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 5: Midnight Departure October 4th 1942I woke up at what must have been midnight. Having gone to bed at around six or 7:00, I was awake enough to think somewhat clearly. I already had on the clothes I wanted to wear from the previous day, so all I needed to do was grab a few extra things before my departure.
I grabbed my small army green bag that I slung over one shoulder and began to deposit all the items I planned to take with me in it. The first thing I put into my bag was my Japanese steel knife. It had a small sheath that I covered it with and a leather strap to tie onto something. On second thought, I placed it in one of the deep pockets in my leather pants. It might come in handy if it wasn’t at the bottom of my bag. I quickly found my book light that had been confidently paced on one of the three article of furniture in my room.
In my sparsely moonlit room, I could make out almost all of my belongings. There wasn’t much. I had a single bed, a three foot bookcase, and a shockingly small desk that I used as both a desk and a bedside table. There also was a stool that only had three feet, but I didn’t count that since it could so conveniently fit under the desk. I had a small closet to the right of my bed and the fireplace was at the foot of the bed, about four feet away.
I rummaged through my two desk drawers and pulled out a few sheets of paper and what looked like a blue pen. I found some envelopes and grabbed some of them as well. I quickly jotted down a note to my parents.
Mom & Dad,
Left to go get Ian. Back in a few days.
I didn’t want to say too much because I didn’t want to give them enough information about where I was. I didn’t want there to be a possibility of them coming after me. In the moonlight I could see that my handwriting wasn’t as good as when I could actually see what I was writing. Being left-handed, I often smudged my words, and I could tell that I had done just that by looking at my note. Thinking about my trip, I realized that I really wasn’t sure how long I would take, so I added:
To the end of my note. I quickly folded the page, sealed it with a kiss, and shoved it into a very unwilling envelope. I wrote on the envelope in what I hoped to be a neater font:
I placed it neatly atop my pillow on my unmade bed. I rummaged through my desk drawers again, pulling out three stamps and putting them in my bag with the paper, pen and envelopes. I took the brass timepiece I had snatched from some unlucky bystander and placed that in the bag as well.
I quickly tiptoed out of my room, up the few steps to the main floor and into our kitchen/ living room. I looked through some cabinets and some more drawers. I pulled out a small canteen and a large cloth napkin. I would fill the canteen with water from the pump outside, but as for the napkin, I reached in the cupboard until I produced a sweet roll, about the size of half my forearm, that was stuffed with small, colored candies and a creamy chocolate. It was covered in frosting and had small, coloured, candy beads sprinkled on the top. I licked my lips. I knew that this was delicious because I had swiped one from the baker’s cart about a month ago.
Ever since then, I have been taking one off his cart about once a week, and hiding them in our cupboard behind the spices and bottles of cooking oil. I also grabbed some salty, soft cheese and sweet plump grapes from inside another cabinet. I had picked them yesterday afternoon while I was still sour over Ian leaving, but now I knew he was coming back.
I placed all the food in the middle of the napkin and tied the corners together, creating the lunch bag my mother gave me when I went off to school. Although, since we were so poor, I often skipped school without anyone knowing and went off to do one or two odd jobs to help our family. The school consisted of other poor folk in our neighborhood, and there really was no way of contacting the parents if their child did not show up. I was almost positive they didn’t know where I lived, so I was safe for the time being.
Remembering the money I had saved up, hoping to buy a Birthday present for Ian, I silently crept to the tattered green couch in our living room and dug below one of the cushions for the small coin-purse of money I had been hiding for about a four years now.
I snapped it open and hurriedly counted the contents of the coin-purse. Three-hundred and seventy four marks along with an odd number of coins I hadn’t bothered to count. (This is about $93.50 in American dollars)Wow. I had saved up/stolen more than I thought. I smiled to myself mischievously. This was more than enough.
I snapped it shut, feeling the embroidered blue and pink flowers on the side. I remember it was yellow, but it really was hard to tell in the moonlight. Taking one last look at it I placed it in my bag and took out my timepiece. I held it up to the light, watching the moonlight catch it, and quickly looked at the hands. It was 12:27. I clicked it shut and looked around the room one more time. What else could I possibly need? I looked at the matchbox lying on the table and grabbed those as well. I opened it and counted the matches. There were seven. Rummaging one last time in the cupboard I pulled out a sturdy looking yellow candle. This was about all I needed to bring, I decided.
Looking around the room once again, I snaked my way to the kitchen door. It was the closest door to the pump outside, and as I creaked it open, I heard a noise behind me. I spun around so quickly that it hurt my neck. Crouched low, my hand instinctively resting on the pocket with my knife in it, I scanned the room for disturbance. When I found nothing out of the ordinary, I straightened back up and wondered why on earth I had my hand on the knife. What was I going to do? Cut one of my family members? I sighed and turned towards the door again, but there was the sound, again.
Tap. I turned around to see none other than Jackson, creeping towards the cabinets of the kitchen. He pulled something out, put it in a bag he had over his shoulder and turned towards me.
“Aaagh!” he screamed, quickly covering his mouth with both hands.
“Eeeep!” I shrieked, but then stopped myself before I could wake anyone up.
“What are you doing?!” he hissed at me.
“What are you doing?!” I mimicked back.
“I asked you first!” he muttered under his breath.
“Well I asked you second!”
“Gah! It doesn’t matter! I’m leaving!”
“What do you mean? And where are you going!” I murmured.
“Well I heard you fumbling through what must have been every drawer in the house and decided tha-”
I cut him off. I was sure we would wake somebody up if we kept up our fierce whispering.
“Can we continue this conversation outside? I don’t want everybody to wake up!” I whispered with such intensity it was sort of a quiet grumble. We were now about three inches away from each other’s faces, having been moving closer with every line we threw at one another.
Jackson quickly nodded in agreement and we both pulled away from each other as he strode passed me and through the now open door. Funny, I don’t remember having opened it. Anyway, I followed him out and as quickly and quietly as I could, pulled the door shut until I heard the small click that told me it was closed. I spun around, and to my even greater surprise found Eleanor sitting atop the pump, an apple in her hand, chewing away.
Her legs were dangling off the side, and she was keeping herself on it with one hand while she held the apple with the other. In the lowlight I thought I must have been hallucinating from lack of sleep, so I rubbed my eyes with my fists, blinked a few times, but to my astonishment she was still there. Jackson was staring at her too.
“What are you doing here!?” he hissed at Eleanor.
“Eating an apple,” Eleanor replied calmly. She said it as if eating an apple at 1:00a.m., outside our house, sitting on a water pump, was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Jackson turned back to me.
“I wasn’t finished talking to you, and you didn’t answer my question.” he turned to me and said at a normal volume level.
“Well you didn’t answer mine.” I replied firmly, my jaw set.
“Why do you have to be so difficult?” Jackson said, exasperated. “It doesn’t matter anyway.” he shook his head and held up his hand. “I’m leaving.”
“And where do you think you are headed, dear brother?” Eleanor inquired, her perfectly shaped eyebrows arched up in a look of complete and utter confusion.
“What does is matter to you?” Jackson shot back.
Eleanor hopped down from the pump and took one last bite from her apple, then tossed it over her shoulder and walked towards Jackson and me.
“Well, if it concerns Ian, which it probably does, considering you have nowhere else to go at 1:00a.m. the day after he is drafted, it matters to me because you really have nowhere to go without a map of the army base.” She finished, her eyes cold, and glaring him down, a smile playing at her lips. She had seen right through him.
Eleanor looked at the both of us and said:
“I trust you both have left similar notes as well? I know I left one on the kitchen table.” She accused mischievously. “You wouldn’t want mom and pa to worry, now would you?”
“Well…I uh...I umm…” Jackson mumbled, reaching one hand behind his head and scratching a newly found itch.
“I thought so,” Eleanor smirked. She turned then to me, stunned that she had seen through him so quickly. “And Jade, you look as if you are about to collapse from exhaustion. Are you sure you don’t want to head back to bed?”
“What? How can you even ask me that? I’ve come too far to give up now!” I wanted to cry. I felt as if Eleanor was trying to get me not to go, to give up. I knew now that she planned to go with Jackson, but to leave me behind, her twin, that was…was…unthinkable!
“Very well then, let us be off!” Eleanor walked up to me, looked me up and down and said:
“It’s about time. I had been waiting for you and Jackson out here for over half an hour!”
“I...uh…” I sputtered. I wasn’t really sure how to answer to that.
Eleanor looked me up and down again, seeming pleased with my appearance, and quickly added:
“Do fill that canteen up. It’s just a waste of space in your bag if it does not hold any fluid.” She smiled at me through the moonlight. I was somewhat shocked that she knew about the canteen, but my eyes had begun to feel heavy and had been threatening to close themselves for a while now if I did not do something to wake myself up, I really wasn’t that surprised. I had always assumed that Eleanor possessed some kind of clairvoyance.
I nodded and turned towards the water pump. Pulling my canteen out of my bag, I unscrewed the top and filled it to the brim with the icy cold water. I screwed the top back on and placed it back in my bag. I cupped my hands under the icy water and splashed it in my face, letting myself be submerged in the water, letting new chills running down my spine.
I walked back to Jackson and Eleanor, through our fence. Eleanor was sitting on the rickety fence, her slight, small frame not threatening to shake the fence at all. She had one foot hanging down from the fence, and the other one pressed against the fence, her head cocked slightly to the side, smiling at me.
Jackson was looking at his feet, hoping to avoid my penetrating gaze, but it didn’t work. He felt my eyes on him and glanced up quickly, catching my stern gaze and then looking back down at his feet, shuffling them and turning red in the face.
I smiled at Eleanor who hopped off the gate and began walking down the cobblestone street.
“Let us be off! I can see the sun rising and I don’t want to be caught mom or dad!”
Eleanor shouted at us, and then began running down our block towards the base about three miles away.
I smiled to myself, knowing that with her help, and maybe Jackson’s as well, we might actually be able to pull this off! We might actually be able to save Ian! I took off after and then screamed over my shoulder to Jackson.
“Come on Jackson! You don’t want to miss this, if you do, I’m sure you will regret it for the rest of your life!” I laughed for the first time in what felt like days. I saw him look up and smile at me like Eleanor had. It was a smile filled with hope, and that was exactly what we needed right now.
He broke into a run and followed me down our street. Both of us whipping by houses in a blur, smiling all the way. He was fast, but I was faster. Much faster. He followed suit while I caught up with Eleanor. She was staring at the sunrise. It was beautiful. I had never seen one before, having lived almost underground, and found this one breathtaking.
“This is definitely going to be a good day Jade, I can feel it.” Eleanor said wistfully. I decided I was going to believe Eleanor, after all, she was almost never wrong.