A matter of life and death during wartime

It is dark. The moon lights the trees, leaving shadows on the path.

The scrunch of leaves, concealed, follows me, entrapping me in the eerie surroundings.

The long path trails endlessly into the darkness.

My steps are short, swift, yet soft in caution of what may be following.

The large manor to my left is a silhouette, striking out from the dim light of the moon.

What is within is unknown, yet I find the place inviting, as it may be my last hope.

The door lets out a long creak as I step through the slight crack.

With a flick to my head torch the large room becomes filled with a dull light.

The windows are boarded to remove any light in the likely event of yet another German air raid, and the house is still filled with furniture - someone has left in a hurry.

The belongings within are covered with a thick layer of dust.

Cobwebs string from the chandelier, coating the room in a lace curtain.

I slowly move my feet to see the other rooms, the floor boards creak beneath me, sending a shiver down my spine.

As I come between the large wooden archway connecting the living room to another sitting room, I view a large stairwell.

It twists and turns into the roof. It, too, is coated in dust and cobwebs.

The wind gives a lasting impression that the weather is deteriorating and I need a place to hide away for the night.

I decide upstairs will be the safest place for me.

I corner the top of the stairwell.

I find a small hallway; three rooms are what look to be those of small children.

The fourth room is the large master bedroom, the beds all perfectly made.

I lean against the wall and slowly slide to the floor unable to bring myself to sleep in a stranger's bed.

I wonder why this family is gone, if the same happened here as what happened hours prior in my own family home.

Sleep seems impossible, but my heavy eyelids start to flutter, eventually closing.

I spiral into dreams while the leaking spouting outside my window drips rhythmically ...

The constant drip of the shower plays through my mind and I'm unable to sleep because of the fear of myself and my family being taken hostage by the German soldiers.

Thoughts of what may happen continue to overwhelm me.

I hear the crunch of gravel outside; vehicles are approaching the house.

The door opens of the first vehicle as another creeps along our long drive.

A voice shouts. I can tell they are German.

In a frenzied panic, I rise.

The front door smashes open, taking half the door off its hinges.

The soldiers bash through the living room. I hear the smash of glass and furniture being thrown aimlessly around.

As I land in the garden outside of my window, I stay close to the wall and slip slowly around the house.

I hear more angry German words screamed.

In fear, I slip away from the house and into the nearby woods.

In the darkness, I am lucky enough to spy the shed we kept filled with supplies since the beginning of war.

I burst through the door and grab a head torch, that's all I have time to get before slithering into the darkness . . .

Streaks of light shine on my face through the boarded window at the end of the hallway.

As I open my eyes, I see a large German soldier towering over me.

With his pistol drawn, I shut my eyes, in readiness for death.


By Georgia Redshaw, Year 13, South Otago High School


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