A Surprise This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It was a cold autumn afternoon in the city of Budapest. The year was 1943 and Europe had undergone many immense changes. Hitler had taken over and on this particular afternoon, the Nazis were marching 140 Jews out of the city to be put in concentration camps. My relative, Eugene, happened to be one of those Jews. As he marched he remembered the sound of his father in the early morning, running cold water to wash his face. As the sound of rushing water and the image of worn hands washing a face flashed through his mind, he wondered if he would ever see his father again. For most in this group, seeing loved ones again would probably not be a reality.

The wind was whirling as they marched. Right, left, right, left. As the strict lines of formation continued, Eugene found himself eyeing the city. The red, amber, green and orange leaves were dull but still warm to the eye. He wondered if he would ever return to this city he loved, but instead of dwelling on these uncertainties, he kept moving forward.

Why was this all happening? How could people have enough hate to want to eliminate an entire race? He had heard about it from others, but until that violent knock on his apartment door, the Holocaust had not been real.

He glanced around, looking for a familiar face. As he peered at the Nazi soldiers, he found one. It was a friend he had played with as a kid. They had spent afternoons chasing each other through the streets as their mothers talked at the market. Eugene could not believe his eyes - this sweet, fun-loving boy was now a Nazi. Eugene kept marching.

Eugene remembered how this friend had aspired to become an artist. He remembered how he loved the color blue and would dream about painting all-blue paintings. It was shocking that this man was now working for such an evil conspiracy.

As the march proceeded, he glanced at the sky, where he spotted a bird flying, flying so freely. He yearned to be that bird. Eugene’s daydreaming was interrupted by a loud voice.

Eugene turned to see a Nazi yelling at an old man to march faster.

The old man grunted, “I am trying, sir.”

“Well, try harder, you fool!” yelled the Nazi. Then he took a pole and was about to hit the old man when Eugene had had enough. He seized the pole and smacked it at the Nazi, which outraged him. The Nazi was about to shoot Eugene when his childhood friend appeared. He told the Nazi to leave this one alone.

“He’ll get what he deserves eventually. Don’t waste your bullets,” he casually persuaded. Although it seemed like a Nazi thing to say, Eugene saw through it. It was his friend’s way of saving him. And in the end, it did.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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