Creative Writing - Separated by Sin

The morning air gnawed away at their skin as they walked. The atmosphere was gloomy, cold, and ridden with terror. The thin cotton material covering the walking bodies swayed slightly from the wind, and very soon the empty rooms started to fill. Being forced to strip, the blue and white striped bodysuits fell slowly to the floor, and the iron door was smashed shut with an almighty, deafening clang. Calloused fingers scraped the filthy walls, as if doing so would make them fall to pieces. Meek, almost painful cries for forgiveness penetrated this dimly-lit chamber of sin, only to be very casually ignored – and split seconds later an elephantine hiss choked its way through the frosty air, instantly silencing all those who dared to speak. And then they were dead, and nothing but corpses and guiltless, overcast fumes congested the dark walls. Twenty miles away, in a miniscule cellar belonging to the town baker, Hanna scrambled for warmth in her corner of the vault. The brick floor was splattered with an unknown filth, and the once-white walls sported a grimy green moss. She was a pretty girl for sixteen; the kind of girl who was easy to talk to, the girl whose laugh could fill a dark room with light, the girl whose simple wide-eyed wonder scored applause from the heavens. Hanna was the girl who still had faith in humanity. Hanna was also the girl, whose faith was slowly dying. Her fingers pulled her dingy blanket closer to her chin, and she curled up almost foetus-like on her mattress, which consisted of layers of clothing that no longer fitted any of her family members. This cold was practically death-inducing. Since they had gone into hiding, Hanna had felt nothing but the sheer chill. She wondered when she’d get a cough, or chest infection, or heaven forbid, pneumonia. It would be soon. “Hanna”, her little brother Freidrich whispered in the darkness. “Hanna, wake up” “What is it Freid? I’m sleeping.” “I’m so cold, Hanna. Can I get in with you?” His voice broke her heart. Freidrich was soon snuggled up beside his sister. Hanna gave him the majority of her blanket; she would rather he was warmer. He had lost a significant amount of weight since their escape, and his once-chubby cheeks were now frighteningly gaunt. His six year old body was now frail, and Hanna could feel the curves of his ribs against her. I’ll share my piece of bread with Freid tomorrow, thought Hanna as she soothed him to sleep. He needs it more than I do. Since fleeing from their home and coming into hiding, Hanna had also started to waste away. Her fine athlete’s muscle was getting lost amidst her pangs of hunger. Food was short, as her mother and father had only managed to take a few suitcases of food; the rest of their belongings was divided in order of need and crammed into one suitcase. Hanna remembered wearing everything she owned as they prepared to leave. The baker of their town, Rolf, was a kind man, and was one of the few that did not approve of their country’s current state. He agreed to let them stay in the cellar of his bakery, prepared they could survive and would not get caught.

And so Hanna, her parents, brother and sister, all escaped from their spacious apartment and into the shabby little cellar a few streets away. It had been a rough time, and things seemed to be getting worse… Germany was at war, and as German-Jews, her family had no choice but to protect themselves, or their future would consist of death. Her father had hurriedly left his job and urged them to flee before they got a fateful knock at their door. He was adamant that his wife and children would not end up in a concentration camp; he had too much pride and dignity to let that happen. He was not a very expressive father, but Hanna knew he cared for his family, although he never said it. Her mother was more of the disciplinarian, and very involved in her children’s lives, although Hanna found her somewhat overbearing. She had a tendency of having to have the utmost control of everything, and tended to be harsh on her eldest daughter, whose teenage independence was difficult for her to deal with. She was a lot easier on Freidrich, and the indefectible Louisa, Hanna’s thirteen year old sister. The War had changed everything for Hanna, and the newfound isolation had been a real shock for her. It was also the fear of losing her life or loved ones that was the most terrifying – there were so many things she dreamed of doing, and there was now a possibility that the Nazis would find and kill them, and all those desires would never become reality. They’d split into pieces…just like her life had. With this in mind, she shut her eyes to try for some sleep. It was too cold and late to be thinking of this, and frankly, much too depressing.

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