Author's note: The beginning chapter was an assignment for my history class. From there, I am expanding the story.
~OneThe train carrying the Jews came to a rumbling stop. Its whistles screamed as several Nazis pounded on its old, wooden doors. Starved Jewish workers stumbled in the mud as they tried to work quickly. One by one, wooden ramps were put to the doors and frightened Jews slowly walked down them. Many of them looked around, terrified of where they were and what could come of them. A little boy shouted in surprise as he fell down the ramp and landing in the mud with a squelch. Ashes, floating like grey snow, fell gently and rested on his nose.
A group of Nazis laughed at the boy as horrified Jews were herded around him. The boy cried out when a fellow Jew stepped on his hands. A girl with one green eye, one blue silently helped him up. She pulled the shorter boy close to her and smiled gently, trying to make the look of terror leave his dark brown eyes. The girl and boy began to shove their way through the crowd, coming to a stop next to an older woman with graying hair.
Quietly, the woman pulled the children close. “Shh, it’ll be okay. We will be okay.” She gently rubbed small circles on her son’s back. “Hush now,” she whispered, trying desperately to quiet his sobs. With a trembling hand, she wiped silent tears from her eyes.
“No,” the boy cried. “It’s not going to be okay. Don’t you know; they’re going to kill us,” the boy stated, his voice filled with dread.
Rough and demanding Germans forced the mother and her children into the still forming lines. Frightened men and women stared at each other; some calling for their loved ones, others crying for mercy.
Nazis prowled through the lines, looking for anyone who looked too sick to work. Or so the Jews thought. Panic pulsed through mothers when they heard the Nazis demanding for the families to give up their children if they were twins. “Zwillinge!” The Nazis shouted as they looked. “Report Zwillinge!”
The woman wrapped her arms tighter around her children when a Nazi stopped in front of them. His sickly, sweet smile made the terrified trio cringe. “Mengele, is this what you wanted? Twins, right?” He called over to a man wearing a bloody lab coat. “Is this what you wanted?” He repeated when the man in the lab coat came closer.
Mengele nodded, “Perfect specimen. Take them to the clinic; I have some tests I have to run on Karmen that have to be done before the end of the day.”
The Nazi nodded and grabbed the children from their mother. Her begging fell to deaf eyes. With a sharp pull, the children were forced to stumble after him. The girl turned back and stared at her mother as the older woman was forced into a line of the sickly and weak. The mother’s tears were unseen by her daughter and her sobs were unheard. The girl turned away and her chapped lips began to bleed as she whispered a prayer. The blood made it hard for her to open her mouth once it had dried.
The soldier snorted and pulled them further along. “There will be no help for you. This is Auschwitz.”
After dropping the twins off at the clinic, the Nazi went into the bunkers where the Jews slept. He took a clipboard off of the nail where it hung and began calling names. He felt his stomach knot as thirty filthy, exhausted Jews came to stand in front of him. With a small movement of his hand, he led the workers outside to stand in front of a tall chain-link fence.
“Line up,” he commanded.
Once the weary workers had finished lining up, he slowly pulled a pistol from its holster. He moved to stand right in front of one of the workers and cocked his pistol. A prayer begging God for forgiveness flowed through his mind as his finger squeezed the trigger. After another five shots, he clicked the barrel out and threw the empty shells to the ground. He pulled out six more bullets and repeated the process. One by one, the workers fell. Dark, red blood flowed from the entry hole in the front like melted chocolate.
The final worker standing stared the Nazi in the eye. “Thank you.” His broken words brought tears to the Nazi’s eyes when the trigger clicked.
The Nazi walked away from the thirty killed workers, wiping blood and tears from his face while doing so. Please forgive me.
After being forced to board another train, the mother found herself at another different camp. The camp looked just the same as the one where she had been separated from her children. She was forced into another unmoving line and waited for what seemed like days. The mother finally reached the inside of a towering warehouse. In it, the Nazis had converted it to a multi-station system that stripped each person who walked in of their pride. She watched Nazi woman chop off the flowing locks of hair that belonged to women in the same situation as she. Slowly, the ageing woman sat down in a chair and leaned her head forward. The cool blades of the scissors, combined with the shocking snap they made as they cut her hair caused the woman to shiver.
After her hair was cut, she followed the rest of her group into a room where they had to remove their clothes. Nazis threw them into piles and forced the group on their way. The frigid air sent goose bumps racing across her naked body as she came to a stop in front of two giant doors. The Nazi workers handed out bars of soap with the promise of a shower. Memories of rumors she had heard flashed through her mind. I’m going to die.
The Nazi workers opened the doors and instructed the women to go into the room. They all stared at a series of showerheads that were highlighted by flicking lights. Once all the women were in the room, the doors slammed shut. The sound echoed off of the walls and the lights immediately shut off. The mother gasped as she heard the showerheads turn on. Her worst fears came true when she did not feel water splashing onto her body. She began to cry as her lungs burned. She coughed up blood as she struggled to get a proper breath. Around her, the sounds of her group dyeing molded into a strange buzzing as her brain shut down. The mother’s knees crumpled; she was dead before she hit the ground.
Three months later
The young girl looked up at the approaching Unterfeldwebel. She sat up straighter the closer he came. There was no use in denying the fact that she would not live past this day. She had watched them earlier take her beloved brother from his room. Never would she forget the look of terror on his face. Now she was watching the same man walk towards her. This certainly wasn’t the Devil; she saved that word for Hitler himself. No, she was staring at one of his demons; a follower whose mind had been manipulated until he cherished every word flowing from Hitler’s cursed mouth.
The heel of the man’s boot echoes as he stopped in front of her. She searched his blank face for any sign of emotion and found nothing. He stood so still, that had it not been for the slight tapping of his thumb to his leg, she would have thought he was a statue. The overpowering cologne he wore made it hard for the girl to breathe. She struggled not to gag at the stench and soon was going to lose that battle.
“Do you think you are going to die today?” He asked. His deep blue eyes watched her every movement.
“Have you killed my brother?” She demanded, determined to show the Nazi she was not afraid of him.
“No.” The girl shuddered at the sudden flash of amusement on his face. A boyish grin broke across his lips. “No we have not killed your brother.”
“Why are you here?” She asked. Confusion danced through her mind as the possibilities of what he wanted cycled through her mind.
The German sighed, “So many questions.” He took her hand and gave a gentle tug. “Follow.”
The girl silently slid off the table and fell into step with the German as they walked down an empty white hallway. Multiple doors were closed, but the ones that were opened showed Jewish workers that she recognized. She frowned when she saw another set of twins sitting alone with their backs touching. One was crying as the other stared off in the distance.
“Your brother is your twin, correct?” The German glanced at the young girl as they walked.
The girl nodded, “Yes. There is another set of twins in our family. They work in the school, teaching young children.”
“The school? So the twins are women, correct?”
“Ah, I see. Why did they not say they were twins when it had been called?”
“They have families of their own.” The girl became uncomfortable with the Unterfeldwebel’s interest in her family.
“And do they have twins?”
“No,” she lied.
They came to a stop in front of a large metal door. Calmly, the Nazi knocked and the tinny echo bounced off of the walls. After a few minutes, a tall man in a white lab coat opened the door with a warm smile on his face. He stepped out of the way and the girl stepped in after the Nazi. The girl stared in shock at the large, empty room they had entered. The bare walls were brilliant white and the concrete floor was painted grey.
“I am so happy you could join us, Carmela,” the man in the lab coat beamed. “I hope you enjoyed the candy I sent to your room.”
Carmela nodded, “I did. Thank you, Mr. Mengele. That was a very kind thing to do.” Her tiny voice could barely be heard.
Mengele smiled but didn’t say anything back. He glanced at the tall German standing next to Carmela. “And where is Calev?”
The German glanced at Carmela with a frown before turning his gaze to the doctor. “He was selected to go to the clinic for tests earlier today. I thought you knew that already.”
Mengele chuckled, “Oh yes. That’s right. It completely slipped my mind. Just been too busy I suppose.” He casually flicked his hand through the air as if he didn’t care. “I will just have someone go get him. Do you mind, Kai?”
The Nazi hesitantly smiled a tight lipped smile. “Not at all.” He quickly left the room.
“Why does he smile so much?” Carmela asked Mengele. He is not like the other soldiers I have seen.”
Mengele nodded, “That is because he is not. Kai enjoys his job here at Auschwitz. He fully believes in the Nazi movement, hence his higher ranking for someone so young. However, he smiles as not to frighten the children here. How scary would it be to be forced out of the comfort of the rooms we have given you by someone who looks like he wants to kick your teeth in?”
Carmela nodded to show her understanding. She sat down on the cold floor and straightened her dress. Absentmindedly, she drew random patterns on the ground. Mengele sat down next to her and studied her every movement. His eyes flickered between her long fingers drawing invisible patterns to her different colored eyes.
Hetrochromia. He wrote in a small notebook he pulled from the lab coat’s pocket. Carmela stares off in her own world, tracing patterns like her brother. Perhaps this absentmindedness is hereditary. Unlike Carmela, Calev only has brown eyes compared to her left blue and right green.
“How old are you, Carmela?”
Mengele nodded and kept writing in his notebook. “Do you know how tall you are?”
“No.” Her heartbeat sped up as she lied.
Mengele swore and threw his pen at the opposite wall in disgust. It didn’t make it to the wall though; it fell to the floor with a clang about three-fourths of the way. He muttered and pulled another from his pocket. “I apologize, Carmela. That was one of my favorite pens.” He lied smoothly. Claims not to know her height although she is clearly taller than Calev. Calev told me she stands at about one hundred and forty-three centimeters. Perhaps there are other things she is lying about also.
“I see,” Carmela sighed. Mengele’s sudden outburst of anger had shocker her. The entire three months she had been here, she had only seen him happy or worried. This new side of the man who had shown only kindness to her wasn’t sitting with her well with her conscience. It screamed that there was something very wrong. “What made it your favorite pen?”
Mengele smiled, “It was a present from my daughters.”
“Do you see them often?” Carmela asked.
Mengele’s face fell. “No, they died two years ago. Both of them.”
“How old were they?” Carmela asked eager to find out more about these two girls.
“Your age.” He stopped talking and stood up. He opened the same door she had walked through not even ten minutes before. He opened the door and smiled. “Ah, there you are, Calev. Your sister is already here. I trust Kai found you easily enough?”
Calev stared down at the cement floor, refusing to meet Mengele’s eyes.
“He was causing trouble in the kitchen. He was caught trying to steal bread,” Kai stated. The monotone in his voice made Carmela worry. She did not know what to expect from this man. “He claimed it was to help a friend he had made. Said his friends was starving and couldn’t do his work properly.”
Mengele frowned, “Calev, is this true?”
Calev coughed and kept staring at the floor. “Yes, Sir.”
Calev looked up at Mengele with tears brimming in his eyes. “Please,” he begged, “please don’t hurt him.”
Kai scoffed, “Calev, the rules have been broken. It should be you who gets the punishment, but since you have someone with a… special interest in your well-being.”
Calev returned to staring at the ground. “His name was Lukas Meyer.” His bitter tone made Carmela frown.
Mengele nodded towards Kai. “Go find this Meyer. It looks like I’m going to have a talk with dear Calev here.”
Kai nodded, “Yes Sir.”
The door slamming in his wake would haunt Carmela and Calev’s minds for as long as they lived.
Kai moved through the camp trying to think of where Calev’s friend could be. He ignored the few Jewish workers who stopped their work, stood up and removed their hats. Kai frowned at a younger worker who calmly removed his hat with a kind smile. Kai hated the sign of “respect” and never understood why it was enforced; why should those here in Auschwitz show respect to the German? Surely, they knew they would die by the Germans’ hands, right? He groaned and rubbed his head; the medicine Mengele had given him had worn off.
Kai stopped next to an officer sitting in a chair. The officer leaned his head back and groaned, “What do you need Schneider?” His drunken slurs annoyed Kai.
Kai sighed, “I am looking for an inmate by the name of Lukas Meyer. Is he in your block?”
The officer nodded, “Yeah. Works in the kitchen.” He drunkenly stumbled as he rose. “Why are you looking for him?”
“Poor man. Hate to have his job. All he does in work with those filthy Jews. I’m shocked he hasn’t gone crazy.”
Together, the men entered the kitchen. The officer pulled a clipboard from its spot on the wall. He scanned the sheets before throwing it onto the floor. The officer glanced at Kai and turned to another officer giving her orders. The two officers walked away arguing with each other.
Sighing, Kai picked up the clipboard and stared at it. Birkenau. The clipboard fell from his hand with a dull thud when it hit the floor. Turning sharply on his heel, Kai sprinted off to the clinic to find Mengele.
Carmela sat on the uncomfortable cot and waited for a nurse to finish administrating a shoot into her arm. She hesitantly smiled at the older woman and looked down when the woman did not return it. Her mind jumped from one topic to another. She worried about Calev. He had been taken away by Mengele, who didn’t seem very happy, to a separate building.
“Ow,” she gasped when a sharp shooting pain had starting in her arm. “What was that?”
T he nurse didn’t say anything and walked away. Her shoes squeaked on the floor as her pace quickened. Carmela frowned and laid down on the cot. As she squirmed, trying to get comfortable, she grew tired and slowly fell asleep.
Calev fought the leather straps holding him to the bed. Across the room, Mengele slipped on a pair of surgical gloves. As the doctor came closer, a crazed look came across his face. Calev grew frightened when he saw the shine of a blade in Mengele’s hand. He shrieked at the intense pain when the blade slowly inserted itself into his bare chest.
Rivers of blood slid down the sides of his body as Mengele extended the cut forward. Calev whispered a quick and panicked prayer in an attempt to calm down. His eyes fluttered shut and his mind grew foggy. He gasped one final time before losing himself in the darkness.
“The operation was a success,” Mengele calmly stated as Kai joined him.
“Lukas Meyer was sent to Birkenau one hour after I found Calev. Did you have any part of this?”
“Yes.” Mengele turned to him. “I did. I needed these two to stay out of trouble. Carmela was exposed to the Rubella virus. I had to keep Calev out of trouble. Had I not, there was a chance that he would be exposed to Carmela while she was contagious. Earlier today, she received a lethal dosage of Belladonna to end her life. I took infected parts from her body and transplanted them into Calev. Now, we watch to see how his immune system holds up.”
Kai nodded and watched Calev’s sleeping form. “After doing this to your daughters, I had hoped you wouldn’t do the same to my sister. Yet you did. I figured when you got negative results both times, you’d stop. But you didn’t. You’re using twins to see if they can prove your theories right.”
Mengele sighed, “That’s enough. No need to get emotional. I have been able to prove my theory right. You are the final product.” Mengele walked over to a tray that rested near Calev’s body. “Have your headaches stopped?”
Mengele nodded and picked up another pill. He handed it to Kai with a grin. “Bottoms up then.”
Kai nodded and slid the pill into his mouth. He grimaced as he forced the pill down his throat. “What is this?”