TITLE: Darkness Falls
SUMMARY: It is January 1945, and the snow is falling over Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Bella Cohen is fighting to survive in the cold, with next to no food, savage beatings, and a work schedule designed specifically to kill. The Nazi have taken everything from her, but this is about her survival, and her faith. She'll fight to the day of liberation, or the day she dies…
WARNING: This is set during the Holocaust. This is dark, violent, extreme, frightening and at times will deal, in depth, with the extremes of the darkest period in human history.
PAIRING: Eventually, this will be Bella/Emmett
SORRY FOR THE HUGE AUTHOR'S NOTE, BUT IF YOU COULD TAKE THE TIME TO READ IT, IT'D BE A GREAT HELP.
A/N: OK, this is the biggest project I have ever taken on. This means that reviews are going to be the only thing that decide the fate of this story, and as such, they are important! I am taking this on as more of a personal favour for someone than anything else. I was asked to try it out. I am as such trying it out, but please, please try and remember that I am actually only seventeen years old. I am not Jewish, and I am going to do my absolute best to tackle this, and I understand that I must handle this with the utmost respect and sensitivity. I also understand that people may not want to read this, due to the content.
I understand fully that on writing this story, that I am taking on a history that was written in the blood of nine million people - six million of whom were Jews. I am going to try my hardest to respect that culture, the history, and the lives of the people in the camps, both those who survived, and those who did not.
I need to be told immediately if I am not handling this right. Honestly, the SECOND I am even slightly insensitive, or not respecting the scope and tragedy of the Holocaust, tell me right away. I'm going to do my best, and I really hope you'll back me on this one. You guys mean an incredible amount to me, and it's with your support that I will try and do this.
Please understand that I have taken historical licence only so far that I have used fictional characters in a real life situation. Everything else I have kept the same, out of respect for history.
She hugged the rags she had left to her body. It was so cold. The night was cloudy, and she knew it would snow again before morning. So cold. That was what you tended to think about in the camps, she thought, bitterly. I am cold, therefore, how do I get warm? I am hungry, therefore, when do I next get fed? Who won't survive this winter, and can I get close enough to get some extra rags when they wake up dead? Who'll not be able to eat, and can I get their share? Those are the questions, she decided. Those are the questions one must ask to survive. There are questions you don't ask, naturally. Who is dead, that I knew? Who might be dead? What became of so-an-so from school, work, home, after-school clubs? Those are the questions you don't ask, because then you lose your mind. And the important thing in these hell holes is your sanity.
She has seen too many people die, of the cold, of hunger, of the typhus. You can smell the death. Death has a very distinct smell, and Bergen-Belsen reeks of it. The typhus is raging, and every day, more people die. She is an old woman in a young girls body.
She is thin, very thin. She has been systematically starved for two long years. This Hanukkah will be her third in the camp. She is determined that she will walk out of the gates a free woman, when the liberation comes. She speaks German, she hears the Nazi guards talking. They are worried. The Allies are getting closer. They fear the war is lost. She will believe it when an army of Allies walk through the gates, and announce that they are all free. She will believe it when she sees her home again.
In the mean time, she will survive. She will fight for her survival, because they have taken her dignity, her pain, her emotions, her conscience. She will keep her pride, and her faith, and she will use them to survive. Her faith is still important to her. She scratched the star of David into the wall with her nails, and she prays. She knows that if the guards catch her, she'll die, but she doesn't care. She's fighting back, however small that fight may be. Sometimes the people in the block pray with her. She has some importance. Her defiance is keeping her respected in the camp. All the prisoners know her name, from the moment they arrive. Murmurs of Isabella Cohen reach even the guards, who choose to goad her, trying to make her lash out at them, for sheer amusement. She merely stares them down. Her pride will kill her or save her, and she does not care which it does. Either way, she gets out of hell.
It is dark, and she shouldn't be out. She is coming back from a barrack block, where a woman is sick. She has said a prayer, and ahs gone on her way. She knows that the woman will be dead tomorrow morning. Or this morning. She doesn't know what time it is. She doesn't care. Mealtimes are the definitive point, and whether or not you get a meal. Work, and maybe eat, if you are lucky. And never stop. If you fall at work, you sign your own death warrant.
She is only seventeen, and April 15th, 1945 will be her birthday. Well, it will be if she can pinpoint when April 15th is. She'd like to. Eighteen is such an important number.
She sneaks back into block in time to avoid the patrols. She curls up on her pallet, and tries to get some sleep. Within seconds, there is a body pressed against hers. She doesn't know who it is, and she doesn't care. Frankly, it is warmth, and she'll take it.
Isabella Cohen doesn't want anything but survival, and she'll take it in any form.