Author's note: Please take a look! i wrote this for all audiences and i plan to add action sequences but it is... Show full author's note »
Chapter 3: Fragmented October 3rd 1942I awoke to the sound of thundering footsteps off in the distance. It was later than I had expected. The P-51 jets had not run their regular course, leaving me to wake myself up whenever I pleased. It was October 3rd, 1942. I did not see anything peculiar about this day, so I wondered why the planes were not flying.
Although the officers were probably a block or two away, I could still hear their boots stomp in unison as they marched in our direction, as if they were right outside my warped window pane. Oh no, I thought, someone was about to be taken, just like Simon was. I hoped that they didn’t struggle; I wasn’t really in the mood to watch another hopeless death match between the poor new recruit and the cruelly indifferent officers. They must really like their job, I thought to myself, tearing people away from their loved ones must amuse them. I knew that nobody would do this job if they had an actual family of their own.
I hopped out of bed and pulled on a green long sleeve tee with dark green stripes and many patchwork squares sewn throughout it. I put on my thick, padded black pants and midnight black army boots with many buckles and laces. They were terribly expensive, I think. I swiped them from a nearby pawn shop, without leaving anything in return. I had also taken these thick, warm pants that must have cost maybe a thousand or so marks. They were black leather on the outside with deep pockets in the back and on the sides, perfect for holding anything from a pair of shoes to the Colt M1911 my father kept “hidden” behind our shabby two shelf bookcase. They had soft, flannel lining and were a beautiful cracked black leather on the outside. Perfectly worn, and yet not too old either, I loved them, and only wore them when I thought something good or bad was going to happen.
People would start to question us if we had somehow obtained clothes that were more than three times my father’s salary, so I rarely wore these, but I loved them. They must have belonged to some boy. Girls are supposed to only wear skirts and dresses, but I run around more than anyone, what with running for my life from the kids at school who try to stone me when they get the chance.
I fastened the last strap on my boot and pulled my hazelnut brown hair into a tight ponytail off to the side that ran only an inch or two below my left shoulder. I finished brushing my hair and put in two bobby pins on either side of my head, to keep my bangs from flying into my face.
Then I got up from sitting on my bed and put on my warm black cloves and army green jacket that matched my shirt, and quietly tiptoed out of my room.
“Hello honey,” my father said wistfully to a wall about 90˚ from my left. He really didn’t look like he was talking to anybody in general, but I figured he was talking to me since the remainder of my family sat on one of the two armchairs in our tiny living room or on the couch.
Eleanor looked up at me with her large, now teary, purple and green eyes. We always knew what each other was going to say before she actually said it, so I answered the question Eleanor was asking before she even spoke. I answered the question with more intensity than I had intended.
“No they most definitely are not going to take him. I won’t let them,” I snarled. Whoops. All eyes on me. Definitely not what I had intended to happen, but Eleanor didn’t care that everyone was listening now; that was one of the things I love about her.
“How do you know they won’t try to take him by force?” Eleanor asked in a somewhat pleading tone. “Besides, you’re no match for the officers anyway.” Eleanor finished, reading me like an open book. I felt like she could see right through me and into my very soul. I sometimes thought I could almost feel her probing my brain for information when I withheld it from her.
“Will somebody please tell me what’s going on? It’s so creepy that you two can have your own little conversations without involving others, or even speaking for that matter,” Jackson said in an utterly confused voice that proved he really was completely clueless as to what we were talking about.
I had completely forgotten that he was there. He stood up from the patchwork armchair he had previously been sitting on and gave us both questioning looks. I shot him look that told him to mind his own business, but then Ian spoke up.
“Look,” Ian sighed, “there is a possibility that the military troops are coming to our house looking to recruit me, but the chances are equally high that they are coming for someone else. I do not relish the idea of one of our neighbors being drafted, and I would rather go than see the other families suffer.” He folded his hands in his lap and looked around the room at each one of us, but before he could even get from Jackson to me, my mother broke out sobbing.
Both of us knew that there were only two other 18 year old who lived on our block, and one of them had already been drafted, so Ian’s chances were fifty-fifty. I didn’t like those odds.
“But what about our family, Ian? You rather see us suffer than our neighbors?” Eleanor inquired.
“That’s not what I’m saying at all.” He glared at Eleanor who merely put up her hands defensively, opened her eyes wide, pleading total innocence and when that didn’t work, she shook her head slightly from side to side.
“What I’m trying to say, is that I know you guys are strong, and that if I do go, you will be able to hold the fort down while I’m gone.” Ian concluded.
“That’s right.” My father added. “We are perfectly capable of functioning without-” My father faltered.
My mother broke into short, staggered sobs again, while my father broke off mid-sentence. I know my dad loves Gabrielle, and to be honest, I do too. She’s been more of a mother than the one who left me at birth. It wasn’t her fault, she died from Leukemia at age 36 while I was only 3 years old. She named us all with American names because when we made enough money, she wanted us to go to America, but she wanted us to fit in. Only she had a real German name, Anastasia. I have a friend now with the same name, but we aren’t too close. Maybe it’s because of the way my mom Anastasia left me, that I don’t want the same thing to happen again.
My father got up from the couch between Eleanor and Ian and walked over to Gabrielle, patting her on the back and soothing her as best he could. I smiled and decided to finally take a seat in the other empty armchair. Jackson sat down again and leaned over and asked me what Eleanor were talking about.
“We were talking about Ian being drafted and forced to join the military.” I whispered under breath, as I was trying not to disturb Gabrielle and my father, Samuel.
Jackson gave me a quick, sharp nod in acknowledgement and returned to staring at the door. We could all hear them now. The thundering footsteps had now become small earthquakes shaking us all and paralyzing me and Jackson with fear and worry. Jackson looked as if he were going to bore a hole straight through the door, because of his intense staring, but just as I was about to ask him why, I heard something at the door.
Tap, tap, tap. Somebody rapped from the other side of the door. The door rattled around and we all were staring at it now. The term if looks could kill, crossed my mind, but I didn’t say anything. Now was not the time to make a joke. I turned to look at Gabrielle who had her face buried in my father’s shoulder, still sobbing silently. I watched her back fall and rise as she took in uneven gasps for air. My head snapped back to the door and I willed for it to lock itself, tight, so that the officers would be unable to gain entry to our home, but today was not my lucky day.
Knock, knock, knock! They pounded louder, probably thinking that we didn’t hear them the first time. In the end, it was Ian who opened the door, and he even managed to do it with a smile.
“Hello officers, what can I do for you today?” he said, smiling brightly.