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Shouts echoed from downstairs. I whimpered, clinging as close as I could to my sister’s body. “Iva,” I whispered hoarsely, “what are we gonna do? They’re coming!”
Being the eldest, at the age of fifteen, she had to take care of Hannah and me. “Shhh,” she snapped trying to remain calm and collected. But I could see it in her eyes. They were coming to get us. They’d find us. “We’ll be fine, Jeremy -- just stay quiet.”
Hannah gulped down a broken sob that bubbled up in her throat. Liquid was brimming in my eyes as well; and I buried my face in Iva’s thin, oversized shirt.
“Shhh,” she murmured; but this time, it was affectionate. I could see a single tear etch a trail down her cheek. “It’ll be all right.” I closed my eyes, trying to believe her, and wedged myself deeper into the crevice of the wall. Her thumb stroked my cheek as she continued to comfort Hannah and me; but suddenly, she fell silent, and her eyes flew open.
A loud crack echoed downstairs, and we all started. A gunshot. Hannah moaned louder, but Iva clamped her hand over the little six-year-old’s mouth.
“Where are they?” A voice boomed. I flinched.
“What are you talking about?” A softer, weaker voice demanded, and I sighed in relief. Adele, the person who was hiding us, was still alive. She was protecting us from them. I shivered.
“Tell us where they are,” the voice of the soldier snarled, “for the greater good.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! Please, please just leave.” Adele’s warm, kind voice now had a desperate, hysterical edge to it. I huddled tighter to Iva, pulling Hannah closer as well.
The horrible, cold voice murmured so quietly that I had to strain my ears, “Search the place.” Iva gasped, and her hand shot up to cover her mouth.
“No!” It was Adele. There was a loud smack, a gasp; and all was silent.
We were doomed. The Nazis were coming.
Hannah whimpered inaudibly. We all trembled, wincing as each foot slammed against each individual stair. I hugged my little sister to me, staring at her, memorizing her.
She was just a miniature version of my sister although she still had a bit of baby fat. Her eyes were shaped like almonds, wide and brown. She had long lashes that swept against her cheeks. Her face was round; and you could see her cute little dimples as she grimaced, much like my own. Hannah’s hair cascaded down her shoulders, long and brown and curly.
I turned my gaze to Iva, and began to study her as well. She stared back, her arms constricting around me as the Nazis drew closer.
She was pretty, I had to admit. She had the same eyes as Hannah and I, but her hair was straighter and darker. It was almost a shade of black.
My heart thumped so loud; I could swear I was giving us away. The blood pumping in my ears was just as earth shattering. I could hear the soldier muttering under his breath, which was surprising, considering how deaf I felt.
The door groaned in protest as one of the soldier nosed his gun against it, opening it bit by bit for effect. The floor creaked as he silently advanced, like a cat stalking its helpless prey.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he whispered, cackling quietly. My breath quickened, and I covered my mouth with my hand to quiet it. Iva nudged me, and I quit fidgeting. The only thing between us and him was a bed and a wardrobe.
“Harvey! Come over here.” The authority in the voice was final -- he was obviously the leader of this group of Nazis.
With a growl, the soldier spun around and left the room. “Yes, Sergeant Klaus. No one is in the left interior of this house,” he added.
My eyes widened. I couldn’t believe how narrowly we escaped that.
Shakily, my breath whistled out my nose in great relief. But we’d have to stay quiet for a while now.
Iva was grinning, but her eyes were troubled. And suddenly, I knew what she was thinking -- What about Adele? That noise sounded like they must have done something to her. Something hazardous.
We waited for hours, but every minute was a whole new day. After a while, it appeared the soldiers had left; but we kept quiet, still, and rigid. They could still be here, couldn’t they? We were good at staying still and completely silent. Even Hannah was exceedingly well at it.
The intense reticence sent chills down my spine. All my hairs were on edge. Every movement, every sound startled me. Paranoia swept through me, filling me with as much fear as I could handle and more. Yet we all stayed mute.
Slowly, so slowly, I barely noticed it until it was much too late, I began to feel sluggish and drowsy. My head was spinning from the recent drama I had just witnessed. I pinched myself to stay awake, shaking my head vigorously. But I couldn’t help it. Soon, my head began to lull to the side; and I fell asleep, my head resting against Iva’s shoulder.
“Jeremy!” A familiar voice hissed at me in the quietest tone I could imagine. “Wake up, already!” A mild pain in my arm jolted me into consciousness. I was staring into the eyes of my two sisters.
I raised my eyebrows, demanding an explanation.
“Someone’s downstairs!” Iva swiftly enlightened me; and suddenly, I felt as alert as ever. I heard the quiet sound of someone ambling up the stairs. The sound gradually became louder and louder.
The light flicked on, and Hannah’s high-pitched, blood-curdling scream of horror filled the room.