(Chapter 1) The Riddle
Lucy Davids walked to her thicket. Her thoughts were stuck in the past, with the memories from the last few weeks. In her mind's eye, she could see the shores of Mexico, the cake from her Great Grandfather's Birthday, and the strawberry red fireworks that had filled the sky. Each memory slightly hazy, but in other ways crystal clear.
She jogged through the woods, blonde hair swinging. A vivid memory flashed through her mind: The water balloon fight.
Out of nowhere, a cold, burst of water hit Lucy's back. She whipped around and threw a blob of orange at the person who had thrown the water balloon. "Hey!" Pete complained as he was soaked with ice-cold water.
"Sorry," Lucy told him, grinning. She turned to find cover when a burst of water his the tree next to her. Anna ducked behind a bush as Lucy pivoted to try and find who had thrown the balloon. Lobbing a balloon in Anna's general direction, Lucy ran towards the cluster of greenery in which Anna was hiding. A shout from Lucy's left told her that someone had hit Sean.
"I'll get you for that one," he shouted, feet cracking twigs on the forest floor.
"Nope!" Kristle exclaimed gleefully and dashed just inside Lucy's line of vision. Reacting quickly, Lucy threw a water balloon, missing Kristle by inches. As Lucy made to wade into the bushes layed out before her, Anna jumped up and ran off. Following quickly, Lucy sprinted through the trees, water balloon in hand. Just as she made to throw, a wave of cold water crashed over her from above. Looking up, she saw Tom casually sitting in a large oak tree, grinning at her soaking form. A bucket swung on the branch next to him.
"Tom!" Lucy yelled and threw a water balloon at him. Tom scampered down from the tree, falling the last few feet, but turned and ran nevertheless.
For the next hour, shouts of joy, exhilaration, and triumph echoed through the forest. As the sun rose to its zenith, the shouts quieted and turned into laughter. Sitting in the thicket, the only sounds were the voices of Lucy, Tom, Pete, Anna, Kristle, and Sean. Hour upon hour the forest was silent, if not for the sound of the kids voices. Only hours later did the birds returned to sing to the treetops. By dusk, the party had retired for the night, leaving each member soaked and wet.
As Lucy drifted out of the memory, she approached the entrance to her thicket. Years ago, a thick oak tree had been struck by lightning in a summer storm. It had fallen across the well-trodden path in the woods of Lucy's backyard, creating a bridge over a bramble of thorny bushes. After climbing the tree for the first time, Lucy discovered the small clearing inside. After a month of hard work, the twigs had been cleared from the ground and the clearing made a fort. Now scurrying up the tree, Lucy took a breath of fresh summer air, sunlight filtering through the trees like stars in the night sky.
When Lucy jumped down from the tree, she was met with her thicket. It was a bit small, but it had proved to be a nice getaway. Two stumps had a board nailed into them, which was a table. There were a few other lone stumps that Lucy had turned into chairs, and a vine she used as a swing. The ground housed the sleeping bags and blankets. Lucy stooped over to pick them up. Then she moved over to get the flashlights. When she got to the table, she saw something that puzzled her. There was a paper under one of the flashlights. Paper might have been an overstatement, as the paper looked more like parchment. The last time anyone had been there was a week ago, and nobody had brought paper, much less parchment. At least, no one had as far as Lucy knew. Wonder what that's doing here?
Lucy picked it up. She realized that there were words elegantly scribbled on it. The parchment seemed to have a series of haiku poems written on its surface. It read:
Find the diary
Written by the girl hiding
Made famous by war
Evil of Europe
Minions around each corner
Looking for thy creed
In Führer's office
The Evil of Europe sits
Brilliant by madness
A train ride to sit
The Angel of Death comes close
A field of tulips
To thou hidden place
Thou must return the next morn'
To complete all seeked
Lucy snorted. It was probably one of those school sheets that teachers gave you to make you read. She didn't remember bringing one in.
"Oh well," Lucy sighed, "It's something to do." She paused. "Tom will probably love this," she added as an afterthought.
With very little suspicion of the uneducational font or format of the riddle, she emailed her five friends that night: Kristle, Anna, Pete, Sean, and Tom. The email asked them if any of them had written anything like that out, or if they had brought it in, as she was positive that nobody knew the location of their hideout. She also asked them to meet her there the next morning for a last summer hang out. That night, Lucy fell asleep, thinking about the number of library books she would be carrying….
The next morning was started early for Lucy. "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" went Lucy's alarm clock
"Uuuggghhh" groaned Lucy. She rolled out of bed, slapping the clock. The alarm clock went quiet. "I hope the others beat me there." she said to herself. Lucy wrote a note to her mother, saying she had gone to hang out with friends, and set out to the thicket. As she walked, Lucy checked her satchel for necessities. Library card, check. Blankets, check. Riddle, check. Money for a bus, check. When Lucy got there, everyone but Sean was there. Maybe he's not coming.
"Hi," Anna said when she saw Lucy. Anna was a short, brown haired girl. She was popular, along with her cousin Kristle, a taller girl with raven-black hair. Kristle smiled at Lucy and waved, her braces gleaming.
"Hey," Lucy replied. Tom and Pete were deep in conversation on two nearby stumps. Pete was on the larger side. Tom was small and skinny and wore wire-rimmed glasses. When the two boys noticed her, they stopped their conversation, said hello, and asked to see the Riddle.
Lucy had just started to pull it out when Sean appeared. Because of the shadows, his chocolate skin had blended in with the forest so well that Lucy couldn't see him until he was a yard from her.
"Sorry I was late," Sean said.
"It's okay. You didn't miss much," Lucy told him. However, before they had time to discuss or even read the Haiku Riddle, a blue hole appeared in front of them.
"What the heck is that?" Kristle yelped, jumping a foot into the air.
"I dunno," Tom said, cautiously walking towards the gaping hole.
"Er, Tom, I don't think you should get any-" Sean started, but at that moment, Tom was sucked into the hole. The group stared in shock as the swirling vortex pulsed, almost mockingly.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go," Pete yelled, breaking the silence, and ran into the hole. With a moment's hesitation, Lucy, Kristle, Anna, and Sean jumped through the portal. Right at the break of dawn.
(Chapter 2) Solute Or Camp
Tom was the first to fall out of the portal and into a large field of red, yellow, pink, and orange tulips. Then out came Anna. After them came Lucy, landing on her friend. "Ouch!" yelped Anna.
"Sorry!" Lucy replied.
"Ahhhhh!" Kristle screamed as she crashed down onto a bed of tulips. Then the portal finally spit out Sean and Pete. Pete managed to slide out, to the amazement of the others.
"Wow!" said Sean. "How do you think it works?"
"No clue." said Tom, looking a bit shaken.
"Why don't we look at the riddle?" suggested Kristle. Lucy read aloud the riddle.
"Who do you think The Evil of Europe is?" Sean asked after she had finished, "And what does a diary have to do with anything?"
"Not to mention, we have to figure out who this Fürher dude is," Anna said, shrugging.
"The riddle said something that sounded like a war, so would that mean we've gone back in time, because there's isn't a war going on presently." Pete suggested. The group turned to stare at Pete.
Tom started to protest, "There's the War on Terr-"
"Well, in case you didn't notice, our clothes look way old school." Pete pointed out. They all looked down at their clothes. The girls wore blouses and skirts, the boys dress shorts and nice shirts. And Lucy's blouse had a Star of David. The group was silent for a moment, mystified eyes meeting each other.
"Oh no!" cried Anna, looking very frightened."I think that we're in World War II!"
"That's crazy! You can't time travel!" Tom protested, somewhat faintly.
"Holy Christmas Tree! How the heck would that work? I mean, no one's ever time traveled before!" Sean said, sounding half terrified, half amazed.
"It's against the laws of physics!" Tom said.
"There is no law of physics that says you can't time travel," Anna told him.
"How do you know that?" questioned Pete.
"My Dad is a scientist, duh!" replied Anna. Lucy stood there in the midst, trying her best to figure out what was going on. Pete said they had time traveled, Anna thought they were in World War II. Lucy had a symbol of her religion sewed on clothes that weren't hers. This day was getting weird, and very quickly. What just happened? Lucy wondered.
As the group argued and Lucy wondered, Kristle scouted the area. "Guys, look!" Kristle said and pointed excitedly. "A city!" Everybody looked towards the setting sun. A sign maybe six meters away said-
"Amsterdam, 1.3 kilometers," Pete read.
"Amsterdam. Where have I heard that before?" Tom thoughtfully wondered aloud in a shaky voice, trying to get back to being his usual nerdy self.
"Let's head towards the city." Lucy said, nodding as casually as she could. "Someone might be able to help us answer the riddle. I mean they can give us the year and that could put our facts straight." Pete looked a little skeptical, but Kristle shrugged.
"Anyone have a better idea?" she asked, looking around.
"We could just stay here…" Pete started to say.
"And be arrested for loitering or something? No. Let's keep moving. I don't want to get in any trouble," said Anna nervously.
"All those in favor of moving somewhere?" Tom asked shakily. Anna, Kristle, Lucy, Sean, and Tom raised their hands. Grudgingly, Pete followed. Tom nodded. "It's anonymous."
"Our main priority is to get to the city. Let's just focus on that." Sean prioritized. Then the group headed towards the city.
When they got to Amsterdam the group turned right onto 23rd street. The buildings were made of bricks. The brick shades varied from tan oranges, to mahogany red, to dirt brown. Each building had large windows, some as shopfronts, showing off brightly colored candies, others as bedroom and kitchen windows. The road was made of greying cobblestone. A few automobiles clattered down the street. "Wow," Tom said, looking as though he was completely in awe.
"It's so… rustic? Old?" Anna said, furrowing her brow as though she was confused.
"It's historical. Of course it's old. There's nothing to see. Let's go." Pete walked on impatiently. The rest of the group stayed for a moment, standing in the shadow of a red brick building. Then they moved on and turned the corner.
As they approached a man with a brown, shaggy beard, large tanks drove onto their street. The tanks had white circles with black swastikas. Each red flag held by the occupants bore the same sign. Lucy immediately recognized them as Nazi tanks. We have to have gone back in time, Lucy thought faintly. Her mother had made sure she was schooled about how some people, past and present, thought that some people were bad because they were jewish, like her. How even though different is good, some people think that some kinds of different is unnatural. "Some people are afraid of what they don't understand," her mother had said to a young Lucy. "That's why we have to stand up for ourselves. Just because you are different does not make you bad." Lucy's mother had explained that one of these instances had been the Holocaust. However, she reassured her daughter that tanks which supported the Nazis hadn't been driven since the 1940s.
"Those are nazi tanks," Lucy whispered, beating Tom to it. The crowd raised their hands as the tanks came closer. One woman was crying as she rose her hand, all fingers glued together. Anna walked towards the woman while the others stayed put, next to the man with the brown, shaggy beard.
"Why are you crying?" Anna curiously asked the woman.
"Don't you know, child, these are dangerous times. The nazi's are dangerous." said the woman. "Quick! Put your hand up like mine or they will send you to camp!" Anna put her hand just like the woman's. "What is your name, child? Excuse me for not introducing myself. I am ." said . Anna eyed her suspiciously.
"My name is Kasmira. Kasmira Minsky. I am from Poland." Anna lied. As the tanks and nazis passed, took out a handkerchief and blew her nose. Anna looked down the street. Her friends were looking around in confusion. Anna sent them a look of concern.
As the nazis approached, Tom looked around. "Put your hands up like everyone else!" Everyone except Kristle raised their hand, trying their best to mimic the citizens.
"Come on guys! This is probably just a parade or something. It's not like they're going to behead us or-" One of the soldiers grabbed Kristle's arm. "Let me go!" she screamed. Anna ran over, following. "Lucy! Help me!" Kristle yelled after biting the man's arm. Lucy stepped forward to help her friend.
"Stop it!" she shouted, quite startled, too afraid to try forcing the nazi's clamped hands off Kristle's arm.
"You cannot order the government to do as YOU want," the nazi said. His eyes drifted to her patch. His nose wrinkled in disgust. "Officer Barry, get over here right and hold the Jew." He said the word Jew as if it was a plate full of chop liver. All of a sudden, Kristle twisted her arm and escaped.
She yelled over her shoulder, "Come on guys! Let's ditch these jerks!" The group took of, the nazis close behind. Following Commander Phillip and Officer Barry were treee more brown uniformed Nazis.
"Come on!" Lucy panted as she looked over her shoulder. They rounded corners and went blocks. Then they rounded a corner and dashed into a shop called Katze und Ratte.
The Nazis turned the corner right as the door closed. "This way!" Officer Barry yelled, running past the shop. They didn't see us, Lucy thought, sighing. It was an escape to close for comfort.
When they had passed, the group explored the shop. It was full of twentieth century clothes. It doesn't hurt to look, Lucy told herself. The girls hovered over the blouses and vests. The boys went to the hats. Lucy had some money, so everyone started trying the old clothes on. Even if they were in a nazi inhabited place, they were on the other side of the world. It couldn't hurt to do some tourist shopping. "Man, I look cool," Pete said, throwing a hat on backwards like a DJ.
Anna had tried on a white blouse with blue and yellow flowers. She tapped Kristle on the shoulder and asked her, "Do you think this blouse makes me look-" The door opened with a crack like a gunshot. They all froze. It was the Nazis.
"Search the place top to bottom!" One of the nazis barked.
"Yes, of course, Commander Phillip." Officer Barry answered.
When the Nazis were on the other side of the shop, Tom said in a whisper, "I think I feel a sneeze coming on."
"Don't!" Anna whisper yelled.
"Hashtag Mannequin Challenge!" Sean whispered.
"That's from 2017!" Pete said angrily. Tom sneezed. The nazis turned.
"There they are! Get them!" Commander Phillip ordered. Lucy gave the clerk her money.
"Sorry, but we've got to run! I hope this covers it," Lucy said. The clerk looked stunned. When she seemed to regain her senses, she shouted, "Gib das zurück! Du stehlst nicht von meinem Laden, Söhne eines-" But before she could continue, Lucy, Anna, Pete, Sean, Tom, and Kristle were out the door.
(Chapter 3) Athena
All six friends ran out the door, the men close behind. It was a wild chase. The kids were fast, but so were their pursuers. They took twists and turns around corners. After minutes of running and hiding, Anna saw a cute, black, and brown German Shepherd. "Hi," she whispered as she sprinted past. The dog followed.
"I'm NEVER taking cross country again!" Sean said, breathing heavily. Then, they turned into an alley. They were cornered.
"Hands up!" Commander Phillip hollered. They put their hands up.
"It was nice knowing you," said Sean. Then, as they were about to get handcuffed, the dog ran up and started biting the men, tearing through their mud colored uniforms.
"Ouch! Runter von mir, du Köter!" Commander Phillip yelled at the dog. The kids stood, paralyzed in shock. Pete was the first to move.
"Come on guys, let's get out of here!" Pete said, turning. They sprinted all the way to the bus stop, only looking back a few times. Lucy sat down on a bench, breathing heavily. The others followed suit.
"I'm not walking any more, let's just take the bus and move somewhere. Anywhere is better than this area," Lucy told the group, "We never know when or if they'll find us," she said, lowering her voice. As they were sitting there waiting, their hero ran over.
"Hi puppy," exclaimed Sean.
"I'm going to adopt you." Anna said. "I'll name her Athena."
"Athena?!" Pete said while laughing. "Seriously, isn't she queen of the underworld or something?"
"No. She was the goddess of warfare and wisdom. You're thinking of Persephone." Tom said in a deadly serious tone. Lucy remembered that he was the one kid in their school who had read every book in the library and always went back to Percy Jackson, even though the librarian had offered to find more books.
"Anyways, did you see the looks on their faces?" Sean asked excitedly.
"They couldn't believe that I was talking to them," Lucy said.
"I know I won't be anytime soon. If they hated you they'll hate me more," said Pete, grinning.
"And the way we ditched them in that shop. They never saw it coming!" Anna added, smirking slightly.
Just as the mood was starting to lighten, the excitement and talk of their harrowing escape stopped after Kristle asked a single question: "How are we going to get home?"
"I don't know." admitted Tom. "Possibly when we complete our assignment."
"Our assignment?" Kristle prompted.
"You mean the Riddle, don't you," Lucy said, looking up. Tom nodded.
"We could take a boat or a plane," Anna suggested.
"We would still be in the 1900s, though," Sean pointed out glumly.
"Where is my phone?" Pete asked himself while rummaging through his pockets. Lucy cowered slightly.
"Uhh, I think that I might've seen it fall out when we were running from the Nazis," she said timidly.
"Noooo! I'll never see my Minecraft world Panda again!" Pete exclaimed sadly. Before he could go into the list of things he had done on his Minecraft world, the bus pulled up. They stepped inside, then, they payed the driver. As they passed a nazi flag and troops, Pete pulled out an egg. "Take this!" he said as he threw the egg at a soldier through the open window, hitting him in the face. Pete ducked and quietly laughed when the egg hit the man. Athena was sitting on Anna's lap. A boy with Carmel hair and green eyes was bouncy-ball in the seat across from her. The ball dropped, and Athena leaped out of Anna's lap, grabbed the ball, and tossed it in the air. She started turning in a circle on her hind legs. Sean laughed, and with his phone, he put some music on.
"Do the Harlem shake." sang the phone. Then the little dog dropped the ball and started to jump on her hind legs. Passengers were starting to stare. Athena appeared to be enjoying the attention. Meanwhile, Lucy was blushing red with embarrassment. She looked over, and saw that Anna and Tom were both red in the face. As the music died out, the bus jolted to a stop. The driver walked up the aisle, picked up Athena, and kicked Anna, Sean, Tom, Kristle, Lucy, and Pete off the bus with their dog.
"Nice job, Athena. So much for being named after the goddess of wisdom," Pete said sarcastically to the German Shepherd as the bus drove away.
"Hey, don't pick on her! What she did was cute!" retorted Anna, appearing to not want her new pet's feelings hurt.
"Oh brother, not again!" Tom said in distress. He was looking at nazi tanks that'd turned the corner and were coming up the street. This time, everyone saluted. Even Kristle. The group was trembling with fear. Thankfully, they did not need to run, or hide in a shop. The nazis passed by, taking random people with a star, identical to Lucy's Star of David. Lucy slunk back into the crowd, keeping her hand raised. She hid behind a couple and almost instantly recognized the woman as the one Anna had been standing by earlier- Mrs. Gies, Lucy was pretty sure Anna had called her. The man had dark, slicked back hair. Wonder who he is, Lucy thought to herself. Once the nazis had passed, she turned around and saw Lucy.
"Why hello! I didn't expect to see you here! You were at that last march, right?" Mrs. Gies asked her, eyes sizing her up and resting on her Star Of David.
"Yeah. It is a small world." Lucy said nervously, trying her best to sound convincing. nodded walked away with the man, shoes clicking on the cobbled streets.
(Chapter 4) A Possibility
After she was positive the Nazis were gone, Lucy walked back to her friends and told them of her encounter with . "Let's go sit down on that bench." Sean said after Lucy told them her short story. The streets were crowded with people of all ages. The group weaved through the civilians. When they got to the bench, an elderly man and woman were occupying it.
"Let's go find another bench." Anna suggested. They walked away and found a different bench a little ways away. The bench had a message on it that Lucy quickly read. Sighing, she turned to her friends.
"Guys, that bench says "Forbidden to Jews." said Lucy. The group discussed what to do and moved on to the park.
"Here's a good spot!" Pete called triumphantly. Everyone came and sat down in the cool, green grass. Then, as the sun set, they discussed their
"We need to set up camp for the night." Tom said.
"Good idea, can I sleep in a tree?" Kristle asked.
"I don't care." Tom told her.
"Anyone got a hammock?" Pete asked. Anna glared at him.
"We don't have a hammock." said Anna.
"Let's just find some trees and sleep." Sean said.
"I have 3 large blankets. I had initially figured we would sit outside and do some research. At least, until now. I thought the Riddle was one of those school sheets someone had copied down," Lucy told them. "We can make two hammocks and everyone else can sleep on the ground."
"Ok then, that'll work." agreed Tom.
"I'll sleep on the ground" Anna volunteered.
"Deal. I call hammock." Pete told the group.
"Let's just get camp set up." Kristle said, looking very annoyed. As the sun set, Lucy, Tom, Anna, Kristle, Pete, and Sean worked to conceal the blankets in the trees and bushes. As the city was bathed in darkness, the group retreated to their blankets. Everyone settled into a temporary bed. Lucy and Sean shared a hammock that night. Sean took out his phone, then started playing flappy bird.
"Try finding the year," Lucy suggested after a few min of video game noises. "Then we could find out if the U.S. is in the Allied powers."
"Ok, but I don't see how that will help us," Sean said. Thumbs moving furiously, Sean looked up 'what year is it?' and all that came up was the present year. Well, it's not the present year. It's the future, which… never mind. "Darn it!" said Sean.
"Try looking up 'the Evil of Europe', World War II," Lucy suggested. Sean looked at a few websites until finally he found a site.
(Chapter 5) A Road To Anne
The site said the one thing that Lucy and Sean didn't expect. The site said: "Adolf Hitler was the Supreme Chancellor of Germany from 1933-1945. He dictated over…." Sean read and then shrugged. "Then there's more about what happened and all kinds of other stuff. Wonder why they took us to Hitler."
Why would we have a site talking about Hitler? Lucy wondered. Unless…. "We have to find Hitler?" Lucy whispered. Sean looked at her as though he was considering the idea.
"I hope not," Sean said, turning again to read the article.
"We better not. We can't. No."
"They called him the Fürher." In Fürher's office….
"No. No. It can't be. It has to be someone else."
"I'll search the Franks." Sean said huridly. He searched the Frank's and clicked on Anne Frank.
"Who's Anne Frank? I've heard her name, but I don't know anything about her," Lucy said, pretending to be unfazed by the possible future.
"You could read the article." Tom said, who had been listening from below them.
"I'm just saying!" Lucy whispered defensively.
"Shhhhh," hissed Tom from below them. "I think that nazis are approaching." Lucy heard footsteps, quiet at first, but louder by the second. She took off her vest with a jewish star. Nobody dared to breathe. The footsteps got closer and closer. Then, instead of the cruel bark of nazis, they heard .
"Kasmira, are you and your friends here? I have news." she whisper yelled. Pete sat up.
"We're trying to get some sleep, could you give us 5 minutes?" Pete asked, and with that said, he collapsed and started snoring.
"Actually, it's Anna," Anna said, sheepishly sitting up.
"What's the news?" Lucy asked, peeking out of the makeshift hammock.
"I know this is a bit-" the woman paused, "personal, but I saw that you had a Star of David." Mrs. Gies gestured to Lucy and continued, "I know of a place where you can hide, that is, if you need to go into hiding." As the conversation was going on, Sean was reading the article about Anne Frank.
"Would there be anyone else there? By chance the Franks?" Sean questioned.
looked like she was stunned. "I swear we aren't spies," Kristle promised quickly.
"I know, I saw them chasing you." said, still appearing to be in shock.
Pete replied, "Ok, I'll explain. Tom dragged us through a-"
"Pete, we need to discuss and approve this in a group. And it wasn't me. It was an accident," Tom said, sounding a little reproachful and annoyed.
"Fine." Pete said.
"All in favor of telling our story, raise your hand." Anna announced. Everyone raised their hand.
"Ok, I'll just get to the point," Kristle said, "We are from the future." The woman's mouth hung open.
"Th-th-that's impossible!" stuttered, "How did you manage to do that. When does the war end? Who wins?"
"No clue." Tom said. Lucy was shocked that her know-it-all-teacher's-pet-friend was lying. He knew that the Axis powers lost. But why lie? Especially to who she assumed was an important historical figure? As she pondered this, Mrs. Gies seemed to have recovered from her shock.
"Okay, come with me." she said, "That it, if you want a safe house." Anna made to get up.
"And, by the way, is your first name Miep?" asked Sean as he sat up, still clutching his phone.
The group of seven and their dog slipped through the darkness. They were quieter than the smallest mouse in The Netherlands. Lucy had a lot to think about. The day itself had been crazy. Beyond crazy, actually. First, she and her friends had somehow stumbled into World War II. Then they were chased by Nazis and saved by a dog. Then they slept in a tree. Now we're walking with s stranger. That's too much crazy and weird for one day. "We're almost there. Just a little farther," said, interrupting Lucy's thoughts. A sound of muffled footsteps reached Lucy's ears. In a rythm. One, two, one two.
"Guys, I think that I heard marching," said Lucy quietly.
"Run?" squeaked Kristle, who looked terrified. Just then, a single nazi officer walked onto their street.
(Chapter 6) Kindness In The Enemy
The nazi got closer with each step. Lucy's heart tripled its pace. She fumbled to open her satchel. Please say I have something, Lucy thought frantically. Lucy felt nothing. She snapped her satchel shut, and put up her fists, watching the man working for the Axis powers. "Stay back or I will hit you!" she growled, hoping she sounded braver than she felt. The man in uniform advanced, his hand near his belt. Lucy hoped that he wasn't reaching for a pistol. "Stay back," Lucy growled again. "Stay back or else!" Her heart was pounding. She wondered what her mom would do if she was dead, plus, she was too young to die. The nazi got closer and closer and closer. Lucy thought about her mother crying over her dead body. The nazi was only a few feet away now. Lucy punched. Her fist flew and hit her target's eye.
"Ouch! I think that you gave me a black eye." the nazi said in agony.
"Good job, Niki Bella. Let's leave this punk to rot!" Pete said.
Then Mrs. Gies asked, "Is that you, Daniel?"
"Yes, it's me." the nazi called Daniel said, "Can you tell that girl to not attack government officials? If she keeps doing it, she'll end up in Auschwitz!"
"What the heck is that?" Anna asked with a guarded expression.
"It's a Concentration Camp."
"We aren't going there," Lucy replied bravely, voice shaking slightly. The nazi scrunched up his eyes and looked carefully at the group. A look of shock and realization dawned on his face.
Daniel whispered, "Wait, are you the jewish girl who told Commander Phillip to let another girl go?"
"No," Lucy whispered, thinking about how dangerous this had gotten. The nazi raised his eyebrows, seeing through her lie.
"You're wanted, by Hitler himself." The group came out in a flurry of words, breaking the momentary silence.
"Really?" Pete said, sounding thrilled.
"No way," Tom whispered, completely white as Kristle made a squeaking noise. Lucy and Anna stood in silence, trying to form words, but being unable to.
"Holy-" Pete started to swear, but was cut off.
Sean said, quite loudly, "What?! That's crazy! What kind of a guy-"
"SHHH!" Tom, Lucy, Pete, Anna, Kristle, Daniel, and cut him off.
"Don't worry about it, I have a plan. We just need to-"
"You better go, Miep. If they find you with these kids, you might be executed. Go, now!" and with that, Daniel ran towards the sound of certain death for rebels and jews: the army of Adolf Hitler. The group turned no walked briskly down the cobbled street, hearts pounding with adrenaline.
Then out of random, Tom whispered, "I remember now! Am-"
"Shut up, Tom!" Kristle hissed as they walked at a brisk pace. "We're in a life or death situation and you're giving a random fact!"
"Would you like to know that we are breaking the law?" Tom asked, smirking slightly.
"Give me a break." she muttered angrily. Please shut up, Tom. Lucy thought, I don't want to get caught.
The group walked in silence, fearing that if a single noise was made, they would seal their fate. Every step brought new anxieties. The fears of the group were running high. "We're almost there, just a few more blocks," whispered, making Kristle jump. Lucy looked around the street. A black hissed at her from an ally. "In here, move fast. We don't have much time until the soldiers come to patrol the street." the woman said frantically. The kids and their guardian slipped into a apartment.
(Chapter 7) Safe Haus
When Lucy stepped into the room, she was amazed. The room was small, but it looked like a fairytale cottage. The walls were a light blue with Danish wood carvings, the floor and stairs were a lightly varnished oak-like wood, and like the walls, the stairs were decorated with carvings. It looks like something from Snow White. As she stared in awe, her mouth dropped open. Lucy quickly closed it, but continued to marvel at the beauty of the simple home. "Follow me, I'll lead you to the parlor," their hostess said to the kids, interrupting Lucy's gazing. Mrs. Gies guided the group into a small room with tan carpeting and a few cushioned chairs. The chairs faced a lit fireplace, next to which was a china cabinet filled with beautiful platters and cups.
"Meip, is that you?" a male voice called from upstairs.
"Yes, it's me! Can you come down for a moment? I want to introduce some," paused, choosing her words carefully. "guests." Lucy heard the pattering of footsteps come down a flight of stairs. A young man with dark hair and electric blue eyes came into the parlor. The same one that she had seen at the parade. "Lucy, Tom, Anna, Sean, Kristle, Pete, this is my husband. Jan, these are the kids that were in the paper."
"Hi. I'm Pete." Pete said.
"Hi Pete." said.
"I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Lucy." Lucy said as nicely as she could, not wanting to make a bad impression.
"Tomorrow I'll take them to" made a hiding gesture with her hands and whispered, "das Versteck."
"I see." her husband replied.
"Would you like to join us for dinner? We are having frankfurters with ketchup."
"We'd love to." Tom said before anyone could ask what a frankfurter was.
"You can spend the night too. We will have a visitor who is good friends with the nazis in a few days. It will be best for all of us if you are gone just before then," the man said.
"Why?" Pete questioned. Tom looked at him in an exasperated way.
"Because if the nazis find you, they will put you in concentration camps and us, too," explained . "Jan, how long till supper?"
"About five minutes." Jan replied. Just as Mr. Gies made to leave the room, Lucy heard a noise. The noise of thousands of people stepping in sync on cobble.
"What's that noise? Don't tell me that it's nazis!" Kristle peeped.
"Quick! lights out! Kids, in the basement. Jan, get the lights. I'll show the kids to der Keller!" cried somewhat frantically. Meanwhile, the army was getting ever closer. showed everyone to the basement. No one made a peep- except for Kristle. She whimpered a few times. I don't blame her, Lucy thought somewhat darkly. She was positive that her friend had developed a fear for nazis. If not Nazis, political armies.
"In here, don't make a peep." briskly instructed, glancing up the stairs to the main level. Lucy and her friends climbed down a ladder to a small, dirt room. She sat on the floor. Above her, she heard Anna close the wooden trap door. It became pitch black. The silence in the cellar was thick as fog on a damp day. Almost impossible to see through. Atheana sat down on Lucy's lap, but then went to find Anna. Minutes passed. Lucy grew tired from all her thoughts. Soon, she fell asleep….
"Hey, Lucy." Lucy woke with a start. Sean was shaking her.
"Were we having a sleepover?" Lucy asked.
"No! Of course not! Don't you remember? We got sucked into a vortex that brought us into World War II. We ran from nazis and we also broke the law. Now we're at house," Sean explained.
"Oh yeah. I remember." she said. "Are the others upstairs?"
"Yeah, about that. We won't be able to head to the secret annex until tomorrow. There's a bad storm outside. Like, lightning starting a house on fire bad. Unless the rain clears up, we can't get going." he replied. "This might mean a higher risk of being captured. Mrs. Gies's friend might come early."
(Chapter 8) A Close Call
Lightning lit the stormy sky. Lucy looked out her host's front window. It overlooked another street of white buildings with dark wood frames and woven roofs. Like all of the other streets in Amsterdam, the street was worn cobble. Let's see what we can do today. This could be a long one. In the kitchen, was pouring cereal. "Good morning!" the lady said.
"Good morning!" Lucy replied.
"Would you like some bran for breakfast?" asked.
"Sure," Lucy said. got up and poured Lucy breakfast. Lucy ate her cereal quickly. Then she went to the parlor. Pete was on the sofa. "Hi." Lucy said.
"Hey," Pete said. He seemed depressed.
"Anything wrong?" she asked, sitting down next to him.
"Yeah. I've been wondering, what if we never find our way back home? Our parents will be worried like crazy and they'll think that we've been kidnapped or dead!" Pete exclaimed.
"Two things, number one, don't focus on the if's, and number two, we will find a way back." she said, even though her mind was racing. What if they didn't get back? Then, Kristle entered the room.
"Hey, Guys. Did you see how bad the storm was?" Kristle asked.
"I did." Pete said, "Lightning struck a tree and set it on fire. Then some nearby houses caught the sparks."
Lucy walked out into the rain. She found that the rain helped clear her thoughts. We will get back, we will get back, Lucy thought over and over to herself, as though wishing they would would make it so. We will get back home. We will stop the Nazis. We will not die. We will stick together.
When she got back, she found that Pete and Kristle were playing a game of chess. "Hi Lucy. Want to play me next round?" Kristle asked.
"Sure! I need something to do, plus chess is fun!" Lucy replied.
"Check mate!" Pete exclaimed, a triumphant look on his face.
"Nope!" Lucy said, recognizing one last play. Kristle moved her king forward one space. Pete's dark horse moved to capture the king. Kristle moved forward. The dark horse moved to the side in a L shape. Kristle then moved her king backward. The dark king moved diagonally and captured the light king.
There was a loud bang outside. Kristle said, "What's going on over there?" and rushed to the window. Across the street, nazies were rounding up jewish families. Guns were pointed at the jews. A window on the house behind the families was shattered.
"Hide!" exclaimed Lucy. The group rushed to the basement. Lucy's bag was still slung over her shoulder.
"Oh no!" shouted Tom.
"What?!" Sean asked, sounding very panicked. "We forgot Pete!"
"I'll get him!" Kristle exclaimed, knees shaking. She flew up the stairs.
"Come on! We can't let them know that we're here!" Lucy said, sounding very nervous.
"We have to wait for Kristle and Pete!" Anna told her.
"They know where to go, come on, they'll be here in a minute…" Tom said, rushing to the trapdoor. Anna protested- Kristle was her cousin after all, but her fear seemed to get the better of her. Anna and Tom ran down the last two steps. Lucy quickly thrust open the trapdoor. Everyone scrambled to get in. As Lucy leaped in, she saw Kristle and Pete running as fast as they could without tripping. Pete was carrying blankets. Kristle looked like she had seen a ghost. Lucy asked,"What happened?"
"T-the nazies w-were outside a-and the leading nazi w-was C-C-Commander Phillip!" Kristle exclaimed.
Lucy tugged her friend into safety. Pete had spread the blankets on the shelter floor. Kristle and Lucy sat down. Everyone was silent. Above, the kids heard voices. "Search the place! Leave no stone unturned!" Commander Phillip barked. The trap door closed. The dark enclosed them. All they heard was the enemy shouting. Then Lucy fell asleep.
(Chapter 9) The Girl With The Diary
Lucy woke up in cold sweat. She looked around. Everyone but Anna and Kristle was sleeping. "You okay?" Anna mouthed to her. Maybe?
But she mouthed, "Yeah, you?" Anna shrugged.
"I have something to tell you," Lucy mouthed reluctantly. The Hitler Theory had to be given at some point.
Anna nodded, "Do we need the others?"
Lucy made to respond when- "SHUT UP, CHAPMIN!" Lucy jolted in surprise. "WE'RE NOT HERE TO RAID THE HOUSE!" shouted Commander Phillip. A mumbled reply traveled down the stairs. "WHAT WAS THAT?"
"SAID I WA' BARROWI'N IT!" yelled who Lucy assumed was another Nazi.
It sounded as though Commander Phillip had regained his composure. "The boss will hear about this. Chapmin, wait outside." There was some muffled curses as a door opened and slammed shut, causing dirt to rain from the ceiling. Anna, Lucy, and Kristle shared a look. Anna was attempting not to laugh, Kristle was pale as death, and Lucy was wide eyed and startled.
They sat in silence for a few moments, when the sound of boots crashed down above them. Lucy froze, hardly daring to breathe. The Nazis were above them. Her heartbeat suddenly seemed as loud as a herd of elephants, the noise of the dirt falling from the ceiling loud as someone snapping. Each step over her head sounded like the crack of a gravel. The nazis walked overhead, tapping random spots on the ground. Looking for a trapdoor, Lucy realized with horror. Anna, Lucy, and Kristle pressed themselves into the walls, trying to become smaller. Every second seemed to be a minute, every minute an hour.
Nazis were barking orders above them. "Let's go! Nobody's here!" Commander Phillip ordered. There was a sound of footsteps tromping over their hiding place and up the wooden stairs. Lucy heard a door open, then slam. For a few minutes, everything was silent. The trapdoor opened, revealing Mrs. Gies.
Anna and Lucy woke the others, and when they were all alert, the hostess whispered, "Come on. We're heading to the Secret Annex!"
The group splashed through the wet and muddy streets. After tense, fearful walking for minutes, they arrived at a jelly factory. "Why are we here?" Sean asked.
"I was about to ask the same thing." Kristle said.
"The secret annex, das Versteck, is in the attic," explained. "I'm going to smuggle you in."
"Great. Just- how are we going to do that?" asked Pete, cutting him off..
"I come early every morning. It's normal for me to be here before everyone else," she explained casually. After looking from side to side, fumbled in her bag for a key. She slipped it in the keyhole and the group entered the building.
led the group up a few flights of stairs into a small office with a desk and what appeared to be a broken radio. Soon, they came to a cupboard. slipped another key into the door and stepped back. "Go ahead and knock," urged Mrs. Gies. With a look of great anticipation, Tom knocked. The cupboard swung open. Then, Mrs. Gies led Lucy, Kristle, Anna, Athena, Tom, Sean, and Pete into the secret annex.
The secret annex was what Lucy would call the small annex. She looked around. Lucy saw a girl look up, maybe 16 years old, with short, brown slightly curly hair. Athena ran towards the girl and jumped up at her. The girl laughed. "I haven't seen a dog in ages," she finally said.
"Who are you?" Pete asked, appearing to be mesmerized by her simple beauty.
"Oh, I'm Anne, Anne Frank. Who are you?" Anne said. Tom blinked.
Anna answered, "I'm Anna, that's Lucy, Pete, Sean, Tom, Kristle, and the dog's Athena."
"We're, erm, going into hiding," Lucy explained.
"Anne, will you go fetch your mother and father?" asked.
"Of course." Anne replied. Then she tiptoed to a small room.
"You six, while you hide here, you must keep quiet. People work downstairs from 8:00am to around 5:00pm," warned them, "When people are working here, you must whisper. Otherwise, you will be heard."
"And that would be bad?" Pete asked.
"Very," Tom confirmed, then rolled his eyes at the ignorance of his friend.
Mrs. Gies continued, "I will come every morning to get a list of groceries."
"Great, could you pick up a newspaper for me to read?" Tom asked.
"Sure. Oh, good morning Otto!" said, raising her eyes as a man with glasses walked into the room with Anne.
"Could we get some lettuce, beets, potatoes, and Margot's in need of larger shoes," Otto asked, "That is, erm, if you can find and afford it."
"I'll take a look," replied, "I'll be back at... maybe, 10:45? At the soonest?"
"Okay," Otto said nodding.
"Auferazien." With the list, squeezed through the door and left the group to the secret annex.
(Chapter 10) Quiet Days
Everybody stood and looked at each other. This is awkward. "Hi," Sean said. Tom looked like he wanted to say something, but his mouth was open in shock. Lucy assumed that he was in awe; he was a nerd.
Finally, Tom spoke and said, "Gods, this is a miracle. I wish I had a camera." Then he fainted, falling on the wooden floor. It made a loud THUDing noise that shook a table in the corner of the room.
"Gods? Is he Greek?" Anne asked.
"Maybe," Pete snickered. Lucy went over to see if he was okay. A woman and girl a little older that Anne walked into the room. The girl looked like an older version of Anne, only with wire-rimmed glasses. The woman had short brown hair and a worn expression. That must be Anne's mom and sister, Lucy guessed.
The woman then asked, "What's all the commotion?"
"Nothing, Dear. Just some new occupants." Otto said.
"Okay, well, has Meip stopped over yet?" the woman asked.
"She just left, Mum." Anne said.
"Rats. I was going to see if she would find some shoes for Margot," Mrs. Frank muttered.
"She is if she can find it, but I'll use the new shoes for Margot, as mine are two sizes too small." Anne piped up.
"Shut up, you chattering git." Mrs. Frank replied, cold as ice. Anne cringed. Lucy made a mental note to avoid Anne's mother.
Mrs. Frank then turned to Lucy, Anna, Pete, Sean, and Kristle. "Guten morgen!" Mrs. Frank greeted them in a falsely cheerful tone, "This is Margot," she said indicating to the girl, who Lucy assumed to be Anne's sister.
"Hello. My name is Pete, this is Lucy, Tom's the guy on the floor, Sean, Anna, Kristle," Pete quickly said.
"Ahem?" Anna glared at Pete.
"Oh yeah, the the German shepard is German Shepherd 's Athea," he added.
"Athena," Anna corrected.
"Definitely Greek," Anne whispered. Lucy tried to hide a grin.
"Does your dog bark?" Mrs. Frank asked, ignoring her daughter.
"No. Not that I know of." Anna said.
"Good," Mrs. Frank told them, "because we'll be here until the war's over."
Lucy learned about how things went in the secret annex quickly. Along with the Franks, there was another family, the Van Daans, their son Peter, and a man who went by the name of Dr. Dussle. Every day was similar to the next. In the morning, everyone got up early to see Mrs. Gies. She got the list of things to buy, and then Anne and her older sister Margot would study, leaving Lucy, Pete, Kristle, Tom, Anna, and Sean to their thoughts. They had a small breakfast and would eat a lunch at 1:30ish. Dinner was at about 6:00, then they would slip into their beds as Anne scribbled away furiously in a little notebook. Things happened like this day after day, until Lucy, even though she was Jewish, was starting to miss the excitement from the run from Hitler's Nazis.
The first couple days, none of the others made much of an effort to talk to each other. By the next week, everyone was on speaking terms. Two weeks after the group had come to the secret annex, Lucy, Anna, Kristle and Anne had struck up a friendship. The boys became good friends with Peter, and they often talked about the war as a large group. Lucy feared for her life, but it was better here than in the open.
On the third day in the Secret Annex, Lucy and Sean shared their theory. "So you think we have to confront Hitler?" Pete asked them.
"Maybe. But hopefully not," Sean said, shrugging.
"It would make sense. Fürher is the German word for father, one of the things Hitler was called. And he did try taking over Europe…. You have to admit…. He could be the Evil of Europe," Tom said, his voice trailing off.
"Hypothetically, if we did face Hitler, how and when would we do it? What exactly would we do?" Anna asked nervously. She was not the only one who looked uncertain.
The group was silent for a moment. Pete turned to Lucy and questioned, "What does the Riddle say? That could give us an idea."
"Pete, are you being logical?" Kristle asked him, feigning a look of shock.
Pete proceeded to reply, "Shut up please." Lucy and the others grinned.
"I didn't know you were logical," Sean said jokingly.
Pete grunted. "Let's just read the Riddle-"
"For Pete's sake! We're probably driving him nuts," Sean told the, suppressing a smile.
"Not with that pun again."
"There aren't any others. What am I-"
Lucy interupted them. "Didn't someone say we should read the Riddle?" Pete and Sean stopped fighting. The Riddle was read, and Anne came in.
"It's time for dinner. Radishes again," she told them, sighing. Putting the Riddle away, Lucy stood up and followed Anne. The Hitler theory was not mentioned again. However, Lucy thought about it a lot.
What if Hitler was the Evil of Europe? What if they did have to face him? There were many "what if?s" and Lucy pondered and worried about all of them. What if it isn't him? What if they couldn't find the Evil of Europe? What then?
(Chapter 11) Things Get Dangerous
On their third week in the annex, there was a loud knock on the door. Loud voices were coming from the other side of the door. "Open up!" the all too familiar voice of Commander Phillip. Kristle went white and her eyes filled with terror. The door burst open. The commander's eyes went narrow. Lucy willed herself to look past him. Behind him were two recognizable soldiers: Daniel and Officer Barry.
"Come here," Commander Phillip barked, "and put your hands up."
"No." Kristle said, still pale but with a slightly rebellious look in her eye, "We won't. And for the record, you are an idiot, Phil. Tom, you do the honors." Commander Phillip snarled.
"My name is not Phil. It's Phillip!" Ignoring this, Tom stepped forward and slapped the purple faced nazi in the face.
"That was for the people you murder," Tom said, face full of defiance.
Everyone sat, stunned, and stayed stunned until Pete pulled out an egg from the basket on the table and chucked it at a nazi in the doorway. It hit him straight in the face. The yolk ran down his face, oozing onto his uniform. "War!" Pete yelled and the frenzy began. Anna grabbed a frying pan and swung it at the nearest nazi. Lucy ran up, ducked, and as the nazi before her swung at her, she punched a her in the gut. Kristle did a flying side kick at the shortest nazi, and hit him in the face. Even Anne and her sister fought, throwing the radishes they were sick of. The adults stood in the corner, unwilling to fight. Mrs. Frank tore towards the window. She made to open it, but was pinned down by a large and burly Nazi, who she then clobbered with her worn out shoe. After what to Lucy thought was ten minutes, the Nazis strapped on handcuffs to everyone in the secret annex.
"March!" Commander Phillip commanded. Helpless to do anything, the group walked to what they all knew was their doom.
(Chapter 12) Commander Phillip Grants An Audience
As they walked, Lucy thought. She thought about the annex, Mrs. Gies, and the recent battle. Then, she remembered the Riddle. If it is him, Lucy thought to herself, fixing her jaw, we have to try. "Hey, um, I wonder why Hitler is for this stuff," Lucy wondered aloud, hoping her plan would work.
Tom looked at her and continued,"Yeah, wish he- er, the Fürher- would just tell us."
"He has his reasons, you know. I dare say he would tell you traitors," Commander Phillip said, not looking back at them. He emphasized the word traitors.
"We would really like to know why he is imprisoning us, so that we don't make the same mistakes in the future," Anna put in.
"Still, you cannot just, just barge in and demand and audience. It takes time. Anyway, he's quite busy. However, he may make an exception," Commander Philip reasoned, "or an example. You could be useful propaganda. 'Jew and Undesirables Seek Personal Pennance' could be a good one," he mused, "And the Fürher may reward me for such noble intentions…. I'll try and get you an audience with the boss." The whole gang shared a glance of triumph. An audience with Hitler. We have succeeded in one way! Lucy thought desperately.
Ten minutes later, the former members of the secret annex loaded on a train. "Can I go with them? Please? I must see the light!" Anne begged the Nazi.
"Perish at the thought of it!" Commander Phillip growled and slapped her. Anne cried out in pain as he struck her. "You belong at the camp. Try to weasel your way out of it again and you will find a gun at your head." Lucy wanted to cry out, to tell the nazi not to threaten her friends, but if she was to get an audience with Hitler, she couldn't wear her heart on her sleeve. But I don't want an audience with Hitler, Lucy thought to herself. You need one to get home, though. So she forced herself to keep a straight face and was silent, as were the others. As Anne, her family, the Van Danns, and Dr. Dussle were loaded into the train, Lucy waved goodbye, hand low and on the side of her skirt so that the Nazis couldn't see. As the train pulled out of the station, Commander Phillip briskly said, "If you want that audience with the Fürher, move it. It's a walk."
It was indeed a long walk. Commander Phillip led them to an automobile shop and told the manager that "Your country is at stake" and took a car. Yeah right, Lucy thought when he did this. The sun was in its highest point when they made it to Berlin. They had been driving for a day and a half at top speed when Commander Phillip declared that they had reached the city limits.
"Thank goodness. I don't know how much longer I can sit around for," Pete said, stretching. Commander Phillip glared at him. Pete shrugged.
"Rude!" Commander Phillip muttered to himself, but did nothing. It was another twenty minutes ("I hate traffic," Commander Phillip cursed) before the car was parked and their legs were stretched.
Commander Phillip led them to a large building that looked over the street. The building was made of brown bricks and had a very intimidating appearance. It bore a fence of black metal, a door knocker that looked like a snarling lion, and ink-black curtains. Even just looking at it, Lucy and her friends shrank back, a swarm of bees taking flight in her stomach. As Lucy tried to look through the upstairs curtains, Commander Phillip moved to the door. "Make sure they don't run for it," he said to a guard. The guard nodded and Commander Phillip knocked on the door. The door was opened by another nazi. "Commander Phillip, Grüße. Was bringt dich hierher?" the nazi asked him, nodding.
"Wir haben einige Unerwünschte, die den Fürher sehen müssen. Propaganda Zwecke." Commander Phillip assured the nazi. The nazi proceeded to ask a few questions, and then let him in. After a few minutes, Commander Phillip returned. "He's ready for you," was all he said. The guard led Lucy, Pete, Tom, Anna, Kristle, Sean, and the dog Athena into the building. With legs shaking, they made their way to the office of Adolf Hitler.
(Chapter 13) The Evil Of Europe
Commander Phillip, the guard, and the other nazi took them up a flight of dark oak steps. The steps creaked at every movement, doing nothing to ease the fear in Lucy's stomach. The bees in her churning stomach became a storm of wasps. We're almost there, we're almost home, Lucy told herself again and again. Her fear and discomfort was not eased. Even Athena had misgivings. The stink of death and decay swirled around the halls, the Nazi guns clanked in their holsters. The light seemed to dim, the black hallways, closing in. Finally, they stopped at a door with a sign that read: Führer. Commander Phillip knocked and on the other side of the wooden door, a voice said, "Enter." The nazi opened the door and the kids and their dog stepped inside.
Adolf Hitler sat at a desk with various maps and papers. He had black hair, olive skin, and the sunken appearance as though he had not eaten for days. His eyes were dark and narrow, with a power hungry gleam that made everyone except Tom take a few steps backward. Tom stared at him with big eyes, shining with anger, determination, and… glee? Lucy wondered, confused. Why would Tom be happy? "He's going to be sorry," Tom whispered under his breath, "Somehow, he will be." Hitler had not heard. He continued to examine them. Anna came forward and dragged him back behind Pete. As Hitler stared at them, Lucy stared at his room.
The walls were filled with artwork. One of a castle, another a village. All bore the name "A. Hitler" in the bottom right corner. He's an artist, Lucy thought in shock. After a few minutes of Hitler staring at the group, Sean finally found his courage.
"Um, Mr. Hitler, sir, we were hoping to speak to you about an important matter," Sean said, almost too diplomatically. The group shared a look.
"Yes?" Hitler prompted them, eying them resentfully. Anna stepped forward and spoke.
"Yeah," Anna said, and after passing Tom to Pete, stepped forward. Lucy spoke up. "When we came here, we passed one of those prisons-"
"Concentration Camps," Tom corrected, eyes never leaving Hitler.
"No, they're prisons. People are being forced into confinement and labor because of some 'crime.'" Anna used quotation marks as she said crime, emphasizing the fact that it was not a real crime. "It's not really a crime to be Jewish." Anna said, sounding a lot braver than Lucy felt. Hitler must have noticed this, because he sneered.
"A group of kids trying to get me to release those who gave us the Treaty Of Versailles? Those who have been making us pure Germans starve? Do you realize that you are defending the impure?" Hitler questioned, "My, my, you need a lesson in Blut und Boden…."
Tom looked Hitler in the eyes and said in a steely voice, "You started this war because of being unable to build a larger army and the Great Depression. Because of the depression, you ran low on money for necessities. From there you started blaming Jewish people for your problems because it is easier to blame someone than to take credit for mistakes. And you know what? I think your a filthy, stinking, tyrant. You are a corrupt and sorry dictator." Tom's voice grew louder, "The war started because of you. You think that you're some sort of savior? You're a mass murderer and mad man. You-" Hitler's eyes went wide.
"Me, mad?" He bore the look of a man who knows he is mad, enjoys being bad, and accepts his madness. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Lucy remindeed herself. Athena barked definitely at the Fürher. Her eyes seemed to say Knock it off, 'cause he's right. You are crazy. What's your problem? "What's your problem, mutt?" Hitler growled. Athena barked again and growled low in her throat.
"Leave her alone!" Anna cried as Hitler hit her dog. Athena whimpered, limping behind Anna.
"Ha," he snarled, "I hope that taught her a lesson."
Changing the subject keeping Hitler's attention away from the German Shepherd, Pete said witheringly, "You need to be taught a lesson on how you run a country. Do I need to slap you?"
"You heard me. Want your lesson now, or later?"
"I-I-I don't need to be taught any lesson! You do!"
"Oh. I need the lesson? Yeah, right," Pete said sarcastically, using an extreme amount sass, "Then do me a favor and explain what the heck happened to Germany."
(Chapter 14) The Truth
"I had to do something. Germany couldn't just sit around without a good leader!" Hitler said, trying to defend himself.
"It still is," Lucy muttered under her breath. Sean nodded. Germany really had the biggest jerk in all of history as a leader.
"Oh?" Hitler questioned, raising his bushy eyebrows in mock surprise. Lucy looked him in the eye.
"You could try to take credit for what you did! Just because Germany wasn't as awesome as it could be doesn't mean that you become the world's biggest jerk!" Lucy said, speaking animatedly to hide her shaking hands. Kristle nodded.
"Awesome?" Hitler questioned.
"Oh, yeah, that's an American word. I mean great," Lucy realized, fixing her mistake. The bees and wasps in Lucy's stomach were now minutiae butterflies. For minutes after Lucy's comment, Hitler started going on and on about their duty as German citizens not to question the government and not object, and a bunch of things that even Tom didn't appear to understand.
Eventually, Pete rolled his eyes and spat at Hitler. "My gosh! You happen to have time to try take over the world, but you don't even spend time with your wife!" The room went silence at once.
Hitler raised his voice and shouted, "I don't have a wife! You think it's easy to run a county?"
"What about Eva Braun?" Kristle shot at him. Hitler's mouth dropped open in shock and started stuttering about how busy he'd been with helping his country.
"You have a strange way of doing that," Sean commented. Lucy agreed.
Kristle said quietly, "We were chased by your soldiers. They tried to hurt us, even though we did nothing to provoke them."
"Except for not saluting them," Tom whispered so Hitler wouldn't hear. Hitler looked at them in a new light. His eyes widened.
Hitler said, his voice becoming louder and angrier than it was with every word, "You're the wanted kids. Who refused to bow to your Führer's representatives. You are undesirables of the worst sort! A Jew, a negro, and gypsies!"
"Don't call me negro," Sean angrily moved toward Hitler, fists raised.
"Guards!" Daniel, Officer Barry, and a nazi with a brown mustache came in. "Take these turncoats to the nearest camp. And keep them together. I would appreciate it if they all got to see each other die."
"Yes sir," Officer Barry replied.
Lucy knew it was now or never. In a last desperate try to make Hitler change his mind, Lucy stated as calmly as she could, "Please, sir. Just because someone is Jewish doesn't mean they are bad. It just means they're different." Daniel started to grab her, a look of pity in his eyes. Frantically, Lucy continued. "Please, don't hold people like me accountable for your problems! It's not right!"
"I'm not a gypsy! I'm catholic!" Pete yelled.
"Take them away!" the cold steel voice of Hitler told them and the Nazis marched them out the door.
(Chapter 15) The Neverending Train Ride
Lucy, Pete, Anna, Sean, Tom, and Kristle were marched out of the office. "Sorry," Pete whispered.
"Dude, the sass was real. No problem. I just wish I had soaked him first," Sean whispered back.
"Shut up, or you'll have a gun at your head," the nazi to his left snarled. Sean fell silent, eyes flashing.
Within a few hours, they had reached the open air train station. The floor creaked with every step, and the train clanked as it pulled into the station. Quite a few more people were there, many of them with a faded Star of David sewn onto their shirts, blouses, and vests. "You heard about the gas showers?" one boy gossiped to another.
"I heard from Sargent Müller that we're going to a relocation camp. Somewhere better than the ghetto. You believe it?" a man with a crutch said to his neighbor.
"Doubt it. Those Nazis, they're cruel…." was the reply.
"Have fun," the nazi with the mustache said to them, then added hopefully, "Maybe you'll be lucky and get one of the first showers!" With that comment and a last look from Daniel, the Nazis turned and shoved their way through the crowd and left.
From the platform overlooking the station, a Nazi shouted, "All you! If your going to camp, on board! That's all you idiots with the Stars!"
"Moron," Sean muttered. Slowly, the crowd trudged forward, wooden planks creaking under their feet.
"Dummkopf," someone behind Lucy hissed.
"Why are they putting us in the freight car?" Kristle asked nervously. Lucy squinted ahead. Sure enough, instead of letting them into the passenger cars, they were being hearded like sheep into the freight car.
"I dunno…" Sean said uneasily. Tom paled.
"They're going to cram us all in there together. Once- once there was a group of passengers… when they got to the camp…" Tom stuttered, plainly terrified.
"What?" Anna asked, not looking as though she wanted to know.
"None of them made it. They were all dead…." The group fell silent. The freight car loomed over them. The station nazi shoved them into the car. Athena hid behind Anna, slipping past him, undetected. A few more people got on, and then the door slammed shut. It was pitch black.
"Hey Tom. How long did you say those train rides lasted?" Lucy asked
"Two weeks at the most." Tom piped up.
"Two weeks!" One of the nearby passengers yelled, "You've got to be kidding me!" The car quieted.
"Two weeks of this?" one asked from a ways away.
"What are they playing at?" roared another. A child started to cry.
"Mama," the voice of a small girl cried, "are we gonna get food soon? I'm hungry."
"I don't know, Lesiel. I don't know." was the mother's reply. The train car erupted in a roar of protest at the treatment they had been given.
The door of the car was thrown open. "What are you all shouting about?" one of the two Nazis asked, "Stop yelling, or else."
"Listen, are we getting food at all? I also heard that this trip is gonna last a few weeks. How true is that?" a man asked casually from the back of the car. There was no reply. The nazi glared sternly at the people crammed into the car, then spotted Athena.
"No dogs allowed. Get out!" he shouted and kicked her. Athena jumped and ran out of the reach of his foot. The only way to go for her was out.
"Good," the other nazi said gruffly, "And stay out!" The door slammed shut, and the barks of the Shepherd could be heard through the door.
"Shut up, you dumb dog!" someone yelled from outside. Lucy could hear Anna crying, but she did not know where she was, or what to say, so she stayed silent. Then the train started. The everlasting train ride had begun.
For what felt like forever, the train rumbled on. It was almost silent in the car after a few hours, as there was nothing to talk about. The first hour contained whispers of "do you think they'll starve us?" and "entire weeks of travel in this shack? Are they kidding?" Then it was "have you heard from the Fürher lately?" The next hour was talk of business. Then the latest news. As topics of conversation dispersed and people began to grow hungry, the only sounds that pierced the air were the tears and cries of the kids that clung to their mothers and people asking from time to time if someone was still alive. Because of the blackness that filled the car, no one knew if it was day or night. No one could see who lived or died. The train ride lasted for hours upon hours of boredom. How much longer until this forever ends? Lucy asked herself desperately every few minutes. It seemed as though they had been in that car for eons. Millenniums. Centuries. Decades. Years. No food was brought to them, no water. The train car was starving. There was no end, it seemed, for Lucy, to the suffering.
(Chapter 16) Work Makes You Free
"We're here," Tom whispered hoarsely after days of silence.
"How can you tell?" Pete asked, sounding equally hoarse.
"Yeah," a man from the back of the car croaked, "We can't see the sun or the outside. How do we know?"
"Listen," Tom said. Lucy and the rest of the passengers listened. Within a few minutes, Lucy realized, there was the sound of music. A violin, maybe? A whole orchestra?
"The Nazis are welcoming us with 'Ode To Joy' as we ride into the station? How nice!" a little girl exclaimed.
"That's how you know?" another passenger asked. Tom nodded.
"Why are they playing that music? It sounds cheerful!" Anna protested.
"Well," Lucy said nervously, "let's find out."
When the car door finally opened, sunlight bathed the prisoners. It's rays were warm and comforting, a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Each prisoner scrambled as fast as they could to the light. "Thank Allah!" cried one.
"No, praise the Lord!" another shouted. Thank you God, Lucy thought. The amount of time she could have been in that train… how much longer would she be able to take? Lucy pushed aside her thoughts and looked to her friends. Sticking in a group, Lucy, Anna, Pete, Kristle, Tom, and Sean wove their way through the prisoners, making their way to the front. Now, they could see the orchestra. Roughly eight violins, three violas, one cello, and a base were all playing music that was too cheerful for a death camp.
"The selection is here," Tom informed them, paling slightly.
"The selection?" Anna asked nervously.
"They- the Nazis- decide who lives and works as a slave." Tom stopped talking.
"And?" Lucy forced out, dreading the answer.
"Who gets gassed."
Sean stopped walking. "What?"
"Which way do you go if you die?" Pete asked, not looking at Tom.
"I don't know!" Tom looked panicked, his eyes darting around as though trying to take it all in and as though begging it to disappear.
"Hey! Keep moving!" a Nazi shouted in their direction. Lucy forced herself forward, the rest of the group following. A group of forceful nazi officers overlooked the crowd.
"You in the turban! Go left!" one yelled, jabbing her thumb.
"Lady with the red coat and star, you go left, too!" the tallest Nazi yelled. Lucy, Pete, Tom, Sean, Anna, and Kristle kept to the right. No Nazi called for them to join the left. They were just about to pass through a gate, when-
"You lot! The six kids in the right gate- left!" the lady Nazi yelled. The group turned around and picked their way through the nervous looking crowd. As they passed under the left gate, Tom whispered, "Arbeit macht frei…. Work makes you free. I never thought I'd get to see this."
"What?" Lucy asked.
"Up there." Lucy shifted her gaze to the gate behind her.
"How do you know that it translates to 'work sets you free'?"
"I read about it," was all Tom said, looking away. Within a minute, they were herded into a building filled to the brim with people, Nazis, and cameras. "This must be where you get pictures. So they can document you."
"Let's go," Kristle said, shaking all over, "and hope that we don't die."
"Real inspirational, Kristle. Real inspirational," Pete told her.
"Well? Name, and be quick about it. We don't have all day." They faced a burly, toad-like nazi who spoke roughly. Tom was the first to speak.
"Alex Jonson," he lied. Tom telling a downright lie to a government official? That was like George Washington fighting for the British. Or Pete saying something historical. Then again, Lucy reminded herself, Both things had happened. This is also a Nazi. They lie all the time. These thoughts did little to ease her fear, but she swallowed and turned her attention to the desk with the Nazi. Pete went under the pen name Mitchel Lewis, and Kristle called herself Ellen Young, the name of her sister. Anna registered as Michelle Obama.
Sean told the officer, "My name's Dennis. Dennis, uh, Terrell." The nazi with the pen didn't look convinced, but he wrote it in anyway.
"And you?" he asked and prodded his pen at Lucy.
"Oh, uh, Sophia." The nazi looked up.
"Last name?" he asked. Lucy was silent. "Well? Stop waiting for the grass to grow. Spit it out!"
"Hemptz." That was the first name that had come into her head. Hemptz? Lucy mentally shouted out herself, That's a ketchup brand!
"Here's your uniforms. You must put them on before pictures. Looks a bit crowded over there, so you should get your numbers next." The group stared at the Nazi. Well? On with you!" the nazi said crudely and shoved the group out of the area around the desk and toward another Nazi holding a box of what appeared to be stamps.
(Chapter 17) Numbers
The Nazi appeared to be in his mid-fifties. He had short, greying hair and a sharp, disciplined look in his eyes. "So," the he said, looking at them in distaste, "You need tattoos? Right, one of you sit down." The Nazi pointed at the stool in front of him. The group looked at each other, all with eyes wide in terror, except for Pete.
"Sweet. I've always wanted a tattoo. Can you do, like, a skull or something cool like that?" Pete asked, throwing himself in the chair.
"Sorry, no special orders," the Nazi said innocently, plucking one of the stamps out of his wooden box. Only… it wasn't a stamp. Lucy put her hand over her mouth, horrified.
Pete looked at him and the thing he held nervously and questioned, "What do you mean?" The Nazi brandished his board filled with nails.
"It's time for you to get your numbers." The Nazi gingerly plunged the nails into midnight black ink, bringing it out within seconds. The ink dripped slowly, as though it was an essence of death.
"My…. numbers?" Pete asked, curiously. The Nazi looked at him, and instead of replying, the Nazi jabbed the Nazis into Pete's right forearm. "Augh!" Pete yelled in agony.
"What? We just have to give it time to sink in," the Nazi told him, as though reveling in the fear and pain he was spreading. After a few minutes, the tattoo Nazi removed the nails and again dipped them in the ink.
After two more imprints on Pete's skin, the Nazi that had been manning the desk yelled, "Stewart! Get a move on! We don't have all day. I want to get to dinner on time!" The tattoo Nazi hurried his pace on Pete. Within five more minutes, Pete stumbled out of the chair.
"What'd he do?" Sean asked, face a brownish-green color.
"I-I-I dunno," Pete stammered. "It hurts real bad, though."
"Who's next?" the Nazi asked, glaring at them.
"I'll go," Lucy said, surprising herself.
"Well, come on then. I can't give you one if you don't sit down!" he replied when her legs failed to move. Knees trembling and hands shaking, Lucy made her way to the rough, wooden stool. Like he had with Pete, the nazi dipped the nails in ink the way you might lower your cat down after picking him up off the counter. Then, ink and nails gleaming, he lowered them only Lucy's skin.
The nails drew blood, and although not enough to bandage, it was as though a whip had been brandished. Lucy bit back a scream as the ink soaked into her skin. Imprint after imprint she but her young, watching in transfixed horror at her arm. She could not see what the Nazi was writing on her skin. Everything was blurred. It was only after the man stopped poking her with the nails that she realized she was crying. When she stumbled out of the chair, stars danced before her eyes. "You ok?" Anna asked, eyes alight with worry.
Lucy didn't feel ok, but she managed to whisper, "Yeah, fine." Anna did not look as though she believed her, but she said nothing. Face pale in fear, Tom made his way to the stool.
To turn her attention away from Tom, Lucy looked to her arm. What she saw made her mind go blank with shock. The numbers 19394 were tattooed on her forearm, dark as the night sky. They've branded me, Lucy thought numbly. I've been branded.
The next twenty minutes were filled with the shouts of Kristle, grunts of Sean, and whimpers of Anna. When Anna was done with her tattoo, The Nazi shoved them in the line for pictures. "Jetzt geh weg. Da ist eine Linie," the Nazi growled, then added, "Ich hasse diesen Job. Warum muss ich die Unerwünschten tätowieren?"
"Rude," Sean said, wincing.
The Nazi cussed, "Ich bin gemein? Sehr unhöflich von dir, das zu sagen. Du hast Glück, dass ich nicht bin-" but Lucy stopped listening. A firm hand dragged her in front of the whitewashed wall.
"Stand up straight, girl. The camera has to reach your head," the Nazi manning the camera told her blandly, as though he was bored of this job. Lucy squared her shoulders. "And don't smile." Just like a passport, Lucy told herself. The flash of the camera temporarily blinded her, the world a tarp of white. She stumbled out of the way of the camera and waited for her friends to get through. Within a few minutes, the group was through.
"Let's go," Tom nodded.
"I'm gonna stay here-" Kristle was cut off.
"And die? Come one, Kristle. Let's just get this over with," Anna prompted and marched into the camp. As before, Lucy hesitated. Just like Anna said, get it over with. And with that last thought, Lucy forced herself through the door. She was now in Auschwitz.
(Chapter 18) Auschwitz
The first thing that hit Lucy was the size. As far as the eye could see, brick buildings stretched on and on, a block of eternal suffering. To her side, a large funnel of smoke rose up into the falsely promising sky. As she squinted at the sun, she was overcome with a wave of putrid stench. "What the heck is that?" Pete asked, cringing from the smell.
"Oh, gods." Tom grew steadily paler by the second. "They're cremating the bodies. From the gas chambers."
Gas chambers? Lucy started to panic. They're going to kill us. Just like Hitler said. We're never going to get home, we're all going to die…. Unless we escape. Lucy looked around, a feeling of despair settled on her. How were they ever going to get out of here? The walls were a chain link fence, topped with barbed wire.
Depression leaked through the living h***. Weak, frail, skinless people crouched on the dust ridden ground, heads and eyes down. For every Jew that stood up straight and proud, there were five laying on the ground that looked as though the wished for death to swiftly grasp them. Every set of eyes were beaten or worked down to dust. As Lucy, Sean, Pete, Tom, Anna, Kristle walked through the camp, people stared. Almost as though another lamb had been brought to the slaughterhouse, they muttered among themselves sadly. The air radiated depression and weariness. As they walked, all Lucy could think about was how she had failed her friends. Lucy had actually listened to that stupid piece of paper, and if she hadn't, they wouldn't be in this mess. She would be at home, in her own bed…. But her thoughts of home were quickly interrupted. They were now at the edge of the camp, parallel to the fence that chained them.
"Anna," Sean said, now facing the fence, "Look!" He nodded to the fence. On the other side of it, was a German Shepherd puppy.
"Athena!" Anna shouted, eyes wide. She ran up to the fence and reached for the dog- and as she touched the fence, she fell back, her body humming with electricity. Anna didn't move. She had been shocked by the electric fence.
(Chapter 19) Anna
The group rushed over to Anna. "Anna!" Kristle exclaimed, shaking her, "Anna!" Atheana whined from the other side of the fence.
Looking up from Anna, Pete said to the dog, "Go. You can't let them find you." Atheana turned and sprinted off. A finger hit Lucy's shoulder. Lucy jumped, startled.
The stranger spoke, "Here, follow me. I can help." The stranger wore a prisoner's uniform. It's better than a Nazi. The group made an unvoiced decision. they had to trust this stranger. Gently, they lifted Anna and were ushered into one of the shacks. They layer her on a wooden plank and stepped back. "She took a good shock. Her heart hasn't stopped, but she may head in that general direction if she takes another hit," the man who had rushed them into his metal place informed them. He had a strong British accent and black, rumpled hair. The man was very thin, as though he had not eaten in days.
Anna lay on a table, her brown hair slightly fanned out. Lucy, Kristle, Pete, Tom, and Sean could see her breathing, but only just. "Should we get her some water?" Kristle asked, pale with fear.
"No," the stranger said, "It could electrocute her." Tom numbly nodded.
"Is there anything we can do?" Kristle asked, tears streaming down her face.
"Pray." The whole group continued to stand, tense with worry. So much electricity could stop a heart, and as Anna's had not stopped, that was good, but what if one of them brushed the fence? Would they make it?
The six people stood around the table for ages. Minutes passed. Then hours. "You should get some sleep," the stranger said, feeling for a pulse. But the friends could not sleep. Kristle appeared to be breaking. Her breath came in heavy gasps, and nothing anyone said calmed her. Lucy prayed, as the stranger had said. She sat, kneeling on the floor, praying and hoping for the best. It's in God's hands now. They were up for more than a day, sitting, praying, hoping, and waiting in silence. "If they hear us," the stranger said, "we'll have to work." Just as the sun was setting the day later, Anna let out a cough. The group turned anxiously.
"Is she awake?" Lucy asked hopefully, peering over Sean's shoulder. Anna sat up slowly and groggily.
"What happened?" she asked. Kristle started crying. The group was over relieved that Anna was alright. Throughout sobs, Kristle explained.
"You touched- the fence, and- and it electrocuted you!"
"We thought you were dead!" Pete exclaimed.
"Wh-what?" Anna stammered, coughing again. She tried to sit up further, but the stranger pushed her back down.
"Don't exert yourself. Save your energy."
"Who, who are you?" Anna asked. In their worry, no one had asked the man's name. Oh, Lucy though sheepishly. "Karl. Karl Pollman."
"Lucy Davids," Lucy said, and shook hands with the man. The others introduced themselves in turn, Tom hesitating for a moment, unsure of the man.
"Why are you here?" Tom asked after he had introduced himself.
"It's a long story," Karl said.
"We have time, right?" Anna asked curiously. Karl peered out the dusty window.
"Well, alright. But at sunrise Ol' Joe will come."
(Chapter 20) Karl's Tale
"When the war first started, I thought that it would end quickly. I was ignorant then, though. When it had been going on for a year, I enlisted as a spy. After learning to speak fluent German, I headed to Germany and joined the Nazi Party. I was a soldier, and only heard the gossip of my 'comrades,'" Karl said, making quotation marks in the air, "so I could only deliver gossip. Then, after a year, I was promoted. I had risen to a commander.
"As a commander, I was head of a Hitler Youth Camp. I also was part of the critical ideas and plots of the Nazis. I could input ideas, ideas that could discreetly bring the downfall of the Axis powers. I helped organize the idea to invade the Soviet Union. Of course, not all my ideas were used. Hitler had to OK them first. For a while I was able to pass information to the Allies. That is, until about a month ago.
"My superiors became suspicious of the letters I wrote, and how reluctant I was to hurt the people I took captive. How quiet I was. They cracked the code I was writing to the Allies in. I was thrown in here."
"So you're a spy," Pete said.
"Yes," Karl said, rubbing his forearm and wincing.
"That's really cool, but you could be lying to us right now, right?"
"I suppose so." Just then, the door burst open. A burly looking nazi with white hair growled,
"Oi. All of you, you're heading to the waiting room. Dr. Mengele has requested some new ones. He should be… pleased." The way the nazi said "pleased" made a shiver run up Lucy's spine. The way he said it, "pleased" sounded like it should be something that was a brutal type of murder. Whoever this Dr. Mengele was, Lucy did not want to meet him.
(Chapter 21) The Angel Of Death
The nazi led them past more barracks and brick complexes to a large, metal, rusting shack. When the nazi opened the creaking door, the sounds of screams pierced Lucy's ears. A hard stone floor housed a number of beaten down people, some wearing only dirty loincloths. Behind them, a muddy and battered cloth was held up by clothespins. Another ear splitting shriek of pain came from behind the crudely hung cloth. Lucy froze. "Well? We ain't waiting for the grass to grow. Get moving!" the nazi said roughly and shoved her inside.
With legs trembeling, the group made their way into the room. Within seconds, the screams stopped, and the curtain was pulled aside, revealing a man, a makeshift desk, table, and an unconscious woman. "Oi! Joe! This one fell unconscious. Would you take her outside?"
"No problem, Dr. No problem at all….." Ol' Joe replied, then walked past the curtain to grab the victim.
"Thanks… I'm sure that she'll be fine in, er, a few hours." The man who had spoken appeared to be in his mid-thirties. He had slicked-back black hair, a fake smile, and cold, brown eyes. "Oh, hello Karl. Back again?"
"Yes, Doctor." Karl replied courteously, as though Dr. Mengele was to be handled with caution. Karl shrunk back ever so slightly, as though dreading. What the Doctor would say.
"Well," Dr. Mengele said, flashing an ice cold simile, "Come, come. Let's see the results." Karl walked past the stained curtain and it was snapped shut.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Pete stated.
"Of course you do. Nice prediction," Kristle snapped back at him.
It was a full 20 minutes before Karl came back out, white and shaking. The people in the room seemed to shrink back as the Doctor's gaze penetrated the room. He gazed at each individual as though selecting a pet. Kristle lowered her gaze nervously. Anna closed her eyes. Sean stared at the wall behind the doctor. Dr. Mengele's eyes landed on their cluster. A hidden grin played on his lips. "You-" Dr. Mengele declared and jabbed his finger at Tom, "Come on back here." Tom paled.
"Help me!" he whispered, face ashen. But the friends were silent in terror. Lucy's legs started to shake. The screams she heard… the way the nazi said "pleased"... As Tom stumbled forward and disappeared behind the curtain, Lucy started praying.
They sat in silence, afraid to speak. Lucy could hear Tom begging, pleading with the Doctor. "Come on," he said over and over, "Science is advanced enough."
Dr. Mengele responded with a talk about "the advancement of science and genetics. You'll be helping future generations. Won't that be great?" Within minutes, a shout of pain pierced the group's ears. Lucy, Pete, Anna, Kristle, and Sean looked at each other in fear and horror. Face transfixed with worry, Pete made to get up, but Anna pulled him down.
"You'll just get yourself killed. Tom'll make it through… I hope." Anna whispered. But the group could sense the tension.
"Yehi ratzon milefanecha Ado-nai Eloh-einu veilohei avoseinu…." Lucy continued pray. Halfway through the Travelers Prayer, another yell split the near-silence. A few minutes later, a Nazi entered the room.
"Hey! Dr. Mengele!" the nazi shouted. Dr. Mengele poked his head out from behind the curtain.
"The Fürher sent word for some kids…. Says here there's a Alex Jonson, Clove Hemptz, Dennis Terrel, Mitchel Lewis, Ellen Young, and Marilyn White. Joe said they might be here."
"I was unaware," the doctor said conversationally, looking uninterested, he added, "Which one of you filthy slugs has that name?" he said, addressing the group of people in the shack. Lucy, Pete, Anna, Sean, Anna, and Kristle raised their hands. The doctor looked at them. "That's only five. Who's the sixth?" Dr. Mengele asked.
"He's…" Pete said, choosing his words carefully, "helping with the 'advancement of science and genetics.'" Dr. Mengele did not seem to know he was being mocked.
"You're smart. At least someone gets my point! The kid back there says that science is advanced enough! Coward! Too afraid to learn more. Honestly, kids these days," the doctor spat on the ground, "Well, I'll send him out when I'm done. If he makes it. It should take, erm, five minutes? Thanks for the message, Officer." And Dr. Mengele disappeared behind the curtain, casually and unconcerened.
Fifteen minutes later, Tom was pushed out from behind the curtain. Like Karl before him, Tom was a ghostly white color, and shivering. He stumbled to the group, barely able to walk. "Are you okay?" Anna asked, although it was obvious that he was not. How would he be ok? Lucy wondered, Looking closer, she saw he wore a hastily wrapped bandage on his right arm, tinted red. The bandage was wrapped very tightly, and near the edges of it his skin was tinged purple. Stupid doctor is cutting of his circulation!
"Eh hem." Lucy turned her eyes from Tom and saw the nazi was glaring at them.
"Hey guys," Lucy said, eyeing the nazi warily.
"No one cares about your little reunion. Come on." The Nazi spat, turning on his heal. With no choice, the group followed, Pete supporting Tom. They walked past Karl's hut, through the registration office, past the orchestra, and back onto the train. As the door slammed shut on them, Lucy wondered when- and whether- this adventure would ever end.
(Chapter 22) Another Ride
Tom seemed unable to re-account whatever horrors had happened behind the tarnished curtain. "Incendiary Bomb Experiment" was all he managed to say. Each time the train lurched forward or went over a bump, Tom winced. None of them knew what the Incendiary Bomb Experiment was, much less what they could do to help. As the ride went on, he seemed to be getting better, at least verbally, though he still refused to talk about what happened.
Just like the first ride, they sat in darkness. This time, however, they were the only ones in the car. "So we're going to see our favorite Nazi, huh," Pete said, breaking some of the tension.
"Nah… Commander Phillip was better." Sean joked.
"No, it was Daniel!" Tom said, grimacing as the train jumped. They all laughed weakly. They were silent in the dark for just a moment.
"Let's see if Hitler's orders include a meal," Kristle said seriously. An hour passed. Then a minute. No food came as they sat in the near empty train car. It was just as long as the ride to the camp to get back, and when the train finally lurched to a stop, Lucy stood up almost right away, feeling her way to the door.
Within a few minutes, the car door was thrust open by a Nazi with a brown, greying beard. Five more guards stood around him. Probably to protect him. And hold us, Lucy thought somewhat darkly. Let's 'et this ov'r with," the nazi grunted and turned as Lucy, Anna, Pete, Sean, Kristle, and Tom clambered out of the car.
(Chapter 23) The Hidden Bunker
The cobbled streets of Berlin were layed out before the group, but rather than marveling at the rustic structures on each side of the street, they were dragged past them. This time, rather than being led to the place where they had first met Hitler, they were led to a set of stairs, spiraling deep into the earth. Athena, though unsure, followed. They climbed down for a while- It seemed ten minutes to Lucy- when they reached a sealed, iron door. The nazi gave a sharp jab at the door with a pudgy fist and knocked. "Oi! 'S me, Fin Chapman. I 'ot the 'ids! The 'uns the Für'er sent fer,"" The nazi yelled through the door. Lucy, Anna, Pete, Sean, Kristle, and Tom stood staring at the sealed door. Moments later, the door opened. In one corner of the bunker was a table with a wooden box, another, a cot, and in the middle of the room, a desk, which behind was Lucy's favorite Nazi. To the side of him was a girl with long, brown hair that had been plaited into twin braids. She had kind, carmel eyes, holding just a hint of curiosity. Who's she? And why is he staring at me?
"Hi," Lucy said. Not a great start, but Hitler was just staring at her. His dark, malice-filled eyes peered at them, brilliant and unhinged.
"I have considered what you Undesirable Jews, Gypsies, and Nergros said." Hitler spoke in a quiet voice. "It was-" Athena growled at the German Shepherd sitting next to Hitler's desk. Hitler's dog growled back. Hitler's eyes filled with hate. "Did you bring that dumb dog again? Chapmin, why did you let it come? You are the most dim witted idiot I have ever seen!" Hitler pulled a gun from his nazi uniform and fired it. Fin Chapman fell to the floor, a red patch blossoming and staining his brown shirt. Lucy jumped. Kristle put her hand over her mouth. Has he brought us here just to kill us himself? Lucy wondered against her will. The group's eyes were wide with fear, hatred, and disgust. "Now, back to business. As I was saying before your dog interrupted, I-" but again Hitler was cut off. His dog lunged at Athena, mouth revealing a mouthful of dagger sharp teeth.
"Blondi!" Hitler yelled.
"Athena!" Anna cried over him as Athena charged. The dogs barreled into each other, scratching, clawing, and biting. Blondi whined in pain as Athena sank her teeth into his shoulder. He shook her free, snarling as he charged at her. Athena dodged the next attack, but she skidded across the floor, trying to get up. Blondi ran at her and lunged, landing on top of her. Teeth gnashing, the dogs wrestled across the floor. Anna, Sean, Pete, Tom, Lucy, and Kristle were shouting as Athena rolled across the concrete, struggling against Hitler's dog, who was both bigger and stronger that her.
"Enough! Blondi, over here!" Hitler shouted. The dog obeyed, snarling over his shoulder as he trudged to Hitler's side. Hitler jabbed a finger at Sean. "You- negro, black boy- pass me that box. The one on the table over there."
"I am not a black boy. I am an equal," Sean muttered. Shaking with anger, he retrieved the wooden box on the table. When Sean returned with it, Hitler yanked it out of his hands and thrust it open.
Inside the box were a bunch of yellow pills, each the size of a honeybee. Hands shaking slightly, Hitler reached into the box and grabbed a pill. "What are those for?" Lucy whispered to Tom, who was mouthing wordlessly.
"They're suicide pills… and that's- she must be Eva Braun… he's going to test them on his dog!" Tom choked out.
"Oh my-" but at that moment, Hitler's dog gave a yelp of pain. Blonde fell and lay twisting and thrashing on the ground. Through the sounds of the pain, the sobs of Hitler and the remaining nazi officers were heard. Then the dog lay still, dead. Hitler had murdered his dog. Anna looked shocked, then angry and disbelieving. Lucy looked at the dog's body in horror, the thoughts he just killed his dog repeating over and over again.
"You- you- you- ANIMAL ABUSE! ANIMAL ABUSE!" shouted Anna, "YOU EVIL, PATHETIC, LITTLE BAS-"
"Don't you talk about him like that," a sharp voice said. It was Eva Braun. She glared at everyone in the room. "I've had enough," she said, her eyes filled with anger and sadness. Eva grabbed a pill from the box and thrust in into her mouth. Lucy and the rest of the group looked away, horrified. When the scuffle of movement from her twitching form stopped, Lucy knew she was, like the dog, dead. Another corpse. Slowly, Lucy turned around, bracing herself. Eva Braun's body layed, bent in a strange position. Her lifeless eyes looked out at Hitler, as though trying to say something. Hitler shrugged.
"Good riddance. She was terrible," Hitler stated.
"Then why did you marry her?" Kristle shot at him.
"I don't know!"
"Shut up!" Pete yelled, walked up to Hitler and slapped him straight across the face. Hitler recoiled, shocked.
"Serves him right," Sean whispered.
"It seems I am no longer wanted," Hitler said dramatically, pausing. "Officer Tonioli, send out an order for Germany to surrender. Terminate me, Eva, Blondi, and these kids. You have done a great service to your country," Hitler said and grabbed a pill. "Goodbye, children. Have fun. What an honor, to be the final victims of the Holocaust," Hitler whispered dramatically. Then, like Eva before him, he threw the pill into his mouth. With Hitler's last orders, Lucy realized, they were now fugitives.
(Chapter 24) The Streets Of Berlin
The six turned and ran. Athena sprinted in front of the group, leading them around the crowds, who parted as they saw the Nazis chasing them. People gasped and pointed as they sprinted past, some shouting slogans such as "Blut und Boden" and "Juden werden uns nicht ersetzen" to show their support for the Nazis. The streets of Berlin flashed before them, rustic, but almost unnoticed by the group. As they turned the corner, Kristle stopped.
"Oh no!" Lucy cried. They had run straight into a nazi patrol.
The Nazis in the parade turned. Leading them, was their nazi friend, Daniel. "Get them," someone yelled. Daniel tried to get them to stop but was overrun.
"Guys, we're in the middle of a parade," he shouted, but was ignored. Lucy, Tom, Pete, Kristle, Anna, and Sean barreled past the Nazis, dodging the arms grabbing at them. One nazi whipped around and started gaining on them. Then from behind, a small German Shepherd came barreling down the street. Athena yipped at the nazi.
"Aww! Oh! So ein niedliches kleines Hündchen!" He stopped and stooped down to pet her. The kids just kept running. He's not our problem. Just keep going, Lucy thought reverently. Seconds later, the nazi looked up. "Hey!" he yelled from behind the kids.
"This way!" Tom shouted and led the group down a street- Schweine Street.
The group stopped quickly. They had run into a nazi another parade. How many of these things do they do they have in one town? Lucy wondered exasperatedly. Behind them, the nazi pulled out his gun. He aimed it at Kristle. "Got you now," he whispered to himself and then- WHACK! Pete's fist slammed into the nazi's jaw. A loud crack came from the nazi's mouth. They had the street's attention. People gasped. Nazis whipped around and pointed, pulling out weapons. The tanks continued to keep moving, but the Nazis jumped off them to capture the kids. Then, Lucy had an idea.
"Get on the tanks," she told her friends, "We can get a free ride if we hijack a tank."
"Hijack a tank? Doesn't that sound a little 9/11ee?" Sean asked.
"We don't have time for anything else," Kristle said. She ran at the nearest tank, sprinting to her full capacity. Tom started to object, wincing as he ran from the Nazis behind him, but everyone else ran at the Nazis in front of them, at the tanks.
"Oh, brother," Tom said, but then ran after his friends. Kristle leaped onto one of the tanks and ran for the driver's seat. A single nazi, unaware of the chaos, was driving. She shoved him out, and then took over.
"How do you drive this thing!?" she screamed helplessly. Meanwhile, Pete found his way onto the tank, pulling off the Nazis trying to reclaim it. After him, Lucy climbed on. Anna was struggling to get up.
"Guys, I can't make it," Anna said, now starting to fall behind.
"Hold my legs," Lucy commanded. Pete obliged and held her legs. Lucy reached out and pulled Anna up. Her muscles strained, threatening to snap, but Lucy held firm. After a minute of pulling, Anna was aboard.
"Thanks," Anna gasped, completely out of breath. Lucy nodded, scanning the crowd for Sean and Tom. Then she saw them. They were surrounded by a cluster of Nazis. "Turn the tank around," Anna said. Kristle turned the tank around. "Look out!" Anna yelled to the boys. They ducked, and the tank plowed into the first few Nazis.
"Sorry!" Kristle said.
"Whatever," Pete told her. Sean and Tom clambered onto the tank. Tom had lost his bandage and was grimacing in pain. Where the bandage had been, a bright red burn, spotted with blood layed. Lucy balanced, but pushed it aside. Kristle turned it around and went barreling through the street.
"Where do we go?" Lucy yelled.
"Get to the tulips!" Tom shouted.
"That's in Amsterdam!" Sean yelled.
"Then let's just get out of here," Kristle told them.
With some difficulty, Kristle figured out how to work the tank. She drove at full speed, turning in a pattern: right, right, left, right, left. "We' find our way out somehow," she told the group. Every so often, a nazi would climb on the tank, and he would get shoved off, or Pete would punch him. The rest of the group did their fair share of shoving Nazis off their ticket out of the city. Soon, the tank drove into the gate out of Berlin.
"Close the gate," a Nazi shouted as the tank passed through the city limits. Looking behind them as they outran the Nazis of Hitler's army, Lucy let out a whoop of joy. We're free, Lucy told herself again and again. Each time she said it to herself, it felt more and more true. We're free, we're free, we're free! As they cruised through the countryside of Germany, Kristle looked at all the controls.
"Which one is the break?" she asked. Tom jumped in the cockpit and pulled a lever. The tank stopped. The group jumped off the tank. A swirling blue hole appeared in front of them.
"Ready?" Lucy asked her friends. One by one, they nodded. Just as they were about to step through, a dog ran over to them.
"Athena!" Anna ran over to pet her. "You have to stay. Okay? You can't come with us." Anna choked on sobs.
"Uh, Athena," Pete said, "Thanks for saving our lives back there." Everyone stared at Pete. Then Athena ran up to him and licked his leg.
"You guys coming?" he asked and moved towards the portal. Lucy nodded. Then with one last look at historic Nazi Germany, they stepped into the portal, one by one.
(Chapter 25) Back To The Thicket
Again, the kids fell from the sky. This time, there were no tulips to break their fall. Sean fell on and broke the makeshift table; Tom landed on some thorned bushes; Anna landed on a pile of leaves; Kristle landed on Anna; Pete fell and got tangled in the vine; and Lucy dropped to the ground with a thud. She looked down and found that the shorts and t-shirt she had put on before their quest had appeared once more, replacing the skirt, blouse, and vest that she had been wearing not five minutes ago. The group stared at each other. For a moment there was silence.
"That was fun," Sean joked.
"Yeah. Of course being nearly killed countless times is fun." Pete said dramatically swinging around in the vine he was tangled in. They all laughed.
"How am I going to explain this to my mom? She'll wonder why I- Whoa," Tom said, looking at the arm where he had been operated on in wonder. "Look." The giant, bloody burn was gone. In its place was a walnut sized scar.
"Wow," Kristle whispered, staring in shock at his arm. Lucy's face paled.
"My dad's going to kill me. The tattoo-" But Lucy cut off as she looked at her tattoo. As she watched, it flaked off, the numbers 19394 disappearing. "Holy…." There was silence again. The silence was broken by Tom, who seemed to want to divert the attention from injuries.
"I liked it," Tom said. "Except for being chased by Nazis. And being operated on by Dr. Mengele. And the train. And Hitler. And the rest of the near-death experiences we had. But you have to admit- it was cool to be a part of history. Imagine how accurately I can write that nonfiction essay that we'll probably do! Wait till I tell our teacher that we spent the summer running from Nazis!"
"Don't!" the girls said at the same time.
"Why not?" Lucy couldn't explain it, and neither could Kristle or Anna, but Tom got it. It's just a bad idea.
"Well," Sean said, standing up, "We should get back. Our parents will be worried."
"Can someone untie me first?" Pete demanded, very impatient.
"Fine," Anna told him. As they moved to untie him, something fell out of the sky. A yelp came from whatever hit the forest floor.
"Athena!" they shouted. Sure enough, the German Shepherd was on the ground. Athena whimpered.
"Oh no," Kristle whispered. "Her paw is broken!" Kristle appeared to be right, as the poor dog's paw had one spot that jotted out, which was without doubt, her bone.
"We need to help her," Sean said. With much coaxing from Anna, the puppy allowed Anna to pick her up.
"I'll run her to my house. My mom's a vet, so she should be able to help. You guys untie Pete. Bye!" With that, Anna took off.
Lucy, being the smallest, climbed up a nearby tree. From there, she set to untying Pete. Below her, Sean, Kristle, and Tom positioned a pile of leaves so that he could fall on something light. Minutes later, Pete was free and they were all back on the ground. Sean pulled out his phone. "Hey," he said, " It's the 24th! The same day we left! No time has passed!"
"Unless it's been a year," Kristle pointed out. Lucy hoped it wasn't the later.
"I should get back home. Should we call it a day?" Lucy asked.
"Yes. I need to process the past few days. Or hours. Or whatever time passed," Tom agreed. They all bade each other goodbye, and set off for their individual homes. When Lucy saw the tip of her roof she broke into a run. Her parents were outside, her dad grilling, her mom reading a magazine. It was good to see them, and Lucy was glad to be home. Home meant away from racism, it meant away from, danger, it even meant away from adventure, but she was home. And if home meant no nazis, it was enough.