was directed at a gun barrel, pointed directly at me. "Get up, filth!"

My eyes widened in terror. Not him again, I couldn't face it, not with tears creasing down my cheeks like it were raining on them, not with my self-esteem so low already. I was not ready to face the other side of the war, not today, not now. They didn't know what discrimination went on during school - they just stood there patrolling the streets, asking little Jew boys if they wanted to betray their family to become part of the patrols. With these little Star of David's on their clothing they were allowed to enter and leave Ghettos, go into German shops and whatever they wanted to do - under the jurisdiction that they returned with any Jew, any of their own kind, who had disobeyed a law; even relatives, siblings, mothers and fathers.

It was just as bad as becoming a Nazi.

My joints protested as I rose to my feet, my knees cracking unpleasantly, my nose running as I wiped it haphazardly on my sleeve. Nothing seemed fair today, nothing seemed right. Not even Alfred's consoling words lasted long in the treacherous world outside of a school house. My hands were shaking, and I could feel Alfred's eyes on my back, he had obviously followed me out of haste. I mentally thanked him, for being such a good friend - but this was not the time to thank my friends. It was the time to say my prayers as I gazed into the gun barrel, gazed into my death.

I shouldn't have been so negative about the situation, but it was hard not to - living your whole life in fear. Josef was lucky, and unlucky - being such a young child he had no clue what was going on around him, his naivety could brighten a damp situation so quickly with a giggle, or a prod in the back with a coloured crayon. He had no clue how close his family was to death, and just that thought about the innocent life before adults could put another damper on the situation.

Bright blue, lifeless eyes glared coldly like an ice glacier down at me; I immediately knew what the Gestapo officer was thinking. 'She's vile, and cruel to other civilians. She deserves to be extinguished, she is just a hazard to Dresden. . .' I saw his finger twitch on the trigger of his gun and I felt my heart beat frantically against my ribs, as if bursting to get out of a cage like a wild animal. I was frightened out of my wits, I could honestly say that - and more than anything, I wanted to run away; I wanted to just get up on my feet and run far, far away. Maybe I could run to Sweden, for somehow, they managed to stay out of this vile, human-defacing war.

My ears told me that he had cocked his gun and was ready to pull the trigger on me; me, just a lifeless, pathetic human being kneeling at his every whim and want, ready to be killed. If this is what it took to get people in their comfy homes just off of this sidewalk to notice the horrors going on around their perfect town, then I'd gratefully die for that, just for some, pathetic soul to realize what was happening under their noses. I'd tell them what was happening - a child on her way home, running without looking, was going to be ruthlessly murdered on the streets.

"Minka! My daughter! Let her go!" A breathless voice reached the Gestapo officer's ears first, and I panicked, covering my face. The gun barrel dropped, as did the entire gun and landed at my feet. Clearly this soldier was untrained, unprepared for a hushing mother to be rushing down the street with a four year old on her hip, grabbing my arm and yanking me up off of the ground. Dirt soiled my school skirt, but that was the least of my problems. I had just narrowly escaped death, and for that - I was thankful. Intense praying would proceed tonight, if mother allowed it, to thank the gods for saving me.

If I would even last long in this world. . .

Apparently, though, as I was yanked up from the dirty pavement, I was spared for this moment in time, and I gathered myself in time to look in my mother's frantic eyes. Why was she out here? Why did she dare to bring Josef outside? Had she been searching for me? Momma muttered a silent apology before turning to me a block later, and screeching at me in Polish. "What do you think you're doing, child?! Running into that man can get your life taken away from you, your family's lives," Josef bounced on my momma's hip as we were dragged back home.

I had never seen her look so dishiveled in my life. Her hair was in fly away state, her eyes wide and panicky. Had she figured out about Papa? About what Papa had said to me this morning? Or was something just not safe anymore? One should always learn to come and expect these things, to be torn away from things, all of the time - especially in this war when you're of my religion. But needless to say, I was not prepared for it.

I was not prepared for it at all.

Nor was I prepared for what awaited me at the door of my home. A suitcase, small and with tearing leather at the sides, was thrown out the front door carelessly by my mother and I could hear my father making a racket in the kitchen. "She doesn't need to leave us yet, Josefine! Not now! Not witho - " Papa's voice was cut off when my mother slammed the door in his face after placing my little brother inside, where he promptly fell on his butt and began to cry in the entry way. He didn't know what was going on, so he resorted to crying.

Everything seemed like a blur to me, and I was in the same situation. I wanted to break down and cry; the look on Momma's face however, kept me strong if only for a moment. "W-What's going on Momma? What are you doing?" Children like me, hell - I wasn't even a child, I was sixteen years old, going on seventeen, but nevertheless - we shouldn't cry. We shouldn't be touchy with these intense emotions. But alas, I was more sensitive than most. Her hands were fixed on my shaking shoulders now, I was still in overall shock and I couldn't comprehend what was going on. It was moving too fast for me.

The next thing I knew, Momma pushed a small slip of paper in my hand, and kicked the suitcase across the ground so it was at my side. The wand, nicked from Papa, was in her hand. I didn't dare look down at the slip of paper, because the next thing I knew I had another piece in my hand, and the wand in the waistband of my skirt. What, was going on? I wanted to ask Momma, but before I got a chance to, she gave me a kiss on each cheek and a breath-taking hug before going back inside and slamming the front door shut, looking out the window with listless eyes.

I looked at her, confused.

What was she doing to me? Why did I have a suitcase at my feet? She pointed at my enclosed fist, with the two slips of paper. I looked down and read my mother's familiar, warm writing in Hebrew.

Minka,
There is an explination waiting for you on the other piece of paper. It will get you where you need to go. But for now, child, I insist you read this thoroughly, and throw it away immediately. You, are not safe here. I know what is going on and the war is at a peaking point for us. Extermination, Minka. And of this word I can tell you no more. The other slip of paper is a list of incantations and wand movements; in that folded slip of paper is another. A train ticket. It will take you to Poland, and the train station isn't far from Grandmama and Granda's home.

Take the train there. Do not get off the train unless it's your stop. Stay in your compartment no matter what. You are smart, child. I know you'll know what to do. Once at Grandmama and Granda's, tell them that you are no longer safe in Germany. Your school is taking captive tomorrow, during role-call, all Jewish children. Papa, Josef and I will meet you in Poland after this terror is over, I promise.

Practice your incantations.
I love you.
Be safe.
Momma, Papa, Josef.










So that was it? I was on my own?












Author's Note: So I proudly present you with Chapter Four. Will Minka make it to Poland on her own, safe and sound? What about the spells? Will they help her?
I'm dredfully sorry, but I really can't answer these questions. Until next time. . . Thanks for reading!

-Ginni

Chapter 5: September, 1940; Part V
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Same Night
September, 1940; Dresden, Germany









This, was it. Two scraps of paper, a suitcase at my feet, and a train ticket in my hand. I couldn't believe my mother had done such a thing to me. To think she had kicked her only daughter, her pride and joy, on the dangerous streets of a prejudice world - with barely any magic in her blood that she could tap into. I felt tears sparkling at the corner of my eyes and I reached up one hand that held the train ticket and list of spells, to prod under my glasses and wipe them away before they fell. I couldn't believe that my mother was just going to drop me here like she had never known me. I was her child! This was ridiculous. . . Shock had gripped my heart with a tenacious, viciously cold grip - the coldness seeping down into my bones like it had never done so before.

I gulped and a few droplets of water spilled loose from my eyes, worming their way down my pale cheeks and underneath the bottom frame of my glasses. Momma's letter crumpled in my hand and I turned around, still feeling eyes on my back. Alfred, he had seen the entire thing. From the wand, to the letter, to the train ticket. He had to know that I was leaving, and wouldn't be at school. I could trust him, couldn't I? I could trust him with the fact to keep my disappearance under the rug. . . but what if he had seen the wand? I couldn't risk the balance that Momma had talked about, the status quo that was to be kept the same. . . Sobs were threatening to tear at my soul and I turned on my heal, snatching up the suitcase with trembling fingers.

"Alfred," I hiccuped. I couldn't speak properly - it was like my tongue had been glued to the roof of my mouth. Alfred, with his glittering, emotional eyes, had seen it all - and I hoped he held some comfort before I was sent off to who know's where. "I ne-need you t-to do something -hic!- for me. . ." I was distraught, and it had shown completely in my voice. I hoped, I dearly hoped that he would understand my situation - wouldn't ask questions, and tell everyone at school that I had been shipped off somewhere. Or was deathly ill.

"Minka?" Was the quiet response I had gotten and I felt him come closer, felt his arms wrap around my shock tightened body. I didn't have a choice, but as soon as his embrace enveloped me like a warm fire, I leaned into his taller shoulder, and wept. I had never done this before, never. I normally kept my emotions, opinions, anything, inside with a tongue in my cheek unless I was asked how I felt, asked what my opinions were. Never had I been considered and comforted like this before by anyone other than my parents. "Minka, what's going on? Calm down," He whispered those sweet nothings in my ear and I bit in my last audible sob, my hands crunching the papers in them. I felt sick to my stomach, and I knew my mother could be watching, so I had to hurry and forget the fact that I could not see (my glasses had been twisted sideways, smudged over with tears) and the fact that I felt as if if I were to take another step on my own, I'd collapse. "Minka, tell me what's the matter."

I had to be strong.

For myself. For my family. For Alfred and his little puppy that made me so happy before in it's innocence. I pulled away from his shoulders and bent over, picking up the suitcase, wiping my eyes with the back of my hand from underneath my lenses. I would clean them off later. I had to get out of sight of my house before someone came. "Alfred, I'm leaving. You can't tell anyone. They won't miss me at s-school, I'm sure. B-But if anyone asks you. . .say that I-I've. . . " I coughed and choked on my own words. I've what? What had I done that the school would believe? "Tell them I'm dead. I've died. Sickness, shot, whatever." My voice shook in it's whisper and I quickly turned my back, only to be stopped by Alfred's hand. My view of the little creek that went through Dresden changed, and I saw Alfred's worried gaze again. "Please?"

My mouth worked open like a fish had just plopped out of the creek, but before I could say anything, my arms were deadlocked in a vice-like grip. A hug had been administered by Alfred, a tighter one that I couldn't ever imagine his slender arms possessing that much strength. I gasped and my suitcase dropped; the locks clicked as they hit the cobble stones as I had my head pressed into Alfred's chest. "Be careful, Minka. Promise?"

"I promise, I promise!" I gasped out. It was unbelievable that he held that much emotion for me - we had barely talked before, mainly because of the stares we received whenever we would talk around the school courtyard. "I need to go!" Reluctantly, he let me go and picked up my suitcase, sadness glittered in his eyes.

Alfred bit his bottom lip, and I could see it turning red. I bet that he was having a mental battle with himself as he handed my suitcase to me, that contained who knows what, and decided whether to let me go or not. Not like he had a choice, not like I had a choice. I was ordered to go, for my own safety. "Be safe," I heard him whisper as I turned my back upon him for the final time, I was sure, and faced the bridge that crossed the little creek that ran through peaceful Dresden. My footsteps echoed on the pavement and I made sure that the pieces of paper and the train ticket were firmly in my hand still at the end of the bridge. The streets looked ominously quiet in their dimly lighted glory. No guards had been placed on the street corners, like expected. Perhaps I had been lucky enough to encounter a guard exchange, and most of them were talking on their way to their posts? I had hoped this intended thought was true.

I knew my basic way around Dresden, but I would have felt better with a map, navigating around the sullen, dark streets and corridors that would eventually lead me to the hustle and bustle of the city - the train station. My hands pushed the papers into the pockets of my skirt, feeling a pair of eyes on my back I cautiously pulled the wand from my waistband holding it high, having no clue what I was supposed to do if my intuition was right and I was being watched. My breath was shaky, my face still tear streaked - and I kept thinking about Alfred, and how tomorrow, I would be on a train, zooming through the country side, and he and his family were bound to be taken away. It was unfair. Even with magic I could do nothing to save him, after he had been the one to save me. Well, he was going to - I had faith in him, I was sure.

Perhaps, perhaps Alfred had followed me? And that's the reason why I felt someone watching? I spun on my heal, and alas, no one, not a single thing was there. Paranoia, I concluded, and continued to walk past lovely homes that I would never dare touch foot in - belonging to native Germans who would have my hide if I even sat on their stoop. It would be a long, hard trek up to the train station, for I was sure that there were bound to be at least one guard who I would see, or who would stop me and ask where I was going. Maybe taking the back alleys should have been a better route to go, considering my paranoia was creeping up on me and making my heart jump, my pulse race, and my senses heighten at every gust of wind that swept through the silent, beautiful city I had once called 'home'.

With my wand still raised, and the cool wind brushing up against my throat and chilling the pendant around my neck, I could just about see the train station, not as busy I would have expected, looming in the distance. Fear flooded my veins. I was so close, yet so far away, from freedom and whatever else this trap could have set for me. I wasn't prepared for anything, I didn't know any of the spells my mother had given me, and even if I did - I bet I could rarely perform them. Mother had mentioned something about illegal magic in front of Muggles, that could get me traced. How they could trace me, I didn't know.

Finally, the lady at the ticket stand had come into my sight, and I handed her my ticket, my wand in my hand without a second thought. I saw the lady's slender eyebrows perk when she took my ticket, and she asked two questions I was sure I was going to be asked somewhere down the line. It began to drizzle, and people hurried to their compartments. "Here," She said, handing the stub back. "Third car from the stop light, last compartment on the right. But, hold on," The swedish woman paused me, pointing at my wand. "Why are you carrying a stick, and where are your parents?"

I hurridly stuck my wand back into my pockets. I wanted to avoid that question no matter who asked it - whether they be elderly ticket ladies, or those perfect, Aryan people who wore the Fuhrer's mark so proudly on their collar. My braids began to soak in the heavying rain, and they fell over my shoulders as I stuttered out an explanation. "My p-parents are at the stop I'm go-going to get off of. T-They sent me here t-two weeks ago for my Gran-Granparents." Another one of her eyebrows raised into her tamed gray hair and she shooed me off.

I followed her directions, and there - was my compartment door, all to myself, so it seemed. I had received several grumbles and rude gestures on the way down, perhaps they had realized I was a Jew? This would be horrible, of course knowing my luck - and I was pleased that I could receive a compartment to myself to examine the spells, possibly try some out - when I was tapped on the shoulder.

A thick German voice called out to me.

"Excuse me, girl? What are you doing?"

I froze.

Why couldn't they just leave me alone?!








Author's Note: Here it is, and I just had to end it with suspense, didn't I? ♥♥ Send your love in a review, please!
-Ginni

Chapter 6: October, 1940; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The Next Night
October 1st, 1940; somewhere in the Polish country-side







"So, Miss. . . "

"A-Adelheid."

"Miss Adelheid, do you support the Fuhrer?" It was a brazen question asked towards me, and I had no choice but to lie. This man had been ordered the same compartment as I, and it seemed as though two polar opposites of the war could not get any closer than this. The man that had tapped me on my shoulder in front of my compartment was around the same age as I, far less angry and pig-ish as the many Nazis I had run into clumsily before. I turned my head in response, glaring out of the window and watching the rain drops splatter against the glass, watching my reflection uneasily and unhappily. Wincing, I pressed the chain of my pendant further down into my collar and turned back to the man with hesitant eyes.

What if he had found out I was lying to him? That I was a Jew, a witch, and every other bad thing in the world that had been the so-called original problem of Germany, and Europe all together. I had to take my chances, wouldn't I? The man hadn't even boded any harm when he stopped me. He was just minorly angry that he had not received a private compartment like he had requested, and I was angry over that as well. I couldn't change compartments, so I was stuck with him. My hazel eyes trailed to the swastika on his shirt collar and I gulped. I had to lie.

I was doing it for Alfred, I would remind myself of him and his puppy and my family; the reminder that I must arrive safe and in one piece was enough to let me give him a shy smile and nod my head, saying nothing more. The man's blond head bobbed. I was stuck with him, on a train ride to Poland, over night. Something I hadn't wished had ever happened. So many things could slip out unnoticed. So many. . . of my fears, who I was. . .if I even said my real name, even the first two letters, I surely would be convicted a liar and a sinner and he would have no problem to reach into his belt and grab his gun, shooting me.

Then again, he might not do that. He looked nicer than most, probably just a new recruit from that Hitler's Youth program they had young German boy's sign up for. Mandatory, most of the posters called it. The Girls went to the League of German Girls, to prepare them for house-life, being a wife and bearing children. I had been disgusted, and for one moment, thankful I was not of their heritage.

"You're a quiet one, yes?"

I tore my eyes away from his shirt collar and looked down at the compartment floor, trailing to the soles of his boots. "I don't like talking much," I mumbled and hoped dearly me not being very talkative didn't offend him. I was nervous. My hands were shaking and I had goose pimples running up and down my arms. I rubbed them, wishing I had worn longer sleeves to school. I still had my uniform on, and I had not changed when it was lights out the night before. I couldn't sleep well while moving anyway, and  I hadn't wanted to risk him seeing my pendant, the Star of David, or my list of spells and wand. I still had not disposed of my mother's note. I simply couldn't  - it was the last I had of her.

The man kicked his feet back and slid them up on the other side of the compartment, his boots now right next to my own sitting spot, where I had curled my legs underneath my skirt hem. His hands went behind his blond head and his perfect blue eyes glittered interestedly. Apparently, he was not educated in the spotting of Jews. I had the traits, well, enough of the traits anyway. But he did not seem to mind one bit, or else, he hadn't noticed a thing. "Oh that doesn't bother me. I used to be a quiet one myself. Camp changed that you know. The Fuhrer, he's changing everything." His expression went from fun-loving, to deadly serious. I repressed a shudder.

My voice quaking, it pained me to agree with this man. However, I forced my head to nod and looked down at my skirt, and at the slight lump in my side where the wand stuck up from my waist band. "I agree," I added softly. The boy removed his feet from the seat aside of me, and leaned forward onto his uniform clad knees with narrowed, curious eyes. I froze, my nerves going stiff and tense.

"You look scared of me, Fraulein*. Are you scared of me?"

I blinked, swallowing, wishing I could swallow everything I was right then and there. I shook my head, my frizzy braids flying around my shoulders lightly. Please, don't let me be caught, please please please. . . I silently prayed in my head, wishing I had been clever enough to say I had to go to the bathroom before this point, to look at and learn the spells. At least I'd be able to defend myself. "N-No. I'm not s-scared of you."

"Well, if that's not a first, I do not know what else would!" He looked highly suspicious of me, and taking his chances, he stood stock still, getting out of his seat and glaring down at me. He was, in fact, intimidating, and he seemed to know it - even though his face portrayed boyish features that seemed kind and understanding. He knew he could take people by surprise and well I'll be damned - he had me in the palm of his glove covered hand. "You seem to be uneasy, if you are not lying to me - why must you look so scared of me?"

I opened my mouth, and then swiftly closed it, like a gaping fish. His eyes were narrowed underneath the brim of his cap, and I saw him adjust his collar, a little pin digging into the side of his neck, which he quickly fixed. Had I had more time to examine his appearance, I would have found out that the little pin was indeed a swastika. Apparently, one could never have too many. He looked ready to argue with me when I shook my head violently, but he too, had his jaw clamped shut when our compartment door whizzed open, and a swaying man stood just over the threshold.

His uniform was the same, except for his was doused over with cleaned badges, describing his rank. "Grenadier* Schular? Is there a problem here? Why aren't you in the compartment with us?" The boy who had been interrogating me stood stock still and nodded once. "Come on Aleksander, stop fooling around with the little school-girls. We have plans to discuss."

"Sorry sir, I was just - "

"Enough small talk, Aleksander!" The man snapped and the soldier who had been talking with me immediately departed from my compartment and the man who had tugged him away, began to whisper down the corridor. They hadn't even taken any notice to me; me just a little frightened teenager curled up in the corner of her seat, bumping along as the train did. I was thankful that they left, because now it meant I could tug the curtains over the windows that viewed the country side, and that also meant I could lock the handle bar of my door.

I was safe. I was safe. Relief flooded my entire body and I sighed, slumping and uncurling in my seat. I was so close to breaking under the pressure that had filled my body, I was so close to revealing everything I could, babbling about life back home and how I was a liar, and a witch. . . So close. But I was safe. For now. Getting up and snapping the curtains shut, I took out the wand that was hidden in the creases of my skirt waist-band, proceeding to take out the scrunched up ball of paper that was in my pocket.

It was unraveled, and I quickly skimmed over my mother's handwriting for a spell that was easy enough for me to learn, and would come in handy.

Minka:
Use them wisely. Away from Muggles.
Memorize so you can throw this away. Even if you can't perform them.

Accio - Summoning Charm - Flick and Jab at Object
Lumos - Light Your Want, Or The Area -  Wave Wand Once
Nox - Extinguish Wand, Area - Wave Wand Once
Alohamora - Unlocking Charm - Keep Wand Steady at Locked Object
Wingardium Leviosa - Levitation - Swish and Flick
Colloportus - Door Blocking Charm - Swish and Jab
Evanesco - Vanishing Charm - Twist your wrist once clockwise
Ennervate / Stupify - Consciousness/Unconscious - Jab at Opponent
Expelliarmus - Disarm - Twist and Flick
Expecto Patronum - If you feel very cold, and clingy, and there's a Dementor
(You'll know what this is if you see it) following you, think of a very powerful, happy
memory, and shout it. Be careful. This one's tricky.

Please, be careful.
Love, Momma







I stared at the last one with intensity. Expecto. . . Patronum? I wanted to try it out, see what would happen. . . Momma had told me about all sorts of Magical creatures her parents had told her about, but never, ever had she told me about Dementors. Whatever they were, they sounded like they sucked the life out of you. I gulped and chose one from the list to try out. Something simple, something ordinary that I could do over and over again if I failed. I looked at the compartment around me, noting the lights flickering on the wall. Should I try something to put them out? And then try and light them again?

I might as well start, it could come in handy, turning out the lights, making the candles go out. . . especially if I needed to hide. I held the wand up in my hand, aiming it ridiculously at the light. I wished my mother's warm hands were helping me, guiding me. But there wasn't going to be any of that protection anymore. My breath coming out in deep shudders, swaying as the train compartment moved on rails beneath me,  I licked my lips and uttered - "Nox."

One by one, the compartment plunged into darkness, several other compartments followed in darkness.

And the train careened to a screeching halt.








Author Notes:Grenadier in the German Army is roughly the same as the rank of Private.
Fraulein, is a formal term for 'Miss'.
Well. . . . did the train make it to it's prerouted destination?
Or was something interfering?
I'm afraid I can't answer you! -evil cackle- ♥♥
-Ginni

EDITED NOTE: (May 25, 2008) Dates have been changed once again to prevent my stupidity and flow the story more correctly. All dates have been moved up a year again. From 1939 to 1940.




Chapter 7: October, 1940; Part II
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

October 1st, 1940; Alwernia, Poland
Same Night








The wand clattered from my hand, hitting the floor of the train compartment and rolling away to the sides as the train rocked side to side. In the blanket of thickening air, I stood still. Had it been me who extinguished at least nine train compartments? That was physically and magically impossible at the level I was at now. Or was it simply ironically something else? A power-outage? A blown fuse? Was I at my stop? And if so, I was there far to early. Fear iced my veins like never before. My sweaty palms padded over the slick bottom of the compartment. I had dropped to my knees. My breath was coming out in ragged, uneven gasps, tears nearly streaming down my face. Oh, what had I done?

And the compartment door flung open, the lock breaking as if it were a sheet of paper, with a resounding crash!

I screamed, the sound blood curdling in the silence that had formed over the train itself, crumbling to the ground and shuddering. My eyes were clenched shut and I had no idea what was going on around me, just many, many voices exclaiming in Polish, and German, that something was wrong with the train, or possibly, the conductor. The pendant felt cold against my neck and I clawed at it, searching for a warmth that had apparently fled the vincity. Faintly, I wondered, was this a dementor? Were these feelings, the intrepid fear, the shaking bundle of nerves that I had been reduced to - all a product of something my mother had warned me about?

"Minka!"

I whimpered and looked up in the darkness that had enveloped each and every carriage before coming to the realization that the slender silhouette that was half crouched over in the threshold was none-other than my grandmother, muttering to herself in rapid Polish. I gathered myself, and pushed my body up off of the floor; not forgetting that the family heirloom - the wand itself, was somewhere on the floor around me. "Grandmama!" I hissed into the frigid air and she waved her hand, motioning me to get up of the ground.

"Stop crouching like a coward, child! Where's the wand? Light it, light it!" Her tone was frantic, heavy, and almost fear-seated. Immediately, I became ashamed. I always felt ashamed whenever I thought about Grandpapa Leopold and Grandmama Agata. But this, was far more severe. I had no idea where the wand was, and I most certainly wasn't going to take my chances lighting it after what I had just done with putting the lights out. My limbs shaking all over, I shook my head, the silver frames sliding haphazardly down my nose, sweat beading on my pale forehead.

"Grandmama, I don't know where it went!" I squeaked, a nervous habit of mine. "I. . .I t-tried putting out the lights in the compartment, and I did! I did to the entire train and and. . . it just stopped and rolled out of my hand, Grandmama! I don't know where it went!" I saw her hit her forehead with her hand. While under normal circumstances, her actions would have made me giggle - right now, they made me go stiff with fear and shock.

Slinking into the room like a cat, she squinted at the ground. I could see little flickers of what light there was off of her eyes, the same eyes as Momma's (this made my stomach curl into a ball, thinking of my mother), searching for the slender piece of wood that contained so many stories, so many magical properties that wielded the things we had inside us. I heard her snap her fingers from my frozen spot in the back of the compartment, near the window. "I need light. . . " She muttered, to herself. I made a hesitant move to wrench the closed draperies open but she shook her head violently. I could see the sudden movement in her silhouette as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. "No no! Are you daft, Minka? Take after your Grandfather, you do . . . daftest Wizard I ever met. Don't open those, you aren't the one who made the train stop!"

My jaw dropped.

Relief flooded my veins only to be disposed of because apparently, Grandmama could not find the wand - the wand that had been passed down generation to generation. I heard her swear in the darkness for having such poor eyesight. "I . . . I didn't?" Shock was etched clearly into my voice.

"No you didn't, wielki córka." She affectionately called me granddaughter in Polish as she shuffled from corner to corner, searching for something I had lost. If there was any light at all to see by, I could have sworn by her silence that she was rolling her eyes. My lips trembled. "You're at the Alwernia train station - I was waiting for your arrival, there's been a power outage caused by those sick-minded followers - they had wanted to delay the train arrival, and your grandfather is boarding up the house right now just a few blocks away."

Was that what the two men were talking about when the walked away from my compartment? I nodded silently, even though she couldn't see me. "Is Grandpapa alright?"

"He's faring; oh for goodness sakes child, you are entirely too clumsy to lose a wand like this!" Grandmama Agata's voice was caring, however it held a sharp edge to it that rattled my spine in disappointment. "To hell with 'no more magic in my bones'. It's the only way to find the blasted thing. . . " I blinked. What was she talking about? But soon, I knew. Her hand, shaking and withered, was outstretched in front of her, from what I could see, and the next thing I knew, she had muttered something, and a small light lit up underneath the seat I had been on. "Aha! Little devil!" She murmured and I crouched down to pick the precious item up off of the ground.

Stooped, I marveled. The tip was lit. But how could Grandmama achieved that? She didn't have a wand - Grandpapa had told her they couldn't afford, financially and physically, to go out and buy another. All they had was Grandpapa's wand and that was falling apart at the core. "Grandmama Agata, how . . . "

"Wandless magic," She brushed dirt off of the hem of her skirt and looked hurriedly around the semi-lit compartment, snatching the wand and muttering the same charm I had used that made me think I had plunged the whole entire train into darkness. "Wears me out like who knows what, but I can explain more to you when we're safe, at home. Come now, Minka." My grandmother, with extreme confidence, slinked out of the compartment and shaking, I took my suitcase from the seat and continued, making sure my mother's notes were still clasped firmly in my fists, or stuffed down my pockets.

I had so many questions I wanted to ask my grandmother, so many involving the train, Alwernia, Grandpapa Leopold, and wandless magic especially. How could you do magic without a wand? I hadn't even seen my mother do something like that! But alas, I kept my mouth shut and wandered behind her, listening to the abrupt voices complaining about the unprepared stop in various languages. Shuddering all over, shock still weighing heavily on my bones, I let my eyes wander around from compartment to compartment.

Finally, after passing a rather loud woman with a child clinging to her leg, crying, we exited the train and I was met with the scenery I had once called home. Home, however, looked different than it was before. The lush green trees that rose on hills, looked deadly, and foreboding; no longer welcoming like they had felt before. No longer was Poland safe, I knew that. But it was a risk that had to be made - because it wasn't safer in Dresden. The church spire rose from the green tops, and I prodded Grandmama. I knew that church spire, it was the one we walked past every day when I was young, around four years old. I knew that too, had changed. "Grandmama, over there is home, yes?" I felt like a little toddler tugging on my Grandmother's dress sleeve and immediately she hushed me, jabbing the wand into my side.  I took it from her hand and looked at her eyes, following her gaze.

It was set upon two men - two men I recognized all too well. Grandmama Agata's hand tugged me back and I clutched at the wand, certain not to lose it, having it rolled underneath a train car and onto the tracks or something similar. I could no longer see Aleksander and his superior, but I could hear them talking in hushed, sharp German. "You fool!" The larger of the two spoke out loud. "If you can't carry out one simple direction, then you're obviously not one of us."

I heard Aleksander stammer. He wasn't so tough after all. But he did have a delicate way with words. "I didn't mean to tell him the wrong thing. He was ticking me off to no end and I thought it best to let him screw up the operation. Then again, it seems it was my initial mistake that caused this anyway." Had I seen him, I could have sworn from the tone of his depressed voice, that he was hanging his head in shame. So he was the cause of the quick stop? I gulped and continued to listen, my grandmother at my side.

"We're relocating you Schular! We can't put up with anymore of your incompetence!"

And that was all I heard, because as swiftly as she had stopped me, Grandmama had tugged me away, off towards Germany-Occupied Poland. Almost as bad as Nazi Germany itself. . . At least, I was doing this to protect my family. . .









Author's Update/Note: Hello all! I present you with chapter seven, and for once, no cliffhangers! But, there is that little bit of suspense there - I hope, as always, keeping you on edge for what happens next. I'd like to take the time to thank each and every oen of my reviewers (not going to mention them all, though, name by name) for helping me out. All of you, are great. Iloenchen - you deserve a special thanks, because all of your help with phrases and your reviews, makes me smile and feel motivated. I'm going to put down a few Q's and A's down here in my author's note, that may make things a bit more clearer.

Why is Minka going to German-Occupied Poland, when it was the original start of the war there? It's dangerous!Yeah, it's dangerous. But she's doing it that way - she'll save her family the trouble of being shipped off to a labour camp in Germany. Her mother mentioned before that they were taking Jewish students out of Minka's school the next day, and relocating their families into camps. Going to Poland would allow Minka to be absent, and therefore, buy the family more time to hide themselves. She's risking her own well-being, for their own.

How long is this story going to be?I planned out each and every chapter the other night out of sheer boredom. The events I have planned rack up to about 20 chapters, my longest fic on here yet.

Will we see anymore of Alfred, or Aleksander?I've noticed a lot of you readers like those two characters in particular.
And I dunno, will we? ;D




Chapter 8: November 1940, Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Chapter Eight
November 1940; Alwernia, Poland
Leopold and Agata's Home




The newspaper came. I brushed a chicken off of it - as had been custom for the chickens from the backyard to sit on our newspaper that was delivered at the wee hours of the morning. Dziadeck Leopold was nailing windows shut upstairs so that no extraneous light could film through into my bedroom. No one knew except for Grandmother and Grandfather that I had arrived on the train - and most absolutely no one knew that I had pulled off an act that would have gotten me killed, on that very train nearly a month ago. Grandmother had kept things quiet, and Dziadeck was always quiet - he rarely ever spoke. Momma told me once that he was a 'mute' and only spoke to Grandmama. Only.

I had tried speaking to him - but alas, I only found out what mute was. He wouldn't talk to me either, his only granddaughter!

Sighing, I shooed the chicken away and pulled the door firmly shut, hearing an angered squawk from the chicken. I quickly found one of his feathers had gotten caught in the door. I shook my head. Didn't he learn? This happened nearly every Sunday morning when the Alwernia Newspaper was delivered at the break of dawn with a few raps on our window before the messenger disappeared.

I asked Grandmother once why they delievered it so early, and while it was still dark, and she had explained to me that the situation here was worse than the one in Dresden. Guards everywhere - German soldiers, Nazis, Gestapos - each and every corner you turn. The newspaper held vital information that the Third Reich (whatever that was - I'm still a bit clueless on these things, I would have expected that Grandmother would clue me in!) had repressed from the citizens of Alwernia. Rebels were informing everyone. They were daring souls.

I admired them, wished I could be like them.

In a way, I suppose, I am. I'm risking my life, aren't I? I'm going into a more dangerous area to save my little brother, my father - whom I never had the chance to apologize completely to - and my beloved Momma.

It had been a month. Didn't Momma say she'd be here soon? I arrived beginning of October - shouldn't she have arrived beginning of November? How was I to learn spells? Grandmother and Grandfather didn't have wands of their own - mine was the last. How was I to learn, to protect, should they never come? Tears were brought swiftly to my eyes and I pushed my glasses up firmly on my nose before sniffing and gazing at the headline.

"Krakow Relocations On The Rise!"

Krakow, Krakow, where oh where had I heard that term before? I sat down at the kitchen table, watching as Dziadeck came back downstairs with nails in his mouth, rusty ones, and started to hammer the only kitchen window shut with long planks of wood. The first one went up. The natural light was diminishing and I could no longer read the article as he began to board up the last sliver of light that came from over the Synagouge tower. Grandmother whistled and sipped her tea.

How could she be so calm in a moment like this? Didn't she worry where her daughter was at?

"Didn't you read the newspaper, Josey?! Minka and Josef won't be safe! Krakow, Josefine! Krakow!" OH! Of course! Da's argument with Momma I had overheard! My heart clenched as if icey cold water had gripped it in steal claws. Momma, Papa, and Josef. Shall I see them ever again? Did they go to this. . .Krakow place? It had to be nearby for the font of the Newspaper to be so large and foreboding, I guessed.

"Babcia! Grandmother! What's Krakow?"

My grandmother, who had been making tea - paused and her face paled. Had I asked the wrong question? I must have. Suddenly, our shadows jumped on the wall. A hiss emmited somewhere behind me and I turned abruptly. Dziadeck's face was heavily lined under the flickering, faded light of a candle with hard wax drips down the side and sticking to the metal holder. His thin mouth, much like my own, was twisted into a frown. He sat down in a chair, and opened his mouth.

Then, he did something that was very unexpected. He spoke. To me. To me and Grandmama since she seemed incapable of explaining.

"Cracow, or commonly, Krakow, Minka - is a place, a town where Jews once sought refuge. Jews like us." His voice sounded raspy, yet soft and inviting, as if he hadn't used it in years and years, but still managed to keep it well tuned and relaxing to the ears. This was my Dziadeck, and suddenly - just by the way he spoke, I was even more proud of him. "Germans, have occupied the area and as you well know. . . it's getting rather vile, cruel. I would not know if your parents would want you to obtain this information - but seeing as they are not in our prescence yet - it's not their decision. It's your own. Do you truly want to know what's going on around you, child?"

I twirled my braid between my fingers and nodded, without hesitation - blurted "Yes!". It was my time to know of these things. My time to understand without having things hidden. I am seventeen for the Lord's sake. I should not be left in the dust.

Dziadeck's cheaks pinkened and his eyes glittered - Babcia's frown increased, lines on her forehead growing larger. "Do not worry - Agata, she'll understand. This is her time to understand. You don't want her to grow up in the dark, like Josefine did, do you? She is not her mother, she's different." Sighing, he let go of Babcia's furious gaze and looked back into my eyes. Suddenly, I felt like a school-girl again, begging for more books, more information, devouring it like Alfred often did in class. I felt young and naive, and I wanted to grow up. I wanted to know. I felt so useless in this house already. "Krakow became a Ghetto. You know what a ghetto is?"

I shook my head. My parents had kept me in the dark for so long. I felt so small and unintelligent compared to Grandfather's knowledge of the world.

"A ghetto is where they hold masses of people - sometimes they clean them out by killing or relocating. But the officers force people out of their homes, into the Ghetto, to work for the German companies. One often can't get out unless you are working for someone outside the ghetto. If they don't kill," Grandfather's face became solemn.

"They relocate to a Concentration Camp. A death camp. A work camp."

I gulped and my own face went pale. I could just see Mother, Father, Josef - just a poor child, even Alfred and Sonne - being put to work, put to death. Tears poured out of my eyes and my throat closed. NO! That would not happen to my family, I was determined to do all I could to save them! "It's right here in Poland, not very far away, Minka. This is why we must make the home look like we do not live here anymore, like we have already been taken. We are old. If we are found - then we are sure to die straight away. If you, or your family is found - it will not be a good outlook, Minka - child."

"You'll be safe," Babcia's firm voice reassured me, however that reassurance disappeared when a strong, heafty knock echoed on the door that was bolted ten-fold shut. My lower lip trembled. Fear, anxiety, all sorts of undescribable feelings coursed through me.

Who could that be? My family?

Or the police. . .






Author's Notes: Oh my lordy lord, guys. I'm EXTREMELY EXTREMELY sorry for the long long long terminally long wait for this chapter. I had unfortunately been caught up in school, as well as multiple sports and clubs and academics - and simply lost the muse. But, it's come back, and so have I - and I present you with Chapter Eight! Suspense and All!

Questions:

Where's Alfred? Her family? Aleksander? Can't tell you that I'm afraid. I can tell you that two of the five mentioned are actually in Poland - somewhere, right now.

What took you so long? See above, darlings.

So it's not on hold anymore? Nope, I'm continuing this still, and I apologize for the wait. I swear on it that this will NOT be abandoned.

♥Ginni



Chapter 9: November 1940 / February 1941 Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

November 1940; Part II
Alwernia, Poland - That Same Night





I stared at Grandfather. His lips had gone so thin, I could barely see them by the dim candle-light, and Grandmother's eyes twinkled with fear. If I could move a single bone in my body, one that was not held down with suspense, I would have hid under the table like a frightened church mouse. Fear had imposed upon me - I was no longer the girl who could stand up to someone, stand her ground in the face of fear - though quietly; I had turned into something relevant to a mouse that twitched at the sight of a shoe, or speck of dust, and would hide under the pew.

Knock, knock knock KNOCK!


The rapid knocking became more urgent and Babcia gave me a look as if to ask if I had told anyone that I was here. Of course not! I didn't even have a chance to get outside unless it was to chase the chicken away back to the coop! Grandmother stood, her gray hair flying as she raced to the door and looked out of the peep hole the front door had. "Minka, child!" She whispered and beckoned me into the damp, dark hallway. "Did you invite any sort of boy over here?"

I quivered. "No!" My voice rose an octave higher and I shook from head to toe. A boy - well, at least that was a condolence; at least it wasn't a Nazi, coming to take us away and everything we've ever lived with. "Why is a boy out front, Grandmama?" My voice shook and shuddered with fear - could it perhaps be Alfred, with Sonne barking frantically outside on the front step, ready to fling himself into my arms and proclaim that my family was safe? Or stand on the step with his head down and tell me that they had been killed?

"I have no idea, Minka. Why don't you talk to him, then? Figure out why he is here and then close the door directly after you are done and bolt it straight back up." I nodded, however - me? Go make me get the door is almost suicide to my church mouse attitude at this moment in time. Nevertheless, I wanted to figure out who was here. And it was destined to be my job, according to Grandmama.

So thus with a shaking hand - I placed my fingertips on the cold, metallic, doorknob and inched the oak fixture open. The boy standing outside on the stoop - to my dismay, was no one I knew, or even recognized from school. He was small and shivering in the harsh November winds that swept over the hills and his cheeks were rosy red with wind-burn. Still, the anonymity's of the boy had me scared stiff.

"Yes?" My voice shook - weak and pathetically small. Who was I to be scared of a boy? Alas, it seemed I was afraid of everything lately.

"Are you Minka? Minka Wollsburglen?" His own voice was cheerful and bright - small and not yet crackling like Alfred's did. I nodded; how did this boy know my name, and what, pray tell, did he want?

Paranoia quickly set into my bones, rattling them even harder."Yes, I am. . . Who are you, if-if I may ask?" If he meant deceiving harm, here was his chance - I felt paralyzed on the spot I stood in the hallway. I was a very easy target to pick off.

The boy tipped his hat with one small hand, and the other reached into his coat pocket before pulling out a sheet of paper. "I'm a messenger boy; this arrived from Dresden, Deutschland for you. Good day, Minka!" He handed me the frail paper that had traveled so many miles and I shut the door. News. News from Dresden. News from home. At the same time - my heart both leapt and sunk. Bad news, good news, okay news? 'We're coming for you soon' news? I stood still - completely paralyzed in shock in the hallway.

Shaking, I opened the letter.

Everyone's safe. All is well.
We're in hiding, cannot say where.
No response needed.
Teach yourself well,
Cannot make it to Babcia and Dziadeck's.
Stay safe, love you and miss you.
- Love,
Momma, Papa, Josef





News. Promptly, the note fell to the floor.

And I?

I was reduced to tears.







February 1941
Alwernia, Poland
Babcia and Dziadeck's





Two, three, four months. Four long months of the stupid chicken getting stuck in the fence every morning. Four months of no responses since my tears in the hallway. Four months of bare survival. Hanukkah was barren. Our menorah was lost. Eight candles were sufficient enough to drag us through the eight days of the Festival of Lights. For the most part. I missed my family. After hearing one word from them in November, it gave me some sort of false, stupid hope. A stupid hope that maybe they fibbed and they were on their way to Alwernia right now to surprise me.

No. Lies.

Four months of becoming so distraught that every time I touched my wand, all it did was gave a feeble splutter - and then I had no intention of following Momma's orders to teach myself. I began to withdraw from even Grandmama at the beginning of January. I was in distress - where were they? How could I be sure that they were safe and sound still?

I decided that yearning for them to come would not work. I neglected my poor self instead. Wallowed in my own self pity like a swimming pond. I followed Granda like a lost duckling around the house. My braids hung limp around my shoulders, some fraying into nasty curls. My gray eyes behind my glasses were empty and void. My reflection was atrocious. I couldn't withstand looking at myself in the spotted mirror. I didn't care if my glasses slid down my nose, I didn't care about anything. I don't know what became of me - It was like I was a shell. I no longer had the will to keep this up anymore. It was like a foreshadow of what was to come.

But Grandmama's talks kept me going on a day to day basis, if only for a while.

Even though they aren't here Minka, you're doing this for them. Be brave, child. I know you can do this, without a doubt.

Until that boy came around again.

This time with bad news.

When I had opened the door this time, snow blew into my already freezing temporary home. The same boy stood there - pacing on my stoop once more to keep warm. "H-Hello Minka!" He cheerfully spluttered, shivering from head to toe and reached into his pocket yet again, dragging out a note, this one a little bit more than rumpled and creased. The handwriting was very messy, as if the writer were rushed beyond comparison. It gave frantic chills up and down my spine as I closed the door and stared at it before uncrumpling it slowly, and sitting on a stair.

Josef is dead.
Killed by Nazis. -smudge- No longer safe.
-wet- We've been taken. Don't come home.
I love you, Minka Josefine.
- Momma and Papa





Dead? My brother. . .my baby brother - dead?

Chapter 10: February 1941; Part II
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

February, 1941; Alwernia, Poland
Babcia and Dziadeck's Home
A week later






I couldn't help but keep thinking that somehow, he'd come back bouncing into my arms like he always did after school. One week went faster than I could have ever imagined - and I wanted time to go more fast, faster than a speeding bullet, or U-boat. Maybe if time went more fast, then he'd come back, Momma would come back, and Papa would come back. It was only a matter of time, right? Time smothered, yet time also healed. Maybe, though I had little hope left to confide in anything - let alone time, it'd heal this. This sense of overwhelming, unbearable loss.

I was also negatively forcing myself upon Grandmama and Granda. When I wasn't hibernating in my room, alas - I could be found wandering uselessly around the home. Why? Why was I still here if there was no hope left for protection of my family? Josef was gone, my baby brother that always kept everyone happy and on their toes - smiles on their faces, and my parents were in captivity like animals in the zoo. Who knows, they might already be gone too.

Therefore, what else do I have left to live for?

I am a useless ball of pathetic skin, wasting space and valuable air.

I shouldn't be putting Grandmama and Granda's health in danger as well. I already possibly killed three of my own family. What's the use? Then again, I had to stay here. Babcia wouldn't let me go anywhere out of the house, and she most certainly wouldn't let me go out and get my self killed, injured, or anything else rather life-threatening - just because I felt I was useless.

I tried to tell her my side of the story one afternoon - but she shrugged me off, and on the verge of collapsing into tears, I trembled up the stairs into the boarded up attic where I read Momma's diary I had found the night before, hidden in a box of useless stuff. I kept rereading entries all over and over again. Ones that told of me kicking in her stomach, or ones where she was younger, and had told about that 'wierd little boy in the clock shop - who kept messing with cogs and spinners, and gave me grins out of the corner of my eyes', who was obviously Papa.

They made me cry - weep, actually - and to think that I may never see Momma again was absolutely heart wrenching. My week was filled with pain, but alas, I had to be strong, just like Babcia said. I was strong enough to carry on, wasn't I? At the time, I didn't think so - but just reading Momma's diary entries, were a bit convincing. She had the strength to sneak out of their home when they lived in Dresden to see Papa. If Momma had the strenght for that - and they fell in love because of it - I must've been worth something.

Maybe.

My hope had been vanquished, all but, yet I continued to skim through entries at the kitchen table, head down, braids tangled and uncared for, glasses sliding down my nose.

June 15th - Dresden, for a final time.

I'm not sure what to make of this feeling in my heart. At least, I think it's my heart. Mother says it's nothing more than an oncoming chest cold - and if it has anything to do with Oskar, she doesn't want to hear about me complaining. Nevertheless, Mother was just kidding. She knows very well that Father will walk me down the aisle in a week's notice. . . . a week. Just one. I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it. Mother's so strict about the marriage ceremony, she wants everything to be perfect - yet I told her that it didn't matter if I had my wedding in a synagouge or a ditch, just so long as Oskar and I were happy together.

We still haven't figured out how I am going to fit into Mother's wedding dress she wore. For the little girl in my stomach isn't making my figure all that flattering. Well, she is - but she's not small enough in my body for me to fit in that dress. My stomach isn't that big - just a little bump, but still, Mother think's I've only gained a bit of weight from the fact that Father has gone mute and won't speak anymore. She does not know yet that I am with child. Something happened at work, we think Father got laid off - for being Jewish, but that's a stupid reason.

Oskar says so. He also says that we need to pick a name for the baby - he kept suggesting my own name, but I protested. Josefine Junior doesn't sound like the name that will win the most prestigious school awards. My daughter will be an amazingly bright child - with a strong will. That's what Oskar's grandmother says. Then again -

She's a complete lunatic.

I was thinking of a name that starts with a D. D is my favourite letter.

Don't ask me why, it just is. But she shall be a strong warrior girl, with smarts and small hands, small baby fingers. She will be the perfect child with a strong heart. I know it.


I stopped reading, and smiled. My mother thought I was going to be strong, Granda had gone mute, and Papa's grandmother was a lunatic. And they were all my family. Somehow, this had still not given me enough strength to believe in myself, yet it gave me strength to smile - and that was something new - as Grandmama pointed out when she walked into the kitchen from the hall. "What have you been reading, Minka?" Her voice was soft and quiet, as was always around me for the past week. Her eyes too were red and bloodshot, and I could only imagine what it felt like, having your only daughter being taken to who knows where.

Nevertheless, she was handling the situation far better than I was.

"Nothing, Babcia. Just an old book - "

Knock, knock knock knock. "Hello?"

Paralyzed. I felt completely paralyzed and shocked. Every time one of the doors was even jostled a bit, I drove to near insanity. Who could it be? Why? It always brought back memories of the messenger boy coming to deliver that horrible news one week ago. Even the chicken pecking at the window startled me. Every. Move. Grandmama too froze in shock, and the house was completely quiet for a moment before the February winds started up again, as was with the knocking and the shouting outside.

Shaking, I got up to get the door. I didn't want to touch the doorknob, it was foreboding, kind of like I felt like it would sting my hand, or burn me. But alas, with just the very tips of my finger tips, I wrenched open the door, eager, but cautious.

"Alfred?!"







Author's Note:  Hey everyone! I didn't have muse for my other project/chapter, for another story - so you guys got lucky and recieved chapter ten early! Think of it as an early Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Whatever present.

So, the Questions you've been asking in your reviews!
Will there be any hope of Momma and Papa being saved?
I can't tell you really - but I can give you a hint: it's not in my chapter plans. =D

Will Minka finally pull forward and learn some magic now?Possibly. Ah, who am I, being all mysterious and vague! -shakes head- Yes, she will learn magic in the upcoming, I'd say, two, three chapters.

Are there any other Witch/Wizard characters besides Minka and her family?
Yep. Not telling you when she'll encounter them.


Chapter 11: February 1941; Part III
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

February, 1941: Alwernia, Poland
Granda and Grandmama's
Five Minutes later





After what seemed like forever, my arms disentangled from my childhood friend's body, and I ushered him in the house, a light buoyancy in me that hadn't ever been there before. Not even when I was at home. But confusion befuddled my countenance, and I stood, staring at him. In the months that I had been away from Alfred, he had grown exponentially. He was taller, his face thinner and his plumpness around his cheeks gone. You could see his cheekbones, and though his eyes were happily lit up, circles were donned beneath brown orbs. Something had changed within Alfred, and his normal companion, Sonne - was missing. "Alfred, how did you get here!?" I whispered, my voice barely containing my delight.

More questions zoomed in my head. How did he get here? Why did he come here, leaving the safety of his family behind? Was it all for me, and only me? Where was Sonne? There were so many, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to hear all of the answers, with the way my recent change of luck had been going, and yet still - my childhood friend was here, and that could only spark concern and a few flecks of happiness in me. He coughed and smiled as he ushered him into the kitchen, my eyes alight. "I'll tell that to you later, Minka." We turned and as soon as we were in the den on the other side of the kitchen and the door was shut. . .

A hug had me enveloped in his arms and my head resting on his shoulders, his head atop of mine. But never had I thought I would have contact with Alfred like this, he was just a friend, and this year, this period of time - out of all times, was not the time to start getting connections that were deeper than the heart. Alfred looked at me with his warm eyes that hadn't changed. They showed he was older, yes, and wiser, but his happiness in them hadn't changed. Letting go and surveying me, he placed his slender hands on my arms.

"You've gotten thinner."

"Haven't we all? Sit, you must be exhausted." My voice was still heavy, different, I had noticed, as I talked to Alfred. It bore all of the evidence against my struggles, and as he spoke - it had shown in his voice as well. He rubbed his temples as I turned away and caught the movement from the corner of my eye as I reached for a couple of glasses that Babcia kept on lower shelves for me to reach. They were dusty and old, something that she had managed to save from Granda's purging of the home - anything, Grandmama had told me, that valued family significance, was to be hidden away so that if we were robbed - those horrible Nazis, SS, and Gestapo would not find a single item. Yet these cups Babcia had managed to get back, and stuck them properly onto the shelf. I poured water into it, the only drink we could afford.

"I'm not exhausted, rather, but thank you for the concern, Min." Min. How. . . .personal of him to call me such. A smile graced my lips - it was a toddler-hood name he had taken a fancy too. Appropriate time to bring it up, and it only made me miss him more.

I gave him the glass, encouraging him to drink. After he told me what he wanted to tell, or rather, if he wanted to tell at all, he'd be going straight to bed. A nice sleep would remove those circles from under his eyes, hopefully.

Then again, mine didn't disappear.

Fiddling with my own glass, I made sure that the den door was locked. Babcia new and respected privacy, but I wasn't so sure about Dziadeck. "Alfred, how did you get here? Why did you come? It's not safer here than it is at hom - "

"Yes it is," He interrupted me and sat the glass down, leaning forward to put his elbows on his knobbly knees. Strands of long hair, wet and slick, fell into his eyes as he stared at me. "It's safer anywhere else than at home. I'll tell you how I got here, but I promise you Minka, you won't like it."

I wouldn't like it? I wouldn't like it! What didn't I not like as of late? Everything had been a horrible twist of events, everything had been so horribly wrong! I still felt as though I had brought death upon my baby brother and none of those feelings would never change until I got one more chance to see his face, and see my parents' faces. I took a sip of my water, bringing the glass up to my parched mouth and letting it trickle over my hoarse throat. "Tell me," I whispered. "There's so much that had gone wrong that nothing more could disappoint me further."

He gulped and took a sip of his own glass, tipping his head back and taking a deep breath. He was trying to uphold his strength for me, I could tell in the way his eyes reflected the sorrow and the light of the fireplace that Dziadeck had left burning. "If you're positive. . ."

"I am!" Though eager, every bone in my poor body was shaking and I wished I had that warmth in my body again, like the first time I had held a wand felt like.

Alfred nodded and shook back his hair, sinking into the chair and closing his chocolate eyes, clearing his throat. He looked so pale against the brown paisley fabric of the winged chair and I felt empathy for him, some sort of pity in my stomach that made it lurch unpleasantly. "A short week after school," He began whispering, such a whisper that invaded my mind and I was sure that the sound of the pain in his voice as he began would remain in my head as long as I should live. "Kids began disappearing at school. They started to take some of the roll call outside in the courtyard and some kids wouldn't come back in. Kids like us - disappearing with their families, their homes boarded up. I told my Mother and she knew what was happening and convinced me to stay home the day of that big Linguistic test we were supposed to have."

I nodded, showing I was listening. I would have failed that test, for before leaving Dresden, I had not studied one bit.

"It was me, Mother, and Da all in one room of our house, hidden attic that had the retractable stairs behind the big plant we had in the hallway. Mother and Da had everything in the attic, as if they were planning for it. I was scared, Sonne was scared, he constantly was barking, and even when we shushed him in fear someone had come knocking on our door, he whimpered." I could scarcely see Alfred holding the poor puppy silent in his arms in my head, a sad feeling, a sad image seeing Alfred's pale, afraid face in the flicker of a candle. My hands shook as I reached for my cup. "We stayed there for a week at most. I don't know honestly, I lost track of time. Sonne couldn't go out and he was distressed, started to tear up papers, probably something important," Alfred waved a hand, as if to notion that that piece of information wasn't important.

"Then it happened. They found us, Min. They found us, something I thought would never happened. We should have run, we should have run like you!" Tears glistened in his eyes and immediately I felt the urge to leap across the room and envelope him. I blinked, and a single lonely tear traced its path down my cheek. "S-Sonne was dead, his barking gave us away when they burst down the door, Mother and Da, I do not know what became of them - but I ran. I ran without them. I ran so long and hard until I found an American camp that I stayed in an abandoned tent for a few days; cried myself to sleep every night."

More tears went down both of our faces, and Alfred hung his head. That happy little puppy, dead. Put out of the misery of the world. Gone. Alfred's best friend was gone.

"I left them, Minka. I should have stayed with them."

I slid off of my chair and tears streaming down my face, I couldn't bare to see my friend like this. "You can stay here," I whispered, trying to find something in his eyes, because the look in them that made him himself, was gone amongst the wetness. "You can stay here for as long as you want, I promise. And . . . and, I'm sorry." Lower jaw shuddering, Alfred looked at me and used the pads of his thumbs to wipe away my own tears, leaving his trailing down his face.

"Minka, you're amazing. But I. . .I don't deserve it."

"Yes, you do. I . . . I abandoned my parents. Josef. . . Alfred, Josef is gone." At this statement, it finally hit me. He was gone, gone gone gone. Never coming back. His smiling face was gone, and all I had left was those pictures that Momma had stuck in my suitcase that he had drawn with colorful crayons. His eyes blinked a few times, and before I knew it,

We were in each other's arms.







Author's Note:So, now you know what happened to our dear Alfred, and I'm afraid I won't be able to tell you any more than what I just did until another chapter is up. Now, for the FAQs.

How many chapters will this be?Around 20. I'm positive it'll be at least 20, maybe more. I'm still debating on how I should end it.

What about Aleksander!?-giggles and shushes-

You're American, right? How do you know so much about the Holocaust?Yes, I did get this question, and it's a very good one. I know so much because I love the time period, and I've always been attracted to it. Same thing was with the Civil War, I had a bit of an obsession with that until my eighth grade History teacher slaughtered it with dates and people we had to memorize.  I've been to Normandy Beach, site of the D-Day Attack in France, and the WWII Memorial Museum, as well as the graveyard where Teddy Roosevelt Jr. is buried with his brother. As well as the Holocaust Museum (recently) in D.C. I ♥ History. /nerd

Next chapter soon, I hope! Thanks everyone for everlasting support!


Chapter 12: March, 1941; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

March, 1941; Alwernia, Poland
Babcia and Dziadeck's Home
A month later





We were comfortable now, and delighted to have each other in our presences, helping each other through the hard times. We both slept up in the attic, while Grandmama and Granda had gratefully gave up their bedroom that had a large bay window, to sleep in the windowless den. Security precautions were being taken everywhere, and with each step I made, I felt as if I were about to break something, or set it on fire. Alfred slept a lot, I imagine he was exhausted, and I felt pained watching his own face twist up, and hearing the unconscious murmurs he spoke in his sleep about his family, about Sonne. He'd call out in his sleep, and I'd curl up by the attic window, hugging a baby blanket I found in the dust, knees pulled tight and watching him twist and turn on the pallet Babcia had brought up. There was only one, and he deserved it more than I did.

The nights grew increasingly warmer, and I felt trapped in the coming spring heat and light breezy winds. When Alfred was awake, he'd sit with me by the little window in the attic, just out of sight of the street, and gaze down on the cobblestones, talking about how we should be playing on the playground at school, frolicing with Sonne. It was easier for Alfred to talk about Sonne now. But the subject of his family was swiftly ignored. "It's better for Sonne not to be used as a hound-dog. He has a large sky to play in now, doesn't he?" He told me one day.

Alfred was right. I only hoped Josef shared that big playground. Secretly, I wanted everything to go back to normal, and if that thought didn't come around quick enough - another one did. I wanted to stay with Alfred, no matter what happened. I felt safe with him, and he told me stories like Father used to do when we had lonely nights with Momma gone off to work. There was an abscence of a comfortable fire to sit by - but that didn't matter. The only thing that matter was that we were together, for the moment.

It grew cramped with only the upstairs of the house being used. Babcia and Dziadeck retired to their upstairs bedroom instead of their downstairs, and the basement was shut off. All necessary materials were stored in the attic and whatever room Babcia decided they used. But we grew comfortable to the small space. It was silent around the house, even meals were in near silence. No one dared to scream or raise their tempers, Dziadeck decided to go back to being mute,and Grandmama whispered to herself on occasion, shaking her head and sitting on her bed. Every morning, Granda would start the day by silently bolting down all the creeky floor boards except for the ones that were most trodden on - to prevent us from not hearing any intruders at all. Every night, he would come up, kiss us both, and go back down the ladder.

We were left in the dark, staring at the window. Soon we became frightened to tell each other stories and remind each other of who we were, what purpose we served, and resorted to holding each other again - something the back of my mind liked very much. I wanted to tell Alfred what I really was, but now - I sensed, wasn't the time to burden him even more than he already was. We slowly became isolated from the outside world more so than we had already been, Granda didn't bother to speak to us anymore, though sometimes I could hear himself whispering in the wee hours of the morning, whether to himself or to Grandmama, was inapparent.

It was growing quieter, until one morning. I found myself awake in Alfred's arms, my hair a rat's nest, my cheeks damp and my arms intertwined with his. We both lay on his pallet that night, with the baby blanket clutched at the side. My eyes were crusted with that 'sleepy dirt' that Josef would wipe away with his entire fist when he woke up, and instead of the rest of the kitchen being eerily silent. . .

Something disturbed the early morning.

Knocking, and yelling.

It couldn't have been a worse sign. My fingers tapped a rhythm on Alfred's chest and he blew air up out of his mouth, groaning. I could feel his warm heart beneath his thread bare shirt beating, though somehow that didn't give me confidence as someone shouted even more. "Wassgoin' on?" He mumbled, next to incoherent, and sat up, leaving me clutching at his waist and his arms around my shoulders. His eyes grew wide as he shook his head, and someone banged on the door. "Minka. . . " His voice was no longer raspy, but concerned and afraid. "What's happening?"

"I. . .I don't know," Tears laiden my voice heavily, and I blinked, glancing up at him with hesitancy. Someone was forcing their way into the house, and there was no one to stop them.

"Geöffnet!*" They demanded and I shook, and quivered. Footsteps echoed and for a moment I swore, I swore I'd rather die than be hidden. They got closer and closer and the key to the attic was turned in the lock, and I held my breath, until the door swung open and Babcia was revealed with tears flowing down her face.

"Grandmama!"

I left Alfred's arms and flew to her's instead, furrowing my brow and looking at Granda as she began to speak. "We're being taken, Minka." Her voice seemed to give out however, and could not tell me where. Instead, Granda finished the sentence.

"To Krakow."  Everything seemed to move so fast, my adrenaline had me pumping so fast I barely realized that Alfred had taken me by the arm and hugged me tight before gathering the things around the attic into a pack. "We've been told," Grandmama's words floated through my ears. No. No! We wouldn't meet the same end as Momma and Father. We wouldn't die like Josef, Sonne, and Alfred's parents. No! We couldn't go! "That we must take what we can fit in our packs and on our backs. Layer up in clothing - so that there is more room in the sack."

"We can't go." I whispered, standing stock still in the middle of the attic floor as hushed footsteps of soldiers rumbled downstairs.

Everyone froze and glanced at me before returning to pack. "We must!" Granda took me by the shoulder, shaking me almost violently. Tears poured freely now, free of restraints and care of letting Alfred see me as such. "Minka, this is our only chance at survival. Refuse to go to the ghetto, and we die on the streets or worse at the barrel of a gun. Your old dziadeck is a soldier, Min, a fighter. He isn't going down like that."

Our stuff was packed in three sacks. And there was nothing I could do about it as I stuffed a wallet and Mother's diary in my breast pocket from the box I had used as a nightstand to stick my glasses on at night, when I could finally lay my head down to rest. I was stopping no one. I was failing my job, and no amount of magic could fix the horrid things we were about to face downstairs. One by one, we went down the flights of stairs that led us to what was no longer our kitchen. Compared to the men in front of us, we looked like greasy, dirty ravens, while they looked like pollished peacocks.

The two of them held their heads high and beckoned us closer with a slender finger. "Ja," One began, and spoke in rapid German to the other at his side. They nodded, cleared their throat, and spoke to us in our own language. "We want you to leave here everything you cannot take. There is not enough room in the facility building you will be staying in to provide yourselves with luxuries. I assume you have the bare minimum?" We nodded.

"No weaponry?"

Nod. I hadn't even thought of that. Granda might've.

"You will be searched upon arrival." And many, many other things he had never mentioned. . .






*"Open!" in German






Author Note: Ah yes indeed, it's been a while since an update. Here we have it. The arrival of what's to come. First off, my apologies for the several delays. I simply haven't had enough time to keep consistant updates like I have before. To keep it short, here are the FAQs

Will any more of the characters die?
Ah. Uhm. I . . . haven't decided yet. It's been a blood bath already, has it not?

What's Krakow like?
Suckish. Cramped. You'll find out more in the next section.

So this isn't abandoned?
Nope. I plan to finish it. And depending on the ending, there may be more.

♥ Ginni



Chapter 13: April 1941; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

April 1941
Krakow Ghetto, Poland






The ride is cold despite the spring warmth that creaps upon flower and corn stalks as the train that carries us raggedly over the Vistula river rambles on. This is a river that many other families can be seen traveling over through the little space in my side of the carriage that's not quite a window, but rather - just a peep hole. I feel trapped, like an animal in a zoo - more so than I had ever felt at home with Babcia, Alfred, and Dziadeck, stuck in the upstairs attic. At least there was warmth, and hope - what little rays could filter through to us. Here - I can hear sighing in every which way direction, and next to me, Alfred clutched my arm in the darkness. The lights were put out, and all the shades drawn. At least it's a decent train. . .Most of whom I have talked to, children like myself and Alfred, said that the order to move us to this 'Krakow' place, was meant for sanitary and safety reasons. For our own health?

The thought of the Germans actually caring slightly about our well-being had my brain spinning into hypothetical overdrive. They would never dare to show the slightest compassion to us. Any of us.

My shade's little hole, my peep hole, allowed me to see the outside world, in it's spring glory, almost mocking our transport to what was bound to be something terrible, sullen and gray. I clutched Alfred's forearm back and looked across the semi-quiet, fear-induced cabin at Dziadeck and Babcia. They were placed in the back of the train carriage, and even though they were near, I still felt as though they were going to be ripped away from me at any moment. I hated this feeling. The feeling of letting my family down and not completing the job I seemed to have thought Momma set me with.

Protecting my family, Alfred and Sonne (whom I had already failed) included. I felt torn of jumping out of the train into the river right then and there, to at least trying to redeem myself and my good deed gone bad. A toddler cried in the back of the train and was shushed by it's mother, instinctively, she put her fingers in the baby's mouth to quiet it and I felt my eyes well up at the thought of Josef, and how he must've cried. Swiftly pushing those absurd thoughts aside, I gripped Alfred's arm even harder.

"Min!" He whispered instantly, and I clutched harder in fear that he noticed something out the peep hole that I hadn't seen. With wide eyes I turned to look at him. "Min, you're leaving fingernail marks. . ." Leave it to Alfred to attempt to make the situation feel better.

I bit my lower lip and released his arm, attempting a half smile and pushing my glasses up on my face. "Sorry."

He didn't reply to my apology, just held me as close as he could within our little train seat, and gazed out of the little peep hole that was below eye level, thanks to us sitting on our small packs that produced large pains in our . . . well. . .you know. I felt somewhat warmer with Alfred's arms around me, and it felt right, but wrong at the same time. How could I be . . . 'cuddling' in the moments that could be the moments that set our deaths. But I hadn't the strength to move. I didn't feel like it and I wouldn't, at the time.

Approximately half an hour later, my eyes were burning to over-exposure of the light for a few seconds, and after my pupils widened upon getting off of the train and slinging my pack over my shoulder, holding Alfred's hand in my own, I realized that the sky was a solemn gray after all, and not the beautiful light blue that it had been like on the way there. Tall, gray brick buildings and large machinery gloomed down at us, and suddenly - I felt incredibly small.

"This is it?" I whispered, more to myself than anyone else, and I saw Alfred's own eyes widen in surprise. His mouth moved but I couldn't pick up the words he had spoken. It looked like he had said something along the lines of 'better than being dead'.  More people crowded out of the fancy trains and we solemnly looked ahead, rather than at one another.

Alfred and I waited for Grandmama and Grandpapa, and when they arrived, exchanged brief looks before proceeding to one of the outposts where a man sat at a little card table with an open briefcase on top, papers scattered all about the top of it, and pens tossed aside carelessly.

"Names?" The man asked. I opened my mouth, but Babcia got there first.

"Agata Heins."

Dziadeck continued. "Leopold Heins. Our granddaughter - Minka Wollsburglen. And grandson, Alfred Wollsburglen."

The man started to write our names down, but paused, and held out his hands. "Do you have your indentification?" Oh no. If Alfred was to pass as my brother, he would need to have proper identification, with MY last name on it, not his! How, how could this go wrong? I sincerely hoped Grandpapa had a good excuse for no identification. He handed four, count them, four, ID pamphlets and I stared at them. I saw Babcia's face and name, along with details, Dziadeck's, mine, and. . . Alfred's. . .

How? I waited for the man to catch that the last name didn't match the one Dziadeck had given, but he said nothing, and handed them back after stamping them and writing down our names. "Proceed to Block 23A, Apartment 12B. Second floor." His voice was monotone and clearly showed that he didn't care, and once we got in the huge iron gates, hustled along by guards and streams of more people crowding into the small spaces, I looked up at Grandpapa.

"How?" I asked.

He winked, and said no more.


Our apartment is home to us four, and seven more people. Two couples, one with two children, and a single young man. The children cry far too much, and often we have guards coming up to investigate the noise, or ravage our stuff. I work in a factory, as does everyone here who is able to. Those who cannot work, must be taken along to the work place itself. Alfred and I attend Optima factory, placed in between two other huge ones. The children's parents also work there. We are forbidden to use the pavement, so we must walk along the side of the road, like hitch-hikers.

I consistantly feel ashamed, even though none of what has been done is my fault, and shouldn't be ashamed for. Still, we are treated horribly, and I cannot even talk to Alfred anymore. My voice is wearing down due to disuse, and my most common phrases are ''Yes sir." and "No sir." I get glares every day, and when I'm not glared at, I'm ignored. I feel as though I'm under constant watch and pressure, and my limbs have become surprisingly small, Alfred's breathing is raspier and uneven, and my grandparents - they suffer with the amount of work on their shoulders, even if they tell me they will live.

A deep feeling in my gut says otherwise.

When I get home, and gather what little possessions I have, I tug my coat over me and lay on the floor next to Alfred and the young man by himself, and pull out my notebook. I've attempted to write many letters back home. But none of them ever had gotten finished. Except one.

"From: Krakow
To: Home

Family, Momma, Papa, even little Josef because I know he's always watching me, pretending he's older now and it's his job to make sure I see it through alright. I miss you, and I fear I have failed you ever since I arrived by train to see Grandmama. I haven't a chance to practice my spells, because I fear that I'm useless. The wand is always kept in the waistband of my trousers (trousers are strictly worn within factories, especially stupid Optima). But I never use it.

I don't think I have magic anymore. It has been squished out of me, so Papa would say.

Momma, I want to go home. If it means I have to die, because you are dead as well - and though I dread to think about it, I shall die, just so I can go home. I'm scared here, consistantly I feel as though I have eyes burning through the back of my head and they can see what I think, how I feel. They treat us, all of us like dirt. I fear any longer they starve us and I will be able to fit behind a sword edge. Alfred's breathing is ragged and Grandmama and Grandpapa look as though their time has come.

But they pretend to be strong. I know it's just pretending because they can't leave me here alone.

Momma, where's home? Has home been destroyed? Where's the magic that could protect us without being seen? Give us nourishment and health? Or would we look too suspicious? Where's home?

-- Minka Wollsburglen."








Author Note: Yes, yes. I know, yet another long long wait. Softball season is now over, our record wasn't half bad, and most of my junior year testing is over as well. All I really have to worry about is my senior project, and my job and becoming a senior. But this shouldn't stress me out too much, so I'm going to end up finishing this within another seven chapters, give or take.

FAQs
So, I don't understand why Minka would go to Poland if the Germans invaded in 1939. Wouldn't she be safer with her family in Germany?No. The thing was back then, that it was safer to split your family up in some occasions. To send Minka to Poland by herself was a precaution. She was the one with the most magical capability at the time - so protecting her, by moving her out of the way and risking themselves, was their idea of a 'plan'. It was the only thing they had. Granted, some families would prefer to stay together. But in this case, as in others, the family split up before they were forced to.

Will she ever find her parents again?Undecided. /snickers

ALEKSANDER?! -is bitten by hungry fans-Chill! Chill! He'll come in time! /sprays rabies vaccine on self

♥Ginni


Chapter 14: May 1941; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

May 1941; Krakow Ghetto, Poland
A grey sky overhangs the camp. . .




I sat on my pallet, pulling at the wastefully thin and somber clothing that still adorn my back, and reread Momma's notes as everyone sleeps not-so-blissfully through the night. At least, I think I'm the only one awake. It has been a month, and disease fills the crowded place where we stay. Illnesses run amok, and a man named Schindler seemed to take some people outside of the Ghetto gates, otherwise - we are not allowed to stick even a pinky-toe outside. Yet on my way to work with Alfred, trying hard not to show my affection for him on the streets in front of the guards (because otherwise, they would shoot us on the spot) I see people drive past the front gates in their luxurious cars, staring at us, like we were something left over that had been sitting on the table for weeks - and turned smelly. Indeed, we were called smelly, as we walked to and from Optima, a factory used to help the German war efforts, against those who were trying to save us.

"Du stinkst!" One man had shouted just the other week at me, and pinched his nose, waving his hand. He was brave to even talk to us, because most of them even refrained from giving orders, and instead sunk down to giving us harsh looks as commands. My hands constantly shook, and I feared that as they took more and more of our possessions away, my spell list and note from Momma that I kept with me always would be found. It was the only thing keeping me sane. I should rather like my glasses taken away however, because my eyes have seen horrors I wish I hadn't. Punishment was cruel, those who did not obey were shot.

Thus shots were heard often for those of the stronger hearts, who would dare defy what has happened to our kind.

Blood has filled my memory more than I have ever imagined, and swiftly, I found out that I'm extremely queasy to blood. Any sort of blood that has been spilled or even the smell of blood. I almost fainted on the way to Optima with Alfred after a shooting of a young woman who would no longer stand working for the Germans, and I witnessed it from five feet away, at minimum. I swayed and my stomach churned, but Alfred caught me before the guard looked over at us and ushered me around the corner, where we would not be seen for a few precious moments.

"You must compose yourself," Alfred spoke to me with a fierce whisper. "If anyone sees you with your guard down like that - weak and vulnerable, they'll kill you in an instant!" He had grown harsh since we arrived, and he did indeed feel like an elder brother, so Grandpapa had said when we arrived. However, I did not want an elder brother to look at me like I was just someone who was a burden - someone who always had the chance of being caught and killed. I had magic! Alfred didn't. I could protect myself if I could just find a place to learn my spell work - if my magic hadn't already disappeared.

Yet I constantly felt scared, pressured, and as though I were no longer a part of society as it was.

. . . I never had belonged, had I? I was a double outcast. Possessing something I should have never possessed in the first place within my blood, and belonging of a religion that people deemed unbearable. I sighed and kept my head down every day I trampled on to work, my fingers no longer itching to hold those slender, calloused ones of Alfred anymore. Though, my fear had never gone down. Always, always peaked.

Especially on liquidations.

It was unexpected. We were working in Optima that day that it had happened, so unexpectedly - and I knew I felt no rush to get to the apartment like I normally did for a reason, but what reason it was - I had no idea. Alfred, however, worked at his normal frantic place, switching washers with heavier bolts on mechanical devices we would never live to see set off. I worked slower than usual, and for that, a guard came up and promptly whacked me in the square of my back, making my small, frail body cringe and bend in pain for a brief seconds before I sucked it in and bowed my head. "Work faster!" He barked at me, whoever he was, but as I tried to make my hands become a blur in front of my face in a frantic rhythm, it seemed as though my head no longer was connected to my nerves.

I received another sharp smack on my head which sent sparks blooming before my eyesight and I sucked in another breath, pulling in all of the pollutants and smoke in the air. "Work!" The guard yelled and I tried to pick up my pace. Alfred nudged me in my thin shoe and I bit my lower lip, hung my head lower, and forced myself to work faster. Why? Why didn't I yearn to leave Optima like I had always wanted? Every. Day. Something in my gut told me not to run out and go to where our temporary home was (for it'd never ever be home to me) as soon as the whistle rang. Something told me to stay behind.

And I hated the feeling of dread settling in the pit of my stomach amongst the scraps of food that had collected there and refused to digest.

My hands shook, and Alfred delivered a nudge with his foot and nodded briefly. I understood. The man had turned his back, and he whispered underneath his breath in Hebrew. "Something's happening. . ."

I knew it was happening as soon as that first gunshot raged and pillaged my hearing, tore my soul apart and made me drop what I was working with to hide behind a boiler in the darkened corner. People started screaming, and my ears were too. I felt as though the world was crashing down and for a moment, though I saw faces that I recognized from school, children of my own age as well, rush out to hide with their families, if they were left.

More shots, and I was sure they were just threatening shots fired into the air, no no. I heard tanks, and my very core of my body shivered, and not even Alfred sliding behind me and grabbing my arms could make me feel any stronger. I knelt down so that my shadow would dip below the boiler's and covered my hands with my ears. My hair, frizzy and tarnished, flew into my face and shielded my eyes.

Brief, abrupt German was shouted all over the place, I could hear it - I could feel it.

People were dying out there. . .

I realized this was the feeling I had been anticipating all day. Fear. I gripped my wand clutched in my waistband and wished desperately that I could do something, stop them from moving. Magic, I thought I was magical if I had any magic left, couldn't magic do anything?! Panic. Footsteps. Yelling.

A woman flew to the ground not more than three feet away from me, and I turned away, burrowing my face into Alfred's shirt. "Get up!" It was one of the guards, his face, once handsome probably, twisted into a hound-like snarl. "You piece of filth! You're not a woman if you can't even stand up to your superiors!" She whimpered, I heard her. My ears became sensitive even so as the man's boot kicked out and she rolled over.

Her breathing stopped.

My heart skipped thousands of beats, over. And over. And over. . .

Hours and hours this went on, a pillage and plunder of what had become our temporary home, and over the gun-shots and screaming and running, hiding - children forcing themselves inside toilets, in sewers to escape the men taking them away, mothers hushing their babies as they reluctantly slipped them drugs that would silence them forever - to save them from being taken away, a man was heard - shouting in precise, military like German. "All occupants please line up for examination and transportation that have been marked."

A man came around outside, as soon as the factory was cleared and my joints protested as I got up to go look out the window, marking those he wanted to line up with a poker and pushing them as though they were cattle. With adrenaline induced fear in my body, I gazed over the crowd that was ushered to the front gates for my Grandparents.

With swift relief, I saw they were not amongst the doomed. Because I knew what was going to happen. They were going to die, we all were.

Just their fate was much closer and could not be stopped, even with magic.






Author Note: For those of you who don't know what has just happened here - what Minka and Alfred experienced was their first Krakow Liquidation. More info on that will be released next chapter - but the purpose was to make it seem real to the readers of what makes her want to learn magic even more. Liquidation was the worse possible thing you could ever witness. Children were hauled away from their mothers (if you've seen Schindler's List, you know. . .) and killed, elderly were killed, and those unable to work, were killed or sent to Auschwitz in order to make more room for more able-bodied workers.

On that depressing note. . .here's the FAQs.

So, this is a Potterverse Fic, where's the magic?Yeah, I've gotten this one a few times. Believe me - it's coming. VERY Soon.

Okay, we've been patient; but now we're mad. WHERE'S ALEKSANDER?He's coming, he's coming, my children! Just keep your britches on!

Will Minka develope a relationship with Alfred?It wasn't originally intended, but who knows. . . ;D

Signing off -
Ginni



Chapter 15: June 1941; Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

June 1941; Krakow Ghetto, Poland
A Month After First Liquidation





I learned to ignore the sickness. I learned to force myself to eat whatever scraps we had in order to save my stomach from eating itself. I learned to stop myself from staring wistfully at Alfred's calloused hands, wishing he'd show concern for me one last time. I learned to brace myself with whatever I had at the moment, and appear as thought I didn't care what the guards said to others around me. I kept my head down, my hair shielding my face and blurry vision trying to focus on the tools set in front of me. Who would have thought that I would learn this, on my own? Not that I'm physically alone. There are thousands of others in my same exact position, working from the table across from me, sitting in an identical building, with smoke clogging our lungs.

But I couldn't help but feel different from the way I was before. All of us were different.

Yet I felt as though I had a reason to be more different. Nonetheless, my working pace was more subtle than most. My hands continued to be a blur in front of me (no pun intended, without my glasses on) whether they were moving fast or slow. I automatically knew what I was expected to do, and thought my weary head made thoughts of fear and magic disappear - a few slipped through my defenses. I began to doubt myself, and all of the magical stuff I had been told of since I was little. What if it was all a lie? And nothing, none of the magic was real and I was just hallucinating the stuff that had happened and felt like a foolish school girl carrying a stick like it was her child? When all it was, was a stick?

I felt lightheaded whenever I woke up, and Alfred and I used to talk meagerly to each other in an attempt to keep close to each other. But when I looked back, I began to realize it was just an excuse to keep out voice boxes from dying out. We spoke through our facial expressions, slight tilts of the head, glittering effects in the eyes. I felt torn between two options when we no longer woke up speaking to each other again; either shake his shoulders and ask him to speak until his head fell off of his neck, which I wouldn't have the strength of doing anyway, or simply - disappear.

I wanted to tell. I wanted to ask! But there was absolutely no privacy in which to do something so personal. Ask if magic was real.

If there was magic, why couldn't all of this be gone? Fixed?

"Magic, even of the strongest kind cannot protect against the evil of the Nazis and Fuhrer, Josefine."

Papa was right. If magic was real - it wasn't real enough to fix up this screw up.

This became a constant mantra in my head, something that I had repeated to myself every morning. Magic can't fix this, Min. Magic can't. Don't even bother practicing or pretending it's real. I only spoke to myself, inside my head, rehearsing those stupid words I had memorized by now, though I couldn't use them - or bother to think that they were real. They became a safe-house though, reminding me of my mother, and where she might be right now. Was she in the same situation? Laying up at a dingy ceiling thinking of me? Holding Papa? Or was she alone.

After yet another long day, I rehearsed the words in the silence, listening to Alfred's wheezy breathing and Grandmama and Granda's synchronized sighs in the night. "Accio, Lumos, Nox, Aloha. . .Aloh. . " I had them memorized, the note clearly in my head with my mother's handwriting right there, but why couldn't I remember that one? For some reason, it had evaded me - and the inability to remember something so useless that gave me security, made tears leak out of the corner of my mind. "Alo. . .Aloh. . ." I groaned and rolled over on my sheet, carelessly flinging my hand over and almost hitting Alfred's stomach.

I hated myself when I fell asleep, and when I woke up - all the same. It was a Sunday morning. And on this Sunday, we had a day off. It was a rare occasion, and something that had never been experienced before - but Optima and the other factories were shutting down so other workers could upgrade more machinery that would produce more items for us to put together. Which meant we'd have to work faster.

But that wasn't on my mind when I woke up. I wanted to work. To get my mind off of the thoughts that had invaded my head about how much of a failure I was becoming. When first light hit just above our dust covered window, I rolled over on my pallet, making the floorboards creak, to hide my eyes from the sunlight. Alfred's pallet was empty, but I had soon found out where my friend had disappeared to when the door to our flat opened. "Min and I have off," His rough voice announced. He couldn't see I was awake.

Grandmama, now that I had noticed was up along with Granda, was stirring something over a small, contained fire. The rest of the flat's occupants were off somewhere else. "Off? Isn't that unusual?" She rasped off, trying to appear optimistic about our day to ourselves. Hell knew what it meant. I kept my eyes shut just enough so that it appeared I was still asleep, but could see my grandmother's silhouette up against the morning light.

I heard something scrape against the dirty floor, a chair, and a slight flop as Alfred sat down in it. "Yes, but there was a notice on the front of Optima when I had a walk."

"Walk? Alfred, you know that's dangerous. You could be caught and killed and we wouldn't have known a single thing." Fear stirred in my stomach as if to mimic what was being stirred in the pot in front of Babcia.

Alfred's tone was low and I felt his eyes rest on my back as if to make sure my slender form was still asleep. "They're closing the factory for today to upgrade machinery. It means we'll be more pressed to work faster, but all workers have the entire work day off until tomorrow; we're issued to work early tomorrow. Is she still asleep?" I saw Babcia nod and get up from her chair, handing a warm cup of whatever she made to Alfred and tugging Dziadeck by the shirt towards the door, leaving another cup steaming on the rickety card table in the corner.

"We have to go," Sadness etched my grandmother's voice and I felt my stomach lurch at what we were risking just being here. "But take care of her while we're gone. Who knows what will happen on your only day off. . ." A sigh was issued from her mouth and instantly I heard the door creak open and shut; suddenly, Alfred and I were alone, and he thought I was asleep.

For a while, my friend hadn't moved from his chair, but I heard periodic slurping sounds and sighs before he sat the cup down and got up from his chair. Was he leaving me by myself? Panic and fear made my muscles tense, but he must've noticed and dropped to one knee by my side, laying a hand on my shoulder. "Min?"

Caught. I rolled over and blinked blearily, his face barely coming into focus.

"Yes?"

"Alohamora."

My pupils dilated. "Wh-What?" I couldn't pretend I didn't know the word - because now that he said it, I knew and it clearly had shown on my face. He sat cross legged on the floor and grabbed a full cup of the steaming soup Babcia made and pushed it into my hands as I sat up. They trembled and the liquid sloshed dangerously around the rim.

"It's 'Ah-low-ha-more-ah'."

Caught yet again. "Did you read m-my note Momma wrote me?"

His face contorted from a blank expression to confusion. "What note?" He wasn't playing stupid, but how could he possibly know!? Unless. . .

"Are you a . . . a?"

Alfred remained cool under my stammering interrogation, and as a matter of fact, mildly amused - unless I caught the wrong vibe from his expression. "A what, Min?” I felt my voice straining to scream everything I knew at him, wanting to feel some sort of connection. But I had a feeling my hopes were high. I didn’t believe that he could possibly be. . .

“A wizard.” I felt my throat closed up in embarrassment. But how else could he have possibly known the very word, the very spell that I was trying to utter before I slept. Hesitantly, I raised my gaze to his face just in time to see him nod. Tears brimmed around my eyes. I wasn’t alone. This wasn’t worthless. It wasn’t a dream.

“I know, Minka. I know everything.”




“How long have you known?”

“Since I saw you and your mother together before you left for your Grandparents. I saw the wand in your back pocket. I thought I was dreaming, but then I saw your face, and I knew it.” Alfred’s fingers twitched and fiddled as he looked down in shame. I could not blame him. Hiding something this big for so long eats a person up.

Our voices were in hushed whispers, even though it was but the middle of the day. Noises, I had come to find, traveled extremely easy in our complex. It was best to keep things like magic under-wraps. Seeing his fidgety stature, I took one of his hands in my own as an instinct. For a brief second, it was like going back to how it used to be.

Before I remembered where we were. His fingers laced with mine for a few seconds, until he looked down and squeezed my hand before letting go. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I was afraid. I was afraid you’d deny all connections to the Wizarding World - “

“Wizarding World?” His face grew pained.

“You know so little, that it’s sad, Min. There’s a whole world of people like us out there somewhere.”

I instantly became slightly offended. I knew stuff! Just not. . . a lot! “I’ve heard stories.” I weakly protested and he laughed. That sound made my heart fill up and expand. Was it supposed to do that? His countenance changed from one of shame to curiosity and wonder.

“If stories are all you’ve ever heard, then you’re truly missing out, Min. There are clubs, magical games, clothing, books - an entire civilization in which we belong - Jews or not! No one cares about religion in that world. The world we deserve.” Alfred’s passion was evident in his voice, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe him. Why would my parents never show me that world? Never escape to that world?

“I don’t believe you.”

Dismay was written in his eyes now and he took the initiative and put both of my hands in his, clutching them tight. “You must believe me. It’s dangerous out there, and because of that I’ve only seen it once. There’s a ruler out there too, that is like the Nazi leader.” I shook at the sound of that word, that atrocious word. “But once he is gone - we can go there.”

“If we ever live.” I was never an optimistic girl. Alfred had come to know that.

“What can I do to make you believe me?” Footsteps were coming up the stairs, sounding like a heard of animals. First shift was done already. I thought frantically, my head even working in whispers. I could not work magic, perhaps, if he was telling the truth, he could teach me.

However doubtful it was, maybe I could make myself believe.

“Teach me spells, teach me magic.” I whispered and gazed at him with a hard stare.

His face lit up and before I knew it, he kissed me swiftly on the forehead.

“I will. I’ll teach you. Everything I know.”




Author's Notes: Surprise you much!? Haha, sorry it took so long to get this out - I had Advanced Placement Essays over the summer to write but now that the big ones are out of the way - I can update my stories! YAY! ♥ Ittin' cute, Alfred and Minka? YAY! xD

-- Ginni

http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com