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Shmuel POV

As I sat by the wire fence, leaned against the bricks and wood I let my mind flash back to about 7 years ago. I was only 9 and right here was where I met Bruno. Who is Bruno may you ask? He was my best friend. He was the solider in charge's son. He was exploring when he came across me. Sitting in the same position as I am now when I first met him.

Flashback

"Hello," said at boy with dark hair who appeared out of the forest beyond the fence.

"Hello," I replied.

"I've been exploring" he announced after a few minutes silence.

"Have you?" I asked.

"Yes. For almost two hours now"

"Have you found anything?" I asked curiously.

"Very little" the boy said and I felt a slight disappointment. It would have been nice to hear something different for a change.

"Nothing at all?" I asked again.

"Well, I found you" he said eventually. "I'm Bruno by the way"

"I'm Shmuel" I introduced and Bruno's face scrunched up.

End of Flashback

I was brought out of my memory as I felt someone place a soft hand on my shoulder. I jumped and backed away quickly.

"S'alright son" the man said. "I am here to get you out of here. You can trust me"

And for the first time since Bruno, I did trust him. I followed him back to the huts to find everyone was being rounded up and guided towards the trains we arrived in. All the soldiers in uniform were gone and to replace them were nice men dressed in colours I hadn't seen in a long time.

"Where did you live son? Before you came here?" the kind ma asked me.

"Poland, Cracow to be more exact" I stated and the man smiled and led me to a train that he said was going to places in Poland. I passed a train that was labelled Berlin and I stopped. The man turned back around.

"Problem son?" He asked.

"Well, I knew someone from Berlin. He said that when we get out of here I should go visit him" I told the man.

"What was the boys name?"

"Bruno, his father was the commandant here"

The man grimaced. "Are you sure this boy is your friend?"

"Yes, he was nothing like his father. Do you know where in Berlin they live?"

"I might do"

"Will you please take me?" I begged and the man sighed before smiling and leading me away from the trains and towards a car.

"Yes, I shall. But I shall accompany you" I nodded and got into the car.

The ride to Berlin was longer than I ever thought I would be. We had been driving for almost 3 nights now. On the fourth day we approached a large city with tall buildings and shops. Things I hadn't seen in years. There were other children in normal clothes entering a place labelled school. I hadn't been there in a long time either. Everything about life outside the camp was all just a vivid blur.

"Here we are son" I looked around and hadn't realised the car had stopped outside such a large house.

"Its Shmuel, my name is Shmuel"

"Alright Shmuel. Shall we go and see if they are home?" I nodded and followed the man as he got out the car and walked up the stone steps to the large door of the house. Now I see what Bruno meant when he said he missed Berlin. This was much more peaceful than his home back at the camp, or Out-With.

The man knocked politely at the door and soon a lady with brown hair answered.

"May I help you with something?" she asked smiling at me.

"Yes, we are looking for Master Bruno. Is he available?"

"Why yes, he should be out in the garden. Shall I go fetch him?"

"Please" The man said. The pretty woman disappeared and was replaced with another woman, this one was blonde and looked much younger.

"Hello?" She looked at me and smiled. "Your face seems familiar. Have I met you before? I'm Gretel"

Then I remembered. Gretel was Bruno's older sister. The Hopeless Case I believed he called her.

"I'm Shmuel" I stuck my now clean hand out but she stared at me with wide eyes. "Are you alright miss Gretel?"

She smiled. "No way. Are you Bruno's friend Shmuel?"

"Yes I am"

"Oh he'll be happy to see you, but I must go I am terribly late for a work meeting"

With that she ran down the stone steps and out the gate. I was about to side on the steps when I heard a familiar boys voice.

"Maria I was happy outside. What is so important out he-" He looked at me and froze. "-re" he finished his sentence in a zombie-like tone.

"Are you master Bruno?" the man next to me asked and Bruno nodded. "Good, good do you know this boy?" He gestured to me. "his name is Shmuel"

Just as he said that Bruno lunged forward and gave me a large hug that I wasn't expecting.

"You came! You came to Berlin. I cant believe it. Gretel said you may never come but I didn't lose hope. Shmuel I've missed you so much"

"I've missed you to Bruno, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think of you" He smiled at me again stood back.

"You're here, I can't believe it" Bruno whispered again. I laughed. Then I heard a voice coming from behind me.

"Bruno? Are you here?" I turned around to see a blonde walk up the steps and stop and let her mouth fall when she saw me.

"Hello" I held out my hand. "I'm Shmuel"

"So you're the famous Shmuel Bruno always talks about, I was wondering when I was going to meet you. Hello I'm Jessica. Bruno's girlfriend"

I cocked my eyebrow and looked at Bruno and smiled. I noticed him blush but he soon gathered himself up and walked over to the girl and kissed her hand.

"You are such a tease Bruno" I saw her pout and Bruno turned to me for permission to kiss her. I nodded and he turned back and placed a deep kiss on Jessica's lips. The pulled away and Jessica looked satisfied.

"Much better" Bruno took her hand and gestured for me to go inside, I did and he followed behind. The maid was just about to close the door when a car pulled up on the path outside. I recognised the car immediately and froze. Bruno ran to the door and rolled his eyes.

"Father" he grumbled and ran to the end of the stairs. "MOTHER"

Soon another woman walked downstairs looking very dazed. I guessed this was Bruno's mother, she smiled at Jessica and I then turned to the door where the man in uniform was now at the door.

"What do you want Ralph?"

"I left a few of my belongings behind." He walked in and saw me and froze. "why is he in our house?" He sneered.

Bruno walked up to his father. "He is my friend, do you have a problem?"

His father didn't back down. "He is a JEW Bruno we are Germans"

"I NEVER believed in all the Hitler doings and you know that. I hate him, I hated having to meet him when I was 9. I hated having to listen to you brag about how great he was when in fact he was an evil man who only cared about himself." Then his father did something that I never though I would see a father do to his son. He slapped him hard across the face, so hard he fell to the ground. Jessica ran to him and helped him up as his father walked over to me fist at the ready, I closed my eyes and awaited the pain.

"STOP" I shot open my eyes to see Bruno's sister Gretel stand in front of me. "He has done nothing wrong, he is Bruno's friend and has been ever since we arrived at Out-with all those years ago. The war is over father. We cant hurt them anymore so just get what you want and leave."

"Gretel, I thought you believed that what Hitler was doing was right"

"I did until I realised what he does to them in that camp. When we arrived home mother sat me down and told me all about her revelation. She said that the smell was burning bodies of the innocent people that you had just gassed in a gas chamber. I was so shocked and I knew that they were just like us and we should be treating them like dirt because we wouldn't like it ourselves if someone did that to us. Then I went and spoke to Bruno who told me all about his friend on the other side of the fence and that he was his best friend for life. Over the years I gradually told Bruno the truth behind what happened in the camps and Pavel that night. Then he met Jessica who moved in across the street. She believed that no-one should be treated differently so we all became friends and well they got much closer than expected but you still see my point father. He is Bruno and Jessica's friend and he is also my friend."

When Gretel finished what she had to say, Bruno's father collected the rest of his belongings and left without another word. Soon the man that brought me here left also, telling me to take care of myself before he left. Bruno's mother welcomed me into the family and I knew that I had three best friends for life.


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