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Running War

November 16, 2020

       I run away furiously, not looking back. Tears come down faster than gunshots. I already know the only place I ever loved and lived in, is covered in flames. "What are you doing?! Go get her blöd!" I hear. I run in the vast, brown woods hiding from the soldiers. I have been here so many times for hunting prey, but I never came here being the prey. I don't know where my mama, tata and little brother are, but I know to run as fast as I can. Leaves and twigs are crunching beneath my feet when I desperately want them to be quiet. I run till midnight, until I am sure no one is following me. I pause to rest, my feet aching. I make a pile of colorful leaves and sit down. Thousands of questions fill my head. How did the Nazis find out we're Polish? Where are my family? Are they safe? I am too scared and worried to sleep, but my body says otherwise.
       That night I dream of my beautiful mama and I walking past a crowded ghetto going to Aunt Aleksander's clothing shop. I have heard many stories about what happens in the ghetto, but I have never been in one. I can see and hear sadness all around, while I hear the Nazis heavy footsteps. Aunt Aleksander's shop is small, but the złoty she makes from it is way bigger. I stroke a grey sweater made from a wolf's skin while my mom talks with Aunt Aleksander about how she is struggling to hide her Polish identity. "I wake up every morning scared thinking Germans can be inside our house any second now" my mama whispers. "Siostra, everything will be fine again soon. God will make it happen" my Aunt whispers back. "How?"
        I wake up to hear birds chirping and the leaves fluttering by. My stomach is rumbling since I hadn't ate dinner last night, so I go to get some berries. As soon as I land on my feet, I know that I won't be able to run again for days. I was taught how to find non-poisonous berries, but still I don't get the ones I am not totally sure about. Before the war, my tata, brother and I would go hunting for meat and berries and my tata taught us how to find berries that were edible. Just the thought of him made me clench my fists at the Nazis. Why were they being so cruel and mean? As I go pick a juicy, red berry, I hear footsteps. I quickly hide behind a tree and cover myself in leaves and dirt. "That rascal. She must have been in these woods before or we would have found her already." "Albretch, she's just a small girl. I bet someone else probably saw her and put her in a ghetto. We should probably stop looking for her." "I don't know Gunther. Major would kill us if we let her out." "Albretch, stop overestimating a girl." "Fine lets go." I smile to myself as I quietly eat my berries.
        After a hour, when I am certain that no one is lingering around, I get up. My feet feel better, but running is still not an option. I think about how a single moment can change your entrie life. My family had come from the evening walk and my tata and I were preparing to go hunting. My little brother couldn't go since he felt sick, so he and mama were playing hide and seek. As tata and I were leaving the house we heard screams. As we looked around, there were Nazis everywhere with torches lit on fire. I heard my tata say run and I ran. After a few seconds when I looked around I saw that my dad was not behind me and our house was in flames. I shake my head from my thoughts as see the evening sky. I pray to god that my family is safe, when I hear footsteps. "Albretch, I think I hear someone!" "I think I hear her too!" I drop the remaining berries and stop to run.


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1 Comment
  • cloudi

    hi astro! i love this version of running war too!

    7 months ago