In a Crowded Train

by Maya De Leon, age 12
In a Crowded Train Maya used to have two cats, until her neighbor took one and moved. The cat may have belonged to the neighbor first, but the cat liked Maya better.

“Looking at his cold blue eyes caused my hands to tremble on the wood banister. Scared. I was scared, that’s the word. Scared.”

WHAT’S GOING ON

“Maria Jane Wodson, there is a friend I would like you to meet!” Father yelled from downstairs.

As I made my way down the white marble stairs, I saw him. He wore the Nazi uniform, with the red arm band on his left arm, showing off his muscular arms. He looked like he was in his 30s.

Looking at his cold blue eyes caused my hands to tremble on the wood banister. Scared. I was scared, that’s the word. Scared.

Father saw that I had finally got out of my room and exclaimed, “This is my coworker, Kurt. He will be your math tutor for the next month.”

I said a quick, “Hi.”

I made my way past Kurt. Then I felt a cold hand on my shirt. It was Kurt.

Then he whispered in a low voice, “I know people like you, up to no good.”

What did he mean, “people like you.” He let me go, but I still felt his cold hand on my shoulder.

Making my way to my car, I noticed these kids playing around the street playing tag. And they each wore a necklace with the Jewish star. Then I continued observing the kids’ clothing, noticing the same star sewn on their spring vests, their jeans, and shirts. 

But I got in my car, driving to a cafe to meet up with a friend. I saw in front of me that Betty had already found seats. I made my way across the pink tiled floors, past the bar. But I could not stop thinking about why all Jews were sewing the star. I knew Betty was Jewish, but why didn’t she have the star sewn on? We had just started drinking coffee when these Nazis barged in. Grabbed Betty by the arm. And I just stood there in shock. Betty was thrashing and screaming in fear. No, I couldn’t lose her. She has been my best friend since, like, the beginning of time. Now she was gone. My head was spinning in confusion. What was happening. And why. 

FINDING OUT THE TRUTH

After I left the cafe, the only thing I could think about all day were the Nazis. Then all of a sudden, I fell to the floor. Looking below me I saw a yellow rubber duck staring at me with black beady eyes.

“What the heck!!” I said to myself. Why was there a rubber duck. Oh well, never thought that would happen. 

Making my way up the old brick stairs to my home, I felt like a melting marshmallow in the hot sun. I didn’t know if Father was home. So I went upstairs to check his office, but as I made my way closer to the office, I heard men yelling.

You know all Jews must be sent to the camps. Not one can slip past you!”

 What camps? I thought. And why target Jews? 

But then I heard more. “We finally got that stupid Betty. The troops just got her at the coffee shop when she was with my daughter. Get the rest of them. Hitler’s orders!”

It was Father!!! Father was the reason Betty was taken away. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Was this why the kids were wearing the stars, the Nazis needed to know who were Jews. But what camps.

The Nazis stormed out of the house. I was in the kitchen snacking on some potato chips when one of the men caught my eye.

He had cold emerald eyes, then he said in a loud booming voice, “Alright, men, hurry up. Let’s go.”

I recognized that voice. It was the voice of the first man in the conversation. I must stay away from that man.

One week later… 

THE TRAIN

I found myself in a crowded train, filled with Jews. Babies crying, kids crying, women and men crying. Why had I gone snooping? Why did I ever start to have feelings for Kurt? Kurt did this to me. I felt the train stop. The Nazis opened up the doors. Then they started pushing people off the train. One Nazi pushed me so hard that I fell.

I looked behind myself and saw Kurt. Kurt, the one who started this whole mess. But he looked at me like I was no one, kicked me, and said, “You stupid girl, get up.”

I wondered if he even noticed me, but then a loud scream interrupted that thought. A Jewish mama was being taken away from her daughter. I ran over to help the child.

I yelled back at the mama, “I will take care of her!!”

The girl yelled back at the mama screaming, “No!!! I need her. I need my mama.”

The girls eyes looked scared, so I said to the girl, “It’s okay. I will take care of you.”

“No, you are not my mama. You will turn me into them, then they will kill me!!”

“Come with me, so we don’t get in trouble and end up like your mama. We must follow the rest of the group.”

“Fine, but promise me they won’t hurt me.”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t make any promises, but I will try my best.”

“Are you scared?” the girl asked, shivering.

“Yes, but you must stay strong. Please stay strong.”

The girl and I followed the Nazis through the concentration camp, past lines of Jews heading into dark tunnels. Then all of a sudden I heard bang, bang. I looked over my shoulder and found four dead bodies on the cold brick floor. Then I thought to myself what will become of me.


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