Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Inge's War by Sieglinde P. Young


A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves. – German Proverb

In 1942 World War II is in full swing. German cities are bombarded on a daily basis and many civilians die. To keep her daughter safe, Mrs. Lyndt takes six year old Inge to her mother’s estate in Prussia. There Inge befriends Paul-Emile Diderot, a sixteen year old French prisoner of war. In 1945,as the Red Army advances on Prussia, Paul-Emile decides to escape with Inge his ticket to freedom. Thirty-five years later their paths cross again at an archaeological dig in Egypt.

"I pulled on Amsel’s halter and walked deeper into the forest. When I sank to my knees into the virginal snow, I stopped and looked back. Paul-Emile hoisted me on Amsel’s back and without saying a word, walked the horses to the edge of the clearing.

"Suddenly he groaned and dropped like a felled tree. Evil laughter was followed by a corrosive voice mumbling in a foreign language, ‘Urri, urri’ (Uhr - watch).

"I gaped at the soldier wearing a green tunic, felt boots and trousers bagging at the knees. A fur cap with ear flaps sticking out on either side sat jauntily on his head. He knelt next to Paul-Emile and searched his pockets.

" ‘Urri, Urri’.

"I wasn’t at all sure he knew I was even there. As soon as I saw Paul-Emile lying on the ground, I’d leaned forward on the horse’s neck trying to make myself as small as possible. I was so scared that it hurt all over my body. The soldier clambered to his feet and swaggered up to Donner. We stared at each other. He gently stroked first Donner’s then Amsel’s muzzle. I could see he admired horses and felt a little less frightened.

"Suddenly his hand lashed out and with one swift movement he yanked me off the horse. I landed at his feet and lay in the snow staring up at him. He chuckled, pulled his bayonet out of its scabbard and with one quick slash slit my pants leg. I kicked him and tried to scoot away, but he held me down and laughed at my feeble efforts. His sour, rancid breath almost suffocated me when he leaned close and patted my face.

"I screamed for Paul-Emile. The louder I yelled, the louder the man roared with laughter. He knelt over me and fumbled with his belt. His pants dropped below his knees. I kicked and squirmed and let loose a piercing scream before he clamped his big hand over my mouth. I tried to bite him, but couldn’t get a grip. Then the crack of a pistol reverberated in my ears and the soldier’s heavy body crushed the breath out of me."

Dena sucked in her breath.

I’d never talked about this to anyone and was glad it was dark in the room.

"I thought I was going to drown in the sticky substance that smelled oddly of wet, rusty iron and tasted warm and salty. I twisted my head trying to get away from the cloying fountain and saw a boot raised about to strike. I cringed.

"The weight was gone and I could breathe again. A soldier holding a pistol in his hand inspected me. He grabbed a handful of snow and rubbed it gently over my face.

"Paul-Emile groaned. ‘Mon Dieu, what happened?’

" ‘Paul-Emile!’ I screeched. I scrambled on all fours over to him and threw my arms around his neck.

"He grunted and said in French, ‘My head, something cracked my head open.’

"The soldier examined Paul-Emile’s head then pulled him to his feet. He spoke at length in French. Paul-Emile nodded.

" ‘Inge, shake hands with an officer and a gentleman, he saved your life.’

" ‘Is he a Russian?’

" ‘A Russian.’

"I stretched out my hand. ‘Thank you for saving my life.’

"Paul-Emile translated. I washed my face and hands in the snow and examined my torn pants leg. ‘Why did he cut my pants? I’ll never get warm again.’

"Paul-Emile wrapped me in a blanket and lifted me on Amsel’s back. The Russian officer pointed in a westerly direction. They spoke for a few more minutes then the Russian handed Paul-Emile our Reichsmarks. They shook hands.

About the Author:

Sieglinde P. Young was born in Hannover, Germany and personally experienced the horrors of World War II. After the war she and her family emigrated to Canada and a few years later to Miami, Florida. After she raised three daughters, wanderlust struck and the next twenty years took her and her husband to live and work in West Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.

She now resides in Cocoa, Florida.

Ms. Young’s book is available at Amazon. com and as an e-book in Kindle format.

1 comment:

maggy simony said...

I recognize this story, and the author (didn't remember her name) as participating in the writer's group at Cocoa Beach Library couple years ago. I loved hearing her reading aloud from it, particularly since I'm old enough for WWII to be part of my life story. In fact, I spent 1946 (right after the war) in Berlin in the American Zone as a court stenographer.

I remember it was INGE'S STORY and participation in the reading-aloud each meeting, that kept me coming back. Stopped going because I realized that I would NEVER be one to read aloud from my own writing--a coward--and didn't seem right to keep going there without contributing.

So glad to see she's had it published. I will buy a copy at Amazon and read it--always wanted to know how it turned out.

I too got MY book published (that I never read from)i.e. Bridge Table or What's Trump Anyway? which seemed too light-hearted a topic for that writer's group.