September, 1940; Dresden, Germany
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.
"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. ♥
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