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TRACKS OF TEARS

round-the-bend-smallDear Hank:

I am taking three seconds to drop this letter in a postal box and run back into trees because I don’t want anyone to see me. I am finished with anyone in this country seeing me.

I think I told you I met an older boy Michael and we were going to the east to the work camp at Dachau to look for my family. We were mostly staying in woods and away from roads except for a ride for many miles we got from a friendly farmer taking potatoes that way. Maybe he was the last friendly farmer in Germany. I hope not.

We were back in the woods and heard a rumbling and saw a train going through the trees. Tracks! And the train was slowing down to go around a curve. I hurried us toward the train, saying to Michael maybe we could hop on board it. But when we got close Michael grabbed my arm and held me back. There were weird sounds in the air. At first we thought they were the same crows we had heard the whole way, but no.

They were people, crying and moaning from inside the train.

“They are also going east,” whispered Michael.
“So?” I said, “Maybe they are going to a different work camp than Dachau.”
“I don’t think so. We must be close to there by now. And something is telling me that it is not just a camp where you work. Come on.”

He began to pull me back in the woods.

“No!” I cried, “I have to find my family!”
“Be quiet, Markie!”

But it was too late. A German soldier riding on top of the train had heard us. He yelled something to another solider, who yelled to someone else and suddenly the train screeched and stopped.

We started running. I was faster than Michael and he also tripped. Shots rang out. Bark broke off trees around us. I moved faster but a bullet hit Michael in the back and he fell for the last time. I had no time to stop and turn back and help him or anything and ran faster and faster and got away safe.

And now I am alone again. This time I am moving to the northwest. And I will get into Belgium somehow. I promise.

Markie

 

Dear Markie,

I am reading this on a safe train to St. Louis to play the Browns this weekend. And it has never felt more meaningless.

Your friend,
Hank
8.11.38

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