This week’s snippet is from my short story, Arbeit Macht Frei, which I’m hoping to e-publish.
It’s a story contrasting the lives of two girls, one who is sent to a concentration camp in WWII and one who is visiting on a school trip in 2010.
As they marched the prisoners down the road the snow was already seeping through her shoes, cold was a sensation the girl would live with always. She hugged her arms around herself vainly and looked up at the people around. The girl could not see her family, they had been separated before entry. They had been stripped of everything; their possessions, money, clothes, even their name and they were left with only a number and a coloured triangle. She was surrounded by pale faces that were grim and shadowy. They were all the same now. Tower A loomed over their heads like a great white monolith that marked the end of all things. A pale, stern face could be seen through the ice veil of the window, staring down at them with hard glass eyes. As they passed through the gates of Tower A, the girl saw the phrase ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’. At first this phrase had provided them with promise, hope of deliverance, but soon they learned it was all a lie, a dirty trick. They said it was a work camp, a rehabilitation centre, so they could work for their country and earn their freedom. She should’ve been at school today. In the life before she had been Jewish, her parents and grandparents were Jewish and they had lived in Berlin for four generations. She had wanted to be a dancer and perform ballet in theatres around the globe.
Through the gate the grey wood structure of huts squatted in a semi-circular formation. There would be no dancing here.
You gave me the shivers with this. It reminded me of when I went to visit the Dachau camp with my class, one of the creepiest (and yet so important) experiences I’ve ever had.
I admit I could’ve used more involvement in the description at the beginning, it sounded a little rough and generic. But gradually it became personal and I was standing right in the girl’s shoes as she pieced together in her mind the bits of the life she’d never have again – up to the ending point, my favourite part, where you blew me away with “there would be no dancing here”. Good job! I really want to know now what happens to both girls – and especially, whether the Jewish girl would survive WWII, of course! 🙂
I certainly want to read this when it’s done, so I really hope you’re going to e-publish it! 😀
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